Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

You’re Never Too Old to Feel Sexy

Granny's Makeup Bag
Photo by Jenee Darden

Look what I found on my grandmother’s bathroom counter. I have three grandmothers, two biological (of course) and one through marriage. I won’t put the owner of this makeup bag on blast and say which grandma owns this bag. Honestly, all three of them bring their on spice to life. Any one of them could be the owner.

I discovered the “Sexy” bag on my grandma’s bathroom counter during an after-church Sunday visit. I playfully asked my grandma who was the owner of the makeup bag. I knew it was hers since she’s the only woman in the house. She was kind of coy and acted like she didn’t know what I was talking about. Then she told me she bought it because of the color, not the word on the bag. I challenged her on that excuse. She raised her voice and said, “I bought it three years ago!” When she bought the bag is totally irrelevant but I guess that was her best defense. LOL

Honestly, I thought it was cool she owned the bag. And I loved it even more that she had the bag out after returning from church. Knowing that my 70-something year old grandmother had this velvety-textured cosmetic bag with the word “Sexy” blinged out across it made me appreciate her as a woman even more.  I guess no matter how old a woman may be, she still wants to feel sexy. She still wants to look pretty and feel desired.  And my grandmother deserves to feel that way, just as her granddaughter.

In case you didn’t know (or don’t want to know) some seniors are sexually active.  A Psychology Today article says people over 50 is the group with the fastest growing rates of STDs. And they’re the largest consumers of vibrators. Yes kids, Granny and Papa are still getting their freak on.

Discovering my grandmother’s “Sexy” makeup bag gives me hope that once I become seasoned in age, I’ll still have some spice. But I wonder, when you are an older woman, does feeling sexy become harder because it’s equated with youth? Or is it just like any woman who does not resemble Malibu Beach Barbie; you define your own beauty?

I’m going to take a detour. Have you seen the “Mirror” series by photographer Tom Hussey? It’s really amazing. They’re photos of elderly people looking in the mirror, but the reflection they see of themselves is from their youth. I read the people in the photos are models.  I read it’s going to be used for an Alzheimer medicine ad. But mental health aside, I’ve talked to seniors and some have told me they don’t feel their age. I don’t feel like I’m 30-something-something. I love the maturity and understanding that comes with being 30. And when I look in the mirror, I don’t see a 30-ish-year-old woman. I have another grandma who told me she doesn’t feel 70-ish in her mind. But her body reminds her. This is the same grandma who wanted to try Cristal because she saw Jay-Z rapping about it on BET.  Why she was watching Jay-Z and BET, I don’t know.

I think of women like THE Elizabeth Taylor and the amazing Eartha Kitt, two women who kept it glam even in their golden years. Elizabeth Taylor had a younger, black boyfriend when she died.  Remember when Eartha tried to seduce Eddie Murphy in Boomerang? These two women did not stop in their lives. And what about Tina Turner?!. She still turns heads at 73 and is marrying her younger partner after dating for 27 years.

These women make me wonder. Maybe your sexiness evolves as you age, but remains everlasting as long as you still see it in yourself.