I was very excited to present the workshop A Conversation on Aging at the recent MMB Retreat here in Sonoma. It’s been nearly a year since I opened up this discussion to women who are in this chapter of life. I’m forever fascinated by what women are thinking about aging. I love hearing their experiences and I especially love when they get loud about it. They’re pretty adamant about what they don’t like. For instance, no one enjoys feeling pushed aside or invisible. Women want the world to know that they’re determined, they believe in themselves, they’ve done great things in their lives and they’re showing up for all the world to see. Yes, yes, and yes!
Right around the time of our retreat, I was speaking with a lovely woman named Michelle at Chico’s in their New York offices. She’s the Director of Social Marketing and Brand Public Relations. She reached out to me to discuss women and how they see themselves and how they want to be seen. My style and wardrobe consulting business certainly puts me in earshot of women’s views and issues. I told her about A Conversation on Aging and how excited women were to speak with other women about this subject.
I shared with Michelle that in women are experiencing much more of themselves as they age. They’re trying new things. They’re going back in time and remembering interests they had before but got buried under pressing responsibilities. Now those desires to paint, sculpt, learn Tai Chi or pick up a language are getting their focus. Those interests are like four-year-olds running wild at a birthday party. They won’t be contained or told to be quiet. They’re coming out for examination and exploration.
While Michelle used the word bold to describe women, in my head, I was using the word freedom. I think freedom abounds as we get older. Oh, I know there are also limitations for some people. But let’s look at our convictions.
We’re not afraid to say no. We’re choosing how to use our time. We’re getting more sleep, not less sleep because it feels good. We’re not racing everywhere. We’re taking our time and enjoying the view.
I’ve been in my sixties for a relatively short time and with each new year, my heart is saying yes to more joy.
I shared what I’m observing about women and she shared with me the research that Chico’s has done about women and what they want and where they’re at. I could have chatted the day away with Michelle. I loved what I was hearing in terms of how they were using their brand to reach out, connect, and open the conversation about women and visibility and possibilities. She asked me if I’d like to participate in a small way in the launch of their message and I said yes.
A couple of weeks later a package came in the mail for me. Inside was my white t-shirt with black lettering that said I’m 65 years bold. I love this t-shirt; it has writing on it and letters and words are my thing. I’m happy to be photographed wearing this t-shirt and sharing it with you here. But what I’m most excited about sharing is the letter that came with the t-shirt. It’s from Diane Ellis, the President of Chico’s. I’ve excerpted it here.
These days, women can be almost anything. They can be curvy, curly, scientific, athletic, CEO’s, politicians, mothers, mechanics, and marines.
But there’s one thing women still can’t be:
49, or 52, or 65
Well- that’s what we wondered. After all, we are a company that celebrates women. Being bold is in our DNA. Our mission is to support women with fabulous style in all that they do. So why were we hesitate to say our age out loud?
It’s time for that to change.
It’s time to GROW BOLDER.
By wearing this t-shirt with pride and sharing it on social media using #HowBoldAreYou it will inspire women everywhere to embrace their own unique personal style no matter their age. Yeah, it’s great to be 20, but it’s also great to be 52 and 43 and 61.
Let’s decide together that we’re not growing older, we’re growing bolder. And let’s shout it from the rooftops.
My feeling about being 65
I’m all about embracing personal style for women of all ages. My career has spanned over thirty years and personal style has always been at the heart of all I do.
I’m proud to be 65. At 65 I’m not worrying as much about what other people think. Is that bold? Yup, probably!
I’m 65 and brave. I’ve had to be. I’ve had challenges that pushed me to the ground but I’m not staying there for long. I’ll get upright and look at my scuffed up knees with confidence that those hurts will heal and I’ll be here for tomorrow’s rich experiences.
My mother modeled that.
My 92-year-old father models it now.
I can hear my ancestors saying…
Go for it, Brenda!
You can do it!
Don’t back down now!
Another Conversation on Aging
In A Conversation on Aging in February I had women in the Monthly Marketing Bundle retreat think about where their life was emotionally, physically, and spiritually a decade or two back and then compare that to where it is right now.
I asked them to fill in the blanks in this sentence: I used to ________ but now I _________.
Here are some of the answers.
I used to be upset if people didn’t like me but now I think it’s their loss.
I used to feel like I was on the outside looking in but now I feel part of the whole.
I used to really care about what people thought about me but now I don’t.
I used to feel I needed a man to be happy but now I know I don’t.
I used to be cool but now I’m hot.
I used to be a drama queen but now I’m calmer.
I used to do things I didn’t want to do because I thought I should but now I do what makes me happy.
I used to feel I had to explain why I can’t do something but now I just say, “It won’t work into my schedule.”
I used to think if I’m not making money or working sixteen hours a day I’m not doing the right thing or I’m lazy but now I do what I can and test my motives to make certain I’m in my “joy” place.
I used to try to please other people but now I try to please myself first.
I used to keep some passions on the back burner putting work first but now I’m exploring my creative passions like art and painting.
Can you relate? Do you see yourself in their responses? Is it a stretch to say you’re feeling bold? Is there another word that fits better? Do you have a completely different point of view? Let’s open up the discussion, okay? We’d all love to hear your thoughts.
P.S. I sure am glad you’re in my life! It makes experiencing it so much better.