It’s Not What You Think.
Growing Bolder is committed to confronting the pre-conceived stereotypes about what an older person should and could be. The findings in The New Age of Aging study are personified in The New 65 project that Growing Bolder has created with our friends from Humana.
The New 65 is a stereotype-smashing exhibit featuring portraits of men and women aged 65 and older taken by renowned portrait photographer Mike Dunn.
The inspiring takeaway from Dunn’s portraits and the stories that accompany them is that life beyond 65 can be filled with passion, purpose, and possibility. We can all find our own way to love life as we age.
The New 65 showcases a diverse group of men and women who, in their own way, are challenging the misconceptions of what it’s like to grow older and providing a blueprint for happy and healthy aging. No matter their age, abilities, opportunities, or challenges, The New 65 have found their own way to experience joy. They say yes to life and are unafraid to engage in new activities. They adapt to adversity. They keep moving physically and enjoy socializing. They have purpose. The most common trait shared by all is a passion and enthusiasm for life.
The New 65 exhibit challenges the increasingly popular statement that “65 is the new 45” or “70 is the new 50” because, while the intent is positive, it implies that the only way to explain someone who is happy, socially engaged, and involved in their community at age 65 or 70 is to say that they look or act much younger.
We don’t change the culture of aging by pretending that 65 is 45. We change it by embracing our age and celebrating the many opportunities it provides. Sixty-five is not the new 45. Sixty-five is the new 65 and that’s good news for all.
Pamela Landwirth, 71
When Pamela Landwirth joined Give Kids the World in 1992, she discovered her life’s passion and purpose. Today, as president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit that annually provides over 7,600 families with critically ill children week-long, cost-free vacations, she says every day feels better than the first one did 31 years ago. “Some people find their passion at an early age and some people find it at a more advanced age, but once you find it, there’s just no stopping you. I’m going to be 72 in a couple of months and I’ve never felt better in my life….Hope is the most precious gift you can give another human being. There’s no age limit on giving hope, and that’s what I’m blessed to do.”
Joe Johnston, 79
Joe Johnston recently completed what may be the world’s most unusual home addition for a man in his late 70s. He and his wife, Janet, added a 5,000 sq. ft. indoor pole-vaulting room to their home. How’s that for optimism about the future? “I don’t pay attention to the notion that we’re supposed to be taking it easy and declining by the day,” Joe says. “My go-to answer to any challenge is always movement. Just get up and keep moving and that’s what I plan on doing.” Despite multiple injuries and joint replacements, Joe has not only kept moving, he’s continued setting age-group world records and winning national championships in pole vaulting, hurdles and heptathlon.
Beverly Marshall-Luney, 75
Beverly Marshall-Luney was a successful business executive in a demanding position when she suffered several serious health setbacks. Determined to not just survive but to thrive in the face of potentially overwhelming challenges, she began working out and totally transformed her lifestyle. She lost weight and gained the health, energy, and courage necessary to retire from corporate America and chase her dream of starting a travel company. “Now that I’ve been able to spread my wings and explore the world, it’s beyond anything that I could ever imagine,” she says. “Life opens up from the experience of saying, ‘Let me take that chance. Let me take that risk. Let me pursue that opportunity.’”
The New 65: No matter their age, abilities, opportunities, or challenges, they have found their own way to experience joy.
We were so happy to be able to invite our photo subjects, their family and community to the exhibit opening recently. Changing societal perceptions of aging starts with individuals! Check out some photos from the event.
Read more about each photo subject by downloading the free exhibit guide.
This article is featured in the Winter 2023 issue of The Growing Bolder Digital Digest.