At the beginning of this summer, I bought a pair of “vegan” sandals at H&M. Excited about my find, I decided to share an iPhone photo with fellow vegan shoe addict Kathy Freston. But instead of a fun picture, I found myself staring at a photo of an old woman’s feet in a pair of cute sandals! No matter how many retakes and Instagram filters I tried, the spider web of veins on top of my feet stubbornly stayed put. I was so shocked I ended up deleting the photos.
I’m no stranger to sunspots on my cheeks or lines around my eyes; the magnifying mirror in the bathroom is great for that. I usually shrug them off as par for the course, but the sandal photo really brought it home to me. Yes, I’m getting older. And it’s not merely about the physical signs. I worry that I’m quickly running out of time to make a mark, or to reinvent myself, or to pursue my dreams. In ten years, will anyone care what I do or what I have to contribute? Will I be irrelevant? Will I be invisible?
Do you ever feel like that?
Then I meet women like Mount Everest climber and explorer Alison Levine, who at age 48 just published her first book and is not about to stop climbing the highest peaks in the world. (Alison’s interview will publish on Sweden With Love on August 20.) Or this month’s cover subject — Hollywood trainer and wellness coach Tanja Djelevic — who has trained the likes of Pink and packs as much enthusiasm into life as Beyoncé does performing Single Ladies (Tanja’s story premieres August 12). Talking to Alison and Tanja gave me the best energy kick I’ve had in a long time. At the end of our conversations, I didn’t give a crap about those veins.
The fact is, most of us don’t hit our stride until our 40s. And some of us don’t find our true purpose until our 60s or 70s. Laura Ingalls Wilder famously started writing The Little House on the Prairie series at age 65. The incredible Maggie Smith of Downton Abbey turns 80 this year. And look at Don Wildman, one of the most amazing athletes in the world and the founder of Bally Total Fitness. When he’s not running a marathon or paddling around the Pacific Ocean on a surfboard, this 81-year-old hosts a thrice-weekly workout called The Circuit known to make professional athletes throw up (his workout buddies include legendary surfer Laird Hamilton). Do you think he worries about veins on his feet? To imagine that is pretty funny.
So let’s promise ourselves this: no matter our age, let’s live out loud. I hope you enjoy this month’s Sweden With Love!
Photograph by Elizabeth Messina ©2014.