• Roz Levbarg, PhD

Do You Have To Grow Old Gracefully?

We definitely live in a youth-centered culture, but does that mean we have to feel “less than” because of our age? How did that perception even come to be?

Wherever we turn, the media, whether print or digital, we’re bombarded with unceasing ads touting the latest products or procedures for ensuring our youthfulness. It’s a veritable Disneyland of options to get injected, plumped, toned, tucked, lasered, peeled, slathered or sculpted. Is the message, “You must grow old gracefully, when it comes to how you look”? And what does that even mean, “gracefully” ? Look like a mannequin? What ever happened to the value of experience and wisdom as we age?

For many in the younger generation, those things are not even a consideration, since the all-knowing, omnipresent Professor Google is right at their fingertips, 24/7 adding to their knowledge with merely a click! One and done! Ah, hello…there’s a huge difference between knowledge (facts) and wisdom (evaluation). Any education majors here remember Bloom’s Taxonomy?

But I digress…

The point is, my lovelies, you have choices. Yay! One choice is the choice to have any procedure you feel will make you look and feel proud and confident as you march into your next decade, or to adopt any fashion trend you choose. The important thing is to remember your why for doing it. It’s personal. Choose to grow older in any way that you find meaningful.

Just remember to ask the right questions:

Am I doing this, or wearing this because it’s important to me and makes me feel beautiful and confident?

Do I really love this trend or am I choosing this because it fits someone else’s image of what I should look like or care about at my age?

What’s truly important to me now, right this minute, and how can I use my image to reflect that?

Here’s another perspective. If you’re that “been there, done that” gal, give yourself permission to do things YOUR way, a more unconventional way, as you consider the future, like Jenny Joseph, who shows us how to do “Jenny” in the opening lines of her poem.

“When I am an old woman I shall wear purple

With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.

And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

And satin sandals…”

I kind of think she’s onto something with her “don’t give a whit” approach to mainstream ageism. And while it’s great to look as beautiful as we can and stay as current as we can in our work, we can also decide to add a little “Jenny” into the mix.

Who’s with me?

I say we:

Try something new and totally blow it!

Have fun and not obsess about how it looks to anyone else.

Look less than fab in a bathing suit at the beach and collect just as many shells, ride just as many waves, and eat just as many sandy sandwiches as everyone else.

So… how is all this landing for you right now? Are you wondering how YOU can do Jenny and still be exceptional at work?

Let’s have a conversation and see how we can make it happen.

To your being exceptional at any age,


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