At age 60, Karen is finally living the life she always dreamed of. Find out how she overcame her fear and stopped worrying about other people’s expectations in this new video.
Video Transcript:My name is Karen Esconi. I'm 60 and a half. When I see the number, 6-0, it just blows me away.
It's like, "I don't...how did I...I'm here that long? That's a lot of time."
And what's odd to me is that I don't feel like that. I don't even...I don't even know what that's supposed to feel like.
In my 20s, there was that whole, you know, you get married, you have kids, that's it, you're done, you know, that whole, someday, my prince will come. And my prince came and went.
I guess, you know, it's all those stumbles, it's all those beautiful, the into-the-woods part of the fairy tale, the part where you go in the woods, you get all tangled up and you get all screwed up, and then you start to dig down into the dirt.
You start to dig down and pull out the weeds, and find what's in there already, you know, what you come here with.
And so, now, after a lot of inner work, a lot of soul-searching, a lot of stumbles, I'm much more confident about being me.
You know, and most people say, "Oh, you can't start that when you're a certain age," or, "You can't do that when you're a certain age," or, "Why are you moving into New York City?
New York City's dangerous." I moved here five and a half years ago.
I took early retirement from education. I taught for 33 and a half years. I walked out of the building one day, and there was a young man peeing in the garbage can, and I said, "Check, please! My job is done."
I have a really, really good friend, and we went to the prom together in high school.
We dated for a little bit, and then we both went on our separate ways that summer. I taught in this school where I went to high school.
So, one of our colleagues was having a retirement dinner. He was the band director. And so, my friend, Dennis, was in the band.
So, Dennis literally flies back into my life from Florida, and we're sitting at this retirement dinner, quacking away about, "So what have you been doing?
Where have you been?" He's got two studios. One's in Nashville, one's in Florida. He's been a producer, a ranger, just a genius.
So, he mentioned something about, he was doing this job that he loved, and then something else came along, and he said, "So, I just went with that."
And I said to him, "Then, you were doing something that you loved, you were making great money, and you left it to do something else. Why?"
He said, Ka, we're going to be 50 this year. We don't know how much longer we have on the planet. You gotta fuck fear and do what makes you happy."
I was like, "Oh, yeah, there's that." And not long after that, I moved out of my long-term relationshi
p, that was essentially comatose and went off on my own.
You know, being on the train and having people say to me, "Would you like a seat?" I started to say, "Who am I trying to kid with coloring my hair?
Maybe I look...I don't know. Maybe I look 60. I don't know. I don't even know what that means." But, beyond that, I just started getting curious.
"I wonder what my hair looks like? I wonder what my real hair looks like, and what would it be like if I didn't have to have that anxiety?
Oh, god, my roots are showing," or, "It's orange. I have to dye my hair. What would it be like if I just let my hair grow?"
I'm 60 and three-quarters. I have earned all of this. It's who I am, and I don't want to pretend anymore.
So, it's like, the grays, and I call them "my grace." It's not my grays, it's my grace, shouting out from my rooftop.
Because I just, it's like, "Yeah." It's the sense of freedom, again. It's that sense of, "This is my hair. This is what it looks like.
If I wanted to, I could always dye it again." I don't think I will, but I'm really looking forward to seeing what it looks like in its natural state.
I used the mask last night. I've never used a mask before. But, I was like...put the mask on.
It was great. I was like, "Wow, this feels good." And I washed it off, and then I put the silk on before I went to bed.
And today, I put it on my face, and I put it on my feet and my hands. It feels really good. I like that there's no fragrance.
Twenty, 30, I think I was numb. I just think, again, I was numb from all the stuff that I was supposed to do, the stuff that I had to do, the being a good girl, doing everything the right way.
And I think, I really think, back then, and even maybe up until last year or whatever, I think feeling sexy was more related to a physical thing, the physical aspect of being sexy.
I don't think I was able to feel beyond, sexy means being sexy, being able to attract someone, being able to do certain things.
It's not about that at all. It's just about being in the world, and connecting with people, and feeling really confident about yourself.
When she was younger, Karen wasn’t broadcasting herself…
Instead, she tried to be the woman she thought she needed to be for her parents, for her husband and for society.
But now at age 60, she’s starting to celebrate who she really is.
Meet Karen in this week's short video, and check back next week to hear her full story!
I think I'm broadcasting me. I don't think I was broadcasting me back then.
I think I was broadcasting whoever I thought I should be, for my parents, for my husband, for society, you know, whatever.
And I just think, now, it's, I don't even know who me is yet.
You know, all my rock icons started graduating last year. And seeing all of them go when they were in their 60s, and then you start thinking, "There's not a whole lot of time left."
I don't know how much time there is left, but there's certainly less in front of me than there is behind me.
So, who am I being now?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that some of the most empowering, nourishing relationships in my life are the friendships and professional relationships I have with other women.
But it hasn’t always been that way. In high school, I felt like I was surrounded by “mean girls”—and as a creative, artsy, outspoken kid, I wasn’t always sure where I fit in with other girls.
They often seemed competitive, exclusive--and either intimidating to me or intimidated by me—and it often seemed simpler and more straightforward to forge friendships and collaborations with guys.
As I got older, though, I met other women I really connected to—and I realized that there was nothing like that kind of connection.
Now, as an adult, I adore my male friends, but I realize how much I was missing out on without a close circle of women in my life.
It took me a little while to understand why it had seemed so tricky for me to figure out how to cultivate close relationships with other women.
It wasn’t that something was wrong with me---or with them. It was that society often encourages women to compete with each other.
There’s a pervasive mythology that there are only so many seats at the table for women.
Growing up in our culture, we absorb this idea that if we achieve something, look fabulous, step into our power—that somehow that takes away from other women.
But that is a total myth. And as I’ve moved through the world, I’ve realized that the opposite is true.
The more we shine, the more we encourage other women to do the same. And women have an incredible sense of collective power: there is absolutely nothing in the world like a group of women who all feel great—and fully themselves--and are encouraging each other to do the same.
Because our culture promotes this idea of competition between women, unless you’ve known someone forever, it can feel a little tricky to figure out how to forge deep, supportive bonds with other women.
Here are a few things I’ve discovered that have really helped me create wonderful relationships with other women, both socially and professionally:
Be generous with praise
If you think it, say it! It can feel strangely vulnerable to tell someone what you like about them---that the new idea she articulated in a meeting really sparked your imagination, that you love to see how kind she is to strangers, or even that her shoes are fabulous or she’s having a totally amazing hair day.
But it’s so nourishing---to all of us—to get that kind of positive reinforcement.
When we hear about the good that someone sees in us, we’re suddenly reminded to see it in ourselves.
And when I’m the one to break the ice, I often find the compliments start flowing---everyone around me realizes how good it feels and suddenly starts saying nice things out loud instead of just thinking them!
Compliments are contagious---they bond us, and they undo that cultural mythology that we’re supposed to compete.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to women you admire.
As grown women, it’s easy to assume that everyone is super busy, that nobody has time for new friendships or connections.
But if you admire someone, chances are there’s some kind of real connection there.
I’ve found that when I follow these impulses, and have the courage to articulate them and follow up, it often leads to great friendships, alliances, or collaborations.
And when other women have reached out to me, putting themselves out there and being honest that something I’ve done or said has meant something to them, I always find myself moved, surprised, and inspired to make room for exploring that connection.
Open yourself up to intergenerational friendships and alliances.
Because it’s easiest to make friends when we’re just starting out in the world, many of us tend to get and stay close with women our own age. For a lot of us, our closest women friends are women we went to school with, or connected with when we were just starting out in life.
It’s great—and necessary!--to have close friendships with women in the same stage of life, so we have common ground and can go through similar phases and changes together.
But if we limit our connections with other women to our own age group, we miss out on the amazing opportunities for growth and learning that can come from intergenerational friendships.
One of my favorite female friendships is with a woman who’s technically old enough to be my mom.
She’s vibrant, creative, and a total inspiration to me—and has been through so many of the things I’m grappling with now and has an incredible perspective on it all.
I also have a group of female friends who are all about ten years younger than I am. Their lives look different from mine—only a few of them have partners, and none of them have mortgages or kids.
But the different phase of life they’re in reminds me to stay curious, experimental and open with my own life—and they tell me that it’s great for them to see someone who’s a little further along with all the life-structure stuff and shares their values.
As I’ve opened up to friendships and professional relationships with women of different generations, those relationships have opened me up to a rich variety of perspectives on what it is to be a woman—and to a real understanding of the old saw that “age is just a number”—and that any age can look and feel however we want it to.
Tips on Creating Relationships With Other Women
It wasn’t until Katya had twin granddaughters that she realized she was getting older. And it changed her ideas of beauty forever. See why in her new featured video!
0:10 Being an adventurist
0:45 look for comfort
1:10 Katya's skincare routine
1:40 BOOM! Silk
2:20 Becoming a grandmother
2:45 Growing out my hair
3:13 A stage in life to embrace
3:42 Going through changes
4:09 Being sensual
4:30 Dressing up & feeling sexy
Katya Luce, 64.
I never felt like I tried to fit into an image. I've always been an adventurist.
I didn't have time to primp in the mirror a whole lot but, of course, you know, I like to have mascara, lipstick, and a little cheek color. For the most part of my life, I've had long hair so I can pull it back in a ponytail or a braid, and just get out there and jump on my horse, or run in the woods.
Of course, I'd spend more effort, you know, if I'm gonna go out and, you know, play. You know?
I love to look at magazines and images, and I used to sew and, you know, make my own styles as well, too.
But when I'm really comfortable, I feel I can smile with more ease, and naturally, and laugh. If my feet are killing me in high heels, I can't even smile.
So I need comfort. I dress, number one, for comfort. And when it comes to makeup, it's gotta be easy.
My skin care routine is very simple, basic, and pure. Where I live is northern New Mexico, and it's dry and it's high altitude.
You just...your skin is just thirsty all the time for hydration. Water, water, water, and more water. I just tried the BOOM and it's amazing.
I like the hydration it gives me. I'm really excited that I've got a new product that hydrates my skin, that's the most important thing.
I'm excited to use the mask, it looks awesome. I tried it on my hand and it was, like, ooh, that's really nice exfoliation.
And the Silk, I've been using the Silk on my face in the last two days, and it's beautiful. It drinks it in really nice, too, it doesn't stay on the surface.
I feel more attracted to products that are simpler ingredients, and that's what I was really impressed about BOOM, is looking at the...reading the ingredients.
There are just a few ingredients in there. It's like, yeah, that works, you know, it really works.
And pure and simple, that's been my motto, simplicity, just keeping things simple to enhance the natural beauty and not try to create an image of who I'm not, you know, just be really, you know, honest with myself and who I am.
I have twin granddaughters, they're just two years old, and that just changed my whole life.
That's when I realized I was getting older. I did go through a little stage of coloring to see what I looked like with the deep red hair, so I went, you know, with that nice mahogany, rich, brown-red hair.
And then, when I decided it's time to let that one go and go back to my own natural hair, I was surprised to see that there was some, you know, whites coming through.
I thought my grandmother had the most beautiful white, snow-white, fluffy hair. I thought, okay, if I can, you know, look like that, that would be awesome.
Especially when the grandchildren, you know, start...it's like, oh, grandchildren are coming, the twins are coming, and I'm gonna be a grandmother.
It's a strange feeling, it's like it's a new role. And so, I felt...you know, and it's just part of it, so just be it.
You know, it's part of, you know, our process and stage in life. So, embrace it.
Always, as a child, I had the crow's feet from laughing and smiling, so I already had that from a young age.
So, I got used to that, and I noticed...well, I guess it was here, you know, that's when I started noticing.
That was, like, around 40. It's been really growing fast in the last four years, the change of, you know, your menstrual cycle and, you know, it...just, it all changed suddenly.
When I look at the pictures of myself younger, my hair to my butt and, you know, I was a gymnast, dancer, and a yogini.
It's like, whoa, I was just drop-dead gorgeous and I didn't know it.
I didn't think about my sexiness then. I was sensual, I was always sensual in my life, you know, had babies really young.
I just was being it without thinking about it, and I never used my sexuality to get what I want or anything like that, so it wasn't anything I thought about.
Of course, you know, I'd find some dresses and put things on and know that, mm, I'm looking a little, you know...
I'm just really happy I was born a woman.
It's About Women, It's about beauty, It's about time
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