Suzi Grant shares her lifestyle tips to stay relevant, visible and stylish.
We had the pleasure of interviewing author, broadcaster & blogger Suzi Grant, who places huge emphasis on the quality of life – believing that we should embrace ageing by staying relevant, visible, healthy and stylish.
Over on her blog, Alternative Ageing, Suzi writes about the things she loves and has experience of: health & nutrition, fashion & style, and travel & lifestyle for the Over 50s.
Discover how she does it and live the life you always wanted to…
You use the phrase, ‘positive ageing’ on your site. What does this mean to you, and how and why did you come to coin the phrase?
I hate the term anti-ageing, most people do. Everything today seems to be anti this and that – but why would you be anti-aging? To quote Helen Mirren, ‘You either die young or you grow old’, so we should embrace ageing instead. After all, there is no alternative – we must make the most of it. What is the point of worrying about your wrinkled knees, so long as you’re healthy and look the best you can? We are alive! Let’s live. There really is nothing to be negative about if it is inevitable. Just get on with it and look after yourself. It is up to us. Quality of life is everything.
What was it that made you feel ‘invisible’ in your 50s?
In England, I feel older people aren’t treated as well as they should be and the general view is that we become less visible with age. When I worked in TV and being based in London; an industry where image is terribly important, I found I wasn’t noticed by people as I aged. I still felt the same inside but was judged on the outside.
How and why did you change that?
I moved to Brighton, dyed my hair bright red and decided to find my own way of standing out – wearing bright colours, starting a blog to share my voice, falling in love with vintage and shaping my individual look with confidence. Dressing up rather than dressing down. I take a great deal more trouble on how I look before I leave the house and take pride in my appearance. I don’t need a purpose any other than dressing for myself and feeling the best I can. I sometimes get stopped by younger people who want to take a photo of me because I look different for someone my age. They don’t expect a pensioner to have style!
How did you establish your own sense of style?
Use honest friends, a stylist or someone who can be constructively critical. Declutter your wardrobe with that honest person and get rid of the stuff that makes you feel bad or look rubbish. If you’re on your own, take a long look in the mirror at yourself and identify colours that suit you – don’t be afraid of it. Add a pop of colour, start small with accessories such as a bright handbag or a printed scarf. Try things – have fun and head to toe, take care of yourself. If you don’t care about yourself, why should anyone else? Time on yourself is time well spent.
Paint a picture of your life for us, what is it filled with now and how does that differ from years past? Is life better than ever?
In my 30s and 40s I was at the height of my TV career, working hard and playing hard. It was amazing; the 80s was the best decade ever. In the late 90s and 2000s, I had a more laid back life writing books and having time to sit in the sun, do yoga and enjoy life by the sea. Life runs at a faster pace today but I feel proud to keep up with it. I started my blog 3.5 years ago after retiring and now, it has turned into a full time profession where I’m celebrated for my age and style. I’ve embraced technology and no one should be frightened of this.
Do you feel society’s stereotypes of 50+ men and women exist, are changing or need to change?
We’re not all blue rinses, sitting in rocking chairs in corners and I do feel the stereotypes have gone, with society finally realising this too. My generation of baby boomers changed the way through every decade. We were the ones who marched for women’s lib, who pushed for birth control and started festivals, and the likes of Janet Street Porter grew to be in charge of publications and TV channels. As a generation, we set out to be totally different than our parents. Today, we still do or want to do all of those things!
I often go to gigs and festivals, even on my own so as not to miss out on a wonderful experience. I remember a young person turning around to me. Baffled, she said “Wow, good for you, dressing up and being at a festival”. “Yes”, I replied “we invented them darling”.
Older people are becoming less invisible than ever. We are still here and as long as we are around, we will keep pushing the boundaries. Society and brands are starting to shift their perception and approach to realise this too.
In your words that you use on your blog, give us your top five actions to help people ‘grab life by the balls’:
- Push your own boundaries. I go to events on my own as I don’t want to die without having these life experiences – push yourself and don’t be afraid.
- Spend money on experiences rather than material things – just try them, why wouldn’t you? I think what keeps us young is that we refuse to act like ‘old people’.
- Act on impulse – don’t miss out. If you want to do it – do it.
- Go on adventures – it keeps your spirit alive. If you sit at home staring at daytime TV, you will feel lonely and depressed so go out and meet people – you won’t find them indoors. Fine tune your passions in life, have a bucket list and action it.
- Learn new things – my memory is better now than it was four years ago as I challenge it. In working for myself in my own business as an influencer, my brain is firing so much better through consistently learning new skills. Spending time doing what makes you feel alive keeps you young and healthy.