I have lived a very long time and feel obliged to pass on gems I learned along the way. Use what you want and throw the rest of my expertise away. I don’t guarantee eternal youth.

When I was young the style for little girls was to wear short dresses. Their mothers dressed stylishly and grandmothers in their forties wore navy blue or black dresses with lace collars and cuffs and low heeled shoes. Now, thank goodness, even great grandmothers wear stylish clothes.

I have learned that there will be no need for Botox if you make your eyes twinkle and smile a lot. Work on walking straight with head high. A way to do that is to think of your head as being attached to the ceiling by a rope that moves with you. Eat what’s right for you and do easy exercises. Keep flexible, go with the flow, and don’t allow little things to upset you. Learn to say, “No” and opt out when you feel overwhelmed. Make plans that can keep you busy for the next twenty years, and be content with whatever you are able to accomplish.

Wrinkles and scars are character lines that throw light on having lived a full life.  Dress comfortably, you can still look good. Wear comfortable shoes, your smile is more important than sexy feet. Long sleeves hide the flab. For hair too thin get hair replacements (we used to call them wigs).  Have a good mirror where you can see the back of your head and a magnifying mirror to make sure you get your makeup on well or shave all the hairs off your face. Men, pay attention! About that magnifying mirror, don’t let it scare you; no one else sees you like that.

Sometimes Doctors say, “You’re in good shape for your age,” thinking it makes the over forty feel good. It means; “don’t complain, I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” If that happens, research on your own so you can learn to ask the right questions. Maybe find an alternatave health doctor rather than a doctor for the sick.  Every time a doctor gives me a new pill I’ve learned to ask, “Which one can I get rid of?  I don’t want to take so many pills.” I feel fortunate to live in a time when the medical profession has the means to keep us functioning longer than nature alone can do provided we help and double check on our doctors and the medicines they give us.

No one needs to know how old you are.  If your friends are younger than you they may ignore or treat you differently, or you may occasionally be left out if they discover your age. I avoided telling my age until after my book Keeping Ahead of Winter was published. I needed to find something different about me to promote my book. I was having lunch with a lady who inveigled me into telling my age. “Oh, really,” she said, “then I want to buy your book.” A light flickered in my brain, ”That’s my attention-grabber.”  Now, I brag about my age and find that young people are encouraged to know you don’t have to be cranky and helpless when you age.

 A forty-nine- year-old newly divorced woman said, “Tomorrow I’m going to be fifty and I thought life would be over for me.  I read your book Keeping Ahead of Winter and I learned you were newly married to your second husband when you were fifty, and had that wonderful adventure in 1965 when you crewed a 38-foot powerboat from Illinois to Florida. There’s hope for me!”

After seeing my website, hearing about my book, and that I am still active, a young woman in an Internet Writers Chat Room said, “You’re an inspiration to me.  I planned on dying at fifty-nine. You’ve changed my life.” Words like those makes my heart swell and puffs up my ego, an added bonus to a long active life.

Having something to look forward too, being optimistic and having a sense of humor, friends and meaningful work are all handy atributes to keep you content.

When we are young time goes by at a snail’s pace, gradually moving faster until the speed is astonishingly fast. I’m disappointed I figured out that the years are not being made shorter; I’m moving slower and not getting as much done as I used to.

Keep a positive attitude. Accept the reality of who you are, and don’t allow your mind to wander to past mistakes or become so familiar with the good in your life that it doesn’t mean anything to you. Revel in your successes no matter how small they may seem to you.


About Ruth Silnes

Ruth is a lifelong illustrator, painter and a published author of three books. ''You and The Arts,'' is an Ebook ( and is a softcover. At this time, it can be bought online at It explains why the arts are of vital important to civilization. It is written for teachers, travelers, artists and art critics.
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  1. winnie says:

    Ruth, this is my favorite! I am going to keep it handy and reread it often.

  2. Kathleen Podolsky says:

    This is going up on my refrigerator, no it won’t get read there. Let me see, my night stand for bed time reading will be best. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom and experience in so readable a manner. I feel so much better about my own aging after reading yours!!

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