I am honoured and thrilled to be a contributor to ChangingAging™, a multi-blog platform challenging conventional views on aging. The ChangingAging Blogstream uses social media tools to help those of us who believe in a better old age communicate our message to audiences who are important to us.
I’m a dedicated advocate of older women and men in our world and I’m an advocate of changing the image our world has of these men and women. These people are not throw-away; they have so much to add to our knowledge, our perceptions and our happiness. They cannot be dismissed or tucked away in a retirement residence or nursing home. They need to be revered and placed at the top of our value scale.
A colleague of mine, Angela Gentile, a Geriatric Mental Health Clinician at Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, has put together a video, “Old Love, Young at Heart,” about older women and men in love, showing their sensuousness, their physical contact, their tactile relationships:
I want this kind of love when I grow older. Don’t we all?
Angela has created a second video, “Beautiful Older Women of the World,” also on YouTube:
And I want this peace with myself that these women have when I grow older. Don’t we all?
Old at Love is about, well, how we love as older women. Beautiful Older Women is about how we love ourselves. Our inner beauty shines through even when we’re on our own without a partner. Now, after these two videos, when I say that beauty is inside a woman, I know I’m on the right track.
Our beauty changes, but it never goes away, it goes inside of us. Love changes, but it grows into an incredible intimacy that the world can see in Old at Love. The women and men there are so in sync with each other and they’re so enjoying it that it jumps out of each picture and breaks any preconceived images that I may have had about older people and intimacy. Are some of the pictures posed? Of course, but what’s not posed is the feeling, the warmth, the love they have for each other. They are one entity together, parts of each other.
When you look at the faces of the men and women in the first video, Old at Love, you’ll see, as I see, love and happiness that we can only know after a lifetime of searching or experiencing. This mindset, approach to aging has to be the norm for everyone younger than these fantastic couples.
And the faces of those older women, Beautiful Older Women of the World, – each line is one story of her life perhaps, an experience that has brought her to now, today. This is what real beauty is, not something artificial that we promote as beauty when we’re younger.
We need to change the way we perceive aging and think about the final stage of our life. It’s the final reward for having experienced so much of life. Aging gives us the comfort with ourselves and with others, to smile, feel warm, about all we see in those younger than we are.
What I see in my world is that there are a number of women, a fairly large number, who realize that aging, being an older woman, is one of the finest parts of our lives. I’m 68 now and aside from when my daughters were little, I know that this is the best stage of my life so far.
We have more sense of play, more confidence to enjoy laughing and even looking goofy, more confidence to show everyone, including but not limited to, our partners.
The bonus of wisdom and appreciation that all life has to give, comes right now with an acceptance that aging is not just good, but also the epitome of the accumulation of life. Aging, being older, is the payback of life.
If we can pass this gift on to our children, I think we’ll be making the first step in reducing and maybe even eliminating ageism. I think we’ll be starting a movement, an advocacy, a fan club, for older men women and their beauty.
We need to continuously attempt to revere the older women and men in our own circles. We need to change the face of aging.
©Marcia Barhydt, 2013