October 29, 2010

Aging Gracefully With Children

This week’s beauty is Kamala Madhu.

Kalmala and I were lucky to meet recently through a mutual friend who I went to high school with and with whom she went to college. Small world. Kalmala, has college-age children, has been teaching nursery school for thirteen years and is a former president of the PTA, not just once, but twice.

Kamala has this to share about growing older:

For me, it's all about accepting how you look and who you are. I come from a family of women that don't do much to enhance their natural beauty, such as it is. I do wear make-up occasionally, but have never dyed my hair or even plucked my eyebrows. Writing this has made me wonder whether it's a matter of principle or the path of least resistance!

I still feel young in spite of my graying hair-I actually really like the way it looks. Working with young children keeps me on my toes. Occasionally the children will comment on my gray hair and say, "You look old!” but to a three year old, almost everyone looks old.

I have a relatively young mother (72) who has been an inspiration to me. She found a new path after her children went to college, becoming a professional photo archivist at the Eastman House in Rochester, NY, traveling extensively with my father, and gardening.  Her latest project has been keeping chickens-she loves them!

I am fifty and have never had a problem telling people my age.

You are as old as you are.

Thank you Kamala for being this week's beauty.

October 26, 2010

Coming Around Again

I swam competitively for the first time in 30 years on Sunday morning. The day started off on the wrong foot as I anxiously awoke at 4:22 AM, more than two hours before my alarm was set to go off. Then I got in the shower to shave and cut my legs in three places…which made me a bit late for the warm-up at the pool.

But by the time I got on the starting block to race I was relatively calm and my finish time was less than 5 seconds off my best time ever. I am determined to improve my time at the next meet.

Masters Swimming is a national program for anyone over the age of eighteen. Sunday’s swim meet featured about 115 racers including an 84-year-old woman racer, and an 80-year-old man! So fun! Men and women race against each other, and it’s a great community event. Plus, you can join Masters Swimming and you don't have to race.  It’s a good program for those who just want to swim for fitness too.

Returning to racing felt like going to a reunion of sorts for me- except all the people and the swimming technology are different now. I guess it was more like a reunion with myself!  Being under water is one of the most calming and centering things I have ever done. Kind of like yoga, for fish :-)

The photo above is of me 32 years ago. I'm hoping that I can get my arms at least half as strong as they were back then at this ripe old age of almost 50.

It’s gratifying to circle back around to things we once loved to do but moved away from for whatever reason.  Maybe it’s a sport, but perhaps it’s playing the violin or singing, or writing, doing art, being in a play, or learning a language that we once loved.  After college, parts of all of us get put on hold -or even forgotten about- as we start jobs and/or families, but it reconnects us with our souls to unearth them again. And, it adds a new dimension to our lives.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress...


October 22, 2010

Aging Gracefully With Photojournalism

This week’s beauty is Robbie Kaye. Robbie is a photojournalist and is currently working on a book and exhibit called Beauty & Wisdom from her travels around the country photographing and interviewing women in their 70s,80s, and 90s in beauty parlors.

The women in Beauty & Wisdom live in a culture where the beauty of youth is hugely valued but the beauty of age is often ignored. In the beauty parlors across America, this fading generation of women share their humor and wisdom, as Robbie learned in New Orleans when Mrs. Guste, 88, who lost every piece of her jewelry when her house was looted during Hurricane Katrina, reminded her, "everything is borrowed and when it goes away, it's time to give it back."

Here is what Robbie has to say about growing older:

The older I get, the more privileged I feel about living each day and having the opportunity to learn and work on mastering this thing called life.  I spent over 20 years as a musician and songwriter and when I was 43, I fell in love with photography so much that I decided to study it.  That was 8 years ago…when I went back to school for English and photography.  I was twice the age of my fellow classmates but I wanted to learn so much that it didn’t bother me and because it was fine with me, it was also fine with them and it was one of the best experiences of my life.  I learned that instead of being afraid of something, like academics or failing, that I actually thrived in it and enjoyed being in school, learning, reading and relating to others in literature and art. At age 44 I had the honor of being on the Dean’s List, an accomplishment I never even dreamed of.

The universe is a tricky one, with lots of goodness in store, and now I find myself combining the two subjects I studied and love to do, photography and English. As I work on my photojournalism project, “Beauty & Wisdom,” I am grateful for the opportunity and the learning from such great professors on my path. I tell you this because I want others to know that they can start a new career at any time, at any age…it’s never too late, to discover your dream and then follow it.

Congratulations Robbie on creating such an exciting and important story.

Below is an interesting clip of Robbie's project in the making.

October 19, 2010

What's Love Got To Do With It?

I am just finishing reading Slow Love-How I lost my job, Put on my pajamas & Found happiness by Dominique Browning. I have been savoring each page, and I'm sad to have it come to an end.

Dominique is in her fifties and lost her job as editor of House & Garden when the magazine folded at the end of 2007.  Like so many people lately, she was suddenly out of work. At the same time her children had left home, and she ended a long love affair, as well as sold the home that she thought she would live in forever.

Having lost my knitwear design job after sixteen years in 2007, I can relate to suddenly losing the main thing that she so accurately says “defined her days, paced and regulated her life.” She had feared losing it for many years, and when it happened, it nearly flattened her. With the busyness of her work gone, she was left with plenty of time to think about life, which she writes about with bold honesty and humor. It is like reading someone’s diary.

I especially like her quote of Adam Nicolson’s from Sea Room:

“At the back of that hurry is the knowledge that it is a screen against honesty.”   

That is one powerful sentence.

Slow Love is about living life more slowly. As Dominique says, it is “the love that comes of an unhurried and focused attention to the simplest things, available to all of us, at any time, should we choose to engage…..Perhaps even importantly, slow love comes out of the quiet hours, out of learning from the silence that is always there when we want it.”

Slow Love is about finding peace. It's a great read.

Below is an interview with Dominique on CNN about Slow Love, which might be especially interesting to any of you who have lost your job, or are close to someone who has.

October 15, 2010

Still Doing It

I came across this entertaining preview of the film (and book) Still Doing It, which is about women continuing to enjoy sex after age 65.

This is very encouraging :-)

Who says that as the years go on we have to work harder to create the magic?

Plus, sex is as important for our health as eating well, exercising and sleeping writes Dr. Christiane Northrup.

Dr. Ruth says, "Times are not easy-so put your worries outside the bedroom door, and make sure that you engage in some wonderful sexual experiences."

Keep it coming Dr. Ruth :-)

October 13, 2010

The ABC's of Aging

The ABC's of aging from Cottage Style Living comes in two sizes. I have The ABC's of Life  in the bathroom just outside my studio that Gray Gorgeousness gave me as a gift a few years back (see below).  It's a good reminder.

PERSPIRE WITH APLOMB.....I've been trying to find the enjoyment in these power surges...sometimes I almost can when it's cold outside :-)

I also like QUIT WHINING.

Hope you're all having a good week.

October 08, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Style

This week’s beauty is Abby Forestall the principal and owner of Embellishments located in Lexington, MA.  Embellishments believes the image you project can positively affect your personal well being and career success.  When you feel good about how you present yourself, and you live/work in pleasant, inspiring and well-designed spaces you feel better and accomplish more.   

A few years ago Abby designed my knitwear studio top to bottom and did such a great job that it was featured in 2009 spring/summer issue of Studio Magazine.

Abby has this to share about aging:

Growing Old…Maturing…. I think more appropriate, Getting Better.

I don’t know about you but the older I get, the busier I become, yet the slower I am in a way.  I stop and think about things more.  I take a breath and notice what a nice day it is or what is still blooming.  I love to look up and see the tops of trees against the sky.  Sounds silly doesn’t it but the older I get the more appreciative I am.  I am lucky enough to have one of the best men as my adoring husband for over twenty-five years.  He is my support, my “business coach” and my mentor as well as all those other things you count on in a partnership raising two children.  I started my own business as an interior decorator/style and wardrobe consultant over 5 years ago and have achieved a client base of over 50 wonderful clients and am now starting my second year as President of one of Massachusetts’ premier Business Network International (BNI) chapters in historic Lexington.  In this world where so much is amiss, and there is so much misery, I think we all need to step back and be ever more thankful of what we have, what we have become and hold on to what we know the world can be.  Do what you can, appreciate those that do more and always, always look forward.

For more information about Embellishments and the services it provides please call Abby at 781.608.5634 or visit their website at AddStyleToYourLife.com

October 05, 2010

New For Fall

With cooler air arriving for most of us, I thought a quick glimpse into the fashion trends for fall 2010 might be timely.

Being a lover of knitwear, I am always curious to see what is new and exciting each season. Fashion is a great way to embrace aging, as many women really begin to understand their personal style.

And it's fun!

Plus, the other great thing, especially this year, is that we can sometimes recycle pieces from our closets from years past that have come into vogue again & just need to be reworked a bit.

So what’s hot for fall 2010?

  • Bold colors: Red, purple, blue, and olive (and also camel).  Scared of bold colors? Try pairing them with a neutral.

  • 50s silhouettes, classics like capes and ponchos, pattern mixing, faux fur, military looks, sweater dresses (oh la la), menswear inspired belted jackets, velvet and velour, sleek turtlenecks, wide legged pants with volume, and shimmer for daytime and sparkle for night.  Also layering is still big which is helpful in covering lumps and bumps. And guess what else?  Long skirts are coming back (great for covering the veins in my legs :-0 ).

I always like to see what Michelle Obama has been wearing and thought you might enjoy this slideshow.

Also, I have two very good books on style to introduce you to and a video clip below this post from Marie Claire about fall fashion trends with Tim Gunn.

I got these from my local library:

  •  Kendall Farr's Style Evolution- How to create an ageless personal style in your 40s and beyond.


Top Five Fall Trends

October 01, 2010

Aging Gracefully with Filmmaking

This week’s beauty is Laurie Schur who is the creator of the documentary The Beauty of Aging. Laurie is also a Clinical Social Worker, is happily married, and is a mother and grandmother. She is 65 years old.

Laurie has this to share about growing older:

“Over the years I have noticed - for myself and as a therapist, I have added a spiritual dimension to my life and work. I focus less on exploring the problem and more on the solution and a broader perspective on how to deal with what I now call challenges instead of problems.

My decision to create The Beauty of Aging was out of a desire to explore a differently creative aspect of myself than the creative skills used as a therapist. Because my mother died before her 64th birthday and she was an unhappy person, I was drawn to explore aging in my film and to find women who could show the way to a better and happier old age, despite their challenges. While I've been a seeker of truth, wisdom, healing and knowledge all my life, I think as I've aged I am better able to integrate what I learn and have a stronger intention to “do the practice”.

I strongly believe that one size does not fit all - that lessening the judgment of myself and others is an important part of the journey and I am more willing to do that now then when I was younger and was more fixed in judgment - at least I catch it now and work to release it.

I think that whatever makes someone happy and doesn't hurt others is okay - e.g. - some want gray hair - others color their hair - some feel good about wrinkles - others feel the need to "fix" them. While it would be great if we could all feel great about ourselves, both internally and externally, I don't think I can judge how people deal with such issues - especially given the influence of families and culture on such things. And - I work to release the hold of the external pressures and to remember that beauty really is - for me - not what someone looks like (though, of course, we are all attracted to different standards of beauty) - but that energy, spirit, vitality, attitude, interest in life etc. are the true things that create beauty - like the women in my film The Beauty of Aging exude.”