Aging Gracefully

Aging Gracefully

Now that I am older this subject comes up regularly.  If you hang out with women my age you will hear, “Oh, she’s growing old gracefully.”  Or, “I plan on growing old gracefully.”   Then that compliment someone gives me on occasion, “you are aging well.”  What the heck does it mean?

I looked up the definition of graceful:  displaying grace in form or action; pleasing or attractive in line, proportion or movement; elegant

I think I might be in trouble.  I don’t think I have ever been graceful. When I was in the 8th grade I decided to take ballet lessons.  I can’t remember why.  Maybe a couple of my friends were in the class and it offered me a night out of the house?  Anyway, by the third class the dance teacher took me aside and said, “I think you might want to consider an activity other than ballet.”  I was not graceful in 8th grade.

This “ungracefullness” has carried me though six decades, now pushing into seven.  How is it that I will ever be able to age gracefully?

Women are living longer. That gives me some hope as I may have a good amount of time yet to learn to be graceful!

For me there will be no plastic surgery or alteration of body parts. That seems like cheating.  The one cheat I still allow myself is some hair color. My gray is uneven and not that beautiful shiny silver you see on some women. I am not sure how long I will continue this routine, maybe until just before it looks ridiculous.

The best I can do is to eat right, exercise regularly and take good care of my skin. Oh, and try and be more graceful!

Food. What we put in our bodies definitely has an impact internally and externally. Eat organic, clean food as often as possible. For me that means no chemicals, pesticides or GMO’s in any of our foods. No antibiotics or homones in meat or dairy. The problem with me is portion control. Working on that.

Exercise. I have never been athletic in any sense of the word (remember ballet?). However, I have read everything related to the benefits of regular exercise and am sold on the need for it and how it can help you “age gracefully.” I just joined a local gym determined to try and revive my familial-cursed metabolism once and for all.

Skin. I have never used soap, but rather plant/vegetable based facial cleansers and body washes. I don’t spend too much time in the sun and wear a little makeup with sunscreen in it. I try to get a professional facial at least twice a year and I use lots of organic moisturizers. While my skin is in pretty good shape, I have totally given up on my neck.  I have decided my neck is graceful enough. Women in my age category will understand this comment.

Aging gracefully.  It is so much more than how we look at a certain age. It is so much more than appearing younger than our actual age. It is about our relevance. About our wisdom and opinions and spiritual understanding. It is about staying in the game and playing our finest game. It is about ignoring the biological changes in the mirror, maybe learning to embrace them.

Aging, gracefully or not, is a great achievement.



Bad News From the Institute for Women’s Policy Research

Bad News From the Institute for Women’s Policy Research

New data shows the gender wage gap is widening.  Census data shows that in 2015 the ratio of women’s to men’s median weekly full-time earnings was 81.1%, a decrease of 1.4% since 2014. This is the largest downward turn in 12 years.

The Equal Pay Act of 1963  does not seem to be addressing the issue and just last year the Paycheck Fairness Act was voted down in the Senate.  I won’t discuss the politics of this decision.

If you think the pay gap between men and women is because women work in lower paying jobs that isn’t the case.  In fact, if you read through the data, the gap shows to be the greatest among the highest paying jobs.

Those who wish to deny the statistics argue that the pay gap exists because of education differences or life choices.  Not so according to the statistics and analysis.  We seem to have a deep rooted and healthy case of “gender stereotype” disorder.  It depresses me a bit as I thought we were making better progress in this area.

Most, not all, of my male friends are feminists and most of the organizations I have worked for were aware of the issue and made efforts to address it.  For me personally I believe I was one of the lucky women who was in an equal pay arena with men. However, I think I have had some unique circumstances during my working career.  Friends and colleagues from a variety companies and industries tell a different story.  It is quite outrageous to think that in 2016 a woman with the same degree and equal work experience would be paid any lower than her male counterpart.

This is certainly related to gender bias which is alive and well, but that’s for a future blog post.

I read a piece by the actress  Jennifer Lawrence who talks candidly about this very subject and how personal it is to her. Worth the read.   I have added it below.


Why Do I Make Less Than My Male Co‑Stars?

By Jennifer Lawrence:  as seen in the publication Lenny, October 14, 2015

When Lena first brought up the idea of Lenny to me, I was excited. Excited to speak to Lena, who I think is a genius, and excited to start thinking about what to complain about (that’s not what she pitched me, it’s just what I’m gonna do). When it comes to the subject of feminism, I’ve remained ever-so-slightly quiet. I don’t like joining conversations that feel like they’re “trending.” I’m even the asshole who didn’t do anything about the ice-bucket challenge — which was saving lives — because it started to feel more like a “trend” than a cause. I should have written a check, but I fucking forgot, okay? I’m not perfect. But with a lot of talk comes change, so I want to be honest and open and, fingers crossed, not piss anyone off.

It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable. When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need. (I told you it wasn’t relatable, don’t hate me).

But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem “difficult” or “spoiled.” At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being “difficult” or “spoiled.” This could be a young-person thing. It could be a personality thing. I’m sure it’s both. But this is an element of my personality that I’ve been working against for years, and based on the statistics, I don’t think I’m the only woman with this issue. Are we socially conditioned to behave this way? We’ve only been able to vote for what, 90 years? I’m seriously asking — my phone is on the counter and I’m on the couch, so a calculator is obviously out of the question. Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t “offend” or “scare” men?

A few weeks ago at work, I spoke my mind and gave my opinion in a clear and no-bullshit way; no aggression, just blunt. The man I was working with (actually, he was working for me) said, “Whoa! We’re all on the same team here!” As if I was yelling at him. I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong. All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would have thought I had said something offensive.

I’m over trying to find the “adorable” way to state my opinion and still be likable! Fuck that. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for a man in charge who spent time contemplating what angle he should use to have his voice heard. It’s just heard. Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale, and Bradley Cooper all fought and succeeded in negotiating powerful deals for themselves. If anything, I’m sure they were commended for being fierce and tactical, while I was busy worrying about coming across as a brat and not getting my fair share. Again, this might have NOTHING to do with my vagina, but I wasn’t completely wrong when another leaked Sony email revealed a producer referring to a fellow lead actress in a negotiation as a “spoiled brat.” For some reason, I just can’t picture someone saying that about a man.

Jennifer Lawrence is an Academy Award–winning actress.

I would love to hear your feedback.  Have you experienced wage discrimination or gender bias?  I think I will add this topic to my interviews for the Beyond Sixty Project.  I bet there are some good references there.

Have a great day,



Last Week

Last Week

What a week it was!

Hillary Clinton, age 68, made history in our country as she accepted the Democratic party’s presidential nomination.

Clinton said, “Standing here as my mother’s daughter and my daughter’s mother, I’m so happy this day has come.  Happy for grandmothers and little girls and everyone in between. Happy for boys and men too, because when any barrier falls in America, for anyone, it clears the way for everyone.  When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”

What took us so long?  I am curious to know why we are behind so many other countries who have had or currently have women as their leaders. In researching this topic I found a rather simplistic discussion by Curt Rice, the leader of Norway’s Committee on Gender Balance and Diversity, saying there are only three possible explanations for the lower number of women at the top of organizations.

  1. Women are not capable of doing the work that is required at the top.
  2. Women do not have the desire to be at the top
  3. There are structural impediments preventing women from reaching the top.

I bet the majority of readers are yelling out “NUMBER 3 !!” right now.

Men and women have been judged by different criteria for eons. I have seen some improvement in my lifetime depending upon the institution and circumstance but we still have a long way to go.

I have worked with some incredibly bright female leaders in business and government.  I was lucky enough to work in a company where females dominated the workforce and I was never held back as I worked my way to a senior leadership position. I felt valued for my knowledge and what I brought to the table. I believe I was paid the same as my male counterparts.  I know this experience is not necessarily the norm.

While there may be a higher number of progressive companies that appear to have no “gender bias” it still exists in an unhealthy way and continues to be an impediment for women seeking top leadership roles in business and government in our country.

Going back to Mr. Rice’s explanations, I agree with all three.

Yes, it is true there are women who may desire to be “at the top” but are not capable. It is also true that there are men who are not capable.

Yes, it is true that for a number of good reasons many women do not desire to be at the top of an organization.  The same goes for some men.

Yes, it is true that there are structural impediments preventing women from reaching the top. This one does not relate to men.  This is all ours.

There are currently 22 women world leaders, not counting Queens, a record high.  And it’s nothing new.   Queen Beatrix of Portugal was the reigning Monarch from 1383-1385!  The historic lists are long and fascinating.  Females in top leadership positions is nothing new.

It’s hard for me to believe that our country has not had a female leader due of lack of capability or desire.

Ceilings, barriers, whatever you want to call them. These invisible structures are all around us.  Think about why they are there. If you happen upon one, move it aside.  Make an opening. Something good may pass through.

What a week it was!