Often called “The Land of Opportunity,” there is some question as to whether all people from all socioeconomic classes would agree. Immigrants, people of color and women have traditionally been fighting an uphill battle to gain the same rights, privileges, and lofty aspirations as affluent white males.
That is not to say that the marginalized within society cannot work their way up the ranks; it just means that they probably have had to work harder when aspiring to goals that were often just beyond their reach. So then, what does it mean to retire as a self-made woman? The answer is rooted in what it means to be ‘self-made.’
Rising Like a Phoenix from the Ashes
In its most basic definition, being self-made alludes to rising above all the barriers to success in areas where success isn’t something expected of you. It is like the metaphorical Phoenix who rose from the fire to take flight when a lesser creature would have succumbed to the flames.
As a self-made woman, you were able to overcome a sweeping mindset still prevalent in the 21st century. Think about this for just a moment. When a woman was named to the Supreme Court in 1981, the country went wild. It was the first woman to ever serve in such an esteemed position. However, being a woman was the only obstacle that seemed to stand in her way.
Sandra Day O’Connor was raised on a 198,000-acre cattle ranch on the border of Arizona and New Mexico. Justice O’Connor was anything but marginalized. She was raised in a relatively affluent family that had the financial stability to put her through university and law school. That’s something which many families couldn’t boast in the post-war days of WWII. Justice O’Connor wasn’t poor, and she was not a person of color. In some respects, you could call her a self-made woman, but not in the entirety of the true definition.
Today’s Self-Made Woman in Retirement
As a self-made woman in the 21st century it may mean that you worked long and hard to reach heights previously only aspired to by middle and upper-middle class males. You have gained a level of financial security that means you will not be dependent on the goodwill of family and neighbors as your body and mind begin to fail you.
You have fought hard for the independence you have gained over the years, and this is something you are unwilling to relinquish, even in retirement. One senior retirement home has made a pledge to provide physical therapy services as part of their residential program. Whether it is for post op recovery or strength conditioning to enable you to live a better quality of life, this is something you can now look forward to in your senior years.
The best thing to do is look for more information from St Annes Retirement Community to see why there is such a strong focus on fitness as you age. As a self-made woman, you want to keep that independence as long as possible that you have worked so hard to achieve. With the right physical therapy, you can hope for much longer independent living with residential programs than if you were left to your own devices. At some point, hopefully in the far distant future, you may need to move to assisted living, but the focus of therapy is to forestall those days as long as possible.
The Most Important Thing You Can Bequeath Your Children
Altogether too many parents worry about leaving financial assets to their children. That is good but there are better things to leave your family. One of the most important assets is a mindset they can use to become more. Life isn’t always about what you have but rather what you are and what you do with the years you’ve been blessed with.
You want to leave your children with a strong sense of work ethics and what it means to share with those less fortunate than themselves. It may not always mean sharing money or other tangible assets but rather what they can share from the heart.
Just as you’ve probably mentored other women on your way to the top, so too can your children learn what it means to carry others along with them on their journey. Being self-made demands that you become a guiding light to others who might never believe that they can make their own opportunities with the right strategies and a willingness to work long and hard to reach their goals.
What You See in Retrospect
Finally, as a self-made woman it is important to view your life in retrospect. Looking back over the years, what do you see? What lessons did life teach you about succeeding in a world where the obstacles seemed more plentiful than the opportunities? You succeeded, after all, but how?
Even in retirement you can share these pearls of wisdom with other women on a path that branches off to a Y formation. One path leads to success and the other goes nowhere, often circling back to where they are now standing.
Have you thought of what it would mean to mentor young women trying to reach their potential? This is not something required of you in retirement. However, it can be seen as a gift, inspiring others to reach for the stars. Mentoring in your senior years can also help you to feel a sense of purpose long past the days when many seniors find life slipping away from them.
Many community groups and women’s organizations in your area would probably be more than happy to sponsor group mentoring session. Whether your senior residence would let you host meetings at their facility or be willing to transport you to community centers, these sessions can make a huge difference in women seeking to re-make their lives in a world that is ridden with obstacles.
Even in your senior years, you can make a difference as a self-made woman by showing others the path to success.