How To Feel Young At Any Age
by Janet M. Neal
A number of years ago, my (then) mother-in-law used to tell me that having friends younger than her kept her young. She was probably about the age I am now and the thought that she had friends my age was, well, gross. Older women, in my opinion, should stick to their own kind.
And we know how that goes.
So now that I am older and a bit wiser, I can appreciate her sage advice. Younger friends do present newer, fresh viewpoints and perspectives, new tastes in fashion and music, and new energy. I have a number of them myself. However, it is the women who are older than me, who are living full, vibrant lives, who truly are my mentors and role models. And, to keep up with them, I have learned to embrace their “bon vivant” attitude, something that keeps you young at any age.
I have friends who are remarkable women in various decades of life. Take for instance, my friend, Jan Goldstoff, who has just entered her 70s. Here is a woman who is a photographer, a passionate publicist, an event producer, and a self-proclaimed “fairy godmother” to several young women in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Jan plays piano and African drums, composes healing songs, exercises daily, creates paintings, and dances the tango. She calls herself the “gal with the golden rolodex” and is a superb connector of people and resources. And to top it all off, she just married her best friend and partner of 47 years, David, and was absolutely every bit the blushing bride at her dream wedding.
Then there’s Carole Hyatt. Carole just entered her 80s and is a true inspiration. To tell you all about her would take pages, so let it suffice to say she was a pioneer in many areas, ranging from children’s theatre to consumer marketing to women’s entrepreneurship and leadership. Her best selling books, The New Woman’s Selling Game, Shifting Gears, When Smart People Fail, and Lifetime Employability have helped millions of people across the globe. And her latest passion, helping women in leadership in the military to transition back into civilian life – Mission:Getting to Next – is a transformational program that illuminates Carole’s skills, compassion and humanity.
Lastly, and certainly not least, is Sonya Hamlin. Meeting this dynamic woman put me in a state of awe, but learning that she is in her 90s was mind-boggling. After receiving a scholarship to Juilliard at age 6 to study piano, Sonya switched to dance, was a member of the Martha Graham dance troupe and went on to chair the dance department at Harvard. She did not stop there. Sonya was the first female daytime talk show host, winning 2 Emmys for her show in Boston. She went on to become a communications and jury expert and business consultant, writing 5 books on communication, including How to Talk so People Listen, and was a TV network contributor for twenty years about juries. She taught at Harvard, Harvard’s Law School, Kennedy School of Government, and Graduate School of Education. And then, because she hadn’t done it yet, in her 80s she decided to become an actress. A woman of strong character and passion, she is an inspiration to generations now and to come!
By surrounding myself with women of all ages and stages, I am challenged continuously to learn and change and grow. But it is those older than I, the ones who have lived full lives – and continue to evolve – who give me the spark and sparkle I need to feel young at heart. L’chaim!
Janet M. Neal, a “youngster” who just entered her 60s, is the founder and Queen Bee at The Superbwoman, Inc., an organization dedicated to helping women break out of the “superwoman” role and to step into their power. She is a speaker, coach, author of “Soul in Control: Reflections of a Reformed Superwoman” and host of the web show, “Superbwoman Sundays at 7”.