Judy, 76, living a vibrant life with her mantra of "why not"!

Over the past two years, I have stopped admiring those 20 and 30 year old models and lamenting the body I use to have.  These days, I am inspired by the 80 yr old at my yoga class, the 70 yr old on top of the Sierra Butte Outlook and the mothers of my friends, like Judy!

Judy, 76, is the mother of a good friend of mine, Kelly.  I met her years ago at a school event and have followed her adventures on Kelly’s Facebook page ever since.

As Kelly puts it, “my mom is very can do—there isn’t anything that she can’t put her mind to and accomplish.  Her batteries are always charged!  If it’s being on the County’s Civil Service Commission and Review Board, chairing a fundraising event for the County’s Women’s Commission or driving non-stop through a blizzard from Montana to Ojai with her Prius full of frozen buffalo, she does it with aplomb.”  Kelly added that “my mom is highly intelligent, charming and very interesting….and sharing life with her is never boring!  People really like my mom and I am always hearing comments from strangers how she just has a special glow.  And men (single or married and young or old) still regularly hit on her!)”

Judy has always cared about the environment and became an eco-warrior in the late 60’s.  She was the head of the Environmental Coalition in Ventura County and even penned and performed a guitar solo which got a lot of radio time—-the song was titled “Trust us Said US Gypsom”.  It was a song about corporate greed and environmental destruction.  Also in the 70’s, way before Farm-to-Table became a thing she pulled out all of the landscaping and planted artichokes, herbs and other vegetables.  She scuba dived on the weekends and speared fish —- which all found its way to the dining table.

When it comes to fashion, Judy commented that women’s bodies look different as we age and clothing not only needs to be shown on real aging bodies (not 20 and 30 year olds) but also address the needs of our changing bodies.  She looks for clothing that allows her to live her active lifestyle, are no nonsense and are easy to launder.  She shops at Nordstrom (one of her fav brands -NYDJ), REI, Patagonia, Eddie Bauer and small boutique shops.  She tends to wear gray (complements her hair), white, black and blue – especially jeans.  She also likes to add a scarf or neck warmer for health reasons but it has now turned into a fashion statement.

Judy keeps active with Pilates twice a week, “aggressively” hiking the mountains behind her house daily and restorative yoga. She is currently involved with the Ventura County Women’s Political Council (VCWPC), they recruit, train and support progressive women for office. Judy’s sister is like her with broad interests and a sense of adventure, they travel together and tend to reinforce one another’s most screwball ideas (we all need a sister like that).  Highlights from some of their adventures include four days on the Inca Trail, two weeks and 175 miles on the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain and traipsing through the jungles to remote Mayan Sites 25 years ago.  Most of those adventures were long before ecotourism made such travel easy.  Judy is currently cooking up something else fun and challenging!

She LOVED her 50’s, she LOVED her 60’s and she is LOVING her 70’s.  The best thing about aging says Judy is that the bullshit we worried about when we were young is no longer an issue.We have a better sense of what really matters and you get better at saying no. Another great thing about aging is we have erred and learned, and we are less likely to stumble over the same stuff again. Maintaining her health, having adventures with friends and family, devoting energy to meaningful projects and having the time to do those things bring Judy pleasure.

With a mantra of “why not”, it’s easy to see why Judy continues to inspire her family, friends and me.

I am excited to hear about Judy’s next adventure…stay tuned!

Stephanie O'Dell