What Really Makes Me “Jealous” About Younger Women

I love working with and being with younger women.  I love girls, youthful 20-somethings and 30-somethings.  And of course women closer to my age in their 40s and 50s.  Mentoring and coaching women for business and life success is my passion.  And of course playing grandma Patty to Reagan and Morgan floats my boat.
 
But there is something that bothers me about younger women.
 
A recent trip to Italy staying in a group villa for a week made it clear what it is that gets my guts churning.  One of the women was closer to 50 than 60.  And she has what I crave — no guilt.
 
Women over 60 — well, we were raised to serve.  Our parents, our husbands, children, work colleagues, synagogue or church situations — we automatically get up to wash dishes, think cooking/preparing meals is our job, throw in a load of wash between other activities, and lend an ear to anyone in need.  We do of course thank men when they “give us a hand”.  Certainly we have mentally moved way beyond this archaic paradigm — and many of us actually had and have relationships where chores and the “support role” goes back and forth.  But put us at another home, in a work situation that requires support — for many of us the urge to serve overpowers everything else.  Which of course is better than not giving a hoot about anyone else.
 
I worked at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation at one point — fantastic experience — remember having a large staff meeting where Dana was presenting as well as myself — and who was setting up the lunch?  Dana and I.  Really.
 
VERY few if any women under 60 have this compulsion.  Notice how your niece, daughter or younger colleagues do not jump up to make something/wash something or serve something out of a sense of “duty”.  Notice too how the partners or male colleagues of younger women are more likely than not to jump up to help or do “service activities” first. Men of successful younger women seem to know it is 50/50 or else — or at least it seems that way to me.
 
Got to tell you THAT stirs a little (and sometimes a lot of) jealousy in me — which of course it shouldn’t since that is some of what feminism fought for.  I am over the sadness of my physical looks fading (OK, everyone who actually knows me can attest that this claim is total nonsense) but feeling guilt around not taking care or helping serve? That lingers.  It is one of the major reasons 60 is not the new 40.  40-something women wouldn’t dream of putting their own wishes last or needing to serve others first — oh how I wish that was me.