At Annabel & Grace we admire a whole host of enterprising 50+ women. One of whom we met at the start of her meteoric new career as the founder of a make up range specifically for older women – Tricia Cusden. We are delighted to publish her tips on how to look and feel fabulous forever…
One of the reasons I started my business, Look Fabulous Forever, was because I saw ageist attitudes all around me. The beauty industry is only interested in ‘youthful ageing.’ In other words they believe that every right-minded woman will be desperate to look as young as possible – hence the ‘anti-ageing’ label which they attach to every product they promote for my age group (I am now 70). I found this assumption hugely insulting, so I created my makeup brand to speak a different language of ageing – one which would be upbeat, positive and pro-age. So how do you age fabulously? Having done lots of research for my book ‘Living the Life More Fabulous’ I would like to share my thoughts about best ways to ensure that your third act of life is the best you can make it.
Change your attitude to ageing
Ageism is insidious and is everywhere. Ageing is portrayed as something that you need to ‘combat’ or ‘fight’ with this or that magic elixir or procedure. It is also depicted as a period of increasing enfeeblement – both mental and physical. However, in my experience, getting older has been entirely positive. I am calmer, happier in my own skin and more confident than I have ever been. I have achieved more in the past five years since launching LFF than in the previous twenty years or more. So never use your age as an excuse for not trying something new.
Make an effort with your appearance
People make up their minds about you in 10-15 seconds, so appearance matters if you want to be treated well. Many older women that I see when I am out and about have clearly ‘thrown in the towel’. They probably think ‘no-one cares what I look like – so what does it matter?’ I find that if I apply some lovely flattering makeup, do my hair and wear something which suits me, I get lots of compliments and respect from the people I meet. Many older women complain of feeling invisible, so refuse to don the invisibility cloak!
Look after your health and fitness
This is the biggie because looking good and feeling well go hand in hand. I have radically changed two things since I reached 70: the food I am eating and my level of exercise. I am now eating much less sugar, much less meat and much more ‘plant’ based foods – fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. I am also working with a personal trainer twice a week after a lifetime of zero exercise (and I am not exaggerating!). I’ve also bought myself a small, foldable exercise bike which I pedal away on for a half an hour most days while I watch TV. If you want to protect your health for as long as possible then do all you can to lose weight, get moving every day and eat a largely Mediterranean diet.
Live with purpose
Rather than thinking of ‘retirement’ think ‘renaissance’. Many older women that I know are still very busy, often looking after other people. So make sure that there is space to meet your own needs for satisfaction, enjoyment and fulfilment. Maybe there is something that you have always wanted to do but have never had the time or guts. Now is the time to ask ‘what would I most regret not having done on my deathbed?’ This may be very hard to answer, but if there is something you’d love to do then just do it! I decided to start a new business as my ‘renaissance’ project and it has given me more joy than I could ever have imagined. Instead of thinking ‘I’m too old and this is too risky’ I thought ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ I knew I could cope if it failed – so I decided to do it and see what I could create.
Live Fabulously Forever
In my view there are three ways to age. The first is to feel negative and defeated by it and to see each birthday as a step nearer the abyss. The effect of this is a kind of paralysis of will which is accompanied by the feeling ‘what’s the point?’ The second is to fight the ageing process with everything that is available to persuade you that you can defy it. So you are likely to resort to the syringe and the scalpel to efface the signs of age which will feed your sense of desperation and dissatisfaction as the birthdays come and go. And then there is the third way which is to live the life more fabulous. This is the ultimate expression of positive ageing and it’s about staying fully engaged with everything around us, but on our own terms. The core belief of the fabulous approach is that we accept and value our ageing selves and take full responsibility for our own wellbeing in our lifestyle choices and are still open to learning, growth and whatever opportunities come our way, because we love life and want to continue to live it to the full.
I hope you agree that this third way is a good compromise between trying too hard and not trying hard enough to age positively. I am doing everything I can to call out ageism wherever and whenever I see it, but in the meantime we owe it to ourselves to have the very best third act of life that we can in spite of living in a society which is keen to write us older women off. I have come to realise that ageing is not a terrifying monster but a gradual process of adaptation to changes that we can meet with resilience, energy and, even, a spirit of enquiry and adventure. So here’s to a long, happy and above all fabulous life!
Click here to browse Tricia’s website.
Information on Look Fabulous Forever At Home
To buy a copy of Tricia’s book, click here.