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You Need to See How Inspiring this 98-Year-Old Woman Is!

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Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel old? You wake up and your back is aching, or your leg, or a random arm. And then you try to get out of bed and your joints are popping and you’re groaning and you’re tired. It’s days like these where I get up and say to myself,

“You are so old!”

Now don’t get me wrong, some days I feel young and full of energy, but other days…not so much. Other days I feel old and it causes me to make excuses. I can’t go to the gym because I hurt too much. I’m just too tired to go out tonight. The excuses go on and on.

Well, the other night I found a video posted on Facebook by NowThis and was inspired by it (and a bit ashamed of myself). I searched the internet for more information on this topic and I found the original video that NowThis had cut up for their 30-second news clip. If you are ready to realize just how young we all are and how our excuses should never get in the way of achieving greatness, watch this video created by Athleta below:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBfslZKi99c]This is Tao Porchon-Lynch and she is the world’s oldest yoga teacher at the age of 98!

Tao is absolutely inspiring. At the beginning of this video she says,

“When you wake up every morning say, ‘This is going to be the best day of my life,’ and it will be.”

– Tao Porchon-Lynch

Meanwhile, I was here feeling old.

So, I challenge you (and myself) to be as strong and dedicated as Tao is.

Are you interested in learning a little more about Tao? Well, get ready to be inspired even more!

  • She has been a yoga instructor for over 75 years and still teaches 4 days a week!
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    Source: The Times
  • She was a model during WWII  and even had the title “Best Legs in Europe”.
  • When she moved to America after the war, she worked as an actress for MGM and even co-starred with Elizabeth Taylor in “The Last Time I Saw Paris”.
  • She has a passion for ballroom tango and has won several hundred first-place competitive dance titles.
  • She is the co-founder of the American Wine Society (as if I didn’t like her already)!
  • She’s written two books (one about yoga and one about dance).

All in all, she is an amazing woman that we should all aspire to be more like!

So I’ll leave you in awe of Tao with this last quote:

“Don’t let age dictate to you what you can and cannot do.”

– Tao Porchon-Lynch

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Sources: NowThis, Athleta, Wikipedia

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Going Gray? Here’s How To Do It With Style!

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“Going Gray” has been associated with getting old for what seems like forever. It’s a part of the aging process that people try to hide from the rest of the world. At first, people pluck those first few gray hairs that dare to arrive and then they start to dye their hair so no one will find out that they are officially old.

Now, if you actually take a moment to think that scenario through, it’s completely ridiculous. There are so many factors that effect when you “go gray”. Some people are completely gray by the age of 30, others don’t get gray hair until their 50s. Does that mean the people who have naturally gray hair at the age of 32 are old? I don’t think so. Honestly, I wouldn’t consider the people going gray at 52 to be “old” either. I would argue that gray hair has nothing to do with being old and, because of this, I want to share with you the top 5 ways to have gorgeous gray hair.

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1. Use the Right Shampoo(s)

Gray hair brings brand new concerns to the forefront when it comes to choosing the right shampoo.  White strands of hair are far more susceptible to the colors of the products you use. Because of this, you should avoid using blue shampoo too regularly. Using blue-hued shampoos regularly can cause your hair to pick up a bluish tint. Why use blue (or violet) shampoo at all? Gray hair can pick up a yellow hue just from exposure to the elements. To counteract this, you can use a shampoo with a blue/violet tone (which counteracts the yellow) a few times a month.

All of this being said, you have to experiment and find the best shampoo for you. Some people just need one shampoo while others need to use two or three different shampoos throughout each month. Don’t worry though, below are a few of the best shampoos for gray hair to get you on the right track!

2. Condition, Condition, Condition!

This is where my above point about gray hair looking dull with exposure to the outside world really comes into play. How do you prevent your hair from looking dull – you get a great conditioner! Look below to see some of my top picks:

3. Pick the Best Cut

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Which haircut would you consider “old”?

Do you have a go-to hair stylist? If not, it’s time to find one. Choosing the right haircut makes all the difference. After all, just look at these two women on the right. There is one who clearly looks older than the other, right? When it comes to picking the right hairstyle, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Consult your stylist to decide which haircut best flatters your face.
  • Pick a modern cut with clean edges.
  • Don’t let your stylist use a razor on the ends because it can cause your ends to fray and look a bit ragged.
  • Schedule a trim every 6 to 8 weeks to keep your hair looking clean and fresh.

4. Protect Your Hair

Like I’ve mentioned before, the biggest threat to your hair is the elements. The simplest option is to try to wear hats when you are out in the sun for a long time. However, there are other options as well. Using platinum or silver color defense shampoo and conditioner with antioxidants can help protect your hair from the elements. There are even sunscreens specially made for your hair! Check out the top hair sunscreen options below:

5. Update Your Wardrobe (& Makeup)

Your entire life you have worn certain “flattering” colors, but now that your hair is a different color, the colors that compliment you best have also changed. Follow these tips for picking the most flattering outfits and makeup:

  • Try wearing more clothes that are gray and blue, they often compliment your hair well and cause a striking beauty effect (although your eye color might cause these colors to be more or less flattering).
  • Take the chance to be bold in your style. High fashion looks wonderful on people with gray hair.
  • Brighten up your wardrobe. Think of your new hair as a blank canvas no more do you have to worry, “will that look good with my hair?”
  • Deep colors often make you look refined and regal. Try deep reds, blues, purples, and grays.
  • On the other hand, earth tones often make you look washed out.
  • With your hair taking on a cooler tone, it is time to warm up your makeup.
  • Try a peach blush to warm up your face in a few seconds.
  • If your eyebrows seem to be disappearing, define your arches with a taupe pencil to make them stand out a bit more.
  • Don’t forget to groom your eyebrows as well, trim hairs that are getting out of hand.

Need some more makeup tips? Check out this video from Sixty and Me:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dei9jbtgOxQ]

Regardless of which of these suggestions you find work best for you, embrace your new look and I promise, you will look phenomenal!

Sources: Prevention.com, VibrantNation.com, TheGuardian.com, LoveTheGray.com, AHairGuide.com, SixtyAndMe.com, StyleCaster.com

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Ultimate Aging Advice: How to Keep Your Skin Healthy & Beautiful

Happy Healthy Skin Month!

November is National Healthy Skin Month, so I thought it was only fair that I created a post dedicated to helping women in midlife keep their skin looking healthy and beautiful. Healthy skin is extremely important, and as you create your second half of life, it gets absolutely vital!

You may find yourself wondering, “Is it normal for my skin to be doing this?” or “What should I be doing to promote having healthy skin?”. After all, there are TONS of anti-aging and anti-wrinkle creams and products out there, but how do you keep your skin looking healthy and how do you know which products are the best?

Well, I’ve done some research so that I can bring you the answers you want and need.

First of all, the most important thing to know is MOISTURIZE! As you age, your skin is literally deflating. By moisturizing regularly, you help your skin stay hydrated and smooth. When looking for moisturizers, the two most important things to look for are SPF and Retinoid. By making sure your moisturizer has at least an SPF 15, you can help protect your skin from skin cancer. By choosing moisturizers with retinoids, you are able to speed up your cells. Retinoids target the DNA in skin cells to boost the cell’s functions.

My other big tip is to remember the rest of your skin! While you face should get the most attention, making sure to moisturize your jawline, neck, and chest on a regular basis is just as important.

To find out how your skin changes as you age, what the top three moisturizing products are, and more, check out the infographic below:

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Most importantly, don’t assume that wrinkles are something you need to get rid of. Just ask The Back Forty Co-Founder Alexandra Levin. Check out her blog series about why she is in love with her wrinkles!

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Midlife + Instagram + Style = Chic?

Instagram. That crazy social media platform that is nothing but pictures. Not many people in midlife use it, after all – it’s for kids.

59 percent of all 18 to 24-year-olds use the app. Meanwhile only 11 percent of all 50 to 64-year-olds and only 4 percent of people over the age of 64 use the app.

Well, now there is someone trying to change that.

Meet Nikki Garnett.

She is a 48-year-old woman in England who is trying to change how women in midlife see themselves. As she aged, other aspects of life got in the way of her style. Between family, work (or the lack there of), and wanting to fit in with other people her age, she lost her “style mojo”.

Many women in midlife can relate to this. After all, who has the time to go shopping for the perfect outfit when there is so much going on in our lives?

This is why Nikki created the Instagram profile midlifechic. She wanted to prove that you can “get your groove back” in your 40s or your 50s or even your 60s!

If you still aren’t ready to jump on the Instagram bandwagon, don’t worry. Nikki also has a great website where you can learn more about her, get your own fashion inspiration, and follow her own mission to become happier.

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I Am In Love with My Wrinkles (Part 3)

Portrait Of Senior Friends In Park Together

Click here to read part two.

I’ve been sharing with you that I am in love with my wrinkles.  Here’s how I got to fall in love with them…

It all hit me one sunny Sunday morning as Darrell and I were making our way through Los Angeles traffic.   I thought about how I have been transformed by the gift of my life’s challenges, wins and losses, and how much I love the older and wiser version of my Self that I have become.  I saw that my wrinkles are not only part of the package that came with those life experiences, but they were the very stripes and awards earned due to them.  I realized that who I am today is inseparable from the wrinkles that formed me.

Every wrinkle, every experience, every lesson I learned and challenge I faced, contributed to making me exactly who I am today.  All the gifts and talents I now possess and use to create my life according to my own design, to live it on my own terms, and to contribute to others are represented in those wrinkles.  Because of everything I claimed along with the territory of those wrinkles, I am now creating my own inspiring, playful, passionate, and radically purposeful second half of life.

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My grandmother loved her wrinkles!

According to the Ancient Art of Chinese Face Reading, when we erase our wrinkles, we erase our gifts.  Our wrinkles show how we have lived our life and even what we are designing in our future.  Horizontal lines on the face are signs of lessons learned in life when we experience challenging times.  This philosophy states that, if we remove those wrinkles, we lose the lesson… which means we may encounter the same challenge again to re-learn the lesson.  Now why would we want to do that!

My wrinkles remind me of my growth, the path I have traveled, and who I am becoming.  They serve as road signs alerting me to utilize my choice of who I want to be.  They wake me up daily to the power I have to transform who I am as a matter of my word and commitments.

In The Back Forty, we propose that we have all chosen the specific experiences and events of our lives to create a laboratory for research and development which, when assessed, allow us to discover what we are really here to do.

My wrinkles remind me of the lab experiments I chose to conduct in my life to gain the gifts, the learnings, and the growth I now possess.…which give me the keys to an exciting, joyful, and radical Back Forty – my second half – and to living it on my own terms.

I am in love with my wrinkles.

And I invite YOU to fall in love with YOURS.

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I Am In Love with My Wrinkles (Part 2)

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Click here to read part one.

As I mentioned before, I am in love with my wrinkles.  I have shared a couple of my favorite wrinkles with you, and here are a couple more…

I earned another set of wrinkles when, at 25, I found myself in a lifeless marriage with my first husband and the father of our daughters.   Married for eight years, I had tried everything I knew to make the marriage work.

The wrinkles started to appear when I felt like I had to choose between my daughters having their parents together or me being happy.  More showed up when I finally chose to get a divorce.

What I learned with those wrinkles is that I deserve to be happy, and that I am the only one responsible for that happiness.

I’m keeping that batch of wrinkles for sure.

More stripes were earned a few years ago when I found myself at the end of a 14-year good (second) marriage gone bad.  I had been stuck for the last three years, married to a man who turned emotionally unstable and verbally abusive.  I doubted myself and my value.  I questioned the viability of my gifts and talents.  I forgot how capable I really was. He had me convinced that I would not survive without him…and told me so regularly.

Those wrinkles emerged as I went through the eye of a needle to find the keys to getting unstuck. Why was I staying stuck in a marriage that I really wanted to be free from? I found the answer in the process of reviewing a manuscript for a then friend of mine, Darrell Gurney.  He had asked me and several others to give him feedback on his unpublished manuscript, The Back Forty: 7 Critical Embraces for Life’s Radical Second Half.

Take a peek at what I saw:

I am 19, on that plane out of Russia… I am scared and alone… wondering if I will ever see my parents again… wondering if I am making a mistake…  and I am on my way to the freedom that our family so sorely dreamed of for 13 years… yet, I am afraid of going out into this new free world by myself… I am actually afraid of freedom.

To that 19-year old, freedom looked scary.  At that moment of realization, I saw clearly that what kept me stuck in the marriage was a 19-year-old, scared of the freedom she wanted so badly.  However, now I was no longer a scared 19-year-old.  That story was complete… so I put it back where it belonged, in the past.

Becoming freed up from this past-based fear of freedom, within a day I told my husband that we would be getting divorced and declared that it would be amicable.  Within a few months, I was out of that that marriage… as well as that mindset of fear around my own freedom.

What I gained along with those wonderful wrinkles was the confidence that I can not only survive, but thrive on my own.  I wasn’t sure how I would make it at first, and yet I knew that I would.  Within a few short months, I realized that I could stand financially and mentally on my own two very capable feet.

Click here to read part three.

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I Am In Love with My Wrinkles

I am in love with my wrinkles.

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Me at nineteen!

We all have wrinkles. We can choose to hide or get rid of them, or we can choose to embrace them.  Here is why I am in love with some of my favorite wrinkles, and why I invite you to fall in love with yours.
I got my very first wrinkle at 19.  I was an only child of doting Jewish parents, both a mama’s and daddy’s girl at the same time.   I was protected and taken care of.   Our family had attempted to leave communist Russia for 13 years (since I was 6) and the government consistently refused.  Twice a year we applied for exit visas, and twice a year we were denied.  Then, at 19, I was unexpectedly given permission to leave Russia… but on my own, without my parents.

Fast forward three months, and I find myself on a plane leaving Leningrad.  I was 19, feeling desperately alone in the world, terrified, and not knowing if I would ever, EVER see my parents again.

That is how I obtained my first wrinkle. What I got with it was the gift that, at 19, I learned how strong I really was: that I was capable beyond my own imagination, that I could do anything.  I received THAT learning and lifelong insight out of the most devastating experience of my teenage years.

I am definitely keeping that wrinkle.

More favorite wrinkles formed when my 20-year-old daughter was planning to travel to Israel right in the middle of a war.  Everyone in my family questioned me as a mother for allowing her to go, and demanded that I stop her.

I did a lot of soul searching.   How would I live with myself if I didn’t stop her from going and yet…?  I could not even let myself think beyond the yet.  Scary.   What if everyone was right, and I was wrong, and it was my job as a mother to stop her?  What if…?

Yes, of course, I wanted my daughter to be safe, and yet I also wanted her to know that she is free – given our family fought so hard for our freedom.   What lesson would my daughter be learning if someone else (even her mother) had more power over her choice than she did?  After all, I had been given the gift of a tough choice myself at about her age.  Then I made a decision: I told my daughter that I trusted her to choose for herself and that I would support her in that choice.  My daughter chose to go.

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My daughter on her trip to Israel.

This sweet basket of wrinkles revealed themselves when I took that stand for my daughter and her right and ability to make choices in her own life.

Because of those wrinkles, my daughter went to Israel and had the most profound experience of her life.  It formed within her a passion for travel that now has her just returning from her second summer-long backpacking trip to Europe, writing a travel blog, and making spectacular travel videos.

At age 20, my daughter learned that she can trust herself with life-impacting decisions… and, more importantly, that she has a voice and a choice.

That is a bunch of wrinkles I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Click here to read part two.

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What it REALLY Means to Dress Your Age

woman-1535584_1280Dress your age. It’s a phrase that I’m sure you’ve heard before. Either you are saying that someone else should really dress their age, or people are saying it about you. When you go online, there are countless articles about “dressing your age”. Bazaar says, “the older you get, the less you can do prim, girlish, preppy, and cute.” According to the Huffington Post, “You never show your arms when you’re over a certain age and you don’t wear shorts”. Even GQ Magazine suggests that once you hit your 50s you should be buying loafers, knitwear, blazers, ties, and thickening shampoo!

Can I say yikes? There seem to be more and more rules as you keep aging about what you can and cannot wear. Often the advice comes from good intentions. These articles are meant to help you look your best, but using age as the standard for when you can and cannot wear certain types of clothing is ridiculous.

Why is it that when you hit the age of 40 you magically are no longer allowed to wear jeans with holes or skinny jeans or leggings? Why do people think that once you are in your 50s you can no longer wear sleeveless shirts or shorts? There is no reason that this fashion advice should be tied to your age at all. So what should this advice be tied to? Well, let me tell you.

This advice should be tied to your health. And I don’t mean specific aspects of your health like just your fitness level, I mean your health overall. For example, a 45-year-old woman who goes to the gym three times a week, avoids eating unhealthy foods, and has a clean bill of health from her doctor should feel free to wear a completely different wardrobe than a 45-year-old woman who hasn’t exercised in years, eats junk food in lieu of healthier options, and was just diagnosed with diabetes. How you treat your body matters and shows! There is absolutely zero reason these two women should have similar wardrobes simply because they are both 45.

So don’t “dress your age“, dress your lifestyle!

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Busting 5 Myths about Sex During Midlife

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There is no doubt that our bodies change as we get older, and it seems as if middle age is the culmination of all of our fears surrounding aging. Estrogen and testosterone decrease in both men and women as they age and this can cause many shifts in our emotions, physical appearance, and viewpoints. It is common to experience changes in appearance, weight, libido, behavior, and sexual response. Because of this, many people end up believing countless myths about sex as they age. Well, today I am here to bust those myths!

1. As you age, you lose interest in sex.

People of every age have a desire to have sex. However, after you make it to midlife your sexual desires change. It usually just takes a time to figure out how your body and desires have changed. To prove this point, a National Aging Survey found that over 70% of people over the age of 60 who were having sex regularly found their sex lives more satisfying than in their 40s.

2. Men lose their ability to get an erection as they get older and women lose the ability to orgasm.

Aging does not cause erectile dysfunction – changing hormone levels do. As men age, they simply need more physical stimulation to become aroused. Also, women’s orgasms actually tend to increase in frequency and intensity after menopause due to the shift of hormonal ratios within the body.

3. Women lose their desire to have sex because of the psychological and emotional factors surrounding menopause.

Usually, the physical factors outweigh the emotional and psychological factors when it comes to decreased sex drive for women. When going through menopause, the decrease in estrogen can cause vaginal dryness. If sex is uncomfortable because of vaginal dryness, simply speak to your doctor and find a solution that works for you.

4. Middle-aged people are done exploring their sexuality.

Baby boomers are reporting a surprising willingness to explore their sexuality in many different ways. They are exploring tantric sex, taking retreats surrounding sexuality, and reaching out to sex therapists and coaches.

5. By the time you are in midlife, your sex has become boring and you’ve lost your desire to be sexually adventurous.

People who are in middle-age are very interested in learning new ways to pleasure each other (since the way they are stimulated often changes due to hormone shifts). They are reading books, watching videos, and attending retreats to learn new skills.

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Sources:
The Truth About Sex After 50
Busted! 5 Myths About Sex After 50
Sexual Issues in Midlife

Midlife Exercise – Is it Important?

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Many people have the viewpoint that once you hit “midlife” working out and staying fit is no longer important or a priority. Of course, they have their excuses:

  • “I’ve had two kids and your body never really comes back from that”

  • “No matter how much I exercise, I’ll never look as good as I did when I was young”

  • (and my favorite) “My life is way too busy right now, I simply don’t have time”

Do any of these excuses sound familiar? Well, I’m here to tell you that exercise IS important, even if you are “too busy”. Studies suggest that even if you’ve never been one to spend time exercising, being or becoming fit in midlife can completely re-shape your aging process. People who don’t bother with fitness in midlife are more likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s (among other diseases). This doesn’t mean that if you exercise, you won’t get these diseases later on. However, those who exercise tend to have these diseases for maybe the last five years of life while those who don’t exercise tend to have their diseases for the last 10 to 20 years of their life!

I don’t know about you, but I would rather be healthy until the age of 80 instead of being chronically ill at the age of 65.

So what do we do about this? We get fit! Here are some tips for getting started:

  1. Realize that you don’t have to work out constantly. You need only 2.5 hours a week of moderate activity or 1.25 hours a week of vigorous activity. That means that you only have to exercise moderately for 22 minutes a day or exercise vigorously for 11 minutes a day! Where did your excuse about being too busy just go? And here are some bonus tips:

    • When you work out, make sure that you exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time (so you can increase your heart rate).

    • Also, exercise first thing in the morning. By the end of the day it is much easier to say you don’t have the time or are too tired from your busy day. First thing in the morning, you don’t have any excuses yet.

  2. What does “moderately” and “vigorously” really mean?

    • Here are some exercises that fall under “moderate” exercise: dancing, bicycling (less than 10 mph), brisk walking, tennis, and even gardening!

    • Here are some exercises that fall under “vigorous” exercise: jogging or running, swimming laps, jumping rope, bicycling (more than 10 mph), and hiking uphill.

  3. Use it or lose it! Make sure you spend a least two days a week working on strengthening your muscles! This can help you gain strength, minimize joint pain, and boost your mood!

So how about you? Can you find 11 to 22 minutes at the start of your day to improve your health for the rest of your life?

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Sources:
Eight Secrets of Boomers who Exercise Regularly
Getting Fit, Staying Fit During Middle Age
The Benefits of Middle-Age Fitness