74 year old model carolyn doelling

Fashion isn't just for the young.

Why should we view growing older as the end of all new experiences? What if we gave ourselves permission to view the later part in life as an adventure, equally as exciting and full of opportunities as our younger years?

I find myself falling into this “aging = decline” mentality quite easily as of late, even though I never previously considered aging to be particularly dreadful. I can say without a doubt that things have indeed gotten better for me with age; I have no desire to revisit my 20s. And yet, I still will catch myself thinking of all the things I’m now “too old” to even begin, let alone accomplish. The splits? At 33? What’s the point? Move to London? I can’t, my life is set in Los Angeles. And so on.

Despite my determined focus on those “40 Over 40” lists and repeated affirmations of "things continually get better for me,” and knowing full well that 30s are not even close to over the hill, I can still sense now that there is a hill. And that makes me anticipate the decline, to the exclusion of many paths that could be enjoyable. And isn’t that a major point of life … no matter what stage of it we’re in?

It’s recovering pessimists like me that inspired Carolyn Doelling to share her story.


Doelling completely reinvented herself, and now lives life as an in-demand fashion model. Her Instagram is filled with magazine-worthy photos wearing kickboxing attire, glamorous silk sets and luxurious dresses. She embodies style and grace so effortlessly, it’s hard to believe that she didn’t start this fabulous career until retirement.

Doelling had a long and varied career in banking, telecommunications and nonprofit sectors. Though she immersed herself in left-brained industries, Doelling still found ways to put her heart into philanthropy as well.

During that time, she had never even considered posing for the camera.

She told the TODAY show, “I have to say that modeling was never in the picture. In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a picture of me beforehand, because I was always on the back row."

Once she retired at 70, Doelling found that the back row was getting less comfortable. In fact, retired life made her feel “invisible,” especially without a career to tie her self-worth to.

“So much of our identity is tied with what our titles are and what our work is,” she told Grow Acorns. “‘I am a development officer. I am a marketing strategist.’ Then when you let that go, you have to find a different ‘I am.’ But saying ‘I am retired,’ well, that’s really not work. Both internally and externally you begin to feel like a different person.”

Doelling noticed this feeling reflected in her outer world, often being “underestimated” and “overlooked.”

She shared with TODAY, "It was as if everyone in this culture of ageism had agreed: You are done, your work is done. You are no longer needed. And with the kids and husband gone, your purpose to us is questionable."

For Doelling, fashion became an outlet for feeling seen again. And following her creative instincts took her down a completely unexpected path.

In a story worthy of Gisele Bündchen, Doelling was discovered in broad daylight. While attending an event for luxury boutique McMullen, she was noticed by the store's owner Sherri McMullen, who was taken aback by Doelling's bold and confident style. But it was Doelling’s mission to “inspire other women to add more style and swagger to their life,” that really drew McMullen in. Doelling was quickly whisked away for a photoshoot.

The pictures received a ton of positive feedback, attention from other designers and even an offer from a New York modeling agency. Doelling was invisible no more.

Though Doelling is grateful for the gig, she is more interested in exploring other parts of her ‘I am,” rather than stick to one. Been there, done that, after all.

“I write, I am taking piano lessons. I’m just making a well-rounded life,” she tells Grow Acorns. “I could let modeling go tomorrow and be happy doing something else. Being a cyclist, maybe.”

Doelling certainly helped me remember that our life path might contain a few forks in the road, but never a true dead end. I hope she did the same for you. Revisit those old childhood dreams you deemed impossible. Take on a hobby simply because it enriches your soul. Look forward to 70 the same way you did for 20. Who knows what fun twists and turns your ‘I am’ can take as long as you’re open.

It’s never too late to enjoy all of life’s goodness.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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