“A mimosa will be wonderful,” I say to the smiling crew member after we take off from Hanoi. Sipping on the cool refreshing drink, I sigh contentedly and see my image reflected in the window glass – a face with a few wrinkles, sagging jaw line and droopy eyelids. For a fleeting moment, I was filled with regret, yearning for my prettier, 24-year-old self to return my gaze. But then my 56-year-old self laughed because today’s version feels so much bolder, sexier and content than that younger and prettier me. 

Embracing my sensuality and confidence at 56 has been a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. As a certified forum facilitator with YPO and a leadership consultant, I have worked with over 50 women forums and more than 600 senior women leaders across cultures. I see the powerful sense of self-belief, boldness and a quiet sexiness in women over 50. In my experience, I hear a few commonalities. 

Acceptance: Start by acknowledging the wisdom that comes from the life experiences you’ve had. What are the lessons of resilience and strength you have learned on the way? Think about the growth you have experienced over the years. What life lessons would you share with your younger self? 

Celebration: In a society that often celebrates youth, it is essential to recognize the beauty and allure that comes with age and experience. What if the waist is a couple of inches thicker or there is some cellulite where none existed? Embrace your body exactly as it is. Celebrate the gift of imperfection. Not being a prisoner to the wrinkles and fine lines brings a heady sense of freedom. 

Discovery: What is your purpose? What are some of the things that you liked to do but have sat on the back burner? Finding a purpose is like illuminating a dark room with a torchlight. It fills your days with light and joy. What would your 70-year-old self tell your 50-year-old self about a life well lived? 

Confidence: Confidence is irresistibly sexy at any age. During your 50s, after having performed many distinct roles in your life, be it daughter, wife, mother, professional. You know exactly what your strengths are. You know your likes and dislikes. Embrace your unique style and personality with pride. Whether rocking your favorite outfit or trying something new, exude confidence in everything you do.

Self-Care: Invest in self-care practices that make you feel radiant from the inside out. Pamper yourself at a spa day, indulge in hobbies you love, or prioritize rest and relaxation. Whatever you choose, self-care is essential for nurturing your mind, body and soul. Honor yourself by acknowledging your needs and prioritizing them.

Embrace Sensuality: Embrace your sensuality with confidence and authenticity. Whether it is through intimacy with a partner or simply enjoying your own femininity, allow yourself to explore and savour the pleasure that comes with embracing your sensual side. Our sexuality does not come with an expiration date.

Connections: Surround yourself with supportive friends and loved ones who uplift and celebrate you. Share your journey of self-love and empowerment with others and be open to learning from their experiences as well. Let go of toxic relationships that suck your energy. Have the courage to draw your own boundaries and let go of situations that no longer serve you.

Practice Gratitude: Cultivate a mindset of gratitude for the blessings in your life, including the gift of aging gracefully. Appreciate the beauty in each moment and find joy in the simple pleasure’s life has to offer.

Inspire Others: Your journey of self-love and confidence can inspire others to embrace their own beauty and worthiness. Share your story openly and authentically and encourage others to celebrate themselves exactly as they are.

By honoring your age, celebrating your body, and embracing your unique beauty, you can radiate confidence and inspire others to do the same. Remember, you are vibrant; you are sexy; and you are unstoppable. Let your light shine brightly for the world to see.