Over the last few years, a new “holiday” has sprung up in our schools — 100th day of school celebrations. On this day, children participate in a variety of 100-themed activities, including scavenger hunts, practicing counting by 10s to get to 100 and the parents’ least favorite activity, creating crafts with 100 items.
My cat-obsessed kindergartener decided she wanted to put 100 cats on a poster board, organized into 10 groups of 10. Perfect, I thought, we’ll go grab some stickers and she can go to town. Ever the over-achiever, she decided she’d rather cut out 100 pictures of cats and glue them on instead.
It had us both saying meouch.
But the real appeal of the 100th day festivities is the opportunity for the kids to dress up for the day in a costume that shows how they think they’ll look at 100. If you go to Pinterest or any child-focused blog, you’ll find loads of ideas. Guess what they all have in common? Making the kids look as old and decrepit as possible. Many of the ideas involve walkers, powdered hair and curlers in the hair. When was the last time you saw an older woman leaving the house with curlers in her hair?
The more we searched, the less and less comfortable I became with perpetuating these old-fashioned stereotypes of aging. You see, I’ve been drinking the Growing Bolder Kool-aid for seven years now. I KNOW what’s possible after 100.
I spent many hours with 109-year-old Ruth Hamilton as she filed video blogs on GrowingBolder.com, becoming the world’s oldest blogger.
I listened as actress Connie Sawyer passionately explained to the Growing Bolder Radio Show why she still was very involved with the entertainment business at the age of 100, even voting on the year’s Oscar nominations.
And I marveled over 96-year-old yoga teacher Adela Choquet, whose yoga moves and positions put me to shame.
THESE are the examples of what life can be like at 100 that we should be sharing with our children.
So that’s what I did.
I showed these stories to my 5-year-old and watched her eyes get bigger and bigger. You should have seen her face when she saw 93-year-old Banana George barefoot water-skiing one final time.
But I also didn’t want to be the “no fun” parent. Dressing up is fun. I didn’t want her to think she had to be a walking political statement. I mean, she is 5. So we started assessing what we had at home, and I showed her one final inspiration picture.
This is a photo taken by Ari Seth Cohen, of the blog Advanced Style. He travels around the world finding fascinating and bolder older ladies. With every photo he snaps, he is redefining the old stereotypes of what an age should look like.
Armed with that idea, we headed to a vintage store and found a couple accessories. And here was our finished product.
Fashionable. Fabulous. And ready to keep living boldly for the next 95 years or so.
Every once in awhile, someone will say to one of us at Growing Bolder, “Oh, I’m not old enough to watch your stories yet. Ha. Ha.” Thankfully, we’re hearing that less and less. We’ve always believed that our stories transcend all age groups. If you want to be a barefoot skiing 93-year-old or a blogging 109-year-old, guess what? The journey to get there starts RIGHT NOW. It doesn’t matter if you’re 5, 35, 55 or 85, it’s never too late — or too soon — to live a life of passion, purpose and healthy living.
And I can’t think of a better message to pass along to my child.
Do you think the old stereotypes of aging are changing? What do YOU want to be doing at 100?