The Secret Lives of Women Over 50

Do you think you understand boomer women? Even if you’re one of them? You might not, according to the myths out there about women over fifty. Renee Fisher, author of Invisible No More: The Secret Lives of Women Over 50, believes those myths need a few corrections. Big ones. And she’s not shy about being the one who does it for BoomerCafé.

Renee Fisher

The conversation about aging is changing, but myths remain. These myths may have had validity when none of us humans lived much past age fifty or sixty. Remember our grandmothers? They looked old at forty. They wore housedresses and sturdy shoes. Their lives were all about raising their children, and when that was done it seemed that at least in society’s eyes, their lives were done.

Not any more. Today we women over fifty have changed considerably. Our average life span is eighty-plus years. We are out in the world making art, saving villages, improving our communities, keeping up with runway fashions, and living our lives. Yet in spite of all this, here are the myths we keep encountering. And here are our answers.

Women over fifty don’t care what they look like.
Since hordes of us are planning to have our next round of cosmetic surgery, we take exception to this. We now remember with fondness that construction workers used to give us wolf-whistles. We thought it obnoxious then. We miss it now. Women like us drag ourselves to the gym where we get to compete with twenty-somethings for parking spaces and treadmills. We take Yoga and Pilates, go on diets, run marathons, go on diets, dye our hair, go on diets, get contact lenses, go on diets. We care. A lot.

Women over fifty don’t like sex.
Since many of us aren’t married, this is a touchy subject. The answer is, just let a healthy, willing, attractive male show up in our vicinity and we will be ready. Or, if even two out of three of those categories show up, we will be ready. Actually, “willing” might make up for any other shortfalls, depending on how long it’s been. And just think, since we can’t get pregnant, we can just zip past the pregnancy prevention shelf at the drug store.

Women over fifty find menopause terrible and debilitating.
YES! Menopause is TERRIBLE and DEBILITATING. It ruins our lives. It is the worst thing that has ever been invented in the history of the universe. It is worse than diet ice cream. Okay, now that we have acknowledged that, can we please move on? The fact is that some of us didn’t even notice menopause, except that we could also zip right past the sanitary products shelf too. So, menopause exists and we’ll have it for awhile, and then we’ll get over it.

Women over fifty can’t keep up with the times.
Interesting, since women over fifty are the fastest-growing group on Facebook. We have and use PDAs, GPSs, and iPods. We have almost outgrown email, and are Facebooking and Twittering. And let’s face it: without us, a lot of the Help Lines would go out of business. We may have grown up in the Stone Age, but we have managed to survive into the computer age.

Women over fifty miss our children and only want to be with our grandchildren.
We love and adore our children. We love and adore our grandchildren. That’s the only acceptable answer, isn’t it, since this will be in print? We love them the most when they don’t ask us to baby sit too much. But seriously, we can love them and still want a life. That’s the bottom line.

Women over fifty fear change.
That’s really funny, since virtually everything about us is changing. Body parts are moving to different locations or vacating entirely. Hair is now appearing in places it never was and disappearing from places it used to be. We could go on and on. So, we say we don’t fear change. We are, and have been, the movers and shakers of our lives. Go to any art class and see who is involved in creative pursuit. Go to yoga or meditation classes to see the same. Look at the women starting new careers, or the ones running for office. Check out writing classes, art appreciation classes, cooking classes. Look at who is doing work in developing countries, starting foundations, traveling the world, raising money for causes, marching for causes. Change? Bring it on! We are well-practiced, and good at it.

Women over fifty are counting the days until retirement.
We agree with this statement. No matter how much we love our careers, we are chomping at the bit to have the time to travel, to explore, to start new businesses, to enroll in college, to volunteer, to write books, to inspire our daughters’ and granddaughters’ generations with the unlimited possibility we have. We can’t wait to retire so we can see what’s next. We have lived only the first half of our lives and are anxious to see what we will create in the second half.

So, let us bury the useless, outworn myths along with all other outmoded notions of who we women are and what we are up to in our lives. We are here. We’re living, laughing, and loving, and planning to do so for the next fifty years.

Read more about Renee Fisher. Click here.



  1. Hi Marcia, i was just browsin the internet lookng for something about Women to do over fifty and came across BoomerCafe, I think it was the best news i’ve heard in awhile about women changing thank you so much for helping me and Mother im not having hot flashes but my Mother is and She says their terrable she doesa’nt have them like she use too thank GOD! keep spreading the word of truth about minopause…Thank you Ms D.

  2. Lots of women over 50 feel forgotten by those nearest them, as well as the anonymous world. I wrote about what that can feel like, and how to avoid it in my my blog post, Invisible Women, in the Diary of the Vixen Divorcee.

  3. Wow, I love this blog! You hit the nail on the head with everything that you wrote. Actually, I think after 50 more women care about sex than they did in their earlier years but do not speak up regarding their needs. As for fear it is less with me now that I am older.

  4. Thanks so much for commenting, Bill. In my years of running a speed dating company, I heard a lot of generalizations voiced from both men and women about dating age-compatible members (45+) of the opposite sex. Both complained about exactly the same things: They are too sedentary/set in their ways/out of shape/no zest for life. Of course, there do exist both men and women fit those categories. But I also saw more men and women who still cared about their appearances, were still excited about life, traveled and participated in a variety of activities. Gosh, depending on where you live, I could introduce you to some women!

  5. Dating Women over 50 — One man`s experience — all you say is true for only some women, but most of those whom I know are married to friends of mine !! I wish that I had the opportunity to meet some of the women fitting the description given in the article.
    Yes, I have been 49 for many years now….I like to keep physically active in sports etc. My children are for the most part grown and on their own, until needing rescue ( how many of you have been through that ? ). I have struggled too but managed to become financially secure as well as achieving a reasonably cordial relationship with the woman whom I had married and who had left the marriage of her own free will and accord after which we “co-parented”. In my post marriage life, after 50, please note, I have dated pretty well only women over 50 also…but I have met so so many who have not made any effort at being independent emotionally or financially and those whose main goal seemed only to be to “catch” a rich man etc. to allow them a more extravagant life style etc. Some have been so physically out of shape that I wondered how they could let their self image or pride become so damaged. So many have been so financially lacking in common concepts that it hurt themselves. So where are these women who would fit the description given in the article ? I shall keep believing they exist !!!
    —Good Luck to all — Bill

  6. Laura, if I wore a hat, I'd take it off to you. You not only have young twins, but I see you run your own law firm. I've spoken to other women of this age with very young children. It's one more example of the endless capability of women over age 50.

  7. Yes, Sadhvi, I so agree that women over 50 are, for the most part, more comfortable in their own skin. It is one of the best things about this age. And I LOVE that you say most of your life has been about change. I could write forever about that. We mention marriage and children because that's the path most women (and men) follow in life. But life, like my GPS system, has many paths, indeed. And unlike my GPS on some occasions, most of them get you exactly where you want to go.

  8. Hi Renee,
    Being a woman over 50 I got a kick out of reading your post. I think all of us are so unique, where we all didn’t get married, and we all didn’t have kids, like our Mom’s generation. Our generation had so many choices! So it’s just funny that we could be stereotyped. The only thing that makes me feel different these days is that I am happy to BE who I am, and find it interesting. The fact that I don’t have a period any longer is the big CHANGE for me, and all that it implies…but my whole life has been about CHANGE, so this is just one more.

  9. When I turn 50 my children (twins) will only be 8 years old. So, you can forget all this grandma business & add "Busy Moms" to your description of Women Over Fifty!

  10. What a wonderful article. I'm turning 50 soon, and most of my friends are over 50. We are so vibrant, exciting and full of energy … your article is right on target; thanks for this piece!!

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