Fabulous Over 60

Part 2: More About Changing Our Definition of Fabulous

Last week we published part one of a blog post about the changing nature of being fabulous – this week we complete it by focusing on more about the meaning of fabulous now.

Fabulous is looking fine in a way that is comfortable and absolutely us and dropping any snobbery around standards that have lost their meaning.  Being in fashion isn’t fabulous anymore — being real, authentic, hot or conservative or edgy in ways that reflect our best self is. Fabulous is living, learning, staying present and being grateful for all that’s good, and calm about things we can’t control.  And fabulous is all about taking care of ourselves and those we love.  We feel most fabulous when we are in connection with those that matter and are doing things that feel good and are good for us.

Being Fabulous, Part 2:

Random shopping has stopped being fun.  But we seem to have found just those few boutiques or online spots that have sales on just exactly what we feel is perfect and fabulous.  Few, if anyone, seem to care about looking good anyplace or at special events. So our black pants and nice top could take us to the opera or the hottest restaurant in any town and to someone’s graduation party.  True, BUT, we evolved here too. We created our new definition of fabulous as dressing as well and as we want, still choosing to look extra special more than once a year, and if we are the only one in a restaurant or at the party with a dress or heels or pulled-together look (don’t we all agree that many people of any age appear to use their laundry basket as a closet?) we don’t care.  We dress for ourselves and any audience we care about, we dress up when and if we want to and define our feeling appropriate as being fabulous.

Heavy meals started hurting our stomachs.  Nature wasn’t pretty if we ate, drank or didn’t sleep enough, so we sleep more if we can and just stopped ordering the cheese plate — but kept going out. We don’t go on and on about our food issues — fabulous now looks at the menu, makes the calculation of what works and doesn’t and orders without announcement.

Friendships have become challenging in tangible ways: friends, family and those close to them have serious health problems, not hangovers, and people close to us die.  We’ve learned how to mourn more deeply without falling apart or making the loss about ourselves.  We pray or sit silently more often, sending prayers or caring vibrations to others. And share our sympathy with more confidence not because we are getting great at demonstrating sympathy, but because we now know with absolute certainty that the most important thing is demonstrating we care, not doing some “appropriate” thing. We’ve really gotten the boundaries message and keep them even when faced with heart-wrenching personal loss times for us, or our friends. We handle ourselves keeping the focus on those who hurt at the time.  And we work to avoid dragging ourselves into a tailspin of upset over anything we can’t control (yes, most things).

One thing we haven’t given ourselves enough credit for was how we as a generation became, and are still, continuous learners. 

And that is now the core of being fabulous: we keep learning and experimenting. When we fail we try plan B to Z if we have to. We are not Queen Elizabeth in The Crown (a fabulousover60 favorite), perpetually unamused if not insulted by the relentless changes in the culture. We have come to peace with our parents and are using a different approach to aging and being fabulous.  We are NOT denying we are aging, that time is passing and we are going to die.  I remember death and dying, as well as well as less permanent changes – like moving or writing a will and getting specific about near-death wishes as taboo subjects for our parents.  They kept doing much of the same things they always did and didn’t want to talk much about age-related realities.  We do not blame them or feel anger at them. But we have clearly chosen a different fabulous path that includes facing realities of all sorts – from divorce to death or from being fired to starting a whole new business in our sixties.

Fabulous now is about accepting what is, and building and living in our own able-to-be-penetrated bubble. 

We choose what comes in and out with open eyes and heart and ears. We focus on fewer things, but our important things. We continue to be kind and have come to realize, as have other mature people, that kindness counts more than nearly anything else.  We are back marching and resisting or maybe only paying attention in a limited way — we know ourselves, do what we must and don’t judge others.

Fabulous is looking fine in a way that is comfortable and absolutely us – and dropping any snobbery around standards that have lost their meaning.  Being in fashion isn’t fabulous anymore — being real, authentic, hot or conservative or edgy in ways that reflect our best self is. Fabulous is living, learning, staying present and being grateful for all that’s good, and calm about things we can’t control.  It’s about taking care of ourselves and those we love.  We feel most fabulous when we are in connection with those that matter and are doing things that feel good and are good for us.

Turning 60 seems eons ago.  I chuckle for not realizing that everything changes – including our definitions of being fabulous.  We’re still smart, savvy and sophisticated, but our hearts are set on being our best individual self, connecting and being a part of a group when it is the right time and place. It’s also enjoying that group time, giving ourselves and everyone else a break. It is letting our light and our scent, our essence – which is individual and precious – be felt in the world.

A friend from the early 70s once told me that I was like great perfume, leaving a lovely scent behind when I left — I was touched and a bit overwhelmed.  And I remembered it, always trying in my own way to live up to the challenge of leaving “a lovely scent” behind.  Cathy and I have chosen to let FabulousOver60 now be associated with multiple beautiful perfume bottles (in our new cover photo on Facebook) — each representing one and all of us FabulousOver60 women.  We’re each unique, and we’re shining our lights and leaving a warmth and scent behind us everywhere we go.  Think that says it all.

Patty

My Mixed Reviews On Being Fabulous

Am I fabulous?  Am I keeping myself strong both personally and professionally? Pulled together? Sharp? Am I doing what I want in ways that are sane, fulfilling and that mark me as a woman who is handling her sixties with grace, style, wit and proper modesty?  Am I continuing to grow, keeping my head and heart and body strong and functioning, or am I just — well, you know — just another NOT fabulous women.

Let me share some feedback.

Scene one: Doctor’s Office/Having yearly physical.

Nurse: Now, try to remember these three words: Table, Apple, Fence.  We’ll come back to those in just a few moments.  Blah blah blah for 5 minutes.

Nurse: What were those three words?

Me: Hmmm… was Apple one of them?

Review: Mixed, very mixed.

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Scene two: Doctor’s Office/Yearly physical

Doctor: You still weigh 105+ (feel free to guess, I am not sharing).

Doctor: It is great how your weight is so stable.

Me: Thanks, said softly

Me thinking: stable is good — 5lbs less than this stability would be better.

Review: Pretty— good.

Scene three: Home, Bill searching for his newly opened cookies, myself reading in bedroom.

Bill: Honey, where are the cookies?

Me: In the closet – near other crackers and cookies.

Bill: No they are not.

Moments later, Bill continues… Oh, wait, they are in the refrigerator – you must have put them there.

Me: REALLY?

Review: Mixed, very mixed.

Scene four: My Home office/Call with new business partner to discuss new offer to potential joint clients.

Partner: Sounds good Pat – use your judgment with making the offer. We’re both flexible.

Me: OK, will keep you posted next week.

Me, post call: rethinks proposal and writes email to partner discussing next steps.

Review: Really good, quick, professional job.

via drpatgillwebber.com

via drpatgillwebber.com

Scene five: Home Goods store.

Me: Looking around for something for my house that my decorator says is “a must”.

Other shopper bumping into me: Oh sorry miss, I didn’t see you.

Me: Glowing having heard “miss” – oh no problem.

Review: Probably better than mixed – at least I wasn’t shopping in an outfit that marked me as “over the hill” or “helpless and lost” – which in Tucson is a VERY low bar, trust me.

Scene six: Home, Arizona lizard on the loose inside – small but still a lizard.

Me: Damn it – that makes 4 tries with no lizard caught – trying to do the drop the cloth over the lizard and grab him strategy suggested by those who help me run the house.

Me: Oh the hell with it – I will get someone else to catch the lizard.

Review: Delegation – getting better at it all the time.

clarks-spiny-lizard-1

Summary review: Hanging in at times by a string and at other times fantastically.  Consistently Fabulous may need some revisions to its definition.  Either that or I have to keep finding more people to delegate everything to except when I am feeling the urge to work on something that was always my long suit – which is hardly every day.  I am close to ready to give up trying to be fabulous on things I never was fabulous at to begin with.  Time to take a nap and think it all through.  Or at least time to take a nap.

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Patty

Blogging For Fun or Blogging For Money?

Last week, my blogging partner Patty and I decided that we aren’t interested in making a million dollars from this blog site. In fact, we aren’t even going to shoot for a few thousand or a few hundred dollars. Why?

Well, to be perfectly honest, a million dollars would turn our heads. But when we checked into the “blogging for money” issue, we realized that making money is a lot of work! More importantly, it doesn’t match our reasons for having the site.

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If you’ve read “Creating Fabulous over 60” you know that the idea came from a discussion we had on an annual spa trip a few years ago about the good, bad and ugly of being over 60. We thought – and still do – that the 60’s are a very interesting time for women and that sharing some of our thoughts, stories, ideas and complaints would be fun for us and might be interesting and maybe even helpful to some other over-60’s.

We started Fabulous Over 60 as “…a place online to share and discuss being in our 60s and wanting to create and maintain terrific lives…. We welcome all women who see themselves as fabulous, or who just want to dish with other smart, strong women who have a sense of proportion and humor.”

Our first blog was in September of 2012. For a couple of years, we posted pieces whenever we felt like it and sent them out to relatives and friends, some of whom sent them to their friends. Some women even found us on their own as they searched for sites like ours. Then a year or so ago, we began posting them – and occasionally other information or links – on our own Facebook page. More people found us there and our number of readers every week has gone up. We now post something every week.

Do we have thousands of readers? No. But we do seem to have a growing number of “likes” on Facebook and more regular followers on our site.

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As we began to post on Facebook, however, we received a couple of inquiries about whether we would be willing to endorse products. Then, we started to get more.

Most recently, a body lotion company sent us samples of their product and suggested that we might want to mention it in a blog. They were also willing, they said, to provide giveaways to our readers.

Patty and I did some research. If we wanted to make money with our site, it would first require that we get many, many more followers. We’d have to work the site like a real business – investing lots of time in reading and commenting on other blogs/websites while also investing even more time in our own site’s content.

Then, we could pay Google to find advertisers, and pay Facebook to advertise our blogs more widely. And, when we built a huge follower base, we’d need to negotiate directly with advertisers or develop our own products –the two most lucrative options.

This is what we decided:

  • We don’t want to endorse things we don’t believe in, whether in exchange for samples, giveaways or money.
  • We are doing this for fun and enjoy having some “likes” every week and hearing from some of our friends.
  • We enjoy sharing our over-60 journey with others, both friends and strangers, and reading their interesting comments and personal stories
  • We like learning about each other. The site has brought us closer together.
  • We both like to write and the site provides us with the discipline to do it.
  • We don’t want the site to be a “job”, so when we don’t want to do it anymore, we won’t.
  • We will continue to mention products, places and services in our blogs when we really like them and want to share them with our readers. But, when we do, we won’t be taking any money for those mentions.

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And, if we ever do decide we want to make money, we’ll come up with our own product(s). Fabulous Over 60 Age-Defying Body Lotion, anyone?

Cathy Green

 

We may not be comfortable with every changing norm—but our best strategy is still being supportive

1968.  Karen is pregnant.  Brian is her boyfriend/father of her baby.  Karen is hugely upset, sad and ashamed.  She has decided to have the baby and give it up for adoption.  Karen’s parents are very angry at Karen for “ruining her life” and yet have been supportive of her decision.  They are not in touch with Brian’s family. Brian is going to college and feels bad but his parent’s do not want him to get involved with this “inconvenience” and “Karen’s neediness”.  Karen’s baby is adopted by a lovely family and has a great life and recently reached out and found Karen.  All is good.

2013. Lauren and Justin are pregnant.  They have been together 7 years.  Lauren and Justin are very excited to be parents and have decided to have a big baby event for all their friends and family after they tell their folks they are pregnant.  Post that Lauren and Justin are thinking they might start saving for a house and get married in a few years.  They both have lots of student loans but some pretty good job prospects if they decide to use all their skills and experiences.  All is good.

Fabulous Over 60 women are slightly, shall we say, confused about all this.  They were or knew “Karen”.  We changed the culture and the laws so that there would be (and are) a lot less “Karens”.  We learned from tough experiences that the way to deal with adversity was to move forward. We dealt with sexism and other ills by taking the high road and the private approach—remember “don’t let them see you sweat”? Look, act, and be confident and focused on work and career.  Be self-responsible.  Don’t rely on your teacher’s license or your man to give you a life.  Invent your own.  Have or don’t have children but make little or no fuss about it.

As the mother, aunt or stepmother of Lauren, we are sort of baffled by the whole idea of couple pregnancy and glorification of having a baby and celebration of what is after all just life. We knew the way “Karen” was thought of and treated was idiotic—but this new approach actually strikes many of us as equally idiotic.  Is having a baby really this big of a deal?  Does having children and their photos at work need to replace our drab offices where we didn’t dare put anything that didn’t look “professional”?  We bite our tongues being much more emotionally intelligent than our parents—but we want to have this conversation or at least mumble that this is stupid. But it sounds, and likely is, bitter and flat.  Being a “kill joy” as we used to call it is not nice, not right and not the fabulous woman’s strategy.

Yes, times have changed, but some realities are still with us—we changed many things but we didn’t make it easy to balance work and family.  Young women have it easier in some ways—but the life of women with children and work outside the home is still a tough struggle, even if they get a co-ed baby shower with Greg describing himself as “pregnant” when she is.

As Fabulous Over 60 women we continue to break ground by pointing this out and being supportive—no group of women ever has it easy.  Mentoring with an understanding of the 21st century realities is our best strategy.  That and trying not to gag when we are invited to a co-ed baby shower where people STILL have to sit through those endless boring presents.

Cathy and Patty’s Top 10 Fabulous Lessons from 2012

  1. Being fabulous, or just being smart women in our 60s, is a lot more fun than we expected — especially now that we have created Fabulous Over 60. It is also a lot more awkward at odd times when we’re still hoping people think that we’re in our late 40s or 50s
  2. We know that taking care of our health – both mental and physical – is the key to looking good and doing good — the priorities of our age. Knowing this doesn’t always help us to do the work and have the discipline. Sometimes meditation, time with a needed therapist, a long walk or yoga doesn’t beat having a drink and watching something stupid and vapid on a device. (Now that’s new!)
  3. We have been out of our 20s for so long that multiple generations have been born; we shouldn’t be surprised by our age, but we continually are
  4. The election proved that manners matter and most don’t have them — or even understand the point of having them. If there is a movement for a one-term 6-8 year presidency — we’re in
  5. We will never be a size 4 or 6 again even if we cut off a leg — it’s easier to get home from the store and cut out the size tag in our clothes — a wonderful and important habit to form by 50
  6. 60 is no more the new 40 than cheesecake is the new rice cake — acceptance and handling things with grace at this point is critical
  7. Nothing is the new black and nothing ever will be – if we are buried in anything but black we will come back to haunt our tormentors
  8. We intend to hold in our stomachs ‘til the end … why stop something we’ve been doing since we were teenagers
  9. We go out of our way to compliment younger women — we remember that we didn’t believe how great we were at their age either — the fact that they are usually utterly shocked proves our point
  10. We realize that sometimes when a young, attractive-looking woman looks at us she is thinking: “oh my God, I will be her someday!” Yep, we did that too

Oh we could go on — but won’t. We would love to hear your own 10 list for 2012. Or your one biggest learning for 2012.

Caution: We are all fabulous in our own way. Feel good regardless. Maybe there is room for another blog out there for YOUR approach to aging. It’s all good. Happy New Year everyone!   – Cathy and Patty

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