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At 59, I’m Embracing Aging With a Positive Attitude and Inspiring Others to Do the Same

better now sutton
At 59, I’m Embracing Aging With a PositivityHearst Owned

Aging is beautiful—and that’s what our new Better Now series explores. Here, we highlight aging and the unique ways that the passage of time has made the lives of women everywhere more beautiful, vibrant, and meaningful.

Once when I was driving, I noticed another woman behind the wheel who was not in a good place: She looked like she was having a rough time. In a brief moment, I smiled and waved at her and she mouthed, “thank you” as she passed.

It may sound selfish, but making her feel seen made me feel good too. I think that exchange goes to show that we’re all just human: We want to interact with people and we want to be happy.

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These days, spreading positivity is a driving force in my life. I will be 60 soon and instead of dreading it, I’m proving that the best is yet to come. Because the thing is, I still have a lot of life left in me—and I intend to encourage others to be happy and find their best life, too.

It’s a gift, to be able to get older. After surviving breast cancer nearly two decades ago, I became extremely grateful just to be alive. My son was only 7 months old when I discovered a lump. I assumed it was a backed-up milk duct, but it was not. I spent my 40th year of life enduring chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and too many scans and tests to count. Sadly, my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that same year. But she taught me how to smile and be happy no matter what, right up until she passed.

While I was growing up, my mom was always extremely positive—and her diagnosis didn’t change that. On Mother’s Day in 2005, I went to see her in Canada. She had drainage tubes in her stomach and lost a lot of weight due to her disease. But she took me shopping at Walmart for my favorite Canadian candy anyway. Her pants started to fall down in the aisle and it was obvious that she was struggling to hold the candy and keep her pants up.

She started taking huge steps to keep them up, and I threw my candy on the ground and ran to grab her pants. We both ended up in hysterics, laughing so hard at the ridiculousness of it all. This woman was shopping for candy for me because she was trying to keep things as normal as possible during my visit! She taught me to choose laughter over anger, find humor in even the most embarrassing moments, and look for joy in the saddest of times. That’s just who she was. I miss her every day, but she shines on through me.

Thanks to her, I’m a glass half-full kind of girl. I see the good in everything and I enjoy referring to myself as chronically happy. So, when my son went off to college and I became an empty nester, I knew that I wanted to find a way to spend my days while spreading that positivity around. In January of 2022 I decided to join Instagram. I wanted to make my page about aging with a positive attitude—hence my username, “Age and Attitude.”

One of my very first posts was about becoming an empty nester and not knowing what I was going to do with myself. My one son was going off to college, my husband worked full time, and I just didn’t know how to keep myself busy. And I said to my Instagram followers (all 10 of them, at the time): “Okay, we’re in this together. We’re gonna figure it out together.” And it just evolved from there.

I keep things as simple and authentic as possible. My videos are a bit eclectic, but I mostly like to post funny jokes, videos about staying positive and confident, and anything I can think of that might bring a smile to someone’s face. One of my videos is simply of me, talking to the camera, reminding my followers that “we cannot be happy all that time” but to always “try to tip the scale to happiness” no matter what.

I get a lot of positive feedback from my followers too, which encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing. They say things like ‘you are just sunshine in my day’ or ‘I love to see your smile when I open up my Instagram.’ They think I’m funny and sometimes ridiculous, and that makes my day. I don’t care about someone saying, ‘oh you’re so pretty’—I care about if I can make you laugh. That’s my number one compliment.

It turns out that most of my audience is around my age, but my end goal is to not limit myself because I would love younger people to see aging and not fear it, to embrace it, to not worry if you have sunspots, or your face is falling a little, or you have hair that’s growing out of strange places—it’s no big deal.

Aside from staying positive, I also value being authentic. I don’t use filters—I think it’s important that people see who I am as I age. I don’t do any cosmetic enhancements (no Botox or anything like that). I don’t see anything wrong with other women who go that route, I think that if that’s what you want to do and it makes you feel better, then, by all means, do it. It’s just not what I do. I’m just getting older, and that’s the way it is.

Something I’ve learned along the way is that as you get older, you have more confidence. I have the ability now to accept my imperfections and embrace my strengths. So what, I have a few more wrinkles and I’m having a little difficulty getting rid of that extra 20 lbs. I am wiser, more self-confident, I know who I am, and I’m happy! And I hope my posts online can help others feel the same.

Bottom line: I’ve got a lot of life left in me. I’ll tell anyone who asks how old I am. I’m super proud of my age. It’s a gift that I’ve learned to cherish through both loss and love.

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