Being funky and fit at 60—Meet Suzi Grant, an Instagram celebrity telling you how to live life in style post-retirement
Food for thought: In a world of more than 7.2 billion people, how do you stand out?
"I wish people realized that you don’t have to turn 60 and follow a certain path. You can develop your own style, you can be eccentric, you can be anything you want—becoming a little old grey-haired lady in loafers isn’t obligatory at all."
In all honesty, these words hit home much deeper than first anticipated and made us realize how essential it is to have an identity of your own, no matter what your age may be.
Like how succinctly Suzi Grant put it above, when talking about how Old age pensioners (OAP) can be fashionable and fit; even at the age of 60 and above, in an interview with Marie Claire.
Grant, a qualified nutritionist & writer of her book Alternative Aging, is igniting the flames of youth among other senior citizens like herself, with her sound advice on aging healthily and naturally, without losing yourself in the crowd.
"There’s this outdated notion that, as a woman, when you reach 'a certain age' you have to disappear, but as I’ve passed all these dreaded milestones, I’ve embraced aging. I want to grow old positively, naturally and certainly not invisible," Grant explained in her interview with The Mirror.
A life well lived
The outpouring of wisdom in Grant's word comes from a life well lived entailing experiences of varying degrees and forms, lived throughout time. In fact, Grant admits to living like a hippie in her 20s and 30s where days were spent drinking and chain-smoking all day, every day.
"I was very happy in my career as a reporter and presenter on TVam, Sky News, and others, but the hours were long and the socializing took its toll," she told Mirror.
"In the 80s it was a different world, with three-hour boozy lunches the norm," she added.
However, Grant's life changed 25 years ago when her mother Mariana died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 62.
"Mum was overweight, verging on alcoholism and took no exercise, but it was still a massive wake-up for me," Grant explained. "As a woman in my 40s I was increasingly aware of every wrinkle, and the hours and lifestyle weren’t doing me any favors, so I decide to prioritize my health and try a different tack," she said.
"I hit my late forties and became invisible. Men don’t look at you – not that that matters – and I’d find myself standing in a shop for ages, watching the assistant make a fuss over a girl who’d just walked in, just because she was young," Grant stated.
After her mother's death, Grant quit smoking and drinking and spent three years training to be a nutritionist, before she set up her own clinic. "My aim was to write books on boosting your health in an easy, manageable way, and being a practicing nutritionist seemed to go hand in hand," she asserted.
We are loving this 10 minute simple yoga type routine. Good for any age to wake up the system! https://t.co/L4tXPUHHye from Suzi Grant @alternativeage #health #fitness #healthyliving #nuessencenutrimetics #nutrimeticuk #nutrimetics #proage #overfiftiesfitness #stepintospring pic.twitter.com/pnietOmidU— Nu Essence Nutrimetics (@janerieman) 19 February 2018
It was at this point that Grant realized that London wasn't doing anything good to her and it was time to move out.
"I’d just turned 50 and was tired of the same staid black uniform people seemed to wear in London and suddenly I felt irrelevant. Brighton’s liberalism was a complete epiphany for me," Grant revealed when asked why she chose to move to Brighton.
Admitting to being 'a bit of an exhibitionist', Grant found inspiration in the 'hippie' life and slowly but surely re-aligned her life choices with the way the hippies lived—atleast in terms of fashion and living whole-heartedly without being held down by rules and regulations.
"You’d see men in their 70s roller-blading, older women with bright orange hair and crazy clothes, people skinny-dipping in the sea – it was glorious and life-affirming," Grant said. "That’s why I decided I was going to force people to pay attention. I ditched the black uniform that everyone wears in London and began dying my hair bright red; buying colorful clothes. Now, every time I go for dinner in London, I’m like, ‘Oh God, everybody’s in black again‘ – and I get compliments wherever I go. In New York, Sydney, Rome – people stop me and tell me they love what I’m wearing," she explained further.
Thoroughly inspired by what she saw, Grant published her first book on healthy living in 2003 and loved the process so much that she went on to write two more titles. Soon, she found her calling in blogging and used the platform to express her thoughts about living life fully, even post-retirement.
"I was lucky enough to be financially independent at the age of 60. I literally did nothing for the first two years except for work on the house I’d just bought. But I remember a friend saying to me that nobody retires properly for more than a couple of years because they just get too bored. And she was completely right. I’d just started getting itchy feet when my goddaughter showed me the Advanced Style Instagram feed – all of these incredible ladies wearing incredible clothes. When my godson suggested that I start a blog too, I thought, ‘why not’. And I’ve gained over 7,000 followers in the last year," Grant told Marie Claire.
From retirement to Instagram viral star, Grant has done it all...
From 7k to more than 11k followers, Grant's Instagram account alternativeaging was gaining momentum steadily as more followers joined in her journey to seek inspiration. However, Grant stresses that the amount of hard-work that goes into setting up a blog is strenuous, despite popular myths about how glam the life of an Instagram influencer is.
"I’ve definitely done the requisite 10,000 hours to become an expert in this now, but that meant working every waking moment to produce new content, often with little obvious benefit," Grant explained.
"By the end of last year, I actually felt I’d burned out, so now spend just 2-3 hours every morning on social media before taking my dog Jack for a long walk and doing yoga. For me, it’s a lifestyle choice as much as anything," Grant added.
Not so surprisingly, her feed, which is a reflection of her travel sojourns and sartorial choices, is popular among the young and old alike who are inspired by her thoughts on living a life well.
"You shouldn’t have fewer opportunities because of your age. Some of my friends were old when they were 26 and some of them are in their 90s, and still behave like teenagers. It’s all in your attitude. If you go through life thinking, ‘Oh, I’ll never make it to 80,’ then I hate to tell you, but you probably won’t. Sure, I do have to pace myself more – I know a 97-year-old yoga teacher who wears high heels all day and dances for two hours every morning, and I certainly couldn’t do that – but there’s not much I’m incapable of," Grant stated.
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