DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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14 April 2008

Last birthday post ... I promise ; - )

I will be 60 years old tomorrow. I can hardly believe it. How can someone who so clearly remembers being at school, seeing Bob Dylan, the Beatles and Rolling Stones when they were in their 20s, revelling in the first flush of motherhood and then being pregnant again 12 weeks later, and all those memories of my teenage sons, how could she be 60? It’s amazing. But it’s also wonderful, life affirming and beautiful. I love being my age. I feel I’ve gained my stripes and that I’m now a senior member of my community. I’m not sure what’s ahead for me but I want to make my later years just as interesting, if not more so, as my younger years. I owe that to myself, to Hanno, my sons and to those people who might look to me as a role model.

We have few good role models in this life. We all know they’re not apparent in the media; the mothers and women we see each day in magazines and on TV are not real. They’re a conglomeration of the 50s housewife and whoever has been fashionable on TV recently. I would like to have a role model that I can relate to; an authentic woman who believes in herself, works hard, supports her family and friends and who rejects the modern idea that no matter what age we are we must look and act young. I would like to have a role model who is independent, non-conformist and who expands the current idea of what it is to be an older woman in our society.

Before I started going grey I used to dye my hair. As soon as the grey appeared, I stopped. My hairdresser told me I did the opposite of what other women did and that I should keep dyeing my hair to cover the grey. I stopped going to that hairdresser. I don’t want to support people or businesses who tell women to copy every other carbon copy and who imply that women only have value if they look young. I want to look like myself. I want to look my age. I want to be authentic. I feel comfortable being me. I don’t look fashionable, I only look presentable when I go to work, often I look a bit daggy when I’m at home. I’m okay with that because I want to use the time I have, not on sprucing myself up, but on working on my life.

I know that what I look like doesn’t matter to my loved ones, just as what they look like doesn’t matter to me. It’s more important to me that they feel confident, loved and comfortable. I know that there will be days I look okay and days I don’t. If your hair is greying, if you’ve put on a few pounds or you feel you’re too skinny, too tall, not pretty enough, have the wrong colour eyes, or hair, or shoes, all those things are signs you don’t feel comfortable with you, and no matter what you change, you won’t change that feeling until you develop self esteem.

If you are struggling with aging or the fashion thing, if you haven’t yet developed your own style, I encourage you to stop thinking about what others think and decide what you want – what makes you happy and valued? If you can feel comfortable in your own skin, despite how you look, you will reap the rewards of it. Being your own true self will strengthen and sustain you. You won’t look to others for guidance on how to look and be, you will know what it takes to make you comfortable and you fix yourself on that.

One of the many wonderful things age brings, is confidence – it is but one of its many rewards. If you’re much younger, develop your own sense of style and confidence as you age. I will guarantee you this: if you try to fit into what your friends think you should be, you will never be tall enough, pretty enough, slim enough, or have the right clothes in the right colour, length or style. You will always fall short if you use someone else’s yardstick to measure yourself. As you evolve into the true and authentic person you are, without the trimmings – you will develop the grace and style that no fashion magazine could hope to emulate. You will be a confident woman, secure in the knowledge that you are who you are and not just a copy of someone else.

There is freedom in truly owning the face, hair and body of your own real age, even if they don't fit in with the current fashion. It is part of living an authentic life, rejecting the expectations of fashion and the judgement of friends and colleagues, to live as you really are. I know it takes courage to change, but if you feel uncomfortable or stressed or worn out by constantly trying to look young, slim and fashionable, I’m here to tell you that changing to what you really see yourself to be will liberate you and that growing older is nothing to fear.

I will be 60 years old tomorrow! I won't post as it is Bel's day and I might have a sleep in. After today I won't
go on and on about my birthday or ageing for a while but I hope you've experienced a bit of joy I feel in turning 60. It really is a wonderful feeling.

39 comments:

  1. Rhonda, I passed 60 some years ago, my attitude to life changed on my 60th birthday, I was now entitled to a free bus pass, so I travel by bus as much as possible instead of using the car......I was free at last to please myself and not be at the beck and call of others. My family were grown, married and had children of their own.......although they know they can come to me if they need help, I was no longer responsible for them, they were responsible for themselves............if I wanted to do something I could, although we live on a very limited income, we are happy with our life and the way we live it. Some people think we are crackers, they are entitled to their opinion, but I do not run about like a headless chicken trying to do everything.......and spend hours trying to earn cash for things which really do not enhance their lives........we have holidays, but we save for them, I do craft fairs and we house sit to earn the money to spend time in France, a country we love.....house sitting is not really work, we are having a break away from home in a friends house...whilst she visits her family secure in the knowledge that things at home are being looked after. We would do it for free, but she always pays us....she appreciates that we like to spend time at her house looking after it.

    I am lady and if I want to I can wear purple......it suits me....

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  2. Happy Birthday! I have a birthday coming up next weekend and it is number 55. I also wonder how that can be possible. I also like being my age. I like being this age better than I liked turning some of the younger ages like in my 30s.
    Have a good day tomorrow.

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  3. Happy birthday for next weekend, Heather. I do hope you have a wonderful day. It's great to hear from someone who enjoys her age.

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  4. Rhonda,

    What a wonderful post! I knew I liked you before this post but now my feeling for you has grown deeper. I enjoy people that are true to their selves. I am only 38 but I want to be just me. I don't want to have to change for someone else. What you see is what you get.
    I want to have true friends and the few friends I do have like me for me:) I also used to color my few greys but I felt so fake. So now I just don't look to close in the mirror:)

    Blessings to you and Happy Birthday!!!!!!

    Renee

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  5. Self acceptance and becoming happy in my own skin has been the most wonderful process. I still have some work to do but I'm more at peace than I've ever been. You're such an inspiration not just showing the way, but also reminding us of how far we've come.

    Have a lovely restful day tomorrow, Happy Birthday! :)

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  6. Rhonda, You are the kind of person that I want as a role model for me. You can truely be happy in the way you look and live your life and that that is what I think everyone should aspire to but most people don't.
    I am 43 and am slowly trying to be happy in my skin and life and not caring what others think. As I get older it is slowly happening and I feel happier all the time with my life.
    Happy Birthday for tomorrow and many more to come.

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  7. Happy Birthday Rhonda - hoping you have continued celebrations and lovely surprises.

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  8. Happy Birthday Rhonda! It sounds like your party was lovely and I hope your day is as well
    Blessings,
    Niki

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  9. WOW! Great post!
    I am really quite comfortable in my own skin but I am completely addicted to dyeing my hair!!
    I have been going grey for 20 years(I'm 47) and dyeing it for that long. I'm not even sure anymore how grey my hair really is because as soon as a new grey pops up I colour it again. I would really love to stop this but I am terrified of how old I'll look if I do and in truth I'm probably worried about what other peole will say. It doesn't help that dh prefers my hair coloured. I am perfectly happy with everything else about myself but this is one hurdle I cannot seem to cross.
    I am a Nanna but I don't want to look like one. I think I need to work on myself a bit more.
    Thanks for the insight in this post, I really needed to hear it.

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  10. Hi Rhonda-Jean

    First of all, happy birthday for tomorrow!

    Secondly, I wanted to thank you for being the kind of role model you talked about in your post. I've felt a similar need for a long time, someone older who just knows how to do stuff and is willing to pass that knowledge along but don't have anyone in my life to fulfill that role and so when I discovered blogs and that there were women out there doing just that, it definitely filled a hole in my life.

    Finally, just wanted to share my take on the grey hair thing. I'm 33 and have started to acquire a fair few white hairs (not grey mind you but snowy white, quite stark looking against my dark hair) over the last year or so. I've never been one for dying my hair and have no intention of starting now. I've always said that but now that it's happening I'm even more convinced it's the right thing to do. I've worked bloody hard doing the living which has caused those white hairs and there's no way I'm going to hide them! :-)

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  11. Hi there Rhonda, I'm glad you had such a great party weekend. Its always such a pleasure to spend time with loved ones. I agree with all your comments about age and I,m happy to say I feel great about my age (58). The wrinkles, age spots and stretch marks are fine, I am entitled to them ! On old furniture they would be called patina and cherished and polished.
    Cheers, Eileen.

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  12. Happy Birthday! Admirable posts, I'm with you all the way!

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  13. I just want to add my well wishes for your birthday Rhonda. I like what you said about gray hair. When I was about fifteen, one of my friends moms had beautiful gray hair. It really was about the prettiest hair that I have ever seen. I decided right then that I would not dye my hair when I started going gray because if I did, I would never know if my hair might turn out as pretty as hers.

    I am now 45, and in the past few years I have started getting a few grays. I must admit that at times the temptation to dye them is there. But, I still haven't done it and I doubt that I will. I have been admiring Jaime Lee Curtis lately. She is one of the few "stars" to age both gracefully and naturally. I don't normally look to Hollywood for role models, but it is nice to see someone in that type of business who is confident and comfortable enough to be who she naturally is. Thanks for writing this post. I don't think it can be repeated too often.

    Laura

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  14. I actually think I like "ME" more as I age. I spent years and a small fortune chemically straightening and coloring my hair. A couple years ago my hair started to gray and it was very wirey curly, so I opted to stop with it all.
    I actually get more compliments now than I ever got spending all that money and time. People seem to know it's natural curl and always compliment my highlights. I giggle and tell them those "highlights" are gray hairs. lol They look a little embarrassed but I am proud. I think they look nice.
    I guess there's something to be said for being happy with what God gave you? lol
    I truly wish you a wonderful birthday and a very fruitful year.
    Blessings,
    Christie

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  15. Hi Rhonda Jean
    Happy Birthday for tomorrow. I'm so glad you enjoyed your celebration at the weekend.
    Ciara

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  16. Hi Rhonda, I read your page every day and love your attitude about the grey hair although I do dye mine as a rebellion against all the things I was not allowed to do when I was married. I never thought that I would dye my hair, however, because my mother didn't. She had alweays been treated like she was too young and so treasured the fact that grey hair showed her age and wisdom just as it says in the Bible book of Proverbs that greyheadednss is a sign of wisdom. But I just wanted to ask whether your photo was up to date or an older one as you certainly don't have anything like my greys and I am only 45. Hugs Cherrie

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  17. Happy Birthday Rhonda! Your words are always appreciated, so feel free to express them all you want. Thank you for being authentic! May you enjoy the actual day of your birthday and best wishes for this year to come!

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  18. Great post Rhonda, but you know you are my role model. I'm about to give up hair dye. I've been thinking about it for awhile now, but not sure how to go about growing it out without getting it cut short. My nephew knits beanies and he gave me a new one for this winter last weekend so I'm going to wear that all winter and hope that it helps me with the growing out bit. As he is off to travel the world next month and I probably won't see him again for a couple of years it will also keep him close to me.

    Enjoy tomorrow,
    love your attitude
    cheers Lenny

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  19. Rhonda,

    Happy Birthday for tomorrow. Have a great sleep in, if you can that is - your body must be so used to early rising it may be hard to do so. Over the past couple of weeks I've changed my rising time and even so early on it's getting harder to sleep in.

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  20. Dear Rhonda
    Want to wish you the best birthday ever. I will even sing a little "happy birthday to you tomorrow morning as I wake, knowing that you are "sleeping in". Enjoy the snuggle in of your bed as you no doubt will awake at the same time. Thank you so much for all your inspirational posts. They help so many more people than you will ever know.
    Julie in Geraldton

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  21. Cherrie, that photo was taken about three months ago. My hair actually is greyer in real life and still has a lot of dark brown as well. When I'm all gussied up for work tomorrow, I'll take a new photo and try to post it on the blog tomorrow afternoon. :- )

    PS, I think I look 60.

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  22. Happy Birthday for tomorrow Rhonda.
    There were so many wise words in your last post that it is hard to comment on just one, but I thought this one quote was so amazingly correct, it really struck a chord with me.

    "you feel you’re too skinny, too tall, not pretty enough, have the wrong colour eyes, or hair, or shoes, all those things are signs you don’t feel comfortable with you, and no matter what you change, you won’t change that feeling until you develop self esteem."

    I have suffered with low self-esteem all my life and its only now in my mid-thirties that I have started to feel more comfortable under my own skin. confidence and self-esteeem really does come with age.

    I hope you have a wonderful birthday, you truly deserve it.
    Best wishes
    Steph x

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  23. Rhonda, wonderful post (yet again) and so good to see a woman who's comfortable in her own skin. I find my life just gets better and better as I get older, I'd hate to go back to my twenties and thirties! We have a lot of aries birthdays this week...mine's on friday. I shall be proud to be 44! (though sometimes I have to pause and think which year it is!! Ha!) I'll be thinking of you tomorrow. Happy Birthday. Diana x

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  24. Happy birthday, Rhonda!

    I am so glad you are true to yourself.

    hugs,

    Kate

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  25. Happy Birthday Rhonda!-I really enjoy your blog (I'm one of those anonymous readers)and philosophy on life (especially on aging-this post). Have a great day!!

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  26. I'm currently reading Barbara Blackman's autobiographical reflections (another inspirational Australian women) and reading this reminded me of you and your post-

    "There comes a time in the middle years, at the passing of the half century, to look at oneself in the mirror and see, that now the shadows begin to fall on the other side of the mountain. It is time to pass through the mirror, to reverse the images of one's life, and enter into the Looking-glass Land. It is time to set about doing those things long dreamed of" (pg.339).

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday!

    Bella

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  27. I was going to wait to post congratulations until tomorrow, but since you won't be posting (enjoy your sleep in!) I'll say happy birthday to you now! Congrats, congrats. May there be many many more!

    About your post, wonderful! Love it. I've gotten some grey hairs since the first pregnancy and dyed it a few months ago because I hated it. But the dye didn't really stick so after the grey came through again I just thought oh what the h*ll and now I just leave it like it wants to be.
    I've never really had a problem with self-esteem much but in the last couple of years it has gotten down instead of up. I really feel insecure sometimes about whether people really like me, looking frumpy etc. It's not a good feeling and also fairly new to me. I guess what you say encourages me to think more about what's going on inside my head. :-)
    We planted some rocket salad and a blueberry bush yesterday, they're in big tubs on our balcony. I figured we can at least try to grow something even though we don't have a yard. Rocket salad is insanely expensive here (same goes for blueberries) and we love it, so let's hope it grows!

    Christine from the NL
    PS: I'm curious to hear more about your sons being so close apart. As a mother of two very close in age I like hearing how others handled that challenge, but I understand when you feel it's too private and don't want to post about it (sometime).

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  28. Baie geluk! That's Afrikaans for Happy birthday or congratulations! May God bless you in the coming year! erica

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  29. Happy Birthday to you!!! I hope it is the best year yet. I'll tell you one thing, if it's true that you reap what you sow, you are bound to have a wonderful life.

    Blessings, and many many more wonderful years!
    HeatherJ

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  30. Happy Birthday to you! I too will be having a birthday on the 15th, my 62nd. Here is a little poem I wrote the year I turned 59. Hope you like it. (I love insects and bugs - hence the wasp)

    If Ever I Should Choose to Try

    If ever I should choose to try
    A thing that is different from that who am I,
    A wasp I'll be and I'll take you along
    To buzz and frolic the whole day long!

    We'll pause to taste the sweetest flowers
    Ang laugh away the countless hours.
    The bees and ants will think we're most crazy,
    For the wasps they know are not so lazy.

    Then to home, a cup of tea, and we'll both sigh
    To savor the time when we played in the sky.
    That's waht I think that I shall do!
    If ever I should choose to try
    A thing that is different from that who am I.

    Have a great day tomorrow. Just so you know: I'm going to stomp up and down in the creek below our house and get mud all over me. I'll probably kiss one of the new born baby rabbits in the garden and eat three pieces of cake too..things a little ole respectable lady would never be thought to do. Oh what fun!

    Diane

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  31. Thank you so much for your wise advice, as usual. This is one I shall keep in my files. Also many thanks to your guest poster. I sometimes feel that I could have 'done something' with my life and forget what a blessing it was to be able to be at home with each of my children. Enjoy your day, which even with a lie-in may have started by now (I'm in the UK 12 hours or so behind you)

    Charis

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  32. Happy Birthday Rhonda
    I am glad you had a lovely day and hope life just gets better and better for you.
    Some times I think it would be good to be 20 again but if I am honest the benefits dont outway the drawbacks. I would be more cute (hard to beleive but I would!), I would ache less after digging but I would know so much less, in knowledge but more important wisdom. Nope,life gets better the better at it you get!
    Best Wishes
    Lizzie
    45 and dyeing my hair becuase I like it like this!

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  33. Happy Birthday, Rhonda Jean! I loved this post....a wonderful affirmation of things I have been struggling with.

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  34. A special Happy Birthday to a special lady! Glad to hear you had a wonderful time.

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  35. Hi Rhonda,
    Many many happy returns of the day.
    Loved your post, most time I am very happy in my skin, wish I could loose some weight, medications don't help this, and often wish that my body was more agile, but I am happy being my age, 57 next month, wife to Dh, mum to 6 MIL to 5, and Ma to 15 aboslutely gorgegous little ones, who would want to change,
    Love and hugs
    Lorraine

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  36. Better last than never...Happy Birthday Rhonda! I hope to be as down-to-earth as you when I'm 60. Thank you for being you!

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  37. Dear Rhonda,
    Happy Birthday! Keep posting...I read your blog everyday and really enjoy it. I've been almost white since I was about 40 and I quite agree...I'm not interested in being just like everyone else. My 60th doesn't come for several more years and I figure I've earned every white hair that I've got!!! LOL Hope your birthday is spent doing just what you would like to do!
    Blessings, Aunt Bea

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  38. Actually, I really enjoy your posts on aging! They are good ones.

    Now to go and see what all the other comments are about!

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