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changing the face of aging
Susan Brooks
They Say It's My Birthday...and it is!!!

They Say It's My Birthday...and it is!!!
September 2023

Come celebrate with me!

This month I celebrate my birthday every day! I'm giving myself the gift of feeling GREAT about's my birthday and I'll age if I want to:

Mae West
"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!" ~ Mae West

Drowning out the negative messages that getting older is something to be ashamed of...that we should find a rock to crawl under and wait unless we can claw back some semblance of youth or at least die trying. Nope, that's not for me! I'm already planning my 100th birthday celebration!

As Iris Apfel, world's oldest living teenager says, "Get old but don't get boring!"

In a world obsessed with the glow of youth, turning 77 might seem like stepping into the shadows. But that's where society gets it wrong. The shadows are where the legends lurk, where stories steeped in wisdom and rebellion are whispered.

Age 77? That's not an expiration date; it's a badge of honor. It's surviving every curveball life's thrown, every judgmental glare, and every narrow-minded notion of "old." It's decades of laughter, tears, battles, and victories.

Maybe 77 is the new age of revolution, a time to challenge, to break stereotypes, and prove that life doesn't peak; it just keeps evolving. The years haven't made me frail; they've made me fierce.

As Seth Godin said on a recent podcast: "All my life, I've tried to be difficult...that was my sport!" I've been a rebel with a cause since my first and what will be my last breath, celebrating 'change for good,' civil rights, women's movement, a working mother growing a million dollar business. How could I be anything different today as I fight to Change the Face of Aging??

While the world chases after fleeting moments, I've mastered the art of savoring them. While I might get distracted by the superficial BSO (bright shiny object), I love to learn, to process and delve into the depths of existence. Reading Ram Dass Still Here, helps me embrace aging and changing, every day, even more than his Be Here Now, which btw, my 18 year old granddaughter is reading right now.

So, the next time someone hints at 77 being "over the hill," I will smirk and let them in on the secret: the view's much better from the top and yes, still, the best is yet to come.

If retirement or the next chapter is calling your name, if I can help you realize your vision in business and lifestyle, email me. Let's make it happen now!

Talk to me:

Barry Brooks

Featured Modern Elder*

Barry Brooks
Age 80

Thank you, dear Readers, dear Friends, dear Family, especially our devoted children, Adam and Rachel, for their presence, guidance, and unconditional love. We are forever blessed.

I wasn't sure Barry would make it to his 80th birthday. Pancreatic cancer, starting with the Whipple 'mac truck' surgery, doesn't have great survival stats. But Barry was a Zumba specimen at the time, teaching his 12 (yes, 12!) Zumba classes a week at various senior living facilities. His ladies would wait for his arrival, assume their regular places in the floor line-up, ready to have fun dancing to the specific songs that Barry would choreograph just for them. It was a love fest for 12 years. Barry's classes were legendary, even when he took his classes to zoom during covid.

After the Whipple, Barry's days were filled with chemo, radiation, sleeping through 20 hour days, and all the side effects we didn't expect. His poor circulation was the biggest surprise problem for him, specifically when his index finger on his left hand simply died and needed to be amputated. He wrote with his left hand, played guitar with his left hand…this was now all gone. Barry's grief was real, even when he was pronounced cancer-free a year ago.

Here's when Barry, The Modern Elder showed up. Finally, he got sick and tired with being depressed. His grief for what he could no longer do took its toll on every day…and, I confess, I couldn't live my life watching him like this. Only Barry could choose another way to live the rest of his life, looking forward to what he CAN do. He bought himself and started playing a ukulele. He started reading Ram Das' Still Here, sharing his favorite passages with me. He lifts weights, going from 108 lbs. to 127 lbs. Most important of all, he signed up for a class that gives him a new credential: Functional Aging certification. He plans on offering his seniors a new way of living with movement as medicine in January 2024. Barry will do whatever it takes to live and serve another day!

Forward thinking and action to serve others is the necessary mind-set that Barry is celebrating on his 80th Birthday. Here are a few of his life lessons that he's excited to share with you:

  • "I look in the mirror and I'm still surprised to see that I'm still here, and how I look at 80!"
  • "After many months looking back and grieving my losses, I became impatient until I finally reached a point when I saw how many blessings I had going through this. WOW! I am so loved by so many!"
  • "Today, I live in the moment…in acceptance of my condition. My side effects may never go away. This is what is. Now, I simply look forward…"
  • "So many blessings from my children, my grandchildren, dear friends, and dormant friendships that came alive! I'm not alone. Pain is inevitable, but suffering in optional."
  • "My weight is up. My energy is up. My strength is up. My attitude is up. Who could ask for more?"
  • "I am blessed with every nurse, caregiver, doctor, surgeon for their patience, encouragement, and kindness…it DOES take a village!"
  • "I've posted the word GRATITUDE all over our home as a reminder of my many blessings EVERY DAY! Life happenings are easy to forget and, as Jackson Brown says 'nothing survives but the way we live our lives."
  • "I never thought I could love Susan more than I do today. Her motivation has propelled me, she's been by my side every night and day, loving me, always loving me."
  • "Before my birthday, I felt like an old 79 year old…now I feel like a young 80 year old, looking forward to a great future! Amen."

If retirement or the next chapter is calling your name, if I can help you realize your vision in business and lifestyle, email me. Let's make it happen now!

P.S. My lessons as Barry's 24/7 caregiver is a whole other story of lessons learned. Please call on me if you want to share yours...

*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*. Please send in your Modern Elder* nomination. CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT

Susan Brooks

Today, I am 77 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 Pro-Age!

According to Chip Conley, one of today's leading thought leaders: "Experience is making a comeback. Wisdom never grows old." Chip created the hallmarks of the Modern Elder*: "learning to marry wisdom and experience with curiosity, cultivating a beginner's mind so that learning never ends, exemplifying a willingness to evolve both as a student and sage." Research shows that shifting our mindset about Aging can add 7.4 happy years to a person's life.

Proud to say 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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