As a young baby boomer whose dedicated their life work to advocating for seniors, it broke my heart to see one of our biggest champions pass away. Carrie Fisher was on the same anti-ageism mission as I am, and the world seems darker without her crusade.
I suspect Carrie was an advocate for aging, not by choice, but because often she was criticized for “not aging well.” In Hollywood, where youth and perfection prevail, aging is the enemy. But Carrie defied the odds by aging in the spotlight. She celebrated her age with tweets like, “I identify more with who I feel myself to be than what I look like. Either way, am I obliged to entertain you with my appearance?” and “Youth and beauty are not accomplishments; they’re the temporary happy bi-products of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.”
Now more than ever we need her brand of humor and no nonsense voice to rail against the ageist wave. That wave washes us with a single message – that our value is equal to how young we look. That message is soaked into me and you. It is virtually inescapable. So much so that it takes a concerted, conscious effort to fight against it.
This year, I made the critical decision to never have a negative thought about my appearance when I look in the mirror. This practice lifted a weight. When I find myself counting crow’s feet or gray hairs, I remind myself of another Carrie tweet, “My body is my brain bag, it hauls me around to those places, and in front of faces where there’s something to say or see.”
I am not the sum total of my appearance. I am the person who lives inside. That is what’s important – and that is what gets better and better with age.
So thank you Carrie for inspiring me to keep fighting the anti-aging war. While you left us far too soon, your legacy lives on.
Be Well on Purpose!