What do women (of a certain age) want?

I am female. I am a baby-boomer. I am a senior. Which, according to current vernacular places me somewhere in the vicinity of ‘a woman of a certain age’, a term coined by a British essayist way back in 1754 and later immortalized by poet Lord Shelly Byron who wrote in 1817, “She was not old, nor young, nor at the years/Which certain people call a certain age,/Which yet the most uncertain age appears.” In 1822, he clarified his reference to women of “a certain age”, by crudely stating that women of a certain age were, “certainly aged.”

Lord Byron aside, recently, as I prepared to retire from a career I loved to engage in this new field of possibility called, life after a career, I began to wonder, what does it mean to be a woman of this certain age? What do I really want now that it feels like nobody really wants me?

After decades of chasing after the dream of ‘having it all’, I was tired of always trying to be everything to everyone. Of feeling like I had to do more, especially as I was never sure of what the ‘more’ was. I had raised two daughters, mostly on my own, and was a step-mother to two adult children as well. I’m still all of these things, but, along with being a wife, a new grandmother (or YiaYa as I’m called because I’m cutting back on the No’s in my life so NoNa or NoNo didn’t work!) daughter of an octogenarian and a recent passing over the threshold into what society calls, ‘being a senior’ I was tired. Tired of the constant drive to find myself in a world that told me who I was, as a ‘woman of a certain age’, was old and possibly no longer relevant.

And that’s when I began to wonder, what if I was never lost? What if, at this certain age, I have the luxury of simply being me without feeling pressured to be anyone, or anything, else?

Which is when the panic set in. Having spent decades being defined by not just the fashion I wore but also what I did in the world and how much I gave to others, I wasn’t sure I knew how to step out of my designer heels and give to myself what I needed most. Especially when I wasn’t quite sure what it was I needed the most.

The question, “What is it I want most at this certain age?” became my rallying cry to discover the more of what there is to create, do, be after tipping over into the other side of the second half of my life. That place where I am learning to value the wisdom I’ve gained after so many years on this earth, without fearing ‘the younger generation’ has all the answers. They’ve got their answers but they don’t have mine. And mine are worth their weight in gold.

At this certain age, I am settling into accepting aches and pains and crêpe-like skin as part of my beauty, not detractors from my desirability. I am learning to slow down with grace, including remembering to not bend over too quickly to pick up the earring I dropped because if I go too quickly, I might just pass out.

And I am learning to accept (with grace) the answer to my question, “What is it I want most at  this certain age?” is not a sprint to the finish line of my life, but rather, a beautiful wandering journey through fields of gold along the shores of golden ponds and verdant valleys.

I am a woman of this certain age where I have the wisdom, and the experience, to know how to live life on my own terms. I know how to fearlessly and effortlessly fall in love with being old enough to know when to slow down and young enough to want to kick up my heels and dance naked in the light of a full moon, because at this certain age, I am certain nobody’s watching but me. And I if I am the only one watching me, then I am certainly not going to worry about what other’s think of me. Which means, I have all the freedom in the world to grow more certain of who I am as a woman of this certain age.

So… as I continue to explore what I want most at this certain age, I have an invitation for you. If you relate in any way, or are asking yourself similar questions, I’d love to know what you want most at this certain age. And what you don’t want.

For me, the list includes wanting to feel like my life has had meaning and relevancy. Like there is still –more’ and the more is not prescribed by what I’ve done in the past, but rather, how much I still have to contribute.

I want to feel like it’s okay to grow older without fearing being old.

I want to know my wisdom matters. That I am heard, seen known for my grace, elegance and style, not just the clothes I wear and the title I no longer carry.

I want to be okay with being silly, just because, and I want to be ‘nothing’ other than who I am.

I want to let go of feeling like I have to explain or defend my decisions.

And I want to be okay with the past and its many ambiguities so that I am at peace today, with me, the world around me and everyone in it.

I want to make peace happen.

What about you?

What’s on your list?

I’d love to hear from you. If you don’t feel like posting here, an email would be great too! You can reach me at louise [at] louisegallagher.ca.


12 thoughts on “What do women (of a certain age) want?

  1. Wow…thank you for putting what I’ve been feeling since my last birthday, my 60th, into words. I chuckled reading your thoughts. No, I’m not happy with the weight gain and sagging skin, but boy am I content with this stage of life. Self-acceptance and really not giving a hoot what other people think anymore is so freeing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for chiming in! I too am very content with this stage of my life — I’m grateful my words expressed what was on your heart and mind too! I love synchronicity! Cheers — and thank you again — Happy Birthday! 🙂


  2. I think you are mixing two things which ought not to be mixed …

    First, ‘a woman of a certain age’, has always meant to me something about the allure and ‘some luring’ involving an older woman and a much younger man – at least that’s how I saw it when I was much younger – and since I’m older than you I should confess that I’ve always considered you to be a pretty hot pistol from many perspectives so I’ll leave it at ‘allure and luring’ …

    Second, you talk about a post career life – and wanting to figure it out. The control freak you are may dictate more than it should here. Why not ‘do what comes next’ and be open to fantastic possibilities coming your way – and since you are now ‘a woman of a certain age’ you can be less worried about what anyone else might think, go with the flow of what feels good and drop it like a hot potato whenever you feel like it.

    The time you have to deal with is somewhere between 1 day and 50 years. Use the skill and zeal required for a 1 day mandate, but pick things with a long term vision and make them come true, whether or not you last to 115.

    Chairman of the 115 Year Target Club,



    Liked by 1 person

    • Love the Chairman appellation Mark. There are anglo saxon and romantic language nuances to the phrase. I chose to stick with the anglo saxon for this part of my project. We’ll see where it leads me and what unfolds as I delve into the questions and what respones I receive. 🙂


  3. The truth is I’m just not sure what I want. I truly miss the passion, commitment and sense of accomplishment that went with my profession. I’m still doing that on a causal basis in a different setting but it lacks the acuity and I find it so easy but i love this routine of it.
    I think I want to have a purpose. Sitting back and just doing whatever happens to come along just isn’t how my personality rolls. But what does the purpose come from? Is it my creative endeavors or is it a new volunteer opportunity or is it…..
    I do know that I want to embrace life // I don’t want to just meander into old age and say “that’s too ….” and so not even try. I want to learn and grow and continue to be a caring person.
    But how to do all that I have no real concrete ideas and that’s what makes it all a challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I lvoe the honesty and grace of your reply Bernie. Like you, I feel more ‘me’ when I am ‘on purpose’ — knowing/articulating my purpose has been instrumental in my contentment with where I’m at in my life today — I’m loving the responses I’m receiving from women and how nuanced and rich they are.

      I like how you write “I don’t want to just meander into old age’ — so very true for me too!

      I’ll keep you posted as I continue to delve into the subject and figure out how I am going to unfold my project on being a woman of this certain age, aging with grace – and perhaps as it all unfolds, I’ll have gathered insight into the concrete ideas you write about!



  4. Yesterday was my 56th birthday. So I don’t know I am exactly a senior, but it’s definitely getting closer. I gave up caring what people think years ago. I like the life I live, and that’s pretty much all that matters. I’m not So thrilled with the betrayal from my body at this point, both in appearance and especially in aches and pains. But like you said, I am learning to adapt. The hubby loves me, and that’s all that matters. I like me too, so there is that. I plan on growing old as gracefully as possible. I want to be like other women I know who nobody could ever possibly guess their age, because they are still so vivacious.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Happy 56th Mary! I love your response — the other day, a woman asked me if my grandson was ‘mine’ — I smiled when I read your response about being someone no one could ever possibly guess their age — that’s how that woman made me feel! 🙂

      And I can understand why/how you love your life today — I follow your travels and see your art and am inspired by you constantly!

      Thank you for chiming in. My goal is to create a body of work on the aging with grace piece so I’ll keep you posted! Hugs


  5. Great topic that pulls me away from the final leg of moving … again! I want more of this conversation! This is a strange stage of life that is relatively new to the world. Whereas our parents were lucky to have 10 years of “retirement,” we could have 30! What do we do with those years. Addressed it a bit in my latest blog post: Love Letters to my life #12: Finding my third stage calling, a gift from Mexico. http://www.joycewycoff.com/

    Now back to packing boxes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Enjoy the packing — okay, at least hopefully it’s not too much of a chore — which is one of the things I noticed when we moved a year and a half ago. I had to consciously talk myself out of grumbling as I packed! 🙂

      I love your perspective Joyce — and just sent you an email. I’ll be in touch. Much love. ❤


  6. Well Louise … in a few words … most of what you ask above is dependent on the opinions of others … at this ripe age of 67 … I am all about not really concerning myself in the slightest about the opinions of others 😂 … well … perhaps with one exception … that of the opinions of my grandchildren who are far wiser and more honest than most adults … the innocence of children is beautiful and rare ❤️ This age is all about getting cozy with who you really are … still a work in progress 😊

    Liked by 1 person

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