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This week an email in my inbox was titled, “3 Ways I’ve Improved My Aging Skin.” The copy went on to say, “Now that I’m officially in my mid-30s… I’ve been focusing on ways to feel more confident about my skin and bring youth back into it.“ Seriously? You’re calling that your aging skin? I’m in my late 60’s and gravity’s been right beside me—unaided—but I’m thinking I look good for all I’ve endured. What’s more… I’m happy to still be standing.

Who are these young women who are obsessed with eating “water-heavy foods” and being the “right bottle away from perfect skin?” 

I want to sit NOT ALL, BUT SOME millennial women down and say, “If you think that’s bad, wait until you run out of estrogen and lose the fat pads on the bottom of your feet… No one told you about that one, did they? There will come a time when you’ll say goodbye to your stilettos and for a while, your closet will become a grieving alter to Jimmy Choo. Then you’ll get over yourself because wincing in pain to the car and back in your “sit and sip” shoes is more than you can bear. That’s when you’ll call Goodwill and replace your boxes of “aren’t they fierce” with more foot-friendly shoes.”

I will agree though… Aging is rude beyond belief, but trying not to sound trite… It’s what’s on the inside that’s going to see you through the dark days when you decide the Kardashian’s were the wrong women to give beauty advice. By then, let’s hope you don’t windup looking like caricatures of yourselves or like you belong on Mount Rushmore.

A few years ago at South by Southwest (SXSW) the executive vice president of Lululemon told me “women over 45 are no longer relevant.” When I asked her when was the last time she’d looked at Lululemon’s homepage–because it featured a photo of a yoga class where three-fourths of the women had grey hair–she just glared at me and walked away. 

Photo of me–second from the left–and some girlfriends at our 50th high school reunion last year. That makes us 67-years-old in this photo. We are an accomplished group. One of the women in this photo was a big cheese, working for Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve and now travels the world and another has her own Dallas, graphic design firm.

Not relevant? Ha! We are the women whose boyfriends and husbands died in Vietnam, and our sons were killed or injured in the Middle East. We’re the women who battle breast cancer, sit on the Supreme Court and deliver your babies. And when we reach 65, we don’t retire. We reinvent ourselves and step outside our comfort zone and show you another side of the woman you’re going to become.

We’re brimming with confidence because we’ve lived some of what you’re going through, and we’ve made it to the other side. And it’s not easy! So the next time you see a woman over 50, 60 or 70 walk by, don’t ignore her like she’s invisible. Put out your hand and say, “Thank you for stepping-up, for going before us and re-writing the rules on aging. I want to be like you when I’m your age!”

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Hi Girlfriends,

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70 thoughts on “DEAR 20 AND 30-SOMETHING WOMEN”

  1. Brenda, what a necessary article, told with straight forward honesty and the dry and sassy wit of Irma Bombeck, whom unfortunately twenty and thirty somethings have never heard of and do not know.
    When I was in my twenties and thirties, I did not concern myself with aging…I was too busy living, finishing school and starting a family. They would be correct in thinking about experiencing a healthy active life…eat well, exercise, and not too much sun. If only they were more concerned with acquiring knowledge — read more, travel, support a humanitarian, environmental or animal organization and participate in the political process. And I am sure that many do…
    Watching makeup tutorials, is a temporary fixative, they will not be fortifying when the collagen and skin elasticity diminishes.
    Too much emphasis on beauty and youth undercuts the beauty of life and it sets up a higher threshold and barrier to maintain and hurdle. Twenty and thirty somethings set new values and goals.
    Brenda, I feel like you, I lived a life that was saddened by losses and disappointments, but also enriching and joyous. I am appreciative and grateful for my sixty eight years and plan to enjoy it with curiosity. I have added more moisturizer, hyaluronic serum, retinol, vitamin c, niacinamide, etc., to my evening bedtime schedule.

    • Thanks for your well-thought out comment. We certainly are different from the Millennials, but then I imagine every generation has significant differences… just not any this great that I can remember. Since I fear I’m allergic to Botox, I have the face I’ve earned, but like you, I’ve beefed up my evening creams. While I’ve noticed significant aging in the last year, I’m ignoring it and am grateful to be here. xoxox, Brenda

  2. This is all so true Brenda (and my goodness woman!! Fighter pilot at well??!!) I do feel so sorry for these young women who are so caught up in their physical appearance, who compare themselves to air-brushed, filtered, IG curated role models and want to be just like them. I’m just glad I grew up in a time where you were allowed to choose wear some moisturizer and a clean face, and get on with life – not counting every kilojoule, spending an hour on your hair and makeup before leaving the house, and constantly comparing and falling short. It’s a miserable way to live and I don’t envy them for a moment – I actually feel sorry for their need to have fat lips and motionless faces (do you notice they are all starting to look the same?) – it’s a horrible way to live.

    • Leanne, You’re right: It must be such pressure for these young women to measure up to the images they see on social media. I’d be interested to read a truthful interview with some of them They do look alike… almost like another species, and with the same hat and ripped jeans… They look like clones. I wasn’t a fighter pilot… but a journalist, flying in the backseat of an Air Force fighter jet. I went through my “rivets” phase where I was also the first journalist to drive and fire the Army’s M-1 tank, land on an aircraft carrier, plus I was on part of the maiden voyage of the USS Dallas nuclear submarine. All so fun! Thanks for your thoughts, Brenda

  3. Excellent article Brenda! Lululemon wasn’t around when I was under 45 but I couldn’t afford it then because my money was going for private school tuition, braces, etc. Now, at 66, I “relevantly”work out 5-6 days a week in my Lululemon!

  4. Greetings from “fourth from the left” in your reunion picture. I always enjoy reading about your adventures and ruminations, but this was quite the surprise with the morning tea. I like your photo better than the ones I got from the reunion so I’m doing a little drag and drop for my files. Too bad you had to leave early, we had a great time that evening. I’ll try to find you next time I’m in SA so we can solve other world problems.

    • Hi Lynda!! So happy to see you here… in more ways than one! I’m happy to know you read my blog, so thank you! Please do let me know when you’ll be here, again. I’d love to see you, Brenda

    • I enjoyed your post Laura and left you a comment. If we’re lucky, we continue to grow and strengthen… and forgive ourselves. I agree with you on that. Thank you! Brenda

  5. The Lululemon executive isn’t very bright, number one: the numbers support the older demographic have more money to spend. And number two: the customer is ALWAYS right, is what you are taught when you work retail. Number three: common sense and manners as an executive, would teach you to keep your personal thoughts to yourself. Selling product is selling product. I am a personal Trainer age 67, And could be their customer/ representative, but their professional discount wasn’t as good as other places, in the end I chose Nordstrom, who stands behind their products. Thanks, for the article.

    • Eileen, I’ve been approaching young, Millennial women about a project I’m working on, and I’ve only found a couple who are even polite. They don’t care how much money we have. We’re dinosaurs to them. Totally uninterested. I wish I felt I could share their titles and their brands. Happy to hear you chose Nordstrom’s! Good decision. Thanks so much for your input, Brenda

    • Hi Lynda, I’m glad your voice is out there as well. Some of the brands hear us, but they’re in the minority. Let’s continue to broadcast our message and support one another. Thanks so much, Brenda

  6. Looking fabulous at age 68, forging new digital pathways, seeking new challenges, and otherwise leading by example… is the best revenge.
    Well said, my very relevant friend. xo

  7. EXCELLENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Dear Contessa, Even though Lululemon’s Exec VP of Mkting told me we’re no longer relevant… Would you believe last month I went in their store, looking for workout pants? I SWORE I’D NEVER GO BACK, but when I couldn’t find what I wanted anyplace else… Rude was not the word at their store in the Quarry in San Antonio. Repeatedly rude, during the same visit. Even if I have to wear a dress to workout in, I WILL NEVER RETURN TO ANY LULULEMON. I would love the opportunity to tell my story to the new CEO–as of last week–of Lululemon. They’ve been a mess for a long time. Remember the thin fabric they used that showed the crack in our butts? Thank you, my darling! Can’t wait to hear about your trip! xoxox, Brenda

  8. Amen, sister! Preach! You’re so right! It’s really sad to see the focus of some millennials. Such a sad loss.

    • It’s a loss for them and us. We didn’t feel this way about women who were/are older than we are. Yes, I imagine a lot of young people have always thought their elders were old foggies, but we were respectful and polite. I’m alarmed at how many Millennials I talk with who don’t have phone manners and their telephone voice is flat… That’s weird. They don’t communicate person to person enough. Thanks, Beckye! xoxox, Brenda

  9. I LOVE this, Brenda!
    Years ago, my elder sister and I converged on our dad for a lovely weekend visit. She had a small suitcase beside her feet. She pointed to it and very proudly said, “That’s all I’ve brought for clothes this weekend!” A short distance away was another suitcase, roughly twice the size of the first. I pointed to it and asked, “What’s that?”
    “Oh, that’s just my skin products.” Later, in our shared room, she lined them up on the large bathroom cupboard. 40 different bottles. 40! You have to know that my sister and I really do have the same parents. And, oddly enough, look very much alike. But I have one skin product: Vaseline lotion. I don’t use any cleanser and just smear on lotion after a shower. I figure, be clean. Be comfortable. And be your self. Slap on a smile, go out there and do the things that grab your attention. You’ve got this, girl!

    • Funny, sad, poignant all rolled into one, Diane. Boomers have been the “youth” of the country for 50-60+ years, and with brands no longer catering to us, and being rudely dismissed by a generation and our facial muscles falling down around our knees… It’s hard getting older. So many of us are disappointed and feeling depressed and desperate. I read somewhere we appear seven years younger in our own mirrors, and I believe it. I think my face and jowls are doing A-OK until I go to a store and see myself in their mirrors, and then I’m sad… Like Nora Ephron… I feel bad about my neck, but if that’s the least of my problems… Yes, I’ve got this, girl! Thank you for sharing and making me smile, Brenda

  10. Brenda, I’ve never left a comment on any blog before but must now. BRAVO! Your comments are spot on and so very valuable to any young woman who would take the time to read, reflect and digest. Look forward to each blog installment ☺️

    • You’re so right about earning them all. I’ve even named a couple of sags and wrinkles because I know exactly what caused them. Am I the only one who does that? Maybe I’ll share those in a future post. Thanks, again, Brenda

  11. Hello Brenda
    I found you here, and am delighted I did, just subscribed!
    I am the Debra that the Contessa will be joining, what fun we will have. Write to me, I will forward on much more information.

    Is that why heels hurt, I LOST my fat pads, and found fat pads elsewhere?!?!? Certainly not fair! love your outlook Brenda

    • Hello Debra! I know who you are! Thanks for touching base. I’ll be thinking of you and the Contessa in England in those glorious gardens. I will email you so you can send me some info. Thank you! Yes, as we age, we lose the fat pads on the bottom of our feet. I look at prominent women over 50… 60… like Anna Wintour and Sarah Jessica Parker (who has her own shoe line) and wonder how they’re still wearing heels? Perhaps they’re having Botox injections in their feet. That’s a popular thing, that and Botox to keep you from sweating under your arms and prevent migraines and of course to get rid of the dreaded marionette lines, 11 marks between the forehead and tighten the throat and lift the brows. Who knows what the cumulative effect of so much prolonged deadly toxin is? Have a grand trip, Brenda

  12. Does the word narcissistic apply here anywhere? That’s all I see/hear now. Selfies and “me.” Thanks, Brenda. Wonderfully appropriate post. So perfectly said, along with the great comments. Lots of depth in these remarks.

    • I hadn’t considered that word, Melmi, but you’re right. And if we think about it, how can they be anything else when their world is focused on their social media accounts and how they look? How have we raised such a generation? Great comment!! Thank you! Brenda

  13. Our culture’s obsession with appearance and youth is so immature! When will we realize that we are like grapes. The more we wrinkle and shrink and dry out, the sweeter we become. I’m off to eat some Raisin Bran in solidarity now. Keep fighting, Sister!

    • Mithra, I love your analogy. In that case, the women I know are a very good year. We’re balanced and spicy, yet with a smooth finish. Onward until each one of us are lauded as a great year! xoxo, Brenda

    • Carolyn, I’m over the moon to know you’re finding a new path for this time in your life! Seize it by the handfuls. Dance, sing and let your light shine on these young women who “don’t get it.” Thanks for inspiring me today, Brenda

    • HI Jacqueline, I looked at your website. Without knowing the specifics I already know you’ve conquered the unimaginable and are reaching out to help other women and show them how to dance on tabletops. I’m with you! That’s why I’m here as well. Thank you for your awesome comment. Stay healthy and love well. Have a great day, Brenda

  14. Yes indeed. I am 83 and at the age of 40 entered a PhD program and became a research scientist. I still work at that and am exceedingly happy with that career choice. Why so late to the party? I was not sure I could do it, that simple. But by the age of 40 I had had enough success in my life that I figured I could weather failure. I will say one thing, weathering success has not been that hard! Thank you so much for the wisdom in your blog. I wish I had seen your wise words 43 years ago. I felt pretty alone then. Ann

    • Oh, Ann! What a courageous thing for you to do, and yes… I have no doubt you felt out of place and alone. I was only two years older than my college graduating class, and a married town student who didn’t live in the dorm. I felt like their much older sister. Now we look at seeking a PhD when you’re 40 as no big deal, but you were a pioneer, my friend! You were the woman I wrote about in this blog, the one who paved the way for the rest of us, so you’re who I want to be when I’m your age. Thank you for your bravery and congratulations on your success… and a research scientist! Brava! You’re my kind of woman! I appreciate you like my blog. Thank you! Brenda

  15. Thank you! Not for them (the thirty-somethings) – for me – the nearly 69 year old! It’s so great to hear from someone who gives words to my experience! So proud of you!

    • Hi Melinda, Thank you! I’m your age, and you’d think being ignored by a couple of generations and the brands they work for would get easier, but it doesn’t. It worries me that we’re leaving the future of this great country in their hands! Most of them don’t even have telephone skills. Brenda

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