Bev Kean Talks Ageing, Self-acceptance and Ditching Social Norms

Bev Kean Talks Ageing, Self-acceptance and Ditching Social Norms

We recently spoke with Bev, a 63-year-old badass from San Francisco. Read her story below and get ready to be seriously inspired.

I’m 63. Born in the UK and moved to San Francisco after a divorce at 45. I came for a one-month vacation post-divorce, stayed with a friend, and decided I didn’t want to go back to London. So I stayed! My first major life challenge. Starting in a new country, a new city, with only one friend – he ended up going back to London 6 months later so I was pretty much on my own at that point.
It was challenging but I had no reason to go back so I made it work. Found a job, eventually married a friend to get a green card (now happily divorced but still best friends) and this is my 18th year here.

I gently let go of friends who I really had nothing in common with and I tried to be more authentic.”

The second major change was on my 50th birthday. I decided I was no longer going to say yes to everything. I’m a people pleaser in general but it was becoming exhausting. So I started speaking the truth more, with kindness, but in a firm manner. I turned down social things I didn’t want to go to. I gently let go of friends who I really had nothing in common with and I tried to be more authentic. It made for a more lonely life but a more genuine one. The times I did go out socially were the times I really wanted to be there. I stopped caring so much what people in my social circle thought of me and I stopped trying to make everyone happy. I spoke my mind and although it was difficult as I’m naturally someone socially shy, it felt good to be true to myself at last.

Since then I’ve pretty much stayed the same but I’ve become more used to speaking out about injustice, racism, sexism, bigotry. I lost a few Republican friends once Trump became president. I have only one religious friend – I’m a pretty hardcore atheist and I no longer feel the need to be polite about religious issues in order to keep the peace. It feels very freeing. I lost those people from my life but found more like-minded people instead.

I date guys half my age, my hair is lilac, I wear what the hell I want.”

So I think I’ve always been a rebel and a secret badass but as I aged I was more comfortable coming out. Now I live my life the way I choose, I try not to hurt anyone but I have to put myself first. I date guys half my age, my hair is lilac, I wear what the hell I want. I won`t conform to any social norms due to my age. I had a ridiculous argument with a total stranger just yesterday about older women not being allowed to wear black mascara! She said it’s aging and I need to wear brown. I did not hold back with my opinion on that.

When I look in the mirror, of course, I see the changes of aging. My body is not as firm as it was, my face is falling on the floor but I only feel older when my body complains if I do too much physically. My brain feels more mature but not old. I only slightly adjust my behavior when I’m with my daughter in Sydney. She’s almost 43 and way more grown up than me. She doesn’t approve of my choice to date younger men but I think that’s more about she wants me to find my final life partner and have some financial security. Maybe I will at some point but for now, I’m fiercely independent and don’t need looking after. I am looking forward to moving over there. I’ve come to the end of my tolerance for America and all that’s happening here. So that will be my final major life change, starting yet again but with the support of family. My 30-year-old self would never have been able to deal with this new challenge but I’m older and stronger. I’m pretty fearless I guess and that’s a great place to be.

– BEV KEAN, #trueradgirl

 

  

 


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