Thursday, June 13, 2013

Yes…I am 64! Vent or Rant?

Why oh why do I let people’s comments bug me so much? This morning while scrolling through my twitter feed, I came across this little tweet “How good does [famous person] look at 60? Stunning!” At what point in time are people going to stop using an age qualifier in a comment in a description of a female? Isn’t it enough to say she looks great or she is really fit – I say it’s time to drop the “for her age” and “she is 60” silliness.

Maybe it’s just me…since I have long passed that mark. Yes, I openly admit I am 64! It’s a blessing and a curse, of sorts. I am tremendously grateful that I actually get to be 64; so many of my friends weren’t so lucky. And, while I know I look nothing like I did at 20, 30, 40, 50 and, quite frankly, at 60 – when complimented I never say “well thanks, you know I’m 64!” Why in the hell does age matter unless, of course, you want to get pregnant?

I guess that is the “curse” side of the coin. Age does matter. As a jewelry designer, I live in a world that is totally focused on youth and that fact does ruffle my feathers. Well, to be honest it does more than that but we’ll save that rant for another day. Sadly, I don’t think it is just the world of fashion that takes such a negative approach to age. I am thinking it is society as a whole, at least in this country. While we do have Ari Seth Cohen making a tiny dent with his Advanced Style activities, I think we have a long way to go before we, as a society, embrace aging and those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to grow older.

To be perfectly honest, at one point in my jewelry designing history when I was approached by mass market retailers, I toyed with the idea of hiring a much younger woman to be the face of my jewelry line. Yes, it’s true. Thank god that thinking was short-lived! However, I now battle with the small minded thinking that says because I have reached the ripe old age of 64, my designs could not possibly be fresh or relevant to anyone under the age of 65! To that I say “poppycock!” 

True, my designs don’t appeal to everyone and I think part of me would be disappointed if they did. I love the Bob Dylan take on an Abe Lincoln quote “you can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” In reality, I don’t know of one designer who creates pieces that appeal to everyone; unless, of course, they have a huge media relations budget. (Oops, a bit of cynicism there, sorry not being very enlightened now am I?) I am a self-professed geeky rockhound who loves vintage things, and since I couldn’t find designs that I liked, I started designing and then selling jewelry in 1967. Gasp…yes, the reality is that for most of you I am probably older than your grandma. But why should that matter?

Over the years, my overall design aesthetic has changed…but only slightly. Early on I loved rocks and gemstones so much so I wanted to figure out a way to wear them – so, I made that happen. The addition of various vintage components just happened organically. Today, boring as it might sound, it is still the same thing that sparks me – it starts with a rock, gemstone or a glorious vintage something or other that grabs me. I don’t design to a trend, I don’t design based on mass audience appeal and I definitely am not a copy-cat manufacturer. I design and make what I like and I trust that there are some of you out there, regardless of your age or mine, who feel the same way and continue to add to your collections. I thank you for that.

I do hope my little venting session prompts at least a few of you to think about how you might judge people, especially women, who have a few years on you. So with all of that being said in a bit of a ramble, the bottom line in it all is “age be damned” – it just doesn’t matter!

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