Nicki Anderson
Archive for the ‘Aging and Activity’ Category

Sometimes it’s more about the finish than the win

By Nicki On November 4, 2013 No Comments

IMG_0658About 8 weeks ago I was at a community event and ended up fracturing my toe. Fortunately, it wasn’t a sprawled on the ground spectacle, rather a moment of internal screaming, followed by a variety of stars  and then an out  loud, “Sh@t! That going to leave a mark!” Then I realized something far more serious. I was in the throes of training for a half marathon, I just broke my toe. Double sh@t!

Let’s go back a bit. I never thought myself as competitive. As a kid, I loved letting other people win. Perhaps being the youngest of three girls I figured I didn’t have a chance, so I just gave in.

That all changed when early in my twenties I was at a karaoke contest. You would have thought that the lives if my children were on the line. I was going to win that contest, period. I concluded that my competitive spirit had been stifled far too long and was ready to make up for lost time.

Fast forward, I love winning. Seems silly but nothing makes me happier than winning. Be it a business venture or family card game, I’m in it to win it.

Since running my first marathon more than 10 years ago, every race  I run to win my age category. People in my running circles remind me that it’s about the finish. Internally, I’d roll my eyes and think, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I have written some columns and blogs about respecting my body and honoring its limits as well as its possibilities. But I don’t always heed my own advice, I tend to focus on the possibilities and um, winning. However, fracturing my toe set me back, significantly. Since then, I’ve become obsessed with making up for lost time.

However, this past week I completed my  longest run before tapering  prior to the 1/2 marathon  November 10th. Early in to my run I noticed a young woman (I live on a college campus) walking with two canes. Immediately after that I saw a  young man wheeling down the college walkway in a wheelchair. It hit me. The fact that I can just lace up my running shoes and go run is a gift. I have no limitations. O.K. so a broken toe, really?

I decided to acknowledge my setback and not head in to next week’s event to win (my age group) rather  simply to finish.  Sometimes just finishing the race has to be enough. I’d rather finish pretty than win ugly.2010 Hot Choc Run033

As of today, I’ve trained the best I can. I appreciate that the real win comes in the training and my dedication to finish the run.  As much as I love to win, I suppose getting to the starting line is a win. Finishing is simply the bonus.

Here’s to many brilliant finishes!

Nicki


The Evolution of Exercise

By Nicki On October 24, 2013 6 Comments

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Recently, a friend of mine wrote a post about exercising as we get older. The gist of her piece was realizing that you don’t have to kill yourself to be in shape.  But when does that realization hit? Is it triggered by the pain following an overzealous workout? Or simply an internal conversation reminding you that pain isn’t necessarily the conduit for a fit body.  For most of us, it’s likely the former versus the latter.

At this stage of my life I’m no longer interested in working out to be a mean, lean fighting machine. I work out to feel good and to fight gravity as much as possible. I work out because it’s my medicine of choice. I can either pop pills or exercise. I exercise because I feel better mentally and physically. I work out because exercise keeps me young, agile and strong. I work out because I’m a very responsible person and working out is being responsible not only for myself, but for those I love.

So why is it that many people still don’t exercise? During my 25+ years in the industry,  the following were the most popular reasons people didn’t exercise.

1. It’s too time consuming

2. I’m too old and the pain is not worth it.

3. It’s too hard

4. I don’t get results

5. I can just change my diet and I’ll be fine.

 

Here is my response to the above.

1. It’s too time consuming.  According to research boomers spend about 27 hours a week on the internet. Yes, 2-7. My friends, that’s a part-time job!  Exercise requires 30-60 minutes a day. If you can carve out time for the internet, favorite television shows, etc. you can make time for exercise. Use the internet as incentive. “After I walk for 30 minutes I can then check out the internet.”  Remember, too much sitting can be deadly.

2. Too old and painful- Not buying it. I know hundreds of men and women well in to their 70’s and 80’s that exercise every single day. Some suffer from arthritis, some from old sports injuries, but they swear that if they didn’t exercise the pain would be significantly worse. They also shared that because of exercise they are medication free. You’re never too old to move. 

3. It’s too hard. You should never exercise to the point of pain. Exercise should be energizing. If you’re a beginner, please don’t take an advanced class thinking it will be more effective, it won’t.  Start off with baby steps. If you take it slow and easy, you’re likely to stick with exercise. If you beat yourself up, you’ll quit. Use common sense, don’t let ANYONE tell you how hard to push yourself. You know your body, honor it and challenge it appropriately.

4. No results. The greatest revelation I had a few years ago was the understanding that exercising for unrealistic expectations (perfect body, perfect abs, legs, etc.) is an exercise in futility. I have seen more people give up exercise because they weren’t getting the results they wanted. Nine times out of ten, the expectations of my clients was completely unrealistic. Here’s the best reason of all to exercise, it’s good for your health. If you feel better you’ll look better.  Magazines or television shows that make promises or show incredible  results are not to be believed. No two bodies are the same and the truth is, the older we get, the more realistic we have to be about exercise. Realistic expectations are key in maintaining a healthy, rewarding relationship with exercise.  I exercise to be engaged in life and live more fully. I owe my energy to exercise. IMG_0073

5. Change your diet. Granted, 65% of weight issues with people are nutrition based. However, exercise is absolutely vital. I’ve seen many people just diet and never exercise. They have terrible muscle atrophy, brittle bones and many problems that come from too little movement. A combination of a healthy diet (not deprivation) and regular exercise is the secret to good health.  Personally, I get in about 7-8 hours of exercise a week. And that’s not all in the gym, it might be mowing the lawn, intense yard work, etc. If I’m active above and beyond walking out to get the mail, it counts.

Please note, there are days when I don’t feel like working out, my life will not end, it will go on with or without my workout. I’ve learned to cut myself some slack when I skip a day here and there. However, missing more than 2 or 3 days is a warning sign, pay attention. Unless of course you’re sick.

There really is no reason to skip exercise. I always used to tell my clients that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. Don’t compare, don’t create unrealistic expectations. Treasure your body, marvel at it’s potential and treat it with the respect it deserves. That my friends is the secret to a beautiful relationship.

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, but making the most of it.

Nicki

 

 

 


An overdue coversation with my body

By Nicki On October 7, 2013 9 Comments
Everyone's body is different.

Everyone’s body is different.

Me: We need to talk. Let’s have a seat, this conversation is long overdue.

For years you did everything I wanted. You got up every morning without pain or creaks. You ran up and down stairs with little effort. We took an exercise class and you responded with the good kind of sore which prompted me to do it again. At which point you made it very clear,  too much exercise and you don’t get along. I got the message.

For quite some time we worked together liked a fine tuned machine. I did anything I wanted physically and you accommodated.  But all of a sudden you stopped. I found myself questioning activities, wondering if you would come along for the ride or teach me a lesson by making the next day’s simplest of tasks painful.

Provide specifics you ask? Why sure.

I used to run like there was no tomorrow. No discomfort or pain, I just ran. Recently my hips hurt, I get twinges in my knees and well quite frankly, every  morning I wake up it takes a good 10 minutes to work out the stiffness. Honestly, I’m not so sure you get how frustrating this is for me.

Another example. you know how I love to write, I’ve been writing for years. All of a sudden the joints in my hands are sore after too much tapping on my keyboard. Hey, if you want me to give up writing, you’ve got another thing coming. But come on,  a little reprieve would be nice.

Most recently I was out in my garden doing some weeding and there it was, the back pain everyone talks about. I’ve always been good to my back, so why the zinger?  Was it something I said?

So, it seems that if you’ve got a beef with me, now is the time to get it off your chest so we can continue this relationship and feel good about it. O.K. I’m done, now it’s your turn.

Body: Well, I’m not quite sure where to start but let’s start with basics. I think I’ve given you a pretty good ride so far. Despite the periodic abuse during your younger years, you’ve been pretty good to me. But the running, you never should have done that marathon. That pretty much did me in. I can only support you so much before I have to kick in “conserve mode” in order to preserve you for the next 50 years.

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I feel like I’ve been more than fair to you. You still run, you still take stairs 2 at a time, and you’re pretty active. At the halfway point in your life, that’s impressive.

Rather than telling me everything I’m doing wrong, how about a pat on the back for what I do right? I think we have a great understanding. You take care of me, I take care of you, pretty simple.  If there’s aches and pains here and there, get over it, some of my other body friends are in far worse shape. But that comes from the partnership, they don’t have a very good one with their owners. I think we have a pretty good one.

After all these years, we’ve worked well together and I foresee that relationship continuing as long as you keep on respecting what I can do and honoring what I can’t.  All body’s have limits and though I certainly  like to be challenged from time to time, don’t be stupid. I’m the only body you’ve got. Treat me well and I will reciprocate.

Me: I stand corrected. Thanks for all you’ve given me. I look forward to a long, healthy relationship. And most of all, I’m lucky I have you. Thank you.

(Reprinted from MoMentumNation 10/7/13)

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

Nicki


Exercise is great, but what if you don’t like it?

By Nicki On September 30, 2013 14 Comments

 

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My friend and I were out for breakfast the other day and we started talking about the importance of self-care. We discussed friends our age that due to self-care negligence are suffering from a number of maladies. We then discussed the perception by others that just because we both work out doesn’t mean we love it, it simply means we’d rather not deal with the consequences if we don’t.

After 20 plus years in the fitness industry I saw my share of clients who suffered with a number of preventable diseases most common, high blood pressure and diabetes. The truth is that for many of them (other than Type 1 clients) the diseases were 100% preventable. 100%!  Yet, after years of neglect, the body begins to shut down and many feel it’s too late to intervene. It’s never too late.

I was never an athlete. I wasn’t raised being active and never did much of anything until at the young age of 16 I found myself 50 plus pounds overweight. I started reading and implementing what I learned about nutrition and exercise. One year later, I lost the extra weight and never felt better.

The hardest part of being or becoming a healthy weight is maintenance. I can say with certainty that the way I felt 50 pounds heavier, versus the way I felt after,  set the stage for a lifelong dedication to exercise and eating well. To this day, I continue learning. There are also  plenty of times I need to push myself to exercise, like now I should be running, I’m writing. I’ll go, I’ll go.

Along the way I’ve picked up some nuggets that help me stay on track and get my butt out of bed on those mornings where my toasty bed begs me to stay.  See if some of these may help you.

1. We all want to feel good. Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet feels good. one-workout-away-good-mmod

2. We all want to look good. There is no doubt that exercise and a healthy diet result in looking vibrant and well.

3. We all want to fully engage in our lives.  I have seen too many people avoid certain situations because their weight kept them from participating. Life is too short and the older you get the  more you realize it. Becoming engaged starts with becoming active.

4. We all have moments where we just don’t want to. There are times when you need to accept you don’t want to and move on or times you need to kick yourself  in the arss and just do it!  You need to understand the difference between giving your body a day of rest or giving up on your body.

5.  Unrealistic expectations are the undoing of many well intentioned exercisers.  None of us, no matter how we exercise will ever have a perfect body, ever. So what?  Exercising automatically kicks up self-confidence. When you move more you feel better about yourself. Let that be enough. It’s not a competition.

6. Have fun. For the love of God, find something you enjoy. And don’t say, “There’s nothing I like.”  If you say that it’s because you  haven’t found it yet.  Maybe you don’t like crowds, so stop joining a gym. Maybe you don’t like exercise clothing, don’t wear it. You don’t like running? Biking? Swimming?  Then don’t. There’s plenty, literally hundreds of options. Create a list, try everything, dancing,. martial arts, hiking, whatever. Find something. If you can’t, call me, we’ll talk.

7. Make the most out of your life. The truth is that if you really, really want to feel your best, you must care for yourself the best. No one can take better care of you than you!  So many people give, give, give and forget themselves in the mix of things.  Carve out some me time, even if  it means 15 minutes of stretching before bed. You will limit the quality of your life if you don’t take care of yourself, period.

8. Find a role model.  My role model is a gorgeous woman who is likely now in her 70’s and has been an active woman since I met her over 20 years ago. She’s always got a smile on her face,  a kind thought to share and is regularly active. She’s impressive. I want to be her when I’m her age.

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9. Be a role model. If any would have ever told me that someday I’d be a mentor for exercise I would have laughed, a lot.  By changing your life, you may inspire someone else. Trust me, if you’re struggling with eating well and getting active, there are likely people around you who struggle with the same. Be the change, start the movement and watch the lives you can change, beginning with you.

10 Set a dream activity. Ever wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?  Go on a safari in South Africa? Bike Australia? Participate in a fundraising walk?  Create the steps to make it happen. It will be so cool when you do. I know because I’ve done it.

I hope this helps if you’re at a crossroads with getting yourself on a healthy track. Please don’t wait until January 1st,  because statistically those resolutions are short lived.  Baby steps today, climbing mountains tomorrow, why not?

 

Here’s to never wishing for more hours in a day, rather making the most of them!

Nicki


Exercise- It’s a Privilege Not Punishment

By Nicki On September 1, 2013 12 Comments

 

 

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When I owned my training studio, I would often tell my clients that exercise is not a punishment, it’s a privilege. My clients would give me an odd look as ask, “How’s it a privilege? It’s not fun.”

Well, I suppose it’s all in how you look at it. I am one of those people that takes stair steps two at a time. Every time I reach the top of the stairs I am thankful for the strength, agility and balance to be able to do that. Being active is not only good for your health, it’s also a way of honoring a body that allows us to do so much.

The fact that I  am healthy and able to be active is something I never take for granted. Every time I go out for a run, walk or bike ride I am grateful. I was reminded of this just a couple of days ago when I fractured my toe.

My daughter had just agreed to train with me to do her very first 1/2 marathon. Thrilled at the opportunity to train with my daughter, we set out our training schedule and ran our first 3 mile training session last week. The next day was an off day, so I did a bit of strength training, looking forward to our next training run on Saturday.

However, the running Gods had different plans for me. While out with friends on Friday, the rain slicked up the grass and I banged the crapoli out of my toe on a makeshift walkway. Yes, I saw stars.

I limped back to my crew and was reminded I had to walk about a mile or so back home. I complained the whole way wondering if it was a sprain or actual break. Either way, treatment is simply ice and patience. Ugh.

I woke up to a black and blue foot, discomfort and pain that was not even suited for walking much less running. My daughter had to go out on her own while I stayed at home “resting”. I don’t like to rest, it makes me crabby.

So here I am, 3 days post  injury and wondering how quickly I can get back to running or even walking  pain free. Every day I think about how much I miss my running  and realize that exercise of any kind really is a privilege. And like other things in life, sometimes you don’t appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone.

At this point, I’ll cheer my daughter on and kick up my strength training. But I’ll be counting the days until I can get back to my training.  With every step I’ll think about how lucky I am.   180133_10150106878560929_760825928_6127386_1997986_a

Exercise- punishment or privilege, what do you think?

 

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time rather making the most of it!

Nicki

 

 

 

 


Showin’ Boomers the Fitness Love!

By Nicki On August 19, 2013 No Comments

 

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I’m in love, again. Romance between me and the world of fitness has been reignited. After recently attending IDEA World Fitness Conference, the largest health and fitness conference in the world, I’m giddy with excitement knowing that after years of wondering, where the fitness love is for a boomer, I’ve found it!

For 10 years I was a speaker at this conference, but this year I attended as press. So cool. I was able to learn, mingle and sample new fitness gadgets with no worry of a pending lecture.

In the last few years the fitness industry has been heavily influenced by research touting high intensity exercise as your best defense against extra pounds and aging. I don’t know about you, but this gal has taken a few of those crazy high intensity classes and I left feeling every bit my age.

For those that love the Cross FitInsanityP90X knock yourself out. The beauty of age is wisdom and I know that jumping around as if my knees had brand new shock absorbers is a bad choice. Further, if my wisdom is slow to engage my bladder jumps in and says, “No!” (TMI?)

What I discovered at this conference is although crazy exercise programs are alive and well for those naive enough to think they’re indestructible, there are programs out there for people like me. In the words of Cindy Lauper, “Girls just want to have fun!” And this girl is no exception!

I need to like what I’m doing, and if I’m going to be consistent with exercise it has to have a likeability factor.  If you’re not enjoying what you do, seek out something else. I loathe when someone says, “Walking is for weenies.” When I hear that my impulse is to challenge them to a walk-off, but I stifle myself.

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something every single day, even if its only 15 minutes. Do what you enjoy and embrace the opportunity to connect with your body. As I get older, I find myself participating in activities that make me stronger and more flexible without feeling like I have to compete with kids 20 years my junior.

IMG_1653So keep your eyes peeled for new programs coming your way including indoor SUP training created by Laird Hamilton. I had the unfortunate position of getting a photo with him. Some body has to do it! Cardio Bounce (old school mini tramps amped up) and of course the plethora of dance classes, no coordination required. Well maybe a bit, but you can fake it.

Although I’m a runner, I am we’ll aware of my limitations and at this years fitness conference it seems fitness pros are getting it and offering classes that are not only fun, they’re inspiring and appropriate. What a concept.

(Original post 8/13/13 – http://www.momentumnation.com/fitness-love-for-boomers/ )

 

Here’s to never wishing for more time, rather making the most of it!

 

Nicki


Gray Expectations – Full Disclosure 7

By Nicki On December 27, 2012 5 Comments
1994, short.

1994, short.

O.K. ladies let’s talk hair stories, (men feel free to chime in).

I want to talk about 3 things that many of us have or will experience, but never talk about.

First, eyebrow color change. Second, hairline cover ups. Third, hair styles, the good, the bad and the ugly.

In the eyebrow department, I’m good. But until I decided to try this gray experiment, I hadn’t even thought about eyebrows going gray. But like other hair, (other meaning a conversation for another blog) it also goes gray. Hmm. My stylist told me that people who have gray eyebrows have to color their brows to match their colored hair. Now I’m an eyebrow stalker. I always notice people’s eyebrows. Some are barely there, others that don’t quite match hair color, and of course the low maintenance ones, gray that goes with gray. Any of you in to the brow dying?

Dorothy Hamill look

Dorothy Hamill look

O.K. hairline coverage. I’d like to think I’m not the only dork here that when overdue for a hair color, resorts to my mascara to cover up those pesky gray hairs. Well, am I?  I know, I know there are professional products that cover gray between hair appointments, but when you run out, you have to have a backup plan. For me, mascara does the trick.  Leaves hair a little stiff, but no one is running their fingers through my hairline, so I’m good.

My last disclosure, the ugly of hair styles. As you can see, this lovely hairdo was inspired by Whitney Houston.

1988 July Oct054

Whitney

Whitney

Somehow she looks significantly better wearing this ‘do than moi.

So, how many hairstyles have you had over the years? Between bad perms, pixie cuts, shag, Dorothy Hamill, etc. I’ve had ‘em all. I’m always able to tell what year it is in pictures based on my hairstyle (glasses are the same way, right?) However, there are those that NEVER change their hairstyle, they keep it the same for years.

So perhaps this gray endeavor is simply a phase that will pass, or I may find that I like it and the color will stay. No matter what I choose, styles and trends will continue in the world of hair, so I will find what I like, and try it until the next trend pulls me in.

Cheers!

Nicki

 

 


Gray Expectations- Hair Color Basics – 6

By Nicki On December 19, 2012 7 Comments

IMG_0168I had my first appointment with my stylist, Terri today for my going gray journey. I learned a lot.

For starters, just because you decide to go gray does not mean you’ll miss one color appointment and boom, you’re gray.

Terri said, “We all have varying levels of gray, but for most of us, it begins around the front hairline, around the ears and less in back.”  Apparently, I’m not as gray as I thought. Hmmm.  Given that I’ve been having weird dreams about this whole process, including being called Grandma by my neighbor, and having long hair with tinsel in it (I think I had too much pizza that night), I suppose that not as much gray means the change won’t be as dramatic. Note, the longer your hair is, the longer the transition.

Terri explained that the texture of gray hair is very different from color treated hair. It can be wiry and coarse, or in some cases very soft (please let mine be soft, please let mine be soft…) Most interesting was to find out that 90% of gray hair that has that yellow tinge to it is due to smoking. 10% is for other reasons. Yay me, I’m a non-smoker.

So today, we just did something called a glaze. No color, and the lovely gray zipper much less visible. The glaze is like a decoupage for hair. It softens hair up and makes the gray less obvious. Apparently, she’ll dictate when to start adding something called, low lights to the glaze. Glazing is very gentle on hair, it’s ammonia free and low ph. Cool. IMG_0176

Finally, I decided to get my hair cut off. Many of you worried that long gray hair is very unattractive. I took your advice with a little help from Terri, and off it went. Btw, having a great relationship with  your stylist is key. You also shared that a cute hairstyle makes a big difference, regardless of hair color. Sooo, chop, chop. About 3 inches, off. I love it, sassy. What do you think?

Two of the most common reasons I’m hearing that women don’t go au natural is, skin tone which doesn’t go well with gray hair and the other, husbands said, “No!”  Hmmmm. Most common reason women go gray, they were ready.

So this was Phase I, no biggie. I’m feeling pretty good about this process. Starting today, I’ll take regular photos to see how the color changes and what I think. I’m also very interested in your thoughts and feedback. I love your gray hair stories and color stories, so keep ‘em coming!  I want to know why you do or do not color your hair? How do you feel about your hair? Does your hair define you?  Inquiring minds want to know!

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Here’s to a positive spirit that never tells your age!

Nicki


Gray Expectations – Shades of Gray 5

By Nicki On December 14, 2012 2 Comments

Have you ever purchased a car that you thought was unique both in style and color, only to find out that your choice wasn’t so original? Suddenly every third car is the same  model and color as yours. Hmmm.

Susan Axelrod chatting with Caroline Kennedy.

Well, I’m having the same experience with women and gray hair. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed a lot more gray hair on women than ever before. I’m sure that my spidey senses are in overdrive, but the fact is they are out there. (I see gray haired people.)

Just this past week, there was a story about David Axlerod (Obama’s political advisor) shaving off his mustache because the epilepsy foundation that he and his wife Susan started, raised over 1 million dollars.  As his wife looked on, I noticed a sassy, silver haired, lovely young woman. I did some research and it looks like she’s always had it and in my opinion, she wears it well.

Since embarking on this fun journey, I have received some fascinating emails and even a phone call from my 5th grade art teacher who is a gray believer. “I just love my hair the way it is. I never thought about it being right or wrong, it was just the way it was meant to be. By the way Nicki, it’s silver, not gray.” Alrighty, silver it is!

A couple of days ago, I ran in to an old friend and she asked,” This is a joke, right? You’re not really doing that, right? You’re just doing this for something to write about, right?”  My response was, “No.”  She walked away mumbling to herself something about a crazy woman. I didn’t catch all  of it, probably because my hearing is going. Right? Doesn’t that happen to silver haired people?  :-)

I also received an email from a lovely woman who shared her story as a cancer survivor. She told me that she didn’t have a choice about her hair color. Once she started receiving treatment, she lost all of her hair. While her hair was growing in, she chose to wear different wigs and loved playing with hair color. Her hair came in grey, but she didn’t care much for the color, so she still enjoys wearing her wigs. Hmmm, maybe she’s on to something. She did suggest that I shave my head so that my authentic hair would grow in. You all have said that I’m brave, but I am not that brave. They’ll be no shaved head for this gal. But don’t think for a brief moment I didn’t consider it.

So ladies, and even men, if you’ve decided to go au naturel, please continue sending me your stories. I’ve got a great collection so far that I will share, anonymously, as I move forward. And for those of you that would rather scrape your knuckles on a grater vs. letting your colorist retire, I want to hear from you too!

I love adventures. In 5 days I go to my first “going gray” hair appointment. Photos to follow!

Here’s to a positive spirit that never tells your age!

Nicki


Gray Expectations – Gray Chic- 4

By Nicki On December 10, 2012 5 Comments

 

So, who would have thought that gray is the new black? It seems to be among the young Hollywood crowd. If Pink can sport it, why can’t I? Seriously, how cute is this? I know, I know it’s Pink and she’s 20 years younger, and a rock star.  But  still, it seems Hollywood is jumping on the silver hair bus. You think they’ve been reading my posts? Have I started a trend?

I have to say, I find this fascinating. What do you think? I’m thinking I’m a lot more hip than I gave myself credit for. (My kids will likely laugh when they read that line.)  If these young girls are jumping on the silver bus, than this gal is driving!

Although, I can’t imagine any reason young girls would want to go silver – it may have something to do with the cougar thing. Perhaps younger girls actually want to look older. If that’s the case, hell has frozen over!

As I move forward in this journey, it’s nice to know I’ll have some younger company. Let’s see who wears it better.

 

 

Here’s to a positive spirit that never tells your age!

Nicki