Let’s All Choose to Challenge
Theme for International Women’s Day 2021
A world that does not respect women’s power does not respect women.
Women for Women International
On this International Women’s Day, let us celebrate women- the brave ones; the exhausted ones; the pioneers; those struggling; the creative ones; the wise ones; and everyone in between. This is a day when we think about truths in women’s lives-how far we’ve come and where things fall short.
Some time ago I heard a TED talk by Anne Lamott presenting her 12 truths learned from life and writing. * That prompted me to reflect on what I have come to know over the years. There are similarities between her “truths” and mine, but I suspect there’s alignment among many women in ways of knowing. Here is my top ten list on this International Women’s Day. What are yours?
- Women grow more beautiful as they age. Many people only see wrinkles, thinning hair, and extra pounds but as we age, beauty shines forth from our wisdom, life experience, and ability to see life as it is- all of it honed over the years. Beauty is a woman content in living life on her own terms.
- Sugar has its place. Nourishing food and exercise are essential to a healthy life but every once in a while, sugar in any form (brownies, cookies, wine, bread) is therapeutic. We’ve all known times when only a sugar fix can make us feel better, even if the effect is temporary.
- Women friends are like gold and we need them so much. How can one adequately express what our friends mean to each of us? They love and accept us as we are and are there when we need them. I cannot imagine my life without them.
- Women become more themselves with age. There comes a point (hopefully) when we figure out who we are- or at least are on the path to doing so. We can throw caution to the wind and do what matters to us in the way we want to do it, irrespective of the good opinions of others.
- Some things in life are overrated such as housecleaning; some social occasions; stuff that we once thought were must haves; and relationships that have run their course. Knowing what’s not important underscores what truly is.
- Parenting is a lifelong act of love. Anyone with children knows this. The relationship with our offspring changes but the wondering and concern have a permanent berth at the back of our minds. Even when our children become adults and are living their lives quite well, there’s an internal radar sniffing out difficulties that may be lurking. At the same time, the gift of parenting is knowing what extraordinary people our adult children are.
- Age is a state of mind. I have to remind myself of this from time to time, but age is only a number. I know 40-year-olds with a narrow outlook on life who are old beyond their years. I have also met octogenarians who could put a teenager to shame for the enthusiasm and zest they bring to life.
- Many of our best decisions are made on impulse with little thought or planning. I have experienced this truth numerous times in my life. Planning has its place, but overthinking can rob us of spontaneity and cause us to miss extraordinary opportunities that we could not imagine. Impulsive decisions pair well with dreaming.
- Every woman needs a room or space of her own. Virginia Woolf declared this truth- along with the need for one’s own money. We all need a space that is ours alone where we can dream, be still, or perhaps escape from others for awhile.
- Women as they age become powerful beyond measure. Unfortunately, too many people don’t know this, including some women. If we could harness the power of women everywhere, imagine what the world would be like.
Too many women all over the world are enduring hardship and disadvantage- all of it more pronounced with the burden of COVID. The challenges of every woman belong to all of us. Here are a few of my hopes going forward. Please add to the list.
Dreams Going Forward
- Women in all circumstances feel safe.
- All girls and women have the opportunity to go to school and be educated.
- Equal pay for work of equal value is the norm.
- Systems, structures, and research funding take gender into account. Decisions and design of all things are carried out through the lens of gender.
- More women are in positions of leadership in organizations and government.
- No woman fusses about her weight, body, or appearance. She already knows she looks great!
- Women and children are no longer living in poverty.
- Women are revered as they age. No one is invisible.
- Every woman has the right to not act her age. Hopefully, she does this often.
- Women everywhere have the chance to live their dreams.
We are all on a heroine’s journey that is anything but a straight path. Sometimes there are obstacles on the way. We can get where we want to go eventually, but it’s easier if we help each other. The most important thing is love.
Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
Unknown- from International Women’s Day
For those interested in Anne Lamott’s TED talk the link is https://www.ted.com/talks/anne_lamott_12_truths_i_learned_from_life_and_writing?language=en. I enjoy her because she is funny and has a knack for telling it like it is.
I thank Aruni’s blog post for bringing the TED talk to my attention. I also want to acknowledge Tara Mohr for referencing the work of Women for Women International.