I’m not gonna discuss Bianca Jagger’s iconic Studio 54 style or the advent of DVF’s jersey wrap dress here. No, even though I was born pretty recently (hey, everything’s relative!) in 1973, this post is not about that decade’s funky fashion and faux pas. Instead, I wanna give a big shout-out to my mom (a.k.a. Mama Oh) who is turning 70 this week.
My newly septuagenarian mom is amazing. After losing my father and her golden-years dreams to his sudden, fatal heart attack in 1999, she has slowly adjusted her life to an updated flavor of “normal.” She worked for 30-plus years as a chemist at Glaxo Smithkline before retiring in 2006. Having built up a comfortable nest egg, she takes piano lessons, gardens, hikes, goes to the local Y, attends art history classes, watches Phillies baseball, studies opera, and travels extensively (New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Turkey, Germany, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica). In fact, my mom just returned from her third trip to Italy (I’m praying she’ll soon buy a pied-à-terre in Florence or Rome and share the keys). She’s the definition of rallying when life throws you a zinger—and living proof that 70 is the new 50!
Two other extraordinary dames d’un certain age are also marking milestone birthdays this year. Grace Coddington, Vogue‘s fiery creative director whose brilliance, passion and vulnerability were on full display in the movie The September Issue, turned 70 in April.
And it was my boyfriend’s über-chic colleague named A.K. who brought the incomparable Iris Apfel to my attention. This exuberant style icon turns 90 next month. (If Mrs. Apfel seems too good to be true, read this entry in jewelry designer Alexis Bittar’s blog or this June 2011 interview in Architectural Digest.)
So what’s the lesson in all of this? If you wanna know the secret to longevity and find the Fountain of Youth, it’s not about Botox, Pilates or Restylane. And you don’t need a treacly pep talk from Oprah about “How to Live Your Best Life” or tips from Vogue‘s annual “Age” issue. Just follow in the footsteps of these three women: stick to your convictions, be fearless, and be genuinely open and accepting. You can rock that in whatever decade you’re in.
Happy Birthday, Mom!
Update on August 24, 2011: There’s an article in today’s NYTimes about Iris Apfel. She’s gonna start selling her line of accessories on the Home Shopping Network starting Sept. 23rd. At 90, she is still going gangbusters!