Category Archives: aging

This is What 68 Looks Like

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Linda Rodin: Girl-Crush-Worthy

I don’t know Linda Rodin, except for what I’ve read on Goop. The profile is as breathless and overstated as you’d expect from a pro-woman web site. To clarify, the sites and their intentions are good, but the boss-lady profiles tend to bog down in superlatives. Here’s the first sentence, awkward in its girl crush: “There’s lit-from-within in the “glow” sense, and there’s lit-from-within from the standpoint of visibly, joyfully vibrating with energy …

Etcetera.

The thing is, Linda Rodin just seems cool and natural and a little chary in her responses to questions about her slim build and good skin. “Everybody sees these pictures of me retouched. I don’t look like that! People say, you look so great, but I mean, we’re not having lunch together, that’s not how I really look,” she says.

Here’s how she looks:

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Linda Rodin, age 68

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Linda Rodin: Sleeping Beauty

Rodin has a skincare line called Olio Lusso, from which I have a tiny bottle of skin oil. If it would help me look like her at 68 and, most especially, be that cool, I’d buy it by the barrel, along with a tube of lipstick called Billie on Her Bike, because the name’s so, so good.

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BILLIE ON THE BIKE Inspired by Linda’s mother Beatrice, aka “Billie,” this violet berry is the shade she wore to ride her bicycle, work in the garden or to do just about everything.

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This is what 84 looks like

Carmen Dell Orefice is billed by this Fortune article as the world’s oldest working model (Baddie Winkle might have something to say about that). Her looks are confectionary: flossy platinum hair, doll-like features, painted-on lips and a complexion like wedding cake icing. Nearly 100% artifice, at least in her modeling photos, which is all we ever see.

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Carmen Dell Orefice, age 85

She’s looked exactly like this for decades — same gravity-defying white hair, same placidly arrogant expression. But as a young model she was an extremely interesting-looking beauty, an Italian girl, which is to say ethnic for that time.

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Carmen Dell Orefice

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This is what 63 looks like

Almost disqualified because she is French (which is cheating), Isabelle Huppert was among the most self-possessed of women at the Golden Globes last Sunday. She doesn’t look “young” or even “young for her age.” Rather, she looks just right: slender, chic, the product of diligent self-care and groomed without looking calcified, which is sometimes the case with older American beauties.

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Isabelle Huppert, age 63: Suits up like a boss

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Isabelle Huppert, age 63: Ice queen

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The Guest House

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Mary, my Mother-in-Law

Another profile in the NY Times magazine, this one about a doctor who lost three limbs when in college and now tries to bring a “good death” to those who reside in what’s called the Guest House, part of the Zen Hospice in San Francisco.

“Good death” is something I thought about when I visited my mother-in-law, Mary, who lives in a memory care facility in Orlando. She has severe dementia and, after falling and shattering an elbow, was in a rehab that simply wasn’t equipped to accommodate patients with memory loss. We spent a weekend relieving Steve’s sister, Laura, who also lives in Orlando and is mostly tasked with her care. Observing Mary, in pain, in an unfamiliar place, in adult diapers, not remembering not to lean on her elbow, addled by medication, I wondered about sustaining life after the mind goes and the body breaks down.

By most yardsticks, hers is not a good life. Would a “good death” be a better choice? Simply put, it’s not a choice we can make and it feels like heresy even talking about it. And that is exactly what Miller spends his life working at: inviting death into our lives, our relationships, our conversations. He’s looking to “disrupt the death space,” a mission statement that sounds perfect for the Silicon-Valley VC community he solicits.

The article never links Zen Hospice’s “Guest House” to the Rumi poem, but I did, so here it is. Perhaps it’s something of a cliche to rely on Rumi for Life’s Big Ideas. But it continues to amaze me how the work of a 13th-century Sufi poet endures. (Some of his relevance is explained by this New Yorker article.)

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

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but maybe not such a good idea either?

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Why A Nude Photo Session in Your 50s Is Not Such a Bad Idea After All

If you get those Living Social emails, you surely have received offers of discounted “boudoir photography” sessions. While I like a deal as much as the next underpaid editor, I’ve always viewed them as a spectacularly bad idea.

Take off your clothes for some stranger in a second-floor studio on Canal Street? Not sure I want to live that social.

Delete. (Come to think of it, this pretty much describes my Living Social bikini wax experience, but I’m almost positive there were no cameras involved.)

Another reason boudoir photography has held no appeal: Mine is not a body built for the boudoir. Not that I’ve ever, knowingly, visited a boudoir, but I’m pretty sure the ladies you’d find there would be womanly, curvy, Rubenesque. By contrast, I possess super-sturdy legs, broad shoulders, narrow hips and a not-narrow waist. I have what I call a Man Back which makes for a bra size that starts, alluringly, with the number 36, only to be followed by a demure “A.” Practically a Man Front, in other words, at least above the waist.

I know in describing my body I’m revealing my body image as well, but the truth is …

Read more at >

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queasy fascination

Such an accurate way to describe our feelings about Madonna, especially as she springs into her newest incarnation to promote the release of Bitch I’m Madonna.

“Yes, she’s constantly reinventing herself, but is she evolving?” muses Jancee Dunn in a recent NY Times article.

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Bitch I’m Madonna

Is she at risk of becoming famous for being old? For the past 10 years, media coverage can’t set aside her age, even while either hand-wringing over her age-inappropriateness or celebrating her agelessness. What about if we set aside talk of how old she is and critiqued her work — apart from the fact she made that work at (now) 57?

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I think we are well-advised

…to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be,” Joan Didion wrote. “Otherwise they turn up unannounced.”

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Joan Didion

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This is what 87 looks like

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Baddie Winkle loves raver clothes, has 1.1 million Instagram followers and says “I don’t feel old. I have never felt old. I think you can dress any way you want to.”

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don’t be old

Hilariously true poem in the The New York Times by Steve Duenes, called How to Walk in New York City. Best line: Don’t be old.

The numbers refer to animated graphics, which you can see here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/23/magazine/how-to-walk-in-new-york.html

Don't break stride.

Don’t break stride.

Don’t text.

Don’t smile.

Don’t be injured.

Don’t break stride.

Don’t hum what’s in your headphones.

Walking in New York is not Mick Jagger. It is James Brown. The beat depends on the day and the hour and the borough and the street. In the Times Square subway station at 9 a.m. on a Monday, it is the opening drum sequence from “Hot for Teacher.”

Don’t touch anyone.1

Don’t bump elbows.

Don’t hold hands. 2

Don’t lose focus.

Don’t leer.

Even as you glide past a luminous stranger, the instant crushes that start and end as subway doors close are fleeting. There is a moment of stirring promise, and then there is only what could have been. Keep moving.

Don’t run.

Don’t hold hands.

Don’t look up at the buildings.3

Don’t say good morning.

Don’t eavesdrop.

Even if you are overhearing a man try to explain the resurrection to a business colleague from rural Japan on Fifth Avenue, don’t listen. Much. You might wander into the path of the M1 bus.

Don’t talk on your phone.

Don’t take pictures.

Don’t change lanes.

Don’t make eye contact.

Don’t step in it.

The idea of stopping at an intersection is a nonstarter. Jockey for position at the front of the group, slowly edging into the street as cars pass within inches of your knees. Never stop moving. Walk in an extended, single fluid motion, even at the deli, where your left hand delivers pre-counted cash to a clerk as the goods are swept up by your right.

The city stride can be triumphant, like the brief high of an athletic upset. If you win when the consequences of losing are steep, then your parade through the city can be like the opening credits of “Saturday Night Fever” — or like David Byrne dancing in that big suit. You may achieve an intense awareness that this moment might be IT. On most days, you’re paying the bills, searching for IT. IT is there, seemingly within your reach, but you can be distracted because New York is the trees and not the forest. It’s the scrum at the bar; the next 10 minutes; the bus that’s not braking or the lunatic shouting directly in your ear. Whatever IT is, you may find it in New York. You may earn it, you may bump into it, you may achieve it or win it by accident or coincidence, and when you do, you better revel in your victory because IT never lasts, and whatever it is — you will surely, ultimately, lose it.

Don’t be an obstacle.

Don’t be sick.

Don’t be old.

Don’t stop.

Don’t look back.

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This is What 50 Looks Like

SJP looks

SJP turns 50

SJP turns 50

like a happy mom, which is a beautiful thing.

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