March-ing Into 69

March 15th, 2012

Photos by Diana on Colfax Avenue a few blocks from home.

Last year at the transition to 68 The SC went to dinner with Nelson HERE  in vintage cape and hat, unable to write about the full impact of the hours prior to our outing.  Earlier in the day we had met with our guide (a dear friend of 36 years) from Natural Transitions HERE , had talked intimately about death, made plans within the confines of unpredictability and addressed what N wanted before and after he drew his last breath.  Just a few details!  This conversation, facilitated by our skillful coach, thankfully opened the floodgates for all that needed to be said to each other and to family/friends.  End of life discussions in our culture are difficult to approach, even by those of us who have worked in health care for a lifetime. But it was a relief and the greatest gift to explore and accept without fear that which was staring us in the face.  As I reflect on that day, a year ago, what has transpired remains unreal in many ways, as though I’m looking at the past though a self protective veil or fine layer of gauze.

As for aging, I look forward to the day when the archetype of the ‘crone’ will be revered and honored. Ari Seth Cohen of Advanced Style HERE provides inspiration daily with his respectful and beautiful photos of women and men who are aging with vigor, enthusiasm and style.  Crone to the Bone HERE presents mesmerizing photos of older women across cultures.  The vibrant and diverse global community of fashion bloggers over 40, partying together on The SC’s ‘Blogs We Love’ page HERE , continually energize, influence and delight. There is a revolution of perception in the air!  Why not live as though that day has arrived? Perhaps that’s the best strategy to deal with the unconscious inner ageist that makes unwelcome visits despite my best intentions.

But I digress.  Why be so serious on this day?  Why not take a vacation from my memories and live in the moment, go out to dinner with Camille and laugh with friends.  Raise a toast to Nelson with a frivolous gloved hand and enjoy the movement of my estate sale vintage chandelier earrings.

In celebration of 69, my sartorial choice is a black rayon dress with peplum ‘from the 40’s,’ like me.  A garment that shows the ‘changes that come with age,’ like me.  And an Irene of New York black velvet structured beret with amber satin bow and amber jewels that are ‘vintage,’ like me.  And a pair of long black fingerless gloves that serve as sleeves and allow the accessory of nail polish to be revealed. The tall contemporary black leather boots ground The SC in the present.

And as for grief and loss, not to be denied, I was touched by this piece by Cheryl Eckl from ‘A Beautiful Grief’ HERE :

“I am your best friend. Your most authentic guide—because I live so deep inside of you. Some may think me a dark and sinister figure because I am the great disturber of worlds and ideas and beliefs. The false or, perhaps, the incomplete things you have used as crutches. You know this about me now. I will only tell you the truth about where something is different. Where an opening exists. Where a doorway can be found. You must open the door yourself. But I unlock it.”

27 Responses to “March-ing Into 69”

  1. Shelley

    Oh Judith, you look so elegant, and if that is what 69 can look like, well, bring it on baby! I”m sending you the warmest of birthday wishes during this challenging emotional time; please know that you have inspired me so much this past year with the sharing of your journey with Nelson in the last year of his life, and also with your beautiful and unerring sense of style. A very, very Happy Birthday to you, my blogging friend!

  2. déjà pseu

    You look so elegant and you are so wise and open to life, all of it. Happy Birthday!!

  3. Em

    You are looking beautiful. I am sure Nelson is immensely proud of you.

    Your preparation with him reminds me of the wonderful and painful conversations I had with my father leading up to his death. Probably for the first time in our lives we were open and free with one another and it has remained a template for me in all my close relationships.

    A little while afterwards I came across an epitaph, from Conrad Black gravestone I think, “Cosmic mariner, destination unknown” It conjures up such an image for me of my father who was both an old sailor and loved his push bike. I imagine him cycling through the stars!

    I have been using the image of the gravestone quite often with young clients ( I work as a therapist with adolescents) and asking them what will be the words they would like to some up their lives. People with anorexia certainly don’t want ” She was thin”!

    Without exception they want fun, kind, adventurous, spend time with friends and family, don’t work too hard. I learn from them every day.

    Sending you wishes for every good thing on your birthday and every day.

  4. Vix

    I’m in total agreement with Shelley, if I look only a fraction of how good you look then bring on the sixties, I can’t wait! You are an astounding woman, Judith. I love how you say your “peplum is from the 40’s, like me”. There’s none of that bashfulness about your age which can be so tedious. The more of us “overs” who get out there and shout it from the rooftops the less society will fear getting older.
    You are an inspiration, may you celebrate many more birthdays in such style and elegance. xxx

  5. rose

    When I saw your photos, the word that came to me was “dynamic”. You look so incredible. Those gloves…whoa, they are THE business. It really pulls it all together.

    Then I read your text, and as usual, I marvel at your strength and how you so elegantly honor the past while moving forward.

    May 69 be an incredible year for you, opening up new vistas that can only be imagined at this point. Once again, hats off to you girl!

    Much love from England,

  6. mom

    Another happy birthday! I sent you a card and wished you happy birthday on the telephone so here is another wish on your blog! It sounds like you are having a busy busy day so I know it was a great one. We have been looking at your blog and it is fasinating! I’m sure it gave you lots of ideas for your wardrobe! I love you from Mom!

  7. Sara D.

    I’m not that good with words, so I’ll just say what is going through my mind- you are beautiful and so elegant! Life is not always easy and you always show such strength. You are truly inspiring and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    A big hug xx

  8. Susan Berggren

    My very best wishes to you on your birthday, Judith. I only recently discovered your website, but find inspiration in each and every one of your posts…and each and every one of your style statements. Your very eloquent writing always touches me and continues to leave me with something to ponder, explore, or just enjoy! May the spring days that lie ahead renew your spirit!

  9. Patti @ NotDeadYet Style

    Happy Birthday Judith! I love it that you embrace and announce your age, with no coyness. And why should we be coy about such a celebration? What a year it’s been for you, and I marvel always at your grace, strength, courage and poetry.

  10. Jean

    I was looking forward to this post, as I knew it would be a very meaningful one. Beautifully written and so full of wisdom, it didn’t disappoint. The elegance of your outfit and the blend of vintage and contemporary elements perfectly complimented and illuminated your text.

    Happy birthday, and thank you for this gift!

  11. Janet

    Happy Birthday, Dear Judith – I just looked at the calendar – “The Ides of March.” I’ve always associated that with your birthday. You look wonderful and your wisdom is inspiring!!

  12. Sylvia @ 40PlusStyle

    I can’t believe you are already 69. You look so gorgeous. Great hat, broach and superb gloves. Happy birthday!

  13. Terri

    First, happy birthday. As you explained your outfit, I marveled at the MEANING in how you dressed today.

    Second, that quote about grief is apropos. My former mother-in-law passed last weekend and she has been on my mind in a mighty way this week, as I have realized, belatedly, how much she shaped me as a person.

    Third, this post has introduced me to many new blogs and I plan to spend some time this weekend, exploring them all.

  14. Couture Allure

    Happy Birthday Judith! You are beautiful!

  15. carolyn

    Thank you, beautiful one, for being on the planet at the same time, from giving us your inside story. If only we could all be with our loved ones, and ourselves, and have this conversation about the transition. You and Camille have walked this year with dignity, depth and beauty. And you remind me of the flowers just waiting to spring forth, the tulips popping up, after a cycle of growing we didn’t notice until there they are, brilliant, colorful, outrageous, right before our very eyes. 69 is magic for there can no longer be any doubt about the journey and the courage to live without regret is startlingly real.

  16. Judith Boyd

    I am so sorry for your loss Terri. I’m happy that the quote resonated for you.

  17. Melanie

    There is so much in this post that I can’t just say, “Oh, wow, you look great!!” although I think that too. What you say is from the heart and it resonates. I have not explored the other places you mentioned here yet, but thank you for introducing them.

    Your blue eyes sparkle and you have a wonderful energy in these photos. Of course the outfit is brilliant!! and I love the long fingerless evening gloves. But you infuse these original pieces with something so distinctly you, it goes beyond fabric! Happy Birthday!!

  18. Heidi/The Closet Coach

    Happy Birthday! You look fabulous.

  19. Louisa

    A very Happy Birthday, Judith! I’m behind you by nearly 8 years and I’m doing my best to grow into my seniority gracefully. (OK, maybe I’m a lot more silly than graceful.) Nevertheless, you are a great inspiration, my dear. Your positive attitude even in the face of adversity shines out. Your beauty starts from the inside but it’s so much fun to watch you play with the hats and the clothes on the outside too. Many happy returns!

  20. Rebecca

    Happy Birthday to you dear Judith. It may seem like a belated wish but for some reason my note to you on your birthday didn’t go through. In any case, you look wonderful and are my constant inspiration!

  21. Sarah

    You are just stunning! This outfit is divine!

  22. Willa

    One of the things I admire most about your posts is the thread that links so many of them, the frankness about realizing how fleeting life can be and how openly you bared your feelings as Nelson’s end neared and as your own mighty grief weighed heavily. I was initally drawn in by the outfits and commentary on style, but I became a follower because of the substance I found in each post. I am glad that the blog has not been too much of a burden in recent months, and I like to think that perhaps it has helped you process your grief. I know that the thoughtfully rendered posts certainly nourish my soul. — And of course I enjoy the outfits. Love the peplum!

  23. Serene

    I cannot even wrap my brain around the fact that you’re 69! My goodness, you just look AMAZING!!! But more than your beautiful appearance, it’s your joy that shines through and gives you a radiance that is ageless. Thank you Thank you Thank you Judith. Just for being you and encouraging all of us to be the best versions of ourselves we can be! Heaps of love headed your way from me to you!!! ~Serene

  24. ariane

    Good God Judith 69! you look 45 – 50 tops!
    This outfit is so amazing! and the gloves a pure délice ma chère!
    Of course the hat, it would not Judith without a hat!

    Take care darling and keep your beautiful spirit up!

    Ariane xxxx

  25. Jeannee

    I especially liked when you said: “As I reflect on that day, a year ago, what has transpired remains unreal in many ways, as though I’m looking at the past though a self protective veil or fine layer of gauze.” LOVE THAT! Much identification!

  26. VictorianKitty

    I just found your blog through Advanced Style, and I can’t get enough of it. You so completely exemplify what I hope to be as I grow older. I’m a 38-year old Goth girl who will never grow out of my own dark, elegant style, and I love to see that there are women out there who have not let age dampen their fashion sense. You are an amazing icon who proves that youth is WAY overrated (something I try to remind my readers of regularly, but they often seem to miss the point). Your story is so touching and your strength and character are inspiring. Please know that you are bringing something of great value to the world through this blog!

  27. Susan Tiner

    Happy Belated Birthday! Your posts are so inspiring Judith. I knew I would relish catching up on your posts. You look so vibrant and beautiful.

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