Being 80: by Bernice Gottlieb
Like most women, I enjoy exploring tips about improving my physical appearance. For me, it has to do with keeping attractive as a woman of a certain age – which brings me to a gripe I can’t be silent about any longer.
Just this morning, I was at Barnes and Noble, when yet another of the beauty magazines exclaimed – How to have great skin in your forties, your fifties and even into your sixties!
Hello! What about the population of women in their seventies or older? The pundits tell us we are living longer – so, don’t we count? Are we so far off the charts that we don’t qualify for attention? It seems logical that we should benefit even more than our younger compatriots from studied advice or new cosmetic developments. We are also the population most likely to spend more on pricey creams and cosmetics than the younger set.
The cosmetic companies surely know this, yet they pander to youth while insulting many mothers and grandmothers who are more than willing to try their products, if only they were proffered to them. The way they look at it is they will have the younger buyers for a longer period of time and they classify us as sexless, elderly women on our way out. Well, guess again!
My contemporaries dress stylishly, move in interesting circles, travel and entertain often – perhaps this validates the “eighty is the new sixty” theory?
I have always been on a soapbox declaring my belief in the dignity of natural aging, but frankly this philosophy is only skin deep (no pun intended) because I personally have been blessed with few wrinkles and might feel differently if I hadn’t been endowed with my mother’s genes. The fact is, today there are non-invasive products to help make skin vibrant and youthful looking again – so, why not address this information to women past sixty! To quote Dr. Seuss – the alphabet shouldn’t stop at Z. (His book, On Beyond Zebra, says it all.)
Being eighty is an enviable time if one is healthy and active. I am still working as a Realtor, but less frenetically, and I finally understand what it means to stop and smell the roses. I have been a widow for eight years, and at the time of my husband’s passing had been married for fifty-four years.
He was an exciting man to be married to, creative, charming and courageous. A hard act to follow. However, I am not at all lonely. There’s an attractive, slightly younger man in my life whose companionship I cherish, and he is a blessing for which I am grateful.
I am also enjoying a sense of freedom I could never have imagined. I did this by downsizing and renting instead, and I have also sold my company to a group of five extraordinary women, lessening my daily responsibilities. I feel like a liberated woman, coming and going as I wish. What a great feeling it is!
In my spare time I started writing non-fiction and published my first book four years ago. My second book was released two years ago – no best sellers here – just some life experiences to share with others.
My third book is fiction, a racy novel about the real estate industry. It should hopefully be finished by the end of this year. You’ll love it!
The bottom line is – I refuse to be ignored because I am eighty! I am not invisible. I don’t want to be considered “over the hill” because I am a grandmother.
I want to be appreciated – for the attractive, vital, energetic and sexy gal I still am!
Don’t be so hasty to count me or my sisters out – you’d be missing the boat!
*Originally published in the River Journal, April 23, 2015