Ageing with attitude

14 July 2017

Dear friend,

Are you celebrating getting older? Maybe it is something that has never crossed your mind or maybe you have planned for your old age? Perhaps you are going to escape in your camper van, retire to Spain or take up skydiving. All exciting opportunities but should we be ageing gracefully?

A poll carried out by Retire Savvy last year investigated attitudes towards ageing. According to this poll I am too old for leggings and girls holidays to Ibiza,  I have only 5 years before I'm too past it for Twitter and one year left before I should cut off my hair,  I am also way too old to get a tattoo (38 years old is the cut off).

I have been planning on getting inked for ages but when my friend's son had a new tattoo and I mentioned wanting one too, I was amazed at my hubby's half joking comment about having a mid life crisis. I also read a comment on an internet thread that likened 40 year olds getting tattoos to

...older men buying sports cars, screaming out to the world I'm not too old.
So are they right?

I remember distinctly an argument conversation I had with my mother when I was a teenager. She told me that inside she still felt in her 20's and that only when she looked in the mirror could she see it wasn't true. I found this hard to understand at the time but not any more.

Is it time to hang up the skinny jeans, stop with the selfies and cut my hair into a mum bob? Should I be acting my age or celebrating it?

Having a hysterectomy has seen my body shape change but unlike in my younger years when I put on weight and would look in the mirror and hate what I saw, I accept how I look and don't see it as a failure, rather a work in progress, no-one is perfect!

I may not be overjoyed with the physical changes ageing has brought but I love the mental ones! I know that my voice, attitude and resolve is stronger than it ever was in my twenties. I'm proud of the inner strength maturity has brought me!

According to retire Savvy, the nation expects older generations to go quietly into later lives.

I would be interested to know exactly who completed this poll. Is it a broad cross section of people or a load of teenagers with quite frankly a lot to learn? I could quite easily belittle the authenticity of a poll based on a relatively small focus group but I don't need to because after a long period of Men prospering from ageing, with descriptions like distinguished or silver fox, we have seen a shift. Strong women are challenging the ageing stereotypes.

Women who are ageing with attitude:

  • Dame Helen Mirren:  a brilliant actresses who has not been content to simply play the older woman but has had many diverse roles and has been recruited as brand ambassadors for leading cosmetics companies too. Not only was she voted as having the best body of the year in 2011, but the actress posed nude for New York Magazine in 2010. She also had her first tattoo in her 70's.
  • Vivienne Westwood, still designing and modelling her own fashion line at 76.
The sexiest people are thinkers. Nobody's interested in somebody who's just vain with a hole in their head, talking about the latest thing - there is no latest thing. It's all rubbish. - Vivienne Westwood
 Source - Harpers Bazaar
Source - Harpers Bazaar 
  • Carmen Dell'Orefice - the world's oldest supermodel.  85-year-old model Carmen Dell'Orefice closed the Guo Pei show in Paris (Jan 2017) in stunning fashion
  • Bernice Bates - Bates began teaching herself yoga in 1960. Now, at 92, she holds a spot in the Guinness Book of Word Records as the oldest certified yogi on Earth. Mantra: "I can’t do that—YET."
  • Ernestine Shepherd -  the world's oldest female bodybuilder by the Guinness Book of World Records. She is a personal trainer, professional model, and author and is 75-years-old.
Image source - NextShark
  • Yasmina Rossi - the 59-year-old is a highly sought-after model (you may recognise her from the M&S campaigns) and check out those beautiful long locks too!
  • Grandma Moses -  Moses started to paint when she was 76 years old, after her hands became too crippled by arthritis to do embroidery. She painted every day and created more than one thousand paintings in 25 years. Her collection was shown at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York. When she died,  aged 101, her paintings were on display in museums around the world.
  • Joanna Lumley OBE  is best known as Patsy in the long-running BBC comedy Absolutely Fabulous, and has presented several TV travel documentaries. She has campaigned and raised funds for many charities, most notably the Gurkha Justice Campaign.
'If you’re alive, you’ll get old. There is no point denying it.' - Joanna Lumley

The best thing about entering my middle age is that I no longer give a hoot what anyone else thinks. And it seems I am not alone. Forget ageing gracefully I'd rather age with attitude like these brilliant women.

Pass the heels and skinny jeans, I'm ageing with attitude, what about you?

Who would you add to this list of inspiring women?

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Photography @My_Dutch_Angle

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