What we do is not who we are. I was looking at Instagram recently and came across a post on Linda Evangelista. A popular super model from the 1990’s. She was and still is a beautiful, striking woman that drew attention to herself and the modelling industry because she was a different beauty, noted for her resemblance to Sophia Loren. She was in an elite group of ‘super models' and was quoted for saying to Vogue, “we don’t wake up for anything less than $10,000 a day.” Bold and strong. She was noticeable and memorable, with a long list of accomplishments in the fashion industry, making appearances in music videos, runway shows and voted one of the 'most beautiful' in the 90’s. She virtually disappeared in 2010 and stopped working. She now reveals she has been disfigured by a cosmetic procedure. I am not going to dispute how she feels or what has happened. I searched for an image to see for myself how unrecognizable she was. After all, she is a woman younger than myself, 56, and how disfigured could she be? What I saw of the images of Linda Evangelista now is a strikingly beautiful 56 year old woman. She still remains the envy of many people. Her story is that what she wanted in a cosmetic procedure created the opposite effect. However, by any other mortal standards, anyone with that face would be honoured to have her beauty. The tragedy is not the cosmetic procedure. The tragedy is she is known to look a certain way and SHE feels she is not the same person. To me, she is. This is what hit me most and why I wanted to talk about the 'identity crisis’ we all face. It happens when we are known for something we do, not for who we are. If you are only known for being beautiful, well, when that shifts - what happens to your self worth? That's the bigger question. Do we feel less than or perhaps shaken when the 'title' we are known for is removed and replaced? That will happen when you put all your self worth in one thing. We are so much more than: how we look what we do what we have done When you are facing retirement and the job you have always done is not what you're going to be doing any longer is there not a feeling of loss? Do questions surface, what do I do and who am I? It’s easier to describe functions of what you do…but the real gift is to give yourself permission to find out who you are. I recently read that Jim Carrey, the Canadian actor, has decided to call it quits in acting. I think it’s brave and brilliant. He says he has decided he wants to focus on family and that he feels he has done what he came to do in his acting career. My husband, Rick always says it's best to leave wanting more than to regret staying too long and being asked to leave. Interesting concept. What I love most about opening ourselves up beyond the boundaries of ‘what we do’…is we get to try on another concept of ourselves, another outfit, another challenge. We get to break the mold and change the landscape. We really are NOT what we do. It's just a piece of who we are. This is the time to embrace and have courage to explore the new possibilities that come out of the change. I believe in silver linings and that everything has a purpose. Stay with me on this...if we don’t embrace change, we will stay as is. That’s not what we are here for, we are here to move forward. Then comes the question after who are you - what can I do next? The secret sauce in all of this is how you react. Get excited! Jump in. All in. Look for the endless possibilities of WHAT NEXT? Ask yourself, what do I want?
I was listening to a podcast with Glennon Doyle and something she said clicked with me. How we often feel guilt in pursuing joy. We feel the only way to learn is from pain, but and it’s a BIG BUT - what if we allow ourselves to learn from joy? Why do we celebrate suffering…and keep picking to suffer, instead of choosing joy? Is this not a fascinating concept? Guilt-free joy! What if we give ourselves permission to do what brings us joy? And let go of the people and things that don’t. What a concept. Is that too simple? I understand we all have to work and do our things…but if we focused on guilt-free joy and self care, what would that look like? I wake up extra early to have my coffee and linger in the morning. That brings me joy. If you love to walk or swim or ride a bike…do that more. Do more of what you love and less of what you don’t. You will be happier and when you are happier you will show others how to live in joy. But here is the kicker, do it guilt free. Do it because you and I are on this earth to live in joy. I started this journey to address ageism, but as I dug deeper it became more obvious to me it's just a limb on a very big tree. If we loved ourselves completely, the negativity and insecurities we all have would repel off of us. Like a shield, they would not be able to seep into our souls and create havoc. We feel our pain and have no idea what to do with it. We try to numb it one way or another or perhaps lash out at others or just walk around wounded and hurt. I like to think there is something we can do…and I believe it starts with ‘self love’. Why do we feel uncomfortable with the thought of loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves? Why is it we have been taught that others come first and we put ourselves at the bottom of the list? We learn in kindergarten to: unselfishly take a nap when we need a rest have a snack to treat and nourish ourselves stay home when we are sick because we need to be well take a time out when we need a break and moment to calm down have shorter days so we can have time in our lives for family and rest When we grow up all of these important virtues of self love and self care get diminished and we learn to replace these core beliefs with: skipping meals because meetings and other things become more important being on call and on demand for others 24/7 never turning off our phones, even on holidays depriving ourselves of rest and praising those who only get 5 hours of sleep treating overworking and ‘doing it all’ as a badge of honour How did we learn to give up so much of ourselves? Self love and self care are the only way to make us whole. When you fill the hole, you are no longer coming from a place of lack. I wish they would have classes in school on self love. Daily practices so it would be a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth. What I love is that we are starting to talk about self love and loving ourselves for who we are. "Find out who you are and be that person. That's what your soul was put on this earth to be. Find that truth, live that truth and everything else will come.”
- Ellen DeGeneres I was driving to a store recently and saw a sign that was spray painted on someone's garage door, "BE THE CHANGE” I don’t know why, but it’s like fresh new wallpaper in my headspace. I think we all can "be the change.” We can change anything we desire and my desire is encourage myself and others to practice self love and self care. If that sounds self serving, it is…and that’s exactly the point.
More Than A Number
Did you know that actresses on the ‘Golden Girls’ were younger in age than the women in the ‘Sex and The City’ reboot, ‘And Just Like That’? The progress is all in perception, how we see things. Sophia played a 90 year old and was actually 56. Carrie Bradshaw is 56. We have come so far in what we consider an “older woman” - but let’s not stop there and let’s not get caught up in the numbers. You never know where your next inspiration is going to come from. I try to keep my eyes open. What you're looking for, is looking for you. In response to one of my posts, I had a reply from Carol who is 81, “just arrived in a new town, starting a new business, just getting started.” I’m sorry, but if that’s not inspiring, what is!? Starting a new business at 81 is AMAZINGLY inspiring! I have never met Carol but in a few words she has confirmed that if we put our minds together, share our thoughts, anything is possible. 81 and starting a new adventure! Thank you Carol - your post is now on my vision board. Let go of the numbers. When I met my husband Rick I was aware of the 12 years difference in age. I was 24 and Rick 36. I had people comment how it would be a problem later in life. When you are young, you do not consider that you’re ever going to get to that point, so I never worried. I will tell you why. I had a friend say to me, “it’s better to have quality than quantity.” I understood that immediately. I would rather have a beautiful short love story than a medium tepid long term relationship. That was the mindset going in...I never thought I would be 60. I never thought Rick would be 72. And I honestly feel more in love and more connected than when we met. I am so grateful I did not get caught up in the numbers. Life is not a numbers game. Don't count your steps every day - just walk and feel the air. You will get to 10,000 without counting. You are not valued by how many followers you have on Facebook or Instagram. You are not valued by the number on the scale or how many calories you eat. Your value in life is not determined by the amount of money in your bank account or what you think you own. Most importantly it’s not about the number of years you have lived or have left. It’s what we do that matters and we start by letting go of the numbers in our head and show each other how to live our best life. “Perhaps we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done.” - Rudy Francisco The universe is continually sending messages. Last night, I watching David Letterman’s ‘My Next Guest’ on Netflix and was riveted by his guest Howard Stern. My fascination with this hour-long talk show is just confirming what I already know, we really are all the same. We have a different outer shell perhaps, but the inside is all the same. We want love, validation and to be accepted. Howard was reflecting on his journey and career. The fascination for me was exactly what I am talking about in this blog. Howard lost much of himself and the things so close and dear to him because he became obsessed with the numbers. He had to stay on top of his game with his listeners. The number of listeners was his value and at any cost, he had to keep the numbers and ratings up. He soon became number one. But it didn’t stop there…he had to maintain it weekly again and again. His only focus was to stay at number one. Everything comes at a cost. And it cost him. His marriage, his relationships with his children. And soon, he found no joy in what he was so focused on, his radio show. He lost his way. Life’s lessons, that he now proudly says, he has nothing to prove but lives without feeling trapped by proving himself. Life’s lessons. They can come early or late in life. I think the key to all of this is for us to share these valuable lessons with each other. In doing so, we can pull the curtain back for the ones next in line and provide acceptance, forgiveness and a better understanding that we just need to show up, with nothing to prove, but a heart wide open. Numbers are not a value, or report card. They are nothing we should gauge ourselves on.
We Are Not Invisible
We are not invisible - we make that choice. The reaction I get from getting on the elevator first thing in the morning going out for my morning walk - wearing my sneakers, sweatpants, visor and sunglasses with no makeup - are very different from when I am going to work a few hours later in dress shoes, work clothes, washed hair and makeup. Completely different interactions, conversations and responses. Going for my walk I am looking for quiet and time to be alone. I exude that energy and that’s exactly the response I get. However, I turn up the visual volume when I go to work. I am ready for attention and I am louder and brighter, all by choice, because I choose to be “on”. My energy shifts. I draw the conclusion, I choose how I want to be treated. So knowing this, I question the belief that we become invisible as we age. Really? I think we choose. And it has nothing to do with age, but our own choice. I believe we have the power of being noticed or being visible if we choose. It’s also not about how we look. It’s how we feel. We make a choice every morning when we go out into the world. To shrink or stand out. Just today, moments before I was about to publish this post, I read an article from the Times of London featuring Paulina Porizkova who was during the 1980s the highest paid model in the world. I wouldn’t have immediately thought that she and I had very much in common but read what she has to say here, “We need to stand up and insist on not being invisible. I wish there were more women who left their marionette lines [which run down from the corners of the mouth] and forehead lines and crows’ feet. I wish there were more women who dared to age.” And what about Iris Apfel? She’s 100 years old and she’s still rocking it with bangles, brilliant lipstick and oversized glasses. Want more evidence that we are not alone in our refusal to fade into the background? How about the reboot of the ‘girls’ from Sex and the City now featured in And Just Like That? The new series revisits Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte - now in their 50s - to explore their now more complicated lives. They are most certainly not fading away. Here’s what I know - we are on to something and we are not alone! The question of being invisible or not being invisible after 40 all revolves around a concept that suggests we disappear into the ether slowly while losing our value and beauty every year. Really? The vibrations are getting very strong, the noise is getting louder and we’re repeating a resounding NO. We need to take a look at how we want to be perceived with each year, and how we will march forward knowing that each year is a blessing not a curse and the more years we accumulate the better life gets. As you can clearly see I, and countless others, are starting to speak up to challenge the ludicrous thinking that we have accepted. I need some back up here. No one person alone is going to get this moving in the right direction. It will take many drops in the bucket. I am convinced that the shift is on its way. Let’s change the mindset together. Ask yourself this - how do you want to be received? Our appearance doesn’t diminish, it changes, that’s all. Our voice doesn’t fade. The words become more clear and powerful. I don’t believe that the older you get the more you fade away. It’s up to us if we want to pump up the volume. My burst of positive thinking and my conviction that life is better with each year and the best is yet to come, comes from looking and finding others who crack the mold and live to be their truest and most authentic selves. We can choose to fade away or we can choose not to. You can be anything you choose. Just please don’t say you're invisible unless you want to be.
Is 120 The New 90?
There are those moments in ones life, when in a heartbeat, everything changes. A few months ago, I had a brush with one of those moments, and it really reset my focus on life. Having dinner with friends in our dining room, I look out the window and see an orange ball of light. Within seconds of noticing that light, we hear a furious pounding on our front door. “Get out, the house is on fire.” Rick grabs Sam, our cat, and we run out the door. Our house was not on fire, but our neighbours home was engulfed in flames. We stand helplessly watching and waiting to see if the trees attached to our property and theirs would also catch fire and take our home down as well. 3 hours of watching embers fly. Waiting to see our fate. With grace and prayer, we were lucky to be safe, home intact with no damage. Our neighbours new build was burnt to the ground, but no lives lost. The next day I was still shaken and left with a strong reflection of how when I went back to our cottage, I had no impulse to take or save anything. I had everything precious and of value to me, Rick and my dear Sam. These are all that mattered. Life throws us these moments, the moments you can not control and when you just have to surrender to what will be. It’s the ability to adapt that we all have in common. To survive is in our DNA. What we focus on is our superpower. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t. How would that change your day to day life? What if you found out you were going to live to be 100 or that you really have another 50 years? I believe it’s all in how we look at things. What we focus on. We all have a choice on how we interpret things that happen to us. In therapy I learned, it’s not WHAT happens to you it’s HOW you react. It means you have a choice on how you handle what is thrown your way. That expression changed my life and how I live it. My doctor recently told me she has patients who handle a cancer diagnosis with a positive attitude. She also sees perfectly healthy patients who deal with life’s daily dilemmas with unwell attitudes. It is all our choice and that choice is our power! Steve Harvey spoke about a mind shift where you simply change a few words in your vocabulary. Change ‘have to’ to ‘get to’. I get to go to work. I get to go exercise. Say that the next time you're on the treadmill. What if you turned your thoughts to thinking that you have the next 50 years ahead of you? What if we all assumed we would live to 100? It’s perfectly realistic. The likelihood of living longer is a fact. What if you start that project you only dreamed about? Maybe you think you’re too old so you decide to ditch it. If you knew you had another 50 years would you reconsider? The 16 year old who has the same dream of starting a new adventure is going to take your idea, because she doesn’t think she will run out of time and by the time she is 25 she will be on her way to being a success. If you don’t ask, you will not receive. It’s a matter of rewiring and rewriting the script, without the timelines. I am trying to lead my life with ‘what if’ in a positive light. What if I live to 120? Well, I better choose wisely in selecting what will help take me there. What if I keep working and not retire...who says we have to stop? Maybe we just need to change what we do to remain stimulated and satisfied. What if I surround myself with like-minded people and let go of the not so positive thinkers? What if I make daily intentions that help me ‘rewire’ my thoughts? What if I choose to look at all the silver linings in things that don't go as planned? ‘What ifs’ allow the world of possibility to present itself. Would you want any 16 year old to jump ahead of you in line? We still have time and more importantly the confidence and wisdom to do what we please. Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t.
The best gifts given. Reflection, gratitude and humanity.
I have had some really deep heartfelt conversations with people close to me recently. Some stopped me in my tracks. More on this in a moment. When I started writing this blog almost a year ago, it came from a deep rooted desire to figure out a few things for myself and find like minds to explore how to embrace the next chapter in life, how to be more inclusive and break down some stereotypes. Perhaps finally accepting that the beauty in all things is being different. Not conforming to expectations. A big agenda perhaps but it certainly struck a chord with many. Recently, I was asked if I had seen Madonna on Jimmy Kimmel and what did I think. Madonna is the same age(ish) as me. I always thought she embodied a woman of strength and confidence. She talks with strength and has never seemed to care what others thought and dances to her own beat. I did what anyone would do and googled Madonna on Kimmel. I was humbled when I saw her image. The fact is, even Madonna cares what we think. Who knew, like the rest of us, we struggle with what time looks like on our bodies and face. Yes, even Madonna is trying to adjust her appearance and it’s not that it matters at all. It is just a point to say, we are all vulnerable to wanting to fit in. To be accepted. It makes us all human and really truly wanting the same thing, to be loved. I bring this up in December, when we usually are busy seeing each other, I try to take time to reflect on life. What I see is that we really are all more the same than we are different. Which brings me to the conversation I had. I was told, “when I see you happy, it just makes me aware of how I am not.” My heart ached. The intention of sharing my happiness and not shrinking to fit in, is to open doors to share the good. To show by example. As Helen Keller wrote, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.” I have said all along, I am looking for role models. How to live a life well lived. I just watched an emotional speech given by Jim Carrey. He spoke of his father and the lesson he learned growing up. His father could have been a comedian, but gave up his dream to take a safe and secure job. When Jim was 12, his father lost his job and later his family became homeless. Jim said he learned then that you can fail at what you don't love, so you may as well take a chance at doing what you love. Denzel Washington just gave a speech, “When you fall down seven times, get up eight.” If you don’t fail, you won’t succeed. There is a reason all these quotes are so popular. I will leave you with my latest favourite quote. It serves me well for this month of reflection and giving gratitude. “Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t.“ Let’s take this time now to be there for each other. Lift each other up if we can. We all have our moments and times of not feeling shiny and new, but I know if we have just one person in our corner, the edges don't see as sharp. Love and gratitude Xo Vita
Nothing happens until YOU decide
Nothing happens until YOU decide. Repeat. I am just re-reading something I wrote years ago. Perhaps you have also read “The Secret.” It really is about the power of manifesting. That what you think, you become. So if you are going to dream, dream BIG! What you ask for is what you get, so be careful what you ask for. I am simplifying it, but that is what I walked away thinking to be true. Reflecting on the last year’s events, I am convinced that I manifested exactly what I wanted and I wanted to share my story with you. I also have a tool and practice for you to try on your own - so read on for more! I started my “passion project” when COVID-19 lockdown hit in March 2020. The world was taking a deep breath and for some reason I thought I had some new found time to start off on my own path, with a fire in my belly, to see if I could uncover what I was searching for. I did not and still do not have a clear picture, but I decided to jump. Head first. In the deep end. All in. With a website, Instagram and Facebook to get a conversation going with like-minded women of all stages and walks of life. Women approaching 45+ who wanted to discuss what that stage of life looks like and what new role models we can uncover to get some much needed excitement in maturing, not “aging” - read this blog if you haven’t already! Well, well, well …. I didn’t know then that what I was looking for, was looking for me. Manifesting, if you believe in something or want something, you maneuver your thoughts to make it happen. Once you decide what you want, “unforeseen forces will come to your rescue.” But you have to decide. I had a secret. When I was 20 I had wanted to be a model. I only told one person. I went to an agency and was told, “too short, not thin enough, not the right look. NEXT.” I walked away thinking, ‘they are right.” The dream stopped there. I tucked it away and created another dream. But as life would have it, my desire returned by accident, or perhaps not! I manifested my dream again, this time my 59 year old self said, “Hell no, go for it. Life is too short. Do what you want.” And ta-dah - it happened! I was in my favourite clothing store, Cora Couture in Collingwood. I started a conversation with a like-minded woman, the owner, and we had so much in common. During one of our chats she asked if I would model a few outfits for a photoshoot. My jaw dropped and I said, “YES, YES, YES.” One thing led to another and I am excited that I was part of the Collingwood Fashion Week line up. This is a dream becoming my reality. This is my play time. I put it out in the universe and I asked for it - another chance to do something I always wanted to do. Play dress up and not take myself too seriously. This is the gift of each day. Do you have a secret dream or desire but somewhere along the way abandoned your passion? Did someone tell you that you can’t? I am here to say, please revisit your dream, your hopes, what you love to do. Do not let someone or something stand in your way. When you feel the tap-tap-tap on your shoulder, that is your inner voice speaking. Sit with yourself and listen. It’s never too late!!! Next stop …. ZOOMER Magazine! Now, something for you to try on your own. Place your hand gently over your heart and repeat an affirmation, something that you are working towards and want in your life such as, “I am willing to do what I love.” Repeat this affirmation and practice. Harvest and nurture your energy and actions towards this goal. Nothing happens until YOU decide. Make it happen. Love and gratitude Xo Vita
We are all role models
I had the most incredible honour in July. I had an opportunity to speak with an inspiration of mine, Ann Rohmer. A television personality, with a career and accolades one can only dream of. I have said many times, “What you are looking for, is looking for you!” I had dinner with someone, who knew someone and a connection was made. I had an interview scheduled the next day. “There are no accidents, only accidents on purpose.” My conversation with Ann Rohmer had purpose. Coincidence? I think not. All of life’s experiences are stepping stones to the present. What was I going to talk about? What would be the purpose of this interview? What is the reason for the blogs, the Instagram posts and Facebook? I believe this is the start of a movement I am committed to. I shared with Ann my experience 15 years ago. I was 45 and at a crossroad in my life. I knew I was entering a new phase, a next chapter in my life. My parents had passed, my career was intact but I was still searching for purpose and deeper meaning. Was I alone? I was seeking a glimpse of what the future might look like as a maturing woman. This is where I ran into the fork in the road. I could not find any role models that gave me a glimmer of hope to what may lie ahead. I had Oprah Winfrey, who is my hero, but images of strong, independent confident women, living full lives who were comfortable in their skin were few. I was and still am, looking for role models to kickstart the movement of embracing life at any stage. Something to help encourage me to live big dreams fearlessly. Like minds to embrace our differences and rally together to celebrate our age, our wisdom, our positive thoughts and explore what is ahead without fear. So, my quest began and it continues. It was then, that I was given a Zoomer magazine with an image of Maye Musk. I believe she was 57. She was vibrant and strong with gorgeous silver hair. From what I saw, not a filler or plumper to be seen. A powerful mature woman who would, in that moment, become my role model. Maye made a statement and cracked the mold. The impact Maye had on my psyche was incredible. She removed any fear or question I had about maturing. I saw what I could be, and more importantly, what I wanted to be moving forward. Capable, independent and able to live a full life. So, if one image could change my life, assuring me life can get better with each year, and what we gain with wisdom and knowledge more than makes up for a line or two. It’s all how we look at it. How we see ourselves and others is powerful. I want to be a role model, but more so, I want to get the word out that WE ARE ALL ROLE MODELS to each other. It is our privilege to share with each other our stories and our thoughts about how to make major life events easier for those who follow. When we learn to accept our bodies (not the photoshopped version) and carry ourselves with pride and confidence it creates a model for others to follow. When we show each other how to love ourselves first we pass the importance of self-love to generations to come. We pay it forward. We are each others’ role models. When I saw Maye Musk’s image 15 years ago it was my new beginning. I want that for all of us. Love and gratitude Xo Vita
Anti-aging stops here. Words are powerful.
I need your help and it has to do with the power of words. We need to use and choose them wisely. I am creating a culture shift in our workplace to abolish the negative words that have been common place until now. Anti-aging, growing old, getting old. It is actually coming from you, my friends. You are telling me and guiding me to the conclusion that we need to stop complaining about the “getting older issue.” Count your blessings that we are here, in this moment right here, right now. Welcome each day we are given. We have to change the culture and marketing of growing old. Perhaps just growing. We can change the dialogue and I am starting right now with baby steps. I think it will have a profound effect on the people we work with and our customers. I want to change the conversation in our workplace. Four years ago, we had a lipliner called Indian Red. Today I cringe that it was ever considered politically correct, but the world has thankfully changed to encourage us to look through a wider lens. This lipliner is now called Flame. All our product names are being revisited to make sure the words used will represent the positive images we wish to encourage and portray. Our images on our campaigns have always been inclusive, all ages, genders and skin tones. We have been doing this since we began in 1987 and we will continue to expand and explore new territory. Here is where you come in. I have this skin care moisturizer. It needs a new name. Currently it’s called “Anti-aging” moisturizer. It suggests you can stop the aging process if you use this cream. That’s not true. Yes, it’s a gorgeous cream that contains ingredients that will do your skin good but I want to change the conversation. Please send me some names you want us to consider for the moisturizer formerly known as: Anti-aging. If we pick your name, I will send you some product for your effort. Now to the bigger picture. I want to encourage only positive images of every day. We are not old or aging. We are nurturing and whole. We are stepping into our power. We are following our internal North Star. I was reading something this morning that really speaks to me. "What you see every day becomes your reality.” If we are constantly seeing images of strong, vibrant, powerful women than that's who and what we aspire to become. The flip side is if all we see and hear is mature, frail, women presented in a diminished capacity and that growing up is not to be embraced and something we are excited about, then that is also what we become. Let us say what we mean. Use our words to encourage powerful strong images to propel us forward. Love and gratitude Xo Vita
Age-appropriate boundaries? No thanks.
I remember this moment in 1994 like it was yesterday. I am in my favourite clothing store where I’d been shopping since I was 16. I entered the change room armed with a few exciting new pieces to try on for the coming summer season. I am feeling a slight shift in the store atmosphere. The music is louder. I no longer recognize the songs. I think it's rap music, what happened to The Rolling Stones? I tried on a few skirts and wonder - did they get shorter or is it my comfort level that is no longer feeling this short-short look anymore? The sales clerk is younger than me. I was always the youngest in the store but no more. I am 32 and feeling like I am a totally different generation. I had an a-ha moment and not a “yippee” a-ha. It was an “oh no”! At the ripe age of 32, I was no longer feeling young enough to be buying my clothes at this store. Was it the store that changed or was it me? And so, my first experience, of what I think is termed, “age appropriate.” Here is the funny thing. Now, at almost 60, I reflect and think what a ridiculous thought. WHY? Because I now know that there is no such thing. Like everything else in life, it is really up to you to choose if anything is appropriate. If you feel good and your heart is in the right place then I say, have at it. Today if I want to wear that short-short look I will, but only if I feel good about it. Thankfully, I have moved into a place that comfort and style are far more important. I have had many encounters with trying to do a trend or style that perhaps were not in my best interest. Case in point. In my 20s and 30s I had fun dressing for pleasure and trying to find my sense of style. We want to be different but we want to fit in as well. In reflection, I now see if we don’t know ourselves well enough, we allow others to dictate how we do things. This can be a slippery slope. I did not have the money or interest in designer labels. It was not even on my radar. Then it happened. In the mid-‘80s the trends demanded a logo on your purse. If you were someone, you had to claim the status of a $1,000 purse! I didn’t have the money so I was OK with not participating in this trend until I became friends with someone who did. In her culture, status demanded ownership of a Gucci, Chanel or Louis Vuitton purse. I had my $25 animal print bag and I loved it until I allowed myself to feel shame. I ditched my $25 purse and went out and on credit got myself a designer bag. Yes, it was fun, until it wasn’t. I was doing this for all the wrong reasons – attempting to get external validation through the display of merchandise! It may sound like I have an issue with designer labels. I don’t but isn’t it a little odd that in the clothing arena, we feel the need to pay inflated prices for pieces of clothing that are designed mostly by slightly overweight men who don’t have the bodies they design for? The designs are created for size 4-6 women. Recently, I learned another important lesson when I was out for dinner with friends. When I pulled my ‘dollar’ readers out to read the menu, I heard “Vita! Really! You can’t wear those.” Now my 60-year-old self said, “Oh yes, I can!” I felt no shame. In fact, I was proud that for one dollar I could own 25 pairs and have one in every purse and room. I purchase items because I like the style or shape or because they speak to me. If I like it - I buy it. Not to impress but because I like it. Listen, we all have growing up stories and I would love to hear yours. So, to put a ribbon on this age-appropriate thing - I believe there is no such thing. Please let’s start to break down these false rules of what to do and what is acceptable. Allow ourselves freedom to be who we are meant to be. Different from each other is good. If we can learn to embrace each other for who we are it’s a step in the right direction. If you want to wear short shorts, please do so. If Doc Martens are your thing, go for it. “A woman who feels good about herself is invincible. On a good day, when you feel it’s all working it’s like - get out of my way because it’s going to happen today. I feel great.” - Norma Kamali Love and gratitude Xo Vita
Letting go of the need for approval
I was at a virtual funeral recently. I did not know the woman who passed, but I am close to her daughter. COVID meant that even the virtual turnout was small but size did not take away how powerful it was or the impact it had on me. I did not know what she looked like other than one picture on the mantel. However, the picture in my mind from the description of the details of the life she led are etched in my mind. I did not care if she wore beautiful clothes or followed the latest trends. If this mom wore lipstick everyday or coloured her hair. Did she drive a new car or take the bus? Did she go to college or university? These things did not matter. What I did learn was this woman loved her children more than anything. She loved her home, it was her safe place. She loved to dance. She was married 64 years to a man who loved her back. They knew what was important in life and shared great meals with grandchildren who all spoke at her funeral with such love and grace. My eyes were teary throughout. This woman left a legacy and taught the closest people in her life that all that finally matters is unconditional love. I left the funeral wishing I had met her. I do though feel grateful to have been there to reconfirm that her legacy is in her daughter and son and grandchildren. I thank Norma who lived life on her own terms, who danced to her own song, who spent a lifetime loving and being true to her self. It was her funeral I attended. It is never too late to readjust our thinking or our view on things. As I reflected I again wondered about why we care about what others think? The answer may very well be the key to complete freedom to live our lives without regret. When we don’t seek the approval of others we are at our most powerful. Whether you call it approval or validation it doesn’t really matter. I think we give our power away when we are overly concerned about what someone might think when in actual fact they are not thinking about us at all. Eleanor Roosevelt, among others, said, “You would be surprised at how little people really think of you.” A powerful thought. I would love to pave the way to a place where the most important question is - Am I good with this? If the answer is yes, then that is all we need. We do not need the approval of others. As always, I wonder what your thoughts are. How do you approach letting go of relying upon the approval of others as you make life choices? Love and gratitude Xo Vita
Be seen and heard
Do you hear me? Do you see me? Does what I say matter? Oprah once said, that in all her interviews the common thread was that all each of us really want and need is to be heard, seen and validated. When I started writing these blogs, my desire was to have a conversation with you. I wanted to share some honest storytelling and possibly undo a lifetime of conditioning so entrenched in our core that it no longer makes sense. Let’s get the conversation started so we can all be seen and heard. More to come about this at the end of the post. I once thought that when I retired, I could do the things I really wanted to do. That thought came from a lifetime of hearing exactly that. The false promise of ‘Freedom 55’ was spoken everywhere. How crazy a thought. I now know that you should always do the things you want to do when you want to do them. There is no waiting until anything and the best news is the passion does not stop as we get older. It should be ramping up. Five years ago, I heard this unsettling noise in my soul. I was looking for role models to kickstart the movement of embracing life at any stage. Something to help encourage me to live big dreams fearlessly. Like minds, to embrace our differences, and rally together to celebrate our age, our wisdom, our positive thoughts and explore what is ahead without fear. I could find a few strong women – Oprah, Marianne Williamson and Ariana Huffington. They were far and few. Now, today, we are no longer in hiding. Social media is flooded with powerful strong minds encouraging us to look forward. It’s not the hundreds of posts encouraging you to stop colouring your hair or to embrace fine lines or the five makeup tips for mature women. We are more than that. So much more. One of the silver linings of the pandemic is we all have had some time to be still and do some soul searching. It’s like a vibration on a musical instrument that you can hear and feel. It’s the movement I feel in my core and I speak about – to show by example that collectively we can help each other be seen and be heard. So how do we do this? You don’t fade away, you show up. You do what is right for you, rather than conforming. Know you will be loved without judgement. It is about self love. It is about self care. It is about getting to know yourself. It is about knowing your value. It is about all the things that matter, while letting go of what doesn’t and the wisdom to know the difference. And, celebrate what you do for you. I’ve been so moved and honoured by the many hundreds of comments you have shared with me about aging gracefully, not quietly. Stories about what inner beauty means to you, how to thrive no matter what age and how to create a powerful attitude as you move forward. Your comments have not only inspired me but each of us to live life fully each day and not have our lives dictated by a timeline or a ticking clock. Speaking of sharing, here’s some exciting news. We are planning a community forum on my site and when the time comes, you will receive a special invitation to join and share your stories and experiences. Until then keep showing up, being seen and keep creating a space for others to share. We all need kindness now more than ever. Love and gratitude Xo Vita