Updated: 4 days ago
"Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured. It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all."
~ Ashton Applewhite
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This second installment of Consciousness Concierge offers some resources that have radically changed my idea of how aging can look and feel. I hope they inspire you to look at yourself, and others, differently - inside and out.
What if late life is actually the time we SUPERBLOOM? Let me know what you think.
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Dismantling The Last Acceptable "ism"
I first encountered Ashton Applewhite as part of the Changing Aging ensemble, an extraordinary “non-fiction theater” event blending music, storytelling, art and science to shift the cultural narrative around aging. Her eye-opening TED talk is the closest I can get to the performance I heard summarizing the key tenets of her book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism. In it she notes, “It's not the passage of time that makes it so hard to get older. It's ageism, a prejudice that pits us against our future selves – and each other.” If the Changing Aging Tour ever comes back in a post-COVID world, run, don’t walk, to see it. In the meantime, let's join Ashton’s passionate determination to dismantle the last acceptable, ism in ourselves and the world.
A New Look at Older Women
I am enchanted by these two vastly different, but equally powerful, reflections of the true beauty of older women.
Ari Seth Cohen began taking photos of aesthetically ambitious older women on the streets of New York back in 2008, as a way to mourn the recent loss of his grandmother. He launched the blog Advanced Style as a place to catalog and share his observations, and a movement emerged from there. 14 years, four books and a documentary later, Advanced Style has blossomed into a massive, vivacious community dedicated to aging with vitality. See these fabulous women and learn the whole story here. Find them on IG at @advancedstyle.
Wise Women: A Celebration of Their Wisdom, Courage and Beauty
Photographer Joyce Tenneson's exquisite portraits of 80 women aged 65 to 100 captures not only their outer appearances but their inner lives - the heartaches as well as the triumphs. I discovered Wise Women around the time I turned 40 and was so drawn to the depth and beauty of these images I started giving it as a gift to all the women in my life. My original copy now lives at ALTAR to remind us that, “In ancient times older women were the keepers of primal mysteries and were revered for their special wisdom: today there is a feeling that our culture is reawakening to the power of our elders.” May we all be a part of that reawakening!
Free to Be You and Me
I can still picture where I was when I read Anne Lamott’s article on aging in O Magazine. The statement, "Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life - it gave me me." stopped me in my tracks. I was in my late thirties and navigating the "mom dynamics" often felt like being back in middle school. I posted the quote on the bulletin board above my desk and filed the promise of aging as freedom away in my heart. I have come back to this article many times over the years and I include it here because almost twenty years later, it’s still a favorite and I can now say from experience, she is right.