In celebration of March being Women’s Month, we want to explore what aging is like, as a woman. Our Roanoke manager, Lauren, interviewed Monica Johnson about aging, self love, and life lessons.
What is your name & age?
Monica Johnson. I will be 56 on March 17th, St Patrick’s Day.
How has the concept of “self-care changed for you over time (if it has)?Just like most of us when we were young, we never thought much about aging and self-care. That all changed for me, when a doctor encouraged me to exercise on a regular basis to help my well -being. That was the beginning of my self-care! Every year I add more changes to improve my self-care. I first started with exercising on a regular basis and then slowly changed my diet. I eat very little red meat and try to eat as many vegetables as I can and I don’t drink. After, doing this for years and reading more and more about health and well -being, I became very interested in caring for my body on the inside too. I realized that the chemicals that were in the products that I used on my hair, face and body were also going into my blood stream. After realizing this I started using cleaner products as much as I could from head to toe. Mental self-care is also very important to me. I try to get proper rest, surround myself with positive people, practice my faith and help others. After making these changes I feel better physically and mentally. I have shared my lifestyle with many women and many have come back to thank me for helping improve their lives as well. I never stop trying to improve my self-care. My next battle, is to try to cut my consumption of sugar way down. I know I could never give it up completely, because I love to bake and it brings me joy.
How has your attitude towards aging changed over time? I know this is not true for everyone, so I feel very blessed that age for me is just a number. I believe in aging gracefully and I embrace it with complete joy. I love my birthday! I am thrilled and feel blessed to be alive and well. Aging is a part of life so why not have a great attitude about it. Let’s face it, we can’t stop getting older so why not just embrace it and think of it as a gift. I challenge myself to get better and better as I get older. I feel like the older I get the better because life experiences make you smarter and wiser. Getting older is a journey it should never be thought of in a negative way, just age with grace. I set goals for myself every year, sometimes I make them and sometimes I don’t but I keep trying. Sometimes I think the world tries to tell us when you get older you can’t accomplish certain things because you are too old. For me, that is a big myth. I am more fit now at 56 then I was in my 20’s. I have a head full of grey hair and I love it. I am so proud of what I can do at 56 and I don’t ever think of myself as old. I feel strong and am very proud of my age and will share it with anyone who ask.
How has your sexuality changed over time? My sex life has improved as I have gotten older because I am learning to accept my body type and think of my big strong legs and larger butt as sexy instead of fat.
Do You “Feel Your Age” and if so how & why? I don’t feel my age at all. I really don’t know what age is supposed to feel like. I just live the best life that I can live daily. I still have passion and curiosity for life and energy just as I did when I was born. Actually, at times I forget how old I am because of my fitness level and my mindset. I dress every day and wear clothes that complement my body. The first item I put on is a beautiful bra set, as soon as I put it on, I feel pretty, sexy and youthful. I top it with an outfit that makes me feel good about myself and end with a nice spray of Jo Malone cologne.
What would you tell your 25 year old self if you could go back in time?You are beautiful don’t live in fear and go after your dreams. Don’t be afraid of failing and if you do just get back up and try again. I had low to no confidence in my 20’s which caused me to miss out on opportunities.
Any regrets? What is your opinion on regrets? Lots of regrets but I am trying not to live in the past. I can choose to focus on regrets, but really and truly what is it going to do for me, absolutely nothing! Love, learn and move forward is the best thing I can do for me.
Any favorite skin care and beauty products and why? Yes! Yes! My all-time favorite body care is natural shea butter from Africa. I use it every single day from head to toe. It keeps my skin soft, and in the summer, my skin glows. People touch my skin and comment often on how soft it feels. I use a French product, called Sisley on my face. I am a big advocate for moisturizing your skin. Visualize the earth without water. What does it look like? When the earth doesn’t get enough water/moisture the ground begins to crack and look dry. This is the way my skin would look with out moisturizer. I also use the products above because they are clean and natural, which is better for my health.
Attitude towards ageism in society? Where do you see it the worst? What would you like to change the most? The world is in a very sad place right now. I feel that many people are afraid of age because the media pushes that only the young are beautiful. Because of technology we constantly see and hear the message that we are never good enough. We are constantly comparing ourselves to others. Society is teaching us to be afraid of aging , because of this many of us don’t embrace getting older we fight it instead of enjoying life at each beautiful stage. The worst are the people who feel that they have to have several surgeries, those that dress like they are 16 and the people who chase all the fad diets and fashion so that people will not say they look old. I would like for people to be confident and authentic and not let society dictate who they are. BE CONFIDENT AND LOVE YOURSELF IN YOUR 40’S ,50’S, 60’S,70’S,80’S AND 90’S AND STOP TRYING TO STAY IN YOUR 20’S FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
What do you think of those articles saying “You Can’t Wear _________ After____ age? There is some truth in the above statement but it’s a fine line. I feel there are certain clothing items that are not appropriate at certain ages. I feel that you should wear what flatters your body and age. However, I am a firm believer that at every age you should dress with style. The French woman to me always dress so elegantly at all ages. Dress with elegance and style and you can’t go wrong. Fit is also very important from your bras, underwear, slips and clothing.
Describe your body image and self confidence I am still working on my body image. I have gotten better over the years. I have learned to embrace my big legs and butt. I am starting to realize and accept that I will never have skinny legs and a little butt. As I said earlier, I try to stay focused on keeping these areas fit and tone. It helps when I think about how God made us all different and we are his beautiful creation. My self confidence, truly gets better with age and I love it. As I have gotten older, I have gotten wiser about not comparing myself to others and to stop beating myself up. My advice is to stop letting magazines, friends and family dictate are worth. Stay true to yourself and you will have the confidence.
What are your passions in life and have they changed over time? If So, how. My latest passion in life is my career. I have been a stay at home mom for over 20 years. I was very grateful and thankful to stay at home with my boys but now it is time for me, now that they are older. I just recently started my own marketing/customer experience business and I am moving forward with confidence. A lot has changed in the business arena but I am picking it back up quickly. The biggest change is, everything moves faster. I am enjoying the ride, it is very liberating to plow myself back into a career and finding time for myself to read, knit and connect with friends. I am also passionate about building wealth for myself and my family. My mom has Alzheimer’s and this disease has caused me to have even more of a passion for putting relationships first. I now spend more time with my relatives and close friends and try to help when I can. In the past it was more about material things but now I realize life can be so short and taking time with your love ones is so much more important. Connecting with each other is so very important and valuable. We need each other in this world and we need God. I want to always help others believe in themselves and encourage them to be their best self. It brings me joy when I can bring joy to others.
How have your feelings on mortality changed over time? I am not afraid of death. I try to live my life right and stay close to my heavenly father. There is no way I will ever escape death. Life happens and death happens every day. My mom’s wisdom is what I try to live by, “EVERYDAY IS A BLESSING AND TOMORROW IS PROMISED TO NO ONE”