Why do we think aging is ugly?

Years ago, I read an article about a group of social scientists who went around the world asking different cultures what attributes they value most. (Be forewarned – I have long since forgotten where I read about the study and can’t provide the evidence. I don’t remember much else about it other than the three shared human attributes/values they presented ahve always stuck with me.)

They are: Health. Education. Youth.

NOw, Health and Education make sense. Our physical and mental health impact everything we do, how we are in the world as well as how we see the world.

Youth was an interesting one to me.

Yet, if I drill down into the idea that Youth is extolled by cultures around the world, I can see where it outranks things like Beauty.

Beauty can be subjective. Take piercings. There was a time where in North American culture, piercings were beautiful if in the ears. Now, they can appear anywhere on the body because for some, it looks beautiful.

Same as tattoos.

But Youth. Ah yes. No matter the cultural/social environment in which you live, youth is cherished, and nurtured. It is full of possibilities, full of opportunity, full of LIFE! – if only by the fact it is so far away from the known cause of leaving this world, death.

And here’s the thing. I do miss some of the attributes of my younger body. The way my knees and back and feet could move with ease. Heck, I’m seeing a physio right now so that I can heal some of the damage dislocating my left should 3 times has caused. I really, really want to be able to sleep on my left side again! Know what I mean?

Bottomline though, we have this unconscious/implicit bias that says – Youth is Beautiful. Age… especially when it is so visible through wrinkles and crepey skin appearing on our faces and bodies, well that’s just plain old ugly.

To be clear, I don’t consciously hold those thoughts in my head — implicit bias isn’t a ‘conscious’ thought. It lies stealthily buried beneath centuries of conditioning and social assumptions that undermine our worth, value and ability to celebrate ALL of what it means to be on this human journey – at every age.

Today’s video talks about this issue through the lens of what recently transpired here in Canada with Lisa LaFlamme, a Canadian icon in the broadcasting news arena. Bell/CTV ended her contract abruptly, cutting off her access to millions of loyal followers of her nightly National News.

The uproar has been loud, angry and at times, bitter. Lisa LaFlamme has risen above the fracas and demonstrated what it means to ‘age with grace’. And while 58 doesn’t seem that old to me, to her employers, it apparently was. Especially when combined with her decision to not continue dying her hair and go ‘au naturel’ on millions of TV screens. For Ms LaFlamme it was a beautiful and impactful gesture of solidarity with the millions of women who chose to stop dying their hair through Covid’s advances,

One unnamed source leaked a CTV executive asked, “Who told her she could let her hair go grey?”


I don’t think Mother Nature gives us a choice. It just does.

For some of us, like me, hiding it takes too much work. I can’t be bothered to dye it.

For others, the choice is to colour it.

Either way — it is our personal choice how we deal with Mother Nature’s flow.

Underlying all of this is a question I keep returning to. It’s one of the questions I ask in my video today and I do hope you share your thoughts and wisdom and experiences. Because… I still don’t have an answer: Why do we think aging is ugly?

August Woman – Awaken & Dream #ShePersisted

If there is one term people have used to describe me throughout my life, it is, “Free-spirited.”

My siblings used to tell me that meant I was ‘flighty’. My parents said it meant I needed to, “Stop dreaming and get my feet back on the ground.”

My response? “The Wright brothers didn’t keep their feet on the ground and look what they did!”

That was when my father would remind me of Icarus.

“Birds fly. Humans walk,” he said.

Sighing (to be fair, he might have called it ‘sulking’), I’d begrudgingly plant my feet firmly on the ground and tuck away my dreams in the furthest reaches of my heart. Head down, shoulders slumped, I’d walk the road well-travelled.

But not for long.

I couldn’t resist the urge to fly. And so, we’d go through the cycle again and again until eventually, I grew weary of reaching for the stars and learned to accept ‘the truth’. – The stars are beautiful to look at but life is here on Mother Earth. Keep walking.

August’s Woman is a reminder that ‘the truth’ is not found in the mud at our feet. It lives in the air around us. It soars upon the wind. It flows in the seas and shimmers in the stars because, as August Woman reminds us, we are all born of stardust. We are all born to shine.

Every night, when the moon calls the stars to awaken and shine, it is also calling us to awaken and dream. It is calling us to shine so brightly even the darkest night of the soul cannot mute our brilliance because we know, deep within us, nothing can keep us from lighting up the world when we let the beauty of ‘our truth’ shine bright like the stars from which we are born.

August’s woman is a clarion call to stand in the brilliant light of the magnificence of our truth. She is calling us to cast our dreams with wild abandon upon the darkness so that the dark becomes light and the long and winding road becomes a starlit path guiding us home to our dreams come true amongst the stars here on Mother Earth.


Do You Believe In Yourself?

“Softly, her dreams took flight on the wings of hope that believing in herself was all she needed to make her dreams come true. And they did.” – Altered Book Journal. “My Mother’s Prayers” two-page spread.

We all have dreams. Big ones. Little ones. Quiet ones. Loud, audacious ones. Dreams of living lives of wonder. Dreams of great adventure. Dreams of discovering far off lands, of creating stories of greatness in our lives.

Sometimes, our dreams come true. Sometimes, we let them go because life happens.

We fall. We face a wall we cannot climb. We trip over a rock that sends us flat on our back.

In our pain and fear of getting hurt, in our concern others will laugh at us or judge us for our failures, we lock away our dreams and continue on our journey taking the safer path, the road more travelled.

We do okay. We create a ‘good enough life’. It’s just not the life we once dreamed of. But that’s okay, we say. Dreaming is for children. We’re “all grown up now”. We have responsibilities. Success. Things. Secure inside the comfort zone of the life we’ve created, we forget about our dreams and carry on living our good enough life.

And then, one day, if we’re lucky, something happens to remind us of our dreams. Tentatively. Hopefully. We unlock the cage inside our heart where we tucked away our dreams long ago and peer inside.

That’s where the magic happens. That’s where our dreams peer back at us and ask, “Are you ready to come alive?”

It’s a big question because if we say yes, the next question we must ask ourselves as we peer into our hearts and gaze at the sleeping beauty of our dreams unlived is, “Am I willing to believe in myself?”


As with all the pages in this altered book art journal, embedded within the page is one of my mother’s prayer cards. Also included are a photo of my mother and father hidden behind the smaller bird in the cage.

I hadn’t intended to hide them. Initially, I was going to transfer their images to the page with a technique that requires you to rub off the photo backing so that only the ink from the image remains affixed to the canvas. I started the process with the prayer card only to discover, while that technique works well on a canvas, on a book page the vigorous rubbing off required to remove the backing paper can tear the page of the book.


I wanted to quit. To give up. To tear out the page and begin again.

And that’s when this page became something entirely diferent than what I started to create.

Isn’t that what happens to our dreams sometimes?

We start out all excited and open to the journey until we encounter an obstacle or something goes drastically wrong. Feeling dejected, or embarrassed or possibly hopeless, we pack away our dreams and continue on our journey. It’s a little less bright. A little less promising, but it’s okay. It’s a good life and we should be grateful for all we have.

We tell ourselves, “We didn’t really like that dream anyway,” or some such conjured up story that will hide our disappointment. We’re living well so we ignore the ache in our hearts and the yearning in our minds to fly higher.

Until one day, something happens and we remember our dreams. We remember we are brave, courageous, worthy. We remember we are dreamers.

In that sacred, rarefied air of possibility, we take a step outside the confines of our comfort zone and take a deep breath.

We stretch our arms wide.

We close our eyes.

We dare.

To dream.

To believe in ourselves.

To set our dreams free.

Be Unstoppable: Walk proud. Live strong.

dare to take the high road copy

There is something deliciously satisfying about the thought of getting even with someone who has caused you pain. Yet, no matter how pleasing the thought, the act of getting even is fleeting, illusory, unfulfilling.

The only thing that getting even does is lower you to someone else’s level. It does not bring you lasting peace. And it definitely does not change whatever happened to cause you grief.

When the man who was actively engaged in making the ‘death’ part of his promise to love me forever was arrested, I desperately wanted to make him pay for all the pain and horror he had caused in my life and the lives of those I love. I wanted him to feel my pain. To know the totality of all that he had done.

Wasn’t going to happen.

There was nothing in this world that I could do that would cause him anguish without also causing me pain. To get even with him I would have to have contact with him. And that was not healing, safe nor smart for me. Nor would it have accomplished my goal. He did what he did because that was a reflection of who he is, where he lived, how he walked through this world. I’d been there long enough with him. I had no desire to go back.

Admittedly, there were moments where my thoughts drifted into gleeful persecution of him. Occasionally, to relieve the pressure in my mind and heart, I would stand in the shower and imagine dipping him in a vat of hot tar, dousing him in feathers and then rolling him up in one of the priceless rugs he so loved and running over him with one of those big road paving roller machines until he was as flat as Wiley Coyote of cartoon fame. And that would be the end of that. I would let the warm waters of the shower wash over me and wash all thoughts of him down the drain.

Cleansed of my need for revenge, I would return to finding my path out of the darkness into the light of living peacefully with all my heart in the now.

Living peacefully with all my heart in the now was my truth. My life. My way.

Thoughts of getting even with him only kept me stuck in his truth, his life, his way.

I deserved better.

I needed more.

We all have moments of wanting to slip off our road of integrity into the muck of someone else’s bad behaviour. Don’t do it. Don’t give into the pull of getting even. It will only leave you wearing the dirt of the past and feeling the anguish of someone else’s choices ‘back then’ in the here and now.

If the lure of getting even grows too strong and you feel yourself succumbing to its call, take a shower. Just for a moment, let your mind wander as far as it must into the imaginary world where your getting even sets things right. And then, lovingly bring it back into the present. Be unstoppable in your desire to walk tall and proud. Be unstoppable in living this one wild and precious life with all your heart beating strong on the high road of your integrity.  Walk proud. Live strong.


This post is in response to today’s one word – Daily Prompt. Unstoppable.