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The Art of Aging

What if we think of aging as an art?

…an effort called out of the soul that takes skill, guts and devotion to manifest…

with the power to create laughter, seriously tweak stereotypes, and inspire.

I told a late 50ish woman at a book store I was working on a project called The Art of Aging. She frowned and said, “Honey, you need to change out that title.  No one wants to hear it called that,” she said.

“Called what?” I asked.

“You know, uh,” she rolled her eyes, “the aging thing. Call it something else.”

She went on to suggest alternative titles filled with ‘glamorous’ age-avoidance words.

What about this aging thing?

What does it mean to mature as a woman in our culture?

Are you making it up as you go along?

I for one would like some help with this.

I do have a list-

copyright Sophie Lumen

    What about you? What do you want to know?

    I want to find wise, creative, funny, positive, kind, sassy, lyrical

    full-of-spirit women,

    women who are willing to share their thoughts, creative output,  and images, and ask them:

    What do you, your mother, daughters, your friends, relatives and neighbors want other women to know about aging?

    Who were/are your role models? What did they say to inspire you?

    Tessa 14, Janel 29

    Please please ask yourself these questions (or make up your own) and let me know your answers.

    O Happy Day…this is a community creation; stories and images will be posted. Maybe an ebook will be created!

    The Rules:  Short posts.  No preaching,  no politics.  No pushy links to marketing stuff.

    Not-a-rule: I asked my daughters to participate so we can learn together. I invite you to find someone who is not in your generation to collaborate with and contribute to the conversation.

    Talk about beauty feeding.

    March 31, 2010

     

    31 Comments leave one →
    1. June 14, 2011 8:29 am

      Oh Sophie, you just ran into a silly woman who is ashamed of her experience, knowledge and life. I think many women are in tune with the known facts that today’s woman (and men too) live to be much older than 50, 60, or 70! With all the medical help and advice on how to keep healthy many will live to be 100 – easily. But the transition from being a young (20ish or 30ish) woman is difficult for a lot of us. I think it’s wonderful to have an outlet of sharing our experiences and sometimes our difficulties in making this transition from youth to accepting our selves as we gather years around ourselves. You’re on the right path and you deserves accolades for acknowledging, writing and communing with all of us experiencing the “Art of Aging”. Thank you and keep it up<3

      • Sophie Lumen permalink*
        June 14, 2011 8:49 am

        Hi Michelle, I didn’t have a clue how to make that transition -I came up with ‘The Art of Aging’ project because I was pretty sure I wan’t alone. In a year I’ve learned a lot from Beauties like you-we’re all in this together, piecing it together bit by bit.
        Thank you for your kind words.

    2. June 14, 2011 8:52 am

      2011 will be the year I stopped putting all kinds of artificial “menopausal red” colorings in my hair. It is now salt and pepper, and I let it grow long. I wear it with pride. I actually feel much younger with my natural color, as it suits best with my skin complexion, my eyes. It is.. ME. Finally. I started using henna when I was about 16. Now, (more than) 30 years later, I emancipated myself from that slavery and it feels great. The natural curls have come back too. Grey hair is not dull at all: it is full of light! Greetings from Brussels.

    3. March 31, 2012 10:25 am

      Sofi, I’ve followed you for quite a while and you are an inspiration. BTW, I’m almost 57 and have never colored my hair. It’s more salt than pepper ( I had very dark hair) and I wear it long. On some days I let it go naturally wavy and I look a little wild and crazy! I love it! lol!

    4. Ollie permalink
      May 15, 2012 3:54 pm

      Sophie, you have hit us aging beauties in all the right places. I love to be me – a woman who doesn’t care if I pin a feather in my hair or dance all over the house to Celtic music. I am a woman inspiried by your art – I am showing up Sophie! Thank you. Ollie B.

    5. July 13, 2012 9:01 am

      Here I am! Back again…love you Sophie!
      Lilly

    6. Heather permalink
      July 15, 2012 7:18 am

      I’m so glad I found your site on the “Huffington Post” website. I’m 61, about to be divorced, and feeling like my life is over. I’m working to change that thought process because it has been paralyzing. I look forward to reading more posts and sharing my own journey.

      • Sophie Lumen permalink*
        July 16, 2012 10:16 am

        Thank you Heather-I’m glad you found us! Share away, hang in there :) xo, Sofi

      • July 18, 2012 9:45 am

        Heather,
        you can’t have found a better site than this one…Sophie has a way!!! I am one of the “firsties” who found this web site and I love it here…lots of us girls have gone thru awful divorces including myself. But there is hope and confidence building here!!!
        We all take care of each other!
        Lilly

        • Sophie Lumen permalink*
          July 18, 2012 11:11 am

          Thank you Ms. Lilly for being here right from the start, encouraging and supporting me to reach out with LOVE! xoxo

      • Ginger Jourdenais permalink
        April 17, 2014 3:23 pm

        I am one of the original beauties and continually find inspiration from Sophie’s posts on facebook and her websites, Feed the Beauty and The Art of Aging. I have many friends who I have connected with through Sophie’s posts. We all have such a great time chatting on facebook either in comments or in private messages if one of us has a problem. I am 63 and when I was 61, my husband passed away. I cannot begin to tell you how much support I have gotten from all of my Beautie friends! Keep your chin up. Share your journey with us as we do already and, believe me, your life is not over! <3

    7. shirley permalink
      August 7, 2012 11:37 am

      Oh.dear,I promised myself many years ago I would just be the best I could me
      Now I find myself at age 76 still striving to stay active,constantly
      searching internet on beauty tips after 70
      Also trying to keep my weight down ,my husband deplores overweight
      women lol
      My mother always said “beauty is only skin deep”
      I must admit keeping that skin firm is a chore,all in all

      having a good life staying positive

      • Sophie Lumen permalink*
        August 7, 2012 1:42 pm

        Thank you Shirley, you are ahead of the curve for most women your age in that you are actively seeking out information online. Let me know what you find on beauty tips after 70 :) xo, Sofi

    8. August 8, 2012 10:30 pm

      Oh Sophie, Im so glad I was able to track you down after receiving a quick comment from you on one of my (your) “pins.” Your The Art of Aging board and the pictures of all those beautiful aging women are so inspiring. Anyone reading this you really must check it out.

      I haven’t thought alot about aging up to this point…so I am very grateful to have found your site BEFORE I started “worrying” about it. Now I have a place that will help me embrace the years and take them on with power and grace.

      As a single person with no children, the one thing I have figured out is I have only myself to rely on to bring me happiness. If I want to continue to be happy as I age, I must continue to stay connected to those I love, stay connected to my creativity, and stay passionate about those things that are important to me.

      Thanks for birthing this wonderful idea and for sharing it with all of us!!

      • Sophie Lumen permalink*
        August 9, 2012 10:24 am

        Hi Connie-Thank you for your kind words! I’m glad you took the initiative to find me~Pinterest is another exciting place to meet new people :) Happy to read your ideas about moving forward gracefully with aging. I am hoping there will be more women like yourself, esp. in the younger generations!
        xo, Sofi

    9. Lynda Bernard permalink
      January 23, 2013 9:07 am

      i just found this space this morning. and what a find! i am 72, incredibly uninspired at what is happening as i age, and can find little that pleases me about the fact. i see a whole other way to look at aging as i confront my issues with your head-on positivity and that of the women whose comments i read. stumbling upon you is a blessing! thank you for being you and for being in a place where i can learn!
      lynda

      • Sophie Lumen permalink*
        January 28, 2013 8:16 pm

        Thank YOU Lynda for being so open to change—you inspire me :) xoxo, Sofi

    10. March 8, 2013 9:24 am

      Sophie and all, I am so happy to find this site and all of you! I worked in the field of aging services for many years after retiring from the military. Now as I find myself getting older, I am determined to age with laughter and grace and be as healthy as I can. One of the things I know for sure from working with older individuals, take care of your health and try and remain active. It’s so sad to see folks who are in good shape mentally, but who can’t get around well and thus are forced to remain inside or even in bed and dependent upon the care of others. Exercise, even if it’s only a short walk, to get those muscles active. And laugh a good long belly laugh every day. It’s good for the soul! So great to meet you all!

      • Sophie Lumen permalink*
        March 15, 2013 1:40 pm

        Thank you for your inspirational words Helen! It’s great to meet you too :)

    11. July 18, 2013 10:12 pm

      I have been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
      It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made
      good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful
      than ever before.

      • July 22, 2013 6:43 pm

        Thank you for your kind compliment-wow! What are some of your thoughts about aging?

    12. Lynda Bernard permalink
      July 23, 2013 6:11 am

      i can understand why that woman frowned at a mention of “the art of aging” – the rule of thumb is that “aging sucks”. and for the most part it does, because it’s hard, hard work with no rules or even guidelines except the expected norm that has been around forever. there are days i find myself glorying in my aging and days i hate the process and myself so much that i want to tear my clothes to rags. it’s easy to read and write simplistic says and notes to self. it’s harder to find peace with the sagging arms, to dare to wear a sleeveless tee, to long for, just once, someone to turn and actually see me. on a good day i go along feeling it’s all part of the process of life and that a life well-lived has to include the “art” of aging. on a bad day, it’s hard to leave the house, hard to look in the mirror, hard to remember that i am trying to make an “art” of this process – which goes on despite how i think about it. so the more you can provide solid, hard information – not soft-sayings – the more you help us all in the struggle. and make no mistake, it is a struggle.

    13. October 30, 2013 5:51 pm

      Thanks for your site. Just found it! Let me tell you about a few milestones in my life:
      At age 50, I looked around at a party and saw that all the women had taken off their high heel shoes and earrings. My shoes and earrings were hurting, so I took mine off too and never wore them again.
      At age 55, I gave up coloring my hair because it was a bother. Now, I frequently get compliments on my platinum blond hair–it grew out the color I asked God to make it.
      At age 60, I was feeling old and remembered my mother who had gone down on her 60th birthday and enrolled in a beginner’s swimming class at the YMCA. I went down to the gym and enrolled in aerobics and stretching. 21 years later, I’m still on the weight machines and stretching and this year took up tai chi.
      At age 75 I was teaching English in Thailand and saw an ad for ziplining in the jungle. I really wanted to go but was afraid if I had a heart attack, they wouldn’t know where to ship my body, so I convinced a younger friend in Hawaii to fly out and join me. It was awesome!
      At age 80, I published WHAT THE WITCH DOCTOR TAUGHT ME, about experiences in Thailand.
      At age 81, I’m facebooking lots of friends in Thailand and Bangladesh (where I also taught English after Thailand and keeping up with all the news there.
      Friends keep asking me when am I going back overseas. They can’t believe I’m old–and I have a hard time believing it, too!
      Elaine O. Masters

      • November 8, 2013 12:43 pm

        What an ‘adventure in aging’ you’ve had Elaine! Thank you for sharing your story with us, xo, Sofi

    14. Jen permalink
      November 18, 2013 6:52 pm

      I, too, want my world filled with joyous, silly, crazy, spirited, self-confident women! Funny we don’t learn this until we are ‘there’. We included, and welcomed, drama in our younger years. What a waste, yet what great training years. PnL

    Trackbacks

    1. Sophie Lumen ~ Artist Extraordinaire | Aging Abundantly
    2. The Art of Aging in Community « Feed the Beauty
    3. 25 Things You Learn When Working in a Nursing Home-Humor Intended « Happy Dietitian
    4. Mary Frances and the Monk Seals | Feed the Beauty
    5. The Art of Aging | Feed the Beauty | Loss, Grief, Transitions and Relationship Support
    6. Want To Feel Happy? | Any Shiny Thing

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