As I aged into midlife I became aware that our society gives female beauty the short shrift, limiting it to those under 35. Simultaneously, I became equally aware that our understanding of the female spirit—that part of our God-given self that assures us that we are created to rise above and move beyond our daily lives—has been both misunderstood and overlooked. These realizations led me in 1997 to write Positive Aging: Every Woman’s Quest for Wisdom and Beauty, one of the earliest books on the beauty and spiritual power of mid-life and older women.
The book caused a stir—both negatively and positively. There were those for whom the subject of aging, beauty, and growing in spirit was a sore spot and comfortable with the status quo. After two minutes on a female-hosted drive-home talk show on KABC radio (Los Angeles), one of the fortysomething hostesses turned off her mike, called the assistant producer, and had escorted me out of the studio.
Yet, there were far more forward-looking journalists, critics, and TV/radio hosts who welcomed the discussion. L’Oreal (New York) hired me to help launch a hair product for those who wanted to keep their gray rather than cover it over. When I spoke to groups I met hundreds of women who resonated with my experience of growing into the middle years. I got emails from those who had read the book or heard my media interviews and wanted to add their stories to those of other women who had experienced the type of positive mid-life transformation of which I had written.
Over time, interest in the book waned from public interest, yet the notion of the older, beautiful woman has gained acceptance in ways that I only could have hoped for. Harper’s Bazaar features fashions for women in their 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s Modern Maturity, once the mouthpiece for the very aged on the likes of medical care and Social Security, now puts mid-life Hollywood icons on the cover. Meryl Streep and Dame Judy Dench are perennial favorites at the Oscars.
What hasn’t changed since 1997, however is that we still must make the right choices if we want to grow in wisdom and beauty. If we only look back at the world of our younger days, like Lott’s wife, we’ll become a pillar of salt, pickled and unable to take another step toward the promise of a better future. But if we make good choices, we create a world where we understand ourselves better than at any time in our lives, feel more truly beautiful than ever, and grow in Spirit far beyond what we were capable of in our earlier years.
Ageless Beauty/Limitless Spirit is forum where we can talk about what happens as we age, what is meant by beauty, and how we can open up to God’s spirit in ways that can be accessed only by having lived long and well—by having embraced pain and joy, despair and accomplishment. It is a place for us to share our stories of transition and growth and celebrate ourselves.
I invite you to explore the site and let me know what you think, because it’s your site as much as it is mine. So, let’s get to know each other. Let’s CELEBRATE!