I’m 53. I feel 33. Sure, I have a few more wrinkles and when I get up in the morning and look in the mirror, I wonder who is staring back at me. There are times when I feel the urge to strip down naked because of the incredible explosion of the occasional hot flash, but life is heating up (no pun intended) just the way I like it.
But, that’s me. It’s society that hasn’t caught on yet to the phenomenal power of aging. There’s still an archaic view that keeps women from aging with dignity. “Grace and Frankie” help to shatter that nonsense.
I binge-watched Season 3 of this Netflix original series last week. Best season yet. They’ve nailed the emotions of the aging woman.
If you’re not familiar with “Grace and Frankie”, watch it. Watch it now. It’s a story of two 70-something year old women who become friends after their husbands tell them they want a divorce – so they can marry each other.
Grace, played by Jane Fonda, is a classy, cultured, and uptight retired cosmetic mogul and Frankie is played by Lily Tomlin. She’s a hippie art instructor and puts the term “free spirit” to shame. The women are highly sexual, drink to excess, smoke weed, and toss around a lot of F-bombs.
The writing poignantly touches on real-life topics with a perfect blend of drama and humor. We see Grace and Frankie work through the aging process and their life transitions while dealing with grief, developing friendships, losing friendships, new and unrequited love, generational divides, family, and health struggles.
It leaves you reflecting on your own life and the changes and challenges of aging - not only how we deal with it ourselves, but how we deal with the way society treats us.
But, it also gives us hope. It’s a reminder that we make our way in this world on our terms.
Grace and Frankie remind us:
Chasing Dreams, Catching Dreams, and Reinventing Your New Normal is Normal
In season 3, Grace and Frankie embark on a new business adventure. They want to sell vibrators to older women who have arthritic hands and, uh, some other issues that affect aging women. If you’re 23 and reading this, yes, older women still have sex. Older women still do lots of things – and some of those things may make you blush. Membership does have its privileges.
Throw out any pre-conceived notions that you have about older women. Women don’t stop living; society simply makes it a little harder to live the life we love.
Listen, there’s no expiration date on dreams and that’s why Grace and Frankie fill us with hope. They are reinventing their new normal, as we all should.
If you haven’t realized your dream and you’re 30 years old, you can stop worrying. You haven’t missed the boat. There’s no rule that says success must occur before the age of 30. Success can, and does, occur at any age.
Call it reinvention, following your passion, or simply being strong enough to finally do what you want but that’s the power you bring to your life.
There’s Growth and Liberation in Aging
Learn to love the growth, wisdom, and liberation that comes with aging. I still see myself as the spirited young woman and won’t get rattled back to reality when someone sees me as something else.
You can't control the perception of others but you can foster an inner strength that goes beyond what others outwardly see. Aging is an honor that not all people are afforded. State your age proudly and become a new generation of enduring, inspirational, and stirring women who embrace their years while breaking free of the chains and boundaries that hold you down.
There’s No Such Thing as a Traditional Relationship or Traditional Family
In the show, we have gay marriage, interracial dating, and adopted children. No one blinks an eye. It’s all ordinary. We’re a diverse society so calling something “traditional” is an outdated way to define people. Maybe we can simply have “relationships” and “families.” Do we need a distinction between traditional and non-traditional any longer? Besides, you don’t have to be related by blood to be family.
We Still Need Support
Your relationship status doesn’t define happiness and heartbreak isn’t reserved for the young. There will be moments in life when you’re wondering what you are doing and how you ended up where you are today.
Initially, Grace and Frankie were forced to support each other during their common crisis. While their exteriors paint a dissimilar picture, they share a story that is relatable to all. They discover that human beings aren’t all that different. We share the same fears and when heartache comes calling, we all need support.
Yes, life can work in cryptic ways. Somehow it often leads us to the right people at the right time.
Jane Fonda is 79 and Lily Tomlin is 77. They slay it. May we all still slay it as we approach 80!
Photo Credit: Netflix (Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin)
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