People who have Inspired me – Poorna Bell

No 1 in a series of people who have inspired me – Poorna Bell is an award…

People who have Inspired me – Poorna Bell

No 1 in a series of people who have inspired me – Poorna Bell is an award winning journalist,speaker and author of ‘Stronger’ and  ‘In Case of Emergency’

Poorna’s post on Instagram from Monday 16th January 2023 says everything I want to say about women as we age and what we are perceived to be capable of vs what we ARE capable of. 

‘Something that people love to say (and I’ve said it in the past) is ‘age is nothing but a number ’and yes, in essence that’s true but it’s also a fairly unhelpful and inaccurate saying. In our society – an ageist society –age is more than just a number. It’s a number that is used to discriminate against people of a certain age in the workplace, it is used to undermine and remove autonomy, itis used to underpin a narrative that lionises youth. It is used to spin a story that success is weighted towards your younger years (perhaps only ever true of sport,) * it is used to make you fear getting older. It is designed to keep you in a permanent state of fear of looking old, that it distracts you from everything that is good about you, in the pursuit of looking young. 

Conversely, age isn’t just a number because it is the accrual of so much wisdom and graft and perspective and many many learnings from the times you failed and tried again.it is about liberation, it is the shedding of the scales from our eyes and the clarity of what is important. 

It is very easy to lose sight of this in our ageist society, and I have been struggling with my own sense of relevance and worth in it. Wondering if my best work is behind me, or if things will taper off, or I’ll just lose ‘it’. Hearing the words of these women, especially @michelleyeoh-official** is the call to arms the sound to wake up, to say no, to not give up or lose hope or think we are diminishing. I think this is a universal message, in whatever you do, not just the entertainment industry. Keep going, it says to me, until the last breath, and until we cannot.’ 

*Maybe not only ever true in sport – maybe this glass ceiling is beginning to crack. Rosemary Lenton won a gold medal at 72 years of age in pairs bowls at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022. German speed skater, Claudia Pechstein, is the oldest woman to compete in a Winter Olympics at the age of 49 and the only woman ever to have competed in 8 Winter Games. Her 20 year old speed skating record was beaten by less than a second in 2022.  

**Michelle Yeoh’s beautiful acceptance speech at the Golden Globes last week has struck a chord with women everywhere. She had to wait until she was 60 for industry recognition but her basic message was, ‘never give up.’