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Age Power: Why Should Celebrating Getting Older Be Wasted On The Young?

9 October 2013 38,788 views One Comment Tags: , , , , , ,

Suzanne Braun Levine

“To deny your age is to deny yourself,” Oprah said recently. Amen to that. Conversely, admitting your age is empowering not only yourself but every woman who is made to feel less valuable because she is over forty. Or fifty. Or seventy.

My mother denied her age all her life. She was beautiful and youthful-lookyouthing until the day she died at 94. By then she had shaved so many years off her age that she was publicly young enough to be my big sister. But just imagine if women of all ages had the facts and could see how glorious 94 can look.

Or how engaged and effective a woman of a certain age can be. My mother got her Ph.d. at 82! She worked until she was 90, and she took piano lessons until she was unable to go downstairs in her house. We have an increasing number of brave age-honest celebrities — Jane Fonda (75), Susan Sarandon (66), Helen Mirren (68) and the glorious Judi Dench (78) — who are putting themselves in the line of professional fire by not hiding behind “a woman’s right” to obfuscate. Hillary Clinton is 65. Fluctuating weight and hair aside, she may well be the first woman President, during which time she would turn 70.

We all remember when Gloria Steinem declared, “this is what forty looks like” when someone told her she didn’t look forty. She is about to show us what 80 looks like! On her it looks good.

Now we can’t all look good as we age, but we can insist on being seen and accounted for. That is easier said than done. We have all had the experience of being introduced to someone (usually a man) at a party and seeing his eyes flit desperately over your shoulder — even before you have uttered a word. I keep promising myself that the next time that happens I will say, “hey, you. I am probably a lot more interesting than you think. And a helluva lot more interesting than you are!” Read More…at Huff/Post50

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One Comment »

  • Betsy Werley said:

    Thanks for your post on a very important topic, Suzanne. As you said, what a missed opportunity that your mother didn’t celebrate her age along with her accomplishments.

    The best way to combat ageism is to humanize the number – tell people how old we are and let them connect that information with our wisdom, activities and opportunities. I’ve mentored many students, and always make it a point to talk about my age as part of who I am. Several have said that those conversations gave them hope that their 50s could be a time of growth rather than decline.

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