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changing the face of aging
Susan Brooks
Dress Up Time!

Dress Up Time!
March 2022

Hi There!

As a young girl, I believed that spending Saturdays in my Grandmother's closet was Heaven on Earth: lilac stockings that matched her lilac shoes that matched her purse were the perfect accessories to finish off her deeper purple suit. As an interior designer, she usually wore her client's colors to the showroom. As I became a grown up, old enough now to actually wear her clothes, our Saturdays became Wisdom sessions, like 'Getting dressed is one of the best parts of the day!' She sure was right about that...

The closet for both men and women, is usually a private place. It marks your journey by sizes and colors that have changed over the years. Occasionally, one piece might peek out that's very different than all the rest: a neon-bright color, a feathered pin, a tassle-fringed scarf. Perhaps it jumped into your hands so fast you didn't even think about NOT taking it home. Shout out's like that are pieces of your dreams, surprises even to you that want to see the light, BE you more and more. Think Carrie Bradshaw! You know you want to.

Modern Elders* at every age want to be seen! Carla Rockmore, 54, is a fashion designer unlike others half her age. Her age is her differentiator on You-Tube with her tagline "Over 50 Fashion." With 75,000 followers on Instagram and a million on TicTok, "nowhere is she sheepish in the way typically required of women over 40."

"Women who are 50+ tend to know who they are and what they want. She's more confident in who she is…and who she is not!"
~ Carla Rockmore "Over 50 Fashion"

Rockmore dresses for fun and her own self-expression. And you can, too!!

Today you have an assignment: Go play in your own closet!
Wear something you've been saving.
Wear a hat.
Wear a different color than what you usually wear.
Wear an attitude.

Take a photo and send it to me:
I promise not to share without your approval.

From my grandmother's closet, to my own grandchildren, Dress Up Time comes full circle!

Featured Modern Elder*

Gandolfa Stegmann Age 90

Nominated by Janine Finney: "She is my hero, she's got a young spirit and is always eager to learn. To me she exemplifies age is just a number."

Gandolfa only recently decided what she wanted to be when she grew up: a Life Coach. Often others would recognize the value and impact of Gandolfa's values and choices throughout her life: compassion, curiosity, integrity, resilience, trust and, yes, wisdom. So, she enrolled in the Southwest Institute for Healing Arts and at 88 years of age, Gandolfa became a Certified Life Coach. She works one-on-one with women, sharing her training and life experience. She can be contacted through her website

But, first, Gandolfa needed to work on herself to "unlearn" and "reset" her own life values: "My life for years was getting to know myself and claim who I am. In my role as a Woman of Wisdom, I am evolving from a state of selflessness to being a self-actualized woman practicing self-love and self-care. Everything I've experienced that has been painful and joyful are healing lessons that created the ME I am today. I feel blessed about myself."

Gandolfa pauses before she responds to my next question: Which moment in history over your 90 years impacted you the most?

In responding, her words were deliberate and holistic: "Rather than hold one historical moment in awe, I believe all my history and experiences, especially those moments of painful suffering or moments of joy, each is a healing lesson for me."

Gandolfa was recently honored and completely celebrated as she enters the 9th decade of her life. To her, aging is a construct that gets her attention...and intention. She dedicates herself to living in the moment! Gandolfa says emphatically, "The current reality for so many is the fear of aging. Instead, have a vision of how you want it to be. I picture myself healthy and full of joy and energy."

Amen, Gondolfa! I hope to be invited to your 100th Birthday!

*Chip Conley, best-selling author and speaker, hospitality entrepreneur and leading thought leader, created The Modern Elder Academy's mission "to inspire the ability to reframe a lifetime of experience and recognize one's mastery, relevance, and value in the modern workplace." The Modern Elder* is Conley's term and effort that "liberates and inspires us to embrace wisdom as a path of growing whole, not old...The Modern Elder*marries wisdom and curiosity."

Every month this newsletter will Feature the stories and wisdom of Modern Elders*.

Share your Modern Elders* with us...maybe it's you!! Please send in your Modern Elder* Story along with a one-line Wisdom statement plus photo to be featured. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT

Susan Brooks

Today, I am 75 years old, and proud of it! Paul Simon, who is now in his 80's said it best years ago: us boomers are BORN AT THE RIGHT TIME!

Yes, I was born at the right time! I'm still a hippie from the 60's, I marched for civil rights for all humans, equal rights for women, waving my bra with the best. I am proud to be living and growing in a robust marriage of 55 years. I survived motherhood, and so did my now-adult children. I was an award-winning woman business owner when there were but a few of us. I've learned a whole bunch of lessons, and more importantly, I've earned my fair share of Wisdom, too.

I am a graduate of the Modern Elder Academy as well as an active participant in Wise Aging: Living with Joy, Resilience, and Spirit programs. As one of the creators and hosts of the Thrive@55 event, we celebrated our female community leaders who were 55+.

As long as I'm able to have the blessings of good health and a curious mind, there's more living to do, so much more to learn, so many new ways to serve. Trailblazer that I am, and always will be, I recognize my next mission: by example and demonstration I am committed to Changing the Face of Aging: One Modern Elder* at a time!

I welcome both local and national speaking engagements as well as one-on-one coaching opportunities to delve more deeply into navigating life transitions. Email me Here.

Juicy ways and energizing action steps: how to soak in the wisdom and energy of becoming your own Modern Elder*
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