Saturday, December 31, 2016

Purple Power

“I love your hair.”

“Thank you..”

Yet another compliment... This time, a dual one, by a husband and wife team. With him looking me in the eyes and adding “It's great...Keep it up.”

It all started on a gloomy Tuesday morning when I had a hairdresser appointment. “Larry, I feel old. Invisible and stuck. I'm having no fun.”

“Let's put some purple in your hair.”

Staying in my comfort zone of fashion throughout my life, my immediate reaction was “no”.
However, the book, When I'am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple, flashed before my eyes.
“Go for it!” He did. And I love it!

It has been an absolute delight to receive compliments and feel noticed as a result of stepping outside my fashion comfort zone. Each time a stranger comments, “I like your hair” it puts a smile on my heart as well as my face. And, more importantly, it has lead me to step outside other arenas of my comfort zones. I now study improv, acting, piano and voice – all of which terrified me in the past.

Comfort zones do exactly that -- keep us comfortable and safe. Comfort zones inhibit us living our lives fully. I'll be the first to admit, purple hair is not for everyone. However, if you are feeling invisible or stuck as an aging woman in an anti-aging, youth-obsessed culture, I encourage you to take a risk and step outside of your fashion comfort zone. Start small and see where it leads..


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Post-Trump Election

OldBoldandBeautiful.Life has been born post-Trump election. One good thing that has come from this election is that activists are coming out of the woodwork to have their voices heard. As much as I admire this, it is not my path. OldBoldandBeautiful.Life may seem shallow given it's focus of my challenges with aging.

I, too, share the concerns of activists about the setbacks that may result with the current president-elect in the White House: civil rights, LGBT rights, women's rights, fair taxation, gun control, appointments to the Supreme Court, foreign relations, etc., etc., etc.

While ageism, especially as it impacts older women, has not risen to the national concern of these other issues – it, too, has taken a setback. Seeing a 70-year old white male in the White House, with his trophy wife 25 years his junior and their 10 year old son – is a site for sore eyes. Though, of course, this might be the fantasy of the old white men who helped get him elected.

So while I acknowledge women's aging issues are not of world importance, they are a stumbling block for me in my Life's Journey. OldBoldandBeautiful.Life is my platform to address this. So to those of you who are drawn to activism, a big THANK YOU. OldBoldandBeautiful.Life is my tool to help me fully embrace my aging image so that I can love myself and thus love my neighbor as myself – all my neighbors – including that 70-year old white male and the wife 25 years his junior...


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Holidays Not Joyful for Us All

Despite wonderful friends, sufficient financial resources, good health, a warm home, plenty of food,  a loving animal companion, beautiful blue skies,  etc., etc. etc.; as an older widow with no family, no lover -- sadness permeates the heart while the head lists all for which to be grateful.   

Between the intellect of gratitude and the feelings of sadness -- the sadness is more prominent and real.  Yet, just as weather changes so do feelings.  This is a temporary feeling of sadness which I allow to flourish and which I bless as it is all a part of me.  And with the life journey I am traveling, I am learning to love all of me:  the good, bad and ugly.  God Bless it All.  

Printed below is a holiday song created by N. John Shore, Jr. that brings a smile to my face as it reflects my holiday spirit; and perhaps the holiday spirit of others who feel left out of the holiday maze...

It's the Most Miserable Time of the Year

It's the most miserable time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you,
“Be of good cheer”
It's the most miserable time of the year

It's the sap, sappiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and faux-happy meetings
and 'friends' filled with gall!
It's the sap-sappiest season of all

There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And vomiting out in the snow

There'll be stupid ghost stories
And lies of past glories
So boring you'll want to scream “No”

It's the most miserable time of the year
There'll be much mistltoeing
And hearts will be glowing
From way too much beer
It's the most miserable time of the year

All I feel this Christmas is depressed”
N. John Shore, Jr.
Citizen-Times, Asheville Scene, 12/23/16

May the New Year bring each of us, along with the entire planet, greater awareness of inner peace and joy....


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Language of Ageism

The problems of society will also be the problems
of the predominant language of that society.
It is the carrier of its perceptions, its attitudes,
and its goals, for through it, the speakers
absorb entrenched attitudes.”
                                                                                                 Njabulo Ndebele

While listening to a radio call-in show, a woman calls in and asks a question. The radio host asks her age – “I'm 82”.  His response, “You don't sound 82.” The caller's immediate reply is “Thank you.” For what is she thanking him? She, like many of us, express our own internalized ageism with “thank you's” to someone's comment that we appear younger than our years.

How might each of these individuals have responded using language honoring age? The radio host might have said: “Your voice is vibrant and energetic. I admire that.” The caller might have said: “My voice reflects my 82 years on the planet for which I am grateful.”

When I share I have just entered my 7th decade, I sometimes hear: “You can't be 70!”  As much as I hate to acknowledge this, a piece of me takes pleasure in hearing this which reflects my own ageism. As a way to honor my own age though, I now respond: “What I hear you saying is that 70 looks good on me. Thank you.”

Blatant anti-aging language abounds in our culture – as well as subtle anti-aging language as described in this blog. One way to break through the ageism rampant in our culture is to develop new language. There will be more blogs on this topic. For now I encourage you to perk up your ears, listen, and let your Old, Bold and Beautiful Self respond with language that honors your Life's Journey...


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

As If A Stranger To Myself...

We sit at the bar. He asks my name. I find him attractive. He is 40 to my 68.

He drinks his gin martini, as I sip my cucumber margarita. Conversation flows: “Have you seen NC Stage's 'Angels in America' – it's wonderful. He agrees and shares “I'm currently directing ACT's 'Summer and Smoke'.” He pulls out a ticket – hands it to me -- “Please be my guest...”

His scallops in butter sauce and my kale salad topped with sockeye salmon arrive. He orders a bottle of Butter Chardonnay for us to share.

I feel visible, attractive and desirable. Then, the black cloud hits as this young man, who I am developing a crush on, confides: “It's been one year today my mother died. You so remind me of her. Being with you is like being with her one last time.”

The dagger I feel in my heart brings back familiar feelings of this 68 year old woman of being invisible, unattractive and undesirable. I attempt to embrace the reality that my aging face tells. I respond... “I see your love for your mother in your eyes. I'm so sorry for your loss.”

Our bills arrive. He picks them both up. I thank him for the theatre ticket. I give him a motherly hug. He kisses me as a son would – on the cheek. “Good-bye” he says.

I head home again feeling the incongruence of how I experience myself with how the world sees me – as if a stranger to myself...


Monday, December 12, 2016

Welcome to: Old Bold and Beautiful.Life

OLD is a perfectly good word.  
At a certain point we are old, but can still be beautiful.
It has far less to do with Botox and plastic surgery, 
than with personality, style and courage...*

     So when do we claim OLD.  When does young, turn to middle-age and middle-age to old.  The formula I have used is that we are young when chances are we have more years ahead of us than behind.  We are middle-aged when we have about the same years behind as ahead.  And OLD is when we have fewer years ahead than behind.
     In my own head, I've claimed the title OLD since I crossed the half-century mark. Just as Kubler-Ross brought the word 'death' out of the closet; it is time we bring the word OLD out of the closet.  As a woman who has now crossed the threshold into her 7th decade, I am amazed to find myself enjoying life more than ever having reached a new plateau of feeling vibrant, passionate and peaceful with who I am -- all of who I am -- the good, bad and ugly.
     There is a saying: “We teach what we need to learn.” What I find most difficult about my own aging process is the incongruence of how I experience myself with how the world sees me. Thus the birth of OldBoldandBeautiful.Life as a vehicle to travel along on this aging journey into greater awareness and congruency. I do hope you will travel along.
    Till next time....Blair


*I do not recall where I saw this quote, but if anyone does, please let me know so I can properly credit it.