In praise of good behavior

DSCN0851In a bookstore last month, I stumbled on the new gift edition of Dale Carnegie’s motivational classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People. It prompted a sweet memory of my late father — and inspired a column on the topic of our nation’s lack of civility. Look for it in the March issue of Michigan Prime this weekend in your Sunday Detroit Free Press — or click here to read it online, page 3. 

Fierce after 50

Like most mature women I know, I have an uneasy relationship with mirrors in department store fitting rooms. While trying on clothes, I scrutinize my body like a roadmap, noting the topography of my lifelong journey. I can still spot traces of post-delivery stretch marks and joint replacement scars, for instance, and I’ve also acquired age spots that can’t quite pass as freckles. But that’s OK.

Last week, I heard Cat Stevens’ “Miles from Nowhere” on my car radio. The tune was a favorite of mine in high school, but its lyrics resonate even more now:

     Lord my body, it’s been a good friend / But I won’t need it when I reach the end.

unnamed-1Throughout six decades, my body has been a very good friend indeed. It has endured years of dancing classes, playground accidents, and skinned knees. It was hit by a car; it gave birth to one spectacular son. It has survived blood transfusions, several bouts of skin cancer, and two hip replacements. 

Of course, I was in much better shape in my twenties, yet I constantly compared myself to other women. In those days — and even on good days — I believed I fell short of our culture’s impossibly high standards of fitness and beauty.

Thankfully, maturity broadens and reshapes our view of physical perfection (and not just our backsides).

On the road to aging well, it also helps to have a few inspiring role models to light the way. While researching pro-aging topics for my columns in Michigan Prime, I’ve happily discovered a whole new world of female fashion bloggers who are rocking their late forties, fifties, sixties, seventies and beyond. I’ve only scratched the surface, but here’s a short list of my favorites:

Advanced Style

Brenda Kinsel

Fabulous after 40 

FASHION SHOULD BE FUN

The Middle Page

More than turquoise by Jamie Lewinger

Style at a certain age

Stylish Paradox

Susan after 60

THAT’S NOT MY AGE

Une femme d’un certain age

Speaking of mature fashion bloggers, I have more great news: This week is the official launch of The Fierce 50 campaign, featuring 50 fashionistas from around the country, all over 50. Visit their blogs and you’ll be treated to a celebration of gorgeous women who’ve mastered their individual styles and have plenty of tips to share with you. 

DSCN0029No matter how old we are, those of us who love fashion want to see ourselves mirrored in magazine spreads, ad campaigns, and fashion catalogs. We want to see clothing modeled on women close to our own age — in all shapes and sizes. Despite the fact that our demographic wields considerable spending power, we’re consistently overlooked by most fashion editors and advertisers. 

That’s why I’m grateful for mature fashion bloggers. Flaunting beauty, courage, and confidence, they remind all of us that we, too, can be women of style as well as substance.

Last spring, I was invited to model in a local fashion show at Leon & Lulu in Clawson. As owner Mary Liz Curtin reminded the audience, her store proudly features “real women” of all ages and sizes in its popular quarterly fashion shows. Naturally, I was relieved to find that several of the other models were older than I am.

There was a palpable sense of excitement while we dressed backstage for the show. One of my fellow models confided that she was “a little nervous” about modeling for the first time at age 73. At the same time, she admitted, being in a fashion show had encouraged her to appreciate her appearance — including her trim figure and stunning gray hair.

Watching her strut down the runway ahead of me, I knew I wasn’t the only woman she had inspired that night. The whole audience applauded and cheered.

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Top photo: That’s me with my husband, Doug, both in our sixties. We’re posing for HAP’s Balanced Living magazine — our first cover shot.  

Finding your muse in midlife

DSCN7049No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to learn how to paint, draw, knit, write, or play a musical instrument. Or maybe you’re dreaming of dusting off a talent you’ve neglected while raising a family or pursuing a career?

New studies show that getting creative could be a key to aging well. To read more about this topic, check out my column in the September issue of Michigan Prime, delivered this weekend with your Sunday Detroit Free Press. Or click here to read the column (page 3) in the online edition.

Writing Home column collection

front cover dec 3Described as “both a memoir and a handbook for living,” this collection of my most popular published essays and columns, Writing Home, is now in its second printing. Awarded several prizes for creative nonfiction, the book is for everyone who has ever attempted to combine work, parenthood, and homemaking. Detroit-area readers can purchase copies at Yellow Door Art Market in Berkley.

The Kindle version is also available on Amazon.

Writing Home for Christmas

DSCN2883Need a last-minute, affordable gift this Christmas?* My essay collection, Writing Home, is available on Amazon or can be purchased locally (in Berkley, MI) at the Yellow Door Art Market, where you’ll find lots of Michigan-made gifts and books.

Now in its 2nd edition, Writing Home won several awards for creative nonfiction, including one from Writer’s Digest. It’s a large collection of my favorite published pieces — inspirational, feel-good stories about home, family, and life itself. It’s now available in both print and Kindle editions. Over the past 10 years, several hundred dollars from the profits of my book sales have been donated to organizations serving the homeless in my community.

Wishing you a wonderful, meaningful holiday season this year!

*With apologies for the shameless plug.