Never Let Age Define You

Never Let Age Define You
by

Why is it that when we get to be a certain age, we no longer give ourselves permission to do certain things? I see women over 40 and 50 feeling like they are too old to dream, to reinvent themselves. As parents, many feel their focus needs to be on their children or grandchildren. Many take themselves so seriously and are on this constant search for the true meaning of life and existence. Here is it: live your life in absolute joy! As my Cinderella once said “have courage and be kind.”

We need the courage to be ourselves and seek out what brings us joy. I really saw this ‘age thing’ play out in BTS Fan Facebook groups. I saw many women apologize for their age and ask for permission to like the Korean boy band even though they were ‘older’. Since when did music have an age limit?

I saw girls in their early 30s ask that too. One young twenty something referred to older women as ‘crusty’. I find it insulting and sad that older women are viewed that way. I found it quite hurtful and even though that comment was not meant for me, it still stung a bit. We need to practice kindness, someday, that 20 something year old will be ‘crusty’ herself. Maybe she feels that when you age, that is what you will be…just a crusty old woman.  Obviously her older role models of women did not leave a good impression on her. Very sad.

Now, this is not a blog about older women and fans of BTS. There are actually many BTS Facebook groups for older women to have a ‘safe place’ to express their love and excitement for the group, which is a good thing. But in general, it is sad that we live in a society that feels age comes with limits, restrictions and stereotypes.

Many women I know in their 50s and older have empty nest syndrome and don’t know what to do. I do! Reinvent yourself! Maybe you always wanted to design clothes, start a business, be an artist, write a book, learn a new language, take a dance class! You may have spent your life building up your child’s dreams, now it is your turn. It is so important kids see their parents still working on dreams and exploring new parts of themselves. Young girls need to see women aging gracefully and with a zest for life, beating to their own drum with no apologies so that ‘crusty’ will not ever come into description and be a part of their vocabulary! Discovery and adventure should never stop at 30, 40, 50 and up! Life is to be lived at all stages of life. We are not invisible after 40. We are here in the world. We are gorgeous. We are bad ass. We are dreamers. We are inspiration.

Iris Apfel

 

I want you to feel alive and not take yourself so seriously. People expect you to be serious because of age…I say poo poo on them! My favorite role model is Iris Apfel. Look her up if you haven’t heard of her. She is the world’s first geriatric fashion icon and has no hang ups saying that about herself. For many decades she did interior design all over the world, which later lead her to becoming a fashion and jewelry designer, published author and even has a Barbie doll designed after her, in her 90s! She continues to inspire women of all ages, but mostly the older ones and gives a new face on aging. I am one of her biggest fans not only because of her unique style but also her bravery about aging.

Aging can be scary and many say it is not for the faint of heart. Our bodies change and sometimes illness can creep in and joints are not as flexible as they used to be. Physical set backs can alter what we used to do. But our spirit is the same. It still feeds off of joy and discovery and passion. It dwells inside us like a pilot light that never goes out. It may dim from time to time, but it is still there.

My mother was also my greatest inspiration. She crossed over at 89 but showed me that her age had nothing to do with who she was. She still loved dolls and teddy bears and endless trips to Walt Disney World. She was never afraid to be silly and have an expressive child-like heart, like Willy Wonka or Mr. Rogers. When I was in high school, she would take my cabbage patch dolls and pose them. She always said she didn’t do it, that the dolls played and talked while I was gone. She said she would hear them whispering while she was cleaning downstairs. Even in high school, my mom still played with me. I have a similar child-like heart to this day and still pose my BTS dolls from time to time. She instilled that magic in me and I am eternally grateful for it. She taught me to NEVER take yourself or life too seriously.

If we see ourselves as too old to dream, have fun or reinvent ourselves, then that is what we will project to our children, grandchildren and to the world. We cannot afford to be invisible. Our life experiences make us even more accessible to dreams we have. Don’t let age define you, let your passions and dreams define you. Let your heart and soul define you.  At 50 you may want to take up acting! At 60, you may open up a dog rescue!  At 70 you may take a Flamenco dance class! At 80 you might learn a new language! You have a lot of living to do. You have options.

I love how older women are still out there doing life. It’s great for the younger people to see that there is nothing to fear about aging and that you should never limit yourself by how old you are. Cindy Lauper, Madonna, Betty White, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Tracee Ellis Ross, Michele Obama, and Meryl Streep, just to name a few, are showing us we still have living to do, we still can make a difference in the world, we still can entertain you.

I have set goals for myself. I will write my children’s books, learn Kpop dance moves once I get stronger, possibly learn a new language and continue traveling the world. (Once Miss Coronavirus is tamed.)I may finish my screenplay and head to Hollywood to get it filmed. Who knows, in my 50s, anything can happen so I need to stay open to the abundances the universe provides for me. I will continue to send my intentions into the world to set the energy of how I want to continue my story.

The youth have an important part to play too. They are here to remind us we can bend and shift and grow. We can mirror their excitement and dreams of their whole life in front of them the same way!

Remember the little kid in you had dreams and time limits were not part of her consciousness. She played ball and didn’t worry about tearing her dress. She played dress up and didn’t worry how she looked in her mom’s old cocktail dress. She colored in her coloring books and didn’t question why she painted the dog purple. She simply saw the world as something big so she had to be big too! Nothing has changed, go be something big, because your age does not define who you are. Don’t allow that number to limit who you wish to be or what you want to do. I am excited to see you shine like a kid at a dance recital. This is our dance recital, let’s make it a good one! 😉

 

 

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