There is a misconception or myth that women over 50 do not have any interest, or are too afraid, to try new things or take chances. Society likes to place certain ages in specific boxes of what we should be like, how we should act, what we should or should not do. Thinking this way is naïve at best. Regardless of the reason or what it is women wish to pursue as we get older, one thing is for certain… It is an absolute myth that women over 50 are afraid to try new things! I would like to introduce two very fascinating women who, after the age of 50, have accomplished amazing new things.
Dr. Morgan is a personal friend and mentor of mine. It is amazing what this lady pursues and accomplishes in her life. Dr. Morgan was a full-time college professor of business administration for 24 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a doctorate. She retired at the age of 53 but still teaches as a part-time instructor.
In 2002, due to budget cuts, our local women’s prison lost their librarian. The warden asked our church if they knew of anyone who would volunteer. Dr. Morgan was one who gladly began to volunteer. However, her work did not stop at being a volunteer librarian. She began arranging worship services for the inmates and a reader’s program for women and their families. Women are recorded on video reading a story and it is sent as a Christmas present to their children. She fell in love with this mission work and returned to school, yet again, to earn an advanced certificate in Biblical Counseling. At the age of 59, she became the prison’s Chaplin, serving for 2 years. In her 17 years of serving, Dr. Morgan has seen a great need for imprisoned women.
As of this year, at the age of 66, Dr. Morgan became the founder and president of Red Clay Ministries, which serves to raise money to meet the needs of women in prison. Needs range from arranging Bible studies, having holiday programs, worship services, to getting Christmas presents and hygiene packages (which are not supplied) for the women. Currently, there are 50 volunteers who are a part of Red Clay and have been certified by the state of Georgia to work in the prison. There are also 10 volunteers who do work outside of the prison.
Red Clay Ministries serves our local women’s prison which houses approximately 200 inmates. Soon they will be approved to also serve a county jail for males which houses approximately 500 inmates. Dr. Morgan is the perfect example of how Prime Women can start businesses or any type of organization regardless of our age! If you would like more information on the wonderful work that Red Clay Ministries is doing, please visit redclayministriesinc.org.
Ms. Conni is a member of our Prime Women Group on Facebook. She was married at the age of 16, mother of two children by 19 and remained a stay-at-home mother for more than 30 years. During this time, she helped with her grandson while keeping her family close. At the age of 45, she finally began the dream of going to college. She loved college because there she wasn’t just “somebody’s mother, somebody’s wife… but a respected woman in her own right.” She majored in psychology with a concentration in neurochemistry and graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a perfect GPA.
So, where did Ms. Conni go from there? Why, law school on an almost full scholastic ride. She graduated from law school at the age of 52! During this time, she found herself in the middle of a divorce. Divorce is hard, but Ms. Conni found the strength to move away from all she knew to a town where she knew no one. There she opened her own law practice. She bought her first home on a lake and fell in love with her current husband, who is 12 years younger than her. At the age of 70, she is still practicing law and enjoying boating and motorcycles (to the “horror of my children.”). Ms. Conni feels that she is living her life backward, but that is perfectly fine with her!
“People often say they could not do what I did. My response is I would rather be 70 with a law degree than 70 without one. I am not anywhere near finished yet and have lots of other things to do!” — Ms. Conni Walkup
“Society places us with invisible barriers which convince us we are “too old” to do certain things. I say simply to walk through these invisible barriers. If it is something that you feel called to do or are passionate about, you won’t even think about your age. You will just simply do it.” — Dr. Rhonda Morgan
As someone who just turned 50, I am becoming fast aware that what we are taught about what women over 50 should be like is nothing at all the reality of who we really are. Through this journey I am taking with Prime Women, I have met so many women of all ages who are not letting their age stop them from pursuing their passions and dreams. My hope for you is to have the mindset that our age is not an indicator of what we can or can’t do, of what we should or shouldn’t do. If you feel it, do it! If you desire it, pursue it! We have heard the saying “I am woman, hear me roar.” Well, I will change that to “I am a Prime Woman. Do you have anything to say about that?”
Myth Busters is part of an ongoing series about myths surrounding women over 50 (like they can’t try new things) and the women who break them. If you would like to join discussions about this series or possibly be included in an article yourself, please join the Prime Women Facebook group. And don’t miss any of the Mythbusters series by signing up for our newsletter.