On her birthday in 1974, in response to a reporter who mentioned how good she looked "for her age," Gloria Steinem famously replied, “This is what 40 looks like nowadays.” Ten years later, she repeated that assertion on her 50th birthday.
Today is Gloria Steinem’s 70th birthday and although she is only seven years older than I, she is the closest thing I can relate to as a role model for getting older. In an age when growing old gracefully is more likely to involve Botox and a surgeon’s knife than accepting nature’s course, Ms. Steinem stood firmly for nature, in an interview from five years ago when she turned 65:
“…as I age, I notice my body doing something, and I want to see what it's doing," she said. "I don't want to interfere with that. It knows something I don't. It's like being pregnant. You don't know how to age, except intellectually. But your body knows.”
For those of you who may be too young to know, Ms. Steinem has been a feminist and political activist at least since 1972, when she co-founded Ms. magazine. In the decades since then, she has taught – just by being herself – uncounted thousands of us, more likely millions, what it means to be an independent woman.
And now she is showing us what it means to be an older woman. In a nation that prefers its older folks invisible, Steinem is as outspoken as ever as you can see from this recent political interview.
Happy Birthday, Gloria. I look forward to hearing you say, in 20 years, “This is what 90 looks like nowadays.”