(Blank) Is the New (Blank) – Age is Just a Number


(Blank) Is the New (Blank)

– Age is just a number –

If 30’s are the new 20’s and 50’s are the new 40’s, than age can flex and morph outside of socially constructed norms.  While it does seem that certain milestones or life events (finding a life partner, starting a family, establishing a career, changing said career, etc.) have started to shift into different age brackets, there is something to be said for acknowledging and being mindful of your current age.  Just because we age, does not mean we deteriorate or go “down hill”.  You can be just as healthy in your 60’s as your 20’s.  Make 60’s the new 60’s and embrace the wisdom and experience that come with the privilege of age while honoring/maintaining the exuberance and hope from your 20’s.  By incorporating and collecting our experiences from our 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and so on, we can build ourselves into amazing human beings.

I would like to reframe the concept of “over the hill” which implies, at a certain point, there is a downhill (negative connotation).  What if we were to look at it like an uphill climb?  Along the way, you can gather experiences like wildflowers; knowledge like the ever expanding horizon.  By climbing uphill, you get stronger and more sure footed.  You’re also able to look back at where you came from.  Sure there may be times where the journey gets a bit rocky, but there tend to be detours and safe landings not far from the path.  Our lives are not just comprised of childhood milestones.  We hit milestones or obstacles throughout our lives and it is how we navigate these obstacles that allow us to grow as people rather than becoming “stuck” in one place or time.

Douglas MacArthur said “You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.”  The wonderful thing about being surrounded by a wide age range of women, is the collective experience of the group.  A 20 year old can be doing jump squats next to a 60 year old in the studio and, in that moment, they are having a shared experience.  Both women can inspire and support each other.  One is beginning her climb looking up and forward to what’s to come.  The other is looking back at where she has come from.  Both can walk away from that shared experience without a number in their heads, but feeling the same strength they are developing and maintaining.

We are inspired and amazed each day by the women that come into the studio.  Intelligent, hard working, passionate women from varying backgrounds and age brackets.  We consider ourselves lucky to work with such women and decided to feature some of them in this month’s newsletter.  We asked 5 women, each representing a different decade (20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s), the same 17 questions.  Personally, it was so interesting to compile their answers and see them side by side.

Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. ~Author Unknown

AudreyCarrieSusieCindyFriedmanMary

1) Where are you from?  Where did you grow up?  What was it like?

  • Audrey Humleker
    I was born and raised in the ever-charming village of Flat Rock, North Carolina, which I still consider to be home. I did a lot of my learning in Virginia, where I went to boarding school and college, so that state is pretty near-and-dear to my heart as well.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    I grew up in Jasper, Georgia, a small town in the North Georgia Mountains. It was beautiful and quiet, and made me itch to move into the city as soon as I could!
  • Susie Lazega
    I was born in Washington DC while my Dad was working at the Pentagon during the Vietnam War.
  • Cindy Friedman
    I grew up in Brooklyn, NY before it was such a cool place to live. I left home to attend college when I was 16 and studied abroad for a year in Italy when I was 18. Since then I realized I loved living abroad and have tried to spend as much time as I can travelling the globe. Over the years I’ve lived in the Carribbean, London, Washington DC, NY and Atlanta. Despite living in so many places I always feel like NY is home.
  • Mary Leight
    I was born in North Carolina and grew up in northern Greece where my father worked for the tobacco industry.  I was there until I moved to the US to go to college.  I love that part of the world and go back whenever I can.

2) What is your driving factor?  Work, parenting, or a passion, we want to know what pushes you!

  • Audrey Humleker
    I live to learn – be it around the dinner table, at work, or at the gym. I’m always hungry for new information and new challenges.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    My last decade’s passion has been my work – I’m a criminal prosecutor, with a focus on prosecuting violent crimes against women. For me, my career is my activism and contribution to social change and to ending domestic and sexual violence against women. Working with and for the survivors in my cases is so much of what gets me up and moving every morning.
  • Susie Lazega
    I think that my passion beyond parenting is to strive and grow as a person. When I have stepped out of my comfort zone in my 40’s it has led me to know more about myself and people around me. I have gained immeasurable respect for myself, and the people that are alongside me, than I could have imagined. I also have to say that children spark joy for me. I love to be with the very tiny ones, and to help older children feel heard and know that they are important.
  • Cindy Friedman
    I have always been pretty self-motivated person. I’m a doctor so I survived medical school, residency, etc. I grew up with a single mom and two sisters. My mom was a very strong, and determined woman; a bit of a feminist. We were taught, from a young age, to be self-reliant. Our mantra (from our mom) has always been “No one tells us that we can’t do something, there is always a way around a problem.”
  • Mary Leight
    Food is my driving factor.  I love to grow it, cook it, and eat it.  I also like
    working with organizations that work to get healthy, fresh foods to people who don’t have access to good eats.

3) What are you most proud of?

  • Audrey Humleker
    My education. I owe my family and friends a great deal for motivating me throughout that endeavor.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    I’m most proud of the way I’m learning to find balance in my life – to care for myself as much as I do anyone else.
  • Susie Lazega
    My family, my children; taking on leadership roles that benefitted me and my community; testing myself by moving out of my comfort zone and feeling successful.
  • Cindy Friedman
    My children
  • Mary Leight
    I loved teaching in my 20s and 30s and then was proud of my consulting business in my 40s and 50s.  It will be interesting to see what I’m most proud of going forward.

4) What is the best part about being in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s etc?  Has there been an “a ha” moment for you?

  • Audrey Humleker
    Realizing that I still have my entire life ahead of me, and that I’m part of a generation that is expected to change their job, if not career, on a couple of occasions. It’s equal parts daunting and exciting to think about what’s ahead of me, and nice knowing I don’t have to have it all figured out just yet.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    There are so many great things! I’m really loving the peace that I’ve made with my body in my 30’s – there was a great moment in the last few years when I realized (finally!) that this body and me are on the same team. It was so freeing to stop fighting with and restricting my body, and just be grateful for everything it can do.
  • Susie Lazega
    40’s – More brain space available to reflect on all aspects of what is important. I have learned to distinguish conversations or situations I do or do not want to participate in. I learned what it feels like to have a parent die and a best friend move away – and figure out how to move forward. We learned how to be the best parent to our different children, share our love for them, and be sure they know that everything we do is to help prepare them to be the best person they can be. I have learned and continue to learn to be patient, present and optimistic. I taught a teenager how to drive and had to learn to trust that he would be ok. I know that we have illnesses, and surgery is necessary, and recover (like parenting) is not for sissies. I know that participating and showing up brings great rewards. I know that I am a lucky person.
  • Cindy Friedman
    The best part about being in my 50s is not worrying about what anyone thinks. And saying no and not feeling guilty about it. It’s so liberating. I remember my mom saying something similar to me years ago about being in her 40s. I definitely think 50 is the new 40! I used to get anxious and worried before an important event, whether it be taking an exam or giving a lecture at a medical meeting. I really never enjoyed the moment or the success that came from participating in the event. I finally realized that worrying didn’t help, but instead being thoroughly prepared was the key to feeling calm and having success…. And, I actually got to enjoy my success. What a revelation!
  • Mary Leight
    I’m learning to allow myself to slow down and relax in my 60’s.

5) What has been a struggle in this decade for you?

  • Audrey Humleker
    Adulthood 🙂
  • Carrie McCurdy
    Balance, definitely. After pushing and scratching and clawing and “succeeding” my way through my 20’s, I work hard these days to find the places of ease and joy in my life and make them bigger.
  • Susie Lazega
    Losing a parent. Dealing with illness. Being present and engaged in what is happening in front of me in person!
  • Cindy Friedman
    Time. It is so precious. My kids are growing up so fast. I feel great– fit, healthy and happy. But none of us knows how long all that will last. The struggle is learning not to waste precious time doing things that aren’t worth doing or doing them with people who are not worth your time.
  • Mary Leight
    Accepting the fact that I’m aging.

6) What do you know now that you wished you’d known 10 years ago?

  • Audrey Humleker
    Good things are to come. Take a moment to appreciate homework being your only responsibility.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    That I’m whole and beautiful, exactly as I am, flaws and all. That the flaws make me even more beautiful.
  • Susie Lazega
    Clarity is remarkable. Continue to push through because life gets better, more interesting, explore, go, do, enjoy!
  • Cindy Friedman
    To be more selfish. It sounds crazy but I spent my 40s raising kids, putting my career on hold and supporting my husband’s career. Those are all noble causes and things I would do again, but I’ve learned to “put on my oxygen mask first”. Doing for others and putting yourself last is not sustainable. Putting yourself first, doesn’t mean that you can’t be a fantastic mother, partner etc . Happiness, balance and respect from others comes when you put yourself on the top of the “to do” list.
  • Mary Leight
    It’s OK to make a change, no matter what time in your life.

7) What are you most grateful for?

  • Audrey Humleker
    Family, friends, and a glass of wine at the end of a long day.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    Oh man, I’m so grateful for the friends and family (and the friends-who-are-family) and the two sweet dogs who fill my life daily.
  • Susie Lazega
    My family, living under 1 roof with my family, healthy children, the brilliance of my kids minds; my husband , his , health, work ethic, mind and patience; close friends; my mom & all of my mother figures.
  • Cindy Friedman
    My health and my family
  • Mary Leight
    Friends and family – especially hubby Bart.

8) What are you looking forward to in the your next decade?

  • Audrey Humleker
    This is one of those questions where I’m afraid I’ll jinx myself… but probably a house and family of my own.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    I just want to continue to grow the joy in my life, in whatever form it comes!
  • Susie Lazega
    I am astounded by how much happens in each decade, it’s hard to imagine all that is in front of me. Continued personal growth, health, travel, watching my children go to college.
  • Cindy Friedman
    My kids are getting older and they will be off to college before I know it. Having time to travel more with my husband would be great.
  • Mary Leight
    Learning different ways of looking at the world.

9) What is the best piece of advise you have ever received?

  • Audrey Humleker
    Set aside time to do things that you enjoy and make you happy. Not quite sure where I heard this, probably my parents, but I find a happy mindset leads to happy friendships and work environments, among other things. I’m all about a little “me” time.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth
  • Susie Lazega
    Be kind, be honest, be truthful. I have also adapted this to Be Kind, Be Grateful, Be thoughtful. Be respectful to all people.
  • Cindy Friedman
    The best advice I ever got was when a friend said, “make your gym time like a doctor’s appointment. Don’t cancel it for anything!! Not for drinks with a friend, not for the parent teacher conference etc. There is always another time slot available for those things. No excuses!
  • Mary Leight
    Stay hungry and stay foolish – Steve Jobs

10) Who is an inspiration to you?

  • Audrey Humleker
    So many people! Going to go with my sister on this one, she’s tackling the whole career/marriage/mom thing in a way I hope I’m able to one day.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    Anyone who tries to live mindfully and authentically.
  • Susie Lazega
    My parents and their life path, my grandparents, my husband’s grandmother and family who survived the Holocaust. All survivors. There are so many remarkable people in our daily lives who have amazing stories.
  • Cindy Friedman
    I have a group of women friends who are so smart- Ivy league educated, great careers and families, but they are also so interesting—they knit, travel, compete in marathons, have a variety of hobbies. They are inspirational – so multifaceted!
  • Mary Leight
    Eleanor Roosevelt

11) What empowers you?

  • Audrey Humleker
    A good workout, a great nap, a compliment (big or small).
  • Carrie McCurdy
    Dancing around my living room to Beyoncé always works!
  • Susie Lazega
    My family inspires me, and tests my limits and I have to continue to adapt and grow with them. Helping a family feel pride in their home and enjoy their home with my design skills. Paying attention and listening are key in all of these areas. I love being with children, and helping sick children at Egelston Children’s Hospital through volunteering. Personal growth.
  • Cindy Friedman
    Working hard to improve my body, taking up new exercises, sports and fitness challenges and seeing the results. It makes me feel great! Total control!
  • Mary Leight
    Friends who are honest with me and expect the same from me.

12) How do you find balance in your life?

  • Audrey Humleker
    The aforementioned “me” time.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    I practice meditation, yoga, and gratitude. And I periodically force myself to turn off the noise of life – no phone, tv, or Internet – and just enjoy the moments and the people in my life.
  • Susie Lazega
    Making time for myself, making time to enjoy and be with my husband; move away from electronic tools, read a book. This is a constantly changing effort. Sometimes I have to take a step back and make sure to stop and enjoy my surroundings, friends and family.
  • Cindy Friedman
    Its hard, with two kids, a husband, a full time career! You must make time for yourself. For me it’s time for exercise.
  • Mary Leight
    I don’t do this well – but I’m trying.

13) Do you have any daily rituals?

  • Audrey Humleker
    Exercise.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    I meditate every morning as soon as I wake up.
  • Susie Lazega
    Being grateful, thankful, and appreciative. Talking with my close friends. Make sure my family hears me say I love and care about them.
  • Cindy Friedman
    Skincare- I moisturize day and night and in between too. I love Caudale products with resveratrol. I got turned onto them years ago in France and I haven’t used anything else.
  • Mary Leight
    Yoga in the morning.  Even if it’s just 5 minutes it helps to stretch out my muscles.

14) If so, how has that ritual changed over the years?

  • Audrey Humleker
    Exercise used to be something I did because I was told to, not because I
    necessarily wanted to. Now I’ve realized that it’s one of the best ways to clear my mind, boost my spirit, and challenge myself. Be it a class at Fit to Be or a long walk, it’s something I look forward to every day.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    Meditation has just become more and more a priority in my daily life in the last few years…every day, even if just five minutes, no exceptions. Developing this practice changed my life!
  • Susie Lazega
    My rituals have come to life as I have gotten older, along with my kids, because we all have more available brain space and freedom to be calm and communicate.
  • Cindy Friedman
    As you age you definitely need more time for “beauty maintenance”. I definitely go for more facials, pedicures, massages and I never go to sleep without washing and moisturizing my face.
  • Mary Leight
    Yoga has evolved in a way to improve focus and calm my mind.  It’s not just a physical activity.

15) If you could have a super power, what would it be?

  • Audrey Humleker
    I’m going with teleportation. There are some days where I could seriously use a lunch break on the beach.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    I wish I could erase others’ pain and trauma with a touch.
  • Susie Lazega
    Through mind power I would make people be peaceful, kind, and non judgmental and respect people where they are for who they are. Put an end to destruction of people, cities, and forests. Figure out how to turn this power into eliminating debilitating illness.
  • Cindy Friedman
    To stop time!
  • Mary Leight
    The power to feed the world.

 

16) What is your favorite quote?

  • Audrey Humleker
    “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams
  • Carrie McCurdy
    “Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it” – Pema Chodron
  • Susie Lazega
    “And though she be but little she is fierce.” –  William Shakespeare from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Cindy Friedman
    “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” ― Robert F. Kennedy
  • Mary Leight
    “Every question possesses a power that does not lie in the answer” – Elie Wiesel

17) What is your favorite way to relax?

  • Audrey Humleker
    An excessively long and hot bath.
  • Carrie McCurdy
    By doing anything outdoors, surrounded by nature.
  • Susie Lazega
    Sitting outside, listening to our chickens and babbling water drinking a beer with my husband. A massage. A good book and some wine. Hanging out with my teens and learning from them. Visiting with friends without a care in the world, preferably by the lake or beach with drinks and food.
  • Cindy Friedman
    A long walk with my dog with headphones on and my playlist of the moment.
  • Mary Leight
    Working in the garden.