There is no deadline on being active, attractive and relevant as you grow older, and Bolder is here to prove it.
Most of us fear growing older. As a society, we have become experts at fixating on the doom and gloom; on rolling with the stereotypes and accepting that we must fight ageing at all costs, or at least die trying. But as we live longer and healthier lives, it’s surely time to change the narrative. After all, prejudice against ageing is prejudice against our future selves. It makes no sense. We’re all getting older every minute, every hour, every day.
Bolder, a website which champions inspirational people over the age of 70, was created to highlight the positives of ageing in a culture that is collectively fixated on the negatives. Through interviews with people who prioritize wellness and healthy living and who have energy and enthusiasm in spades, the aim of the founders (both in their mid-thirties) was to change perceptions about growing older - and prove that there is no official cut-off date on being attractive, active and relevant.
Many of their interviewees cite the happiest days of their lives as now, not then – and nearly all of them are fit and active. Take Ellery McGowan, a 73-year-old teacher who competes in cold water swimming championships in her down time. “At the World Cold Water Championships in Russia last year,” she says, “I cut my arms from swimming through ice – but I didn’t even realise the blood until it was over. It’s hard to explain how good the water makes you feel – you come out and you glow because all the heat has gone to your core. Antarctica is next on her list. “It’s important not to put things off,” she says, “I still have a lot of living to do.”
Muffie Grieve, an 82-year-old championship tennis player and the cover star of the upcoming Bolder book, has a similarly optimistic outlook on life. ““I don’t consider my age a factor at all. It was never traumatic to me to be 30 or 40 or 50 – it just doesn’t worry me. As you get older and become a success at something you gain tremendous confidence,” she says. When it comes to fitness, she is realistic, but positive. “The only negative is that your body sometimes lets you down, but what the hell? I see tennis as a lesson for a lifetime. You win some, you lose some and you fight again.”
Most of the interviewees speak of the luck of genetics but they are equally committed to living well. “My clients go right up to the age of 89,” says septuagenarian personal trainer Eddy Diget. “I always reassure people that just because they may have never trained before, they are never too old to start.” Or continue, for that matter. 86-year-old Pat Moorehead, a Los Angeles-based skydiver, worried there would be a deadline on his favourite hobby. Happily, it didn’t work out that way.
“I decided to give skydiving a go when I was 37. I made two jumps on my first day and I’ve been doing it ever since. Had somebody told me back then that I’d still be jumping aged 86, I’d have thought they were joking. For a start I wouldn’t have thought anyone would live to be that old! Now, 60 is the new 30.” When Moorehead turned 80, he decided to celebrate in style – and ended up breaking a world record, making 80 jumps in one day.
Sue Kreitzman, a 74-year-old artist, believes positive change is afoot in the ageism space. “There is an old lady revolution going on right now and we’re becoming much more visible,” she says. “People are living longer and living better. A lot of advertisers are using older women and the silver pound phenomenon is helping to change attitudes. I feel I’m a pioneer as I’m very vocal and do a lot of public speaking on ageism.”
Kretizman has starred in the ‘Bright Old Things’ campaign for Selfridges and was one of the first people to appear on now world-famous blog Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen. Far from slowing down, she’s more in demand than ever. “I believe we are all ageless but we’re not immortal,” she says. “You have to make every day count. I try my best to take care of myself but it’s also a matter of genes. I don’t believe in botox or plastic surgery. Just be who you are for God’s sake – accept that this is what time does to us.” Of course ageism still exists – but slowly, it seems, things are improving. Bolder’s cover star Grieve agrees. “Yes we do live in an ageist society – but it is changing,” she says. “More people as they retire are staying active, They aren’t lying around letting the world go by. Attitudes are changing.”