Turning 54 with gratitude and gusto

I have always celebrated my birthday with gusto, ever since I was very young, right up until my most recent birthday, my 54th. There are many reasons why I not only don´t hide my age, but on the contrary, make a big deal about it in public. First of all, my age is just another part of who I am, like my heritage, the fact that I have kids, or that I practice yoga. I don’t hide any of the other things, so why hide my age?

Turning 54 with gratitude and gusto

Photo of Lorraine C. Ladish by Phillippe Diederich

I know, I know, there are women who work in corporate jobs and feel they may be discriminated against because of, well, ageism. And this is a very valid point. I have worked for myself my entire life, so I don´t really feel the need to hide my age. This means I will flaunt it for all the women who can´t or won´t.

I will talk about it openly because, when we say “society” is ageist, well, we are all a part of society. Every single one of us. I choose to use my voice to show the world that age means nothing when it comes to what we can and can´t do.

I mainly identify as a writer, but I also get paid as an “influencer” and brand ambassador. This means that brands who are looking to work with younger women may rule me out, and that’s fine. You can’t be everything to everyone. However, interestingly, most of my Instagram followers are between the ages of 25 and 35, followed by the 35 to 45 group. That in itself proves that people seek inspiration from role models of all ages. And keep in mind, that, as I said, I´m vocal about my age. It´s even posted in my Instagram bio. On the other hand, there are plenty of brands that I use and love that are willing to go against the grain and work with older women. I know women 70+ who are being paid to be brand ambassadors for different causes and products and this makes me very happy.

It´s been almost four years since I launched VivaFifty.com, a few months after I turned 50. I thought only women my age and older would read us! I did not know that we´d serve as inspiration to younger women, who write to me to thank me for posting about my age, my life and my yoga practice. They tell me: “thanks to you, I no longer feel scared of getting older.” And trust me, older-than-me ladies, I KNOW I´m young. It´s all about perspective. To a 20-year old I´m a dinosaur, albeit a flexible and supple one. To an 80-year old, I´m a kid. To my abuelita, who is 100, I am a little over half her age.

So, I will continue to wear my age on my sleeve and share my journey with whomever finds in that a smidgen of inspiration. In my world there is only one way to celebrate another birthday, and that´s with gratitude and joy. So many don´t get to enjoy this privilege.

Lorraine C. Ladish

Bilingual and bicultural Latina editor, writer, speaker, online influencer and mom. Founder of Viva Fifty! Published author of 18 books. Her forthcoming title Your Best Age will be released by HarperCollins in September of 2017.