"At the age of 54, I feel that so much has shifted as a result of being a woman at this age. I 'know' it's societal programming, yet it has been drummed into my head that as a woman loses her youth, ergo, her power."
When I read this I was reminded of a couple of things.
First, a friend told me once that thyroid problems in women are a symptom of "voicelessness" -- which is what you sort of said in your post. And here especially around men, which is where many women most feel the loss of youth = loss of power "connection."
I was also reminded of a different friend's book. ("The Ecstatic Journey," by Sophy Burnham.) In it she discusses how women achieve great power and spirituality beginning around their 40s. I have not read it for several years so am relying upon memory, but this really clicked with me when I read it. Sophy has written before on the saints, and one point she makes in the EJ is that if you look at the lives of the female saints, you see that a lot of them have their great spiritual breakthroughs in their 40s. (There are many who commit to God in early adolescence, too, leaving that big childbearing-years time in the middle as maybe a time when God knows we are too busy to do much else!)
I have always looked at 40 as the time when women really hit their stride. I have had some good role models along those lines, but apart from that I think wisdom, experience, and spiritual nature can really coalesce and help move us into a place of power as women. Not compared to men or to younger women, but as ourselves. And I think one of the challenges or gifts of the 40s and 50s is to find a "voice." I wonder if we do that, how our thyroid will react...
Just some thoughts. Thanks for an interesting topic to think about. I always enjoy your (and your husband's) posts!