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I remember watching Oprah turn 50 on television and hearing her describe a miraculous, liberating shift in mindset. No longer driven by what the world thought, Oprah, as a woman in her 50s could finally, authentically be herself without self-doubt.

The High of Not Caring What People Think

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I remember watching Oprah turn 50 on television and hearing her describe a miraculous, liberating shift in mindset. No longer driven by what the world thought, Oprah, as a woman in her 50s could finally, authentically be herself without self-doubt. 

My first reaction was surprise. Wait! Oprah was caught up with what other people thought?! 

My second reaction was delusion. “I’m glad I’m not!”

I was. 

True, I was fairly unscathed by some of the more obvious trappings of social expectations. My husband and I never got too caught up in keeping up appearances. We caught ourselves if we started to pay attention to what luxuries other couples were given or created for themselves. I assumed this meant that I wasn’t influenced by what other people thought.  

My own moment came right on schedule. At 50, I experienced my own profound shift. Like the constant city noise you only become aware of when vacationing in the mountains, I realized I had a habit of caring what other people thought. But only after I truly stopped caring about others’ opinions.

At 51 years old, I began a new chapter as a first-time entrepreneur in the cannabis industry. This new chapter began when I visited a dispensary out of curiosity with my friend and soon-to-be business partner, Patty Pappas. A place I wouldn’t have been comfortable walking into during my younger years. 

We talked to the young budtender and asked every question that came to mind. Younger me probably would have pretended to know more than I did instead of asking for clarification and detail. 

Younger me would have felt self-conscious about taking up the staff person’s time. 

Younger me would have cared more about what others waiting in line would think over satisfying my own curiosity.

Younger me would have worried about seeing someone I know in a dispensary, even though that person would have also been… at the dispensary.

What Patty and I learned about cannabis that day changed our perception of the plant and its uses.  We immediately drew a line between cannabis and the physical and emotional experiences of menopause. We envisioned a unique product and a new space for women’s health within the cannabis industry. 

What we learned that day cracked open a door of opportunity right in front of us. Our well-earned, newfound ability to keep the noise of others’ opinions at bay allowed us to kick the door wide open.

There is no room for caring about what other people think when creating a cannabis-based vaginal suppository. There is no room while changing perceptions of cannabis and those who use it. There is no room when creating a new consumer space for menopause in an industry populated with young males. There is certainly no room for caring what your Google search history looks like!

Now, two years into our business, Patty and I rely heavily on what we think and know in our gut. We talk openly about menopause, vaginal dryness, and cannabis. We are carving our own path in an industry that is still defining itself. 

This suits us nicely. As two women who have amassed life experience and learned to trust ourselves, we have exhausted our capacity to allow others to shape what we know is right for us and our brand. 

In return we are experiencing more satisfaction, feeling more energy, thinking more creatively, and enjoying healthier, happier personal lives.

Younger me would have completely missed out on what has become a satisfying, challenging and extremely rewarding enterprise. 

Age is NOT just a number. It is empowerment and freedom.

by Carrie Mapes

This article first appeared on Girl Gone 50 by Grace Creative. We are women who don’t believe age defines us. We are women who believe substance is the new sexy. We are women who are kicking ass, not sitting on it. We are women who love to have a good time as long as we we are home by 10. We are Girls Gone 50. To view Carrie & Patty’s Age is NOT just a Number video visit @girlsgone50.

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