“I feel like I’ve lived three lifetimes, jam-packed to the max!”—Mimi K
And at this rate, you can be sure she’s in the thick of crafting her fourth! Meet my friend, Mimi Krohne— a Pro-Ageing Ninja!
Mimi is the third in my Midlife Stories series, which features everyday Women Over 50 pursuing a life chapter that brings them joy.
These are unfiltered accounts of women living life on their own terms. They’re doing what they consider to be right for themselves— not what social media or anyone else tells them they should do. Isn’t that what we all want to achieve?
I have links below to the prior posts for this series if you’re just joining us now. But meanwhile, sit back and hear all about my friend, Mimi, who is the most delightful and effervescent pro-ageing 72 year old I know!
(By the way, bonus points for identifying the band for each of the three songs disguised as section titles below….drop your answers in the post comments.)
"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"
Mimi is part of an exclusive demographic group on IG: users 65 and over who are just 2.1% of all IG users! Millennials and Gen Zs comprise the majority of IG’s audience.
So what prompted her to join 4 years ago? She’s a classic extrovert: when she doesn’t have something going on with someone else, she ain’t happy. The term, FOMO, came to mind while we chatted last week—and then she herself confessed that’s one of her driving forces! Having too much time on her hands makes her restless. Such a Doer, this one.
Yet when the pandemic reared up in 2020, Mimi reacted with an abundance of caution. She retired from a long and successful career as a hair stylist in the Orlando, FL area. Then she stepped back from her church’s social activities, as well. It wasn’t a planned change, yet it was time for a change. Time for different energy.
That’s when IG became her new community. As she sees it, it was truly her savior.
IG reaches across the world and connects likeminded people who are compatible for me. It’s the new pen pal and that is golden!
Mimi’s joyous demeanor makes chatting with her effortless. Laughter is one of the love languages she speaks fluently. She also punctuates her posts and DMs with emojis. One can’t help but relax and smile in her presence, no matter what concerns might be swirling inside. She just radiates happy!
And while she believes herself to be wantonly niche-less on the ‘gram, (I’m an old hippie at heart) Mimi tends to feature the following topics:
- fashion (former model married to a former photographer)
- yoga and tai chi (focused on staying limber)
- books (delves into a myriad of topics that make you think)
- lipstick (bold red, please!)
But wait, there’s more!
"Born This Way"
Now you may be thinking Mimi rarely sits still. But it all depends if she’s nourishing her body or her mind. She’s a voracious life-long learner, taking advantage of free online courses. One day, it might be a Harvard class; another day, it’s a YouTube tutorial. Or the Gaia channel.
What doesn’t air in her living room is network TV. 15 years ago, a bet with one of her daughters continues to this day with banning that particular media. It’s all part of her pro-ageing strategy to carefully cultivate what gets the privilege of her focus in her 600 square foot condo.
Yes, you read that right! When Mimi and John got married in 2011, they realized how little space they truly utilized in their large townhouse. She promptly got rid of 98% of her stuff in one month— whoa! —and just like that, they moved into their present sweet abode.
While her friends thought she lost her mind, Mimi said,
Best decision I ever made! More freedom, less stress!
She’s definitely not one to brood or agonize over her next steps. If something makes sense, done and next! Which is another pro-ageing characteristic: Mimi is not afraid of change. In her mind, it’s how life works.
Downsizing allowed the two of them to pursue more of their shared and individual passions. In particular, they enjoy exploring the outdoors together, camera in hand. Her Instagram account is chockfull of their little adventures.
"Talkin' Bout My Gen-er-a-tion"
While I am enamored with Mimi’s joie de vivre, I can’t help but wonder if her free wheeling outlook makes her an outlier for her age group. She does not disagree.
Mimi was born at the tail end of the Silent Generation. Her parents endured World War II and the Great Depression so their household like so many others was very traditional. Children of this era were expected to be seen and not heard. To not put themselves first or front and center.
In her mind, this led to pervasive pettiness and excessive competition. Work hard and be the best—but don’t flaunt it. Mimi wistfully remarks,
You’d be glad for your friend’s success but you wouldn’t say much about it. Maybe you’d say something behind her back. There was no lifting up of each other like what you’re doing now.
So how did Mimi break rank from that repressive atmosphere? How did she embrace her self-described “inner troublemaker” and put herself out there on the ‘gram? And unapologetically pursue what makes her happy?
It all started with John and I working the typical photography/videography sessions, like weddings. He also did occasional shoots with me posing outdoors, by graffiti. People started saying we should do that on Instagram! I had to work through the emotions. Finally I thought, screw it! If I get to be 85, I can’t afford to base myself on what others think of me.
What’s her friends’ reaction to her social media presence?
I’m sure some think, ‘What the Hell’s she doing? Then down the road, ‘How did she do it?’
And now? What’s her aim on IG?
To give courage to my age group and forgiveness.
Mimi explains that everyone was caught up in the post-war mindset. Not only was there no such thing as self-care (that’s selfish), but people really lived in a fear-based environment. No one was to rock the boat or break the rules.
I’m truly happy our Little Troublemaker broke out of the mold and freely showcases her dynamic pro-ageing activities—keep it coming, Mimi!
"Don't Fear The Reaper"
So I had to ask about death. I’m thinking about it a little more, now that I have fewer years ahead than behind. I wondered where Mimi’s mind was at, since she’s further down the road.
She describes the Warrior pose as a metaphor for her 70s: her right leg is bent with her right arm extended forward, reaching for her Future. She is looking backwards over her left arm extended to her Past. Her position is neutral.
The 70s are a place to make peace with your past. This is the beginning of the ‘Big Wind Up’ as your age group is starting to check out. I suppose people my age don’t fear death but really hope for a dignified exit.
For both Mimi and John, it’s been a beautiful ride on this fabulous planet. And even though her daughters are in their mid 30s, independent and “off and running”, Mimi still feels the tug in her heart to be around as long as possible so she can take care of them and the grandkids.
Yet interestingly, she has witnessed a sharp divide between how men and women her age approach their mortality. Remember, she was a successful hair stylist for many years.
When you’ve cut someone’s hair for 20 years, you get really personal. And the men tell me they can avoid thinking or dealing with stuff until about 65. Then all the ‘shoulda-coulda’s come to roost when they lay their heads on their pillows at night! Women process more emotionally on their own and with their friends.
And for this Pro-Ager? How is she feeling about “checking out”, as she puts it?
It’s not death that bothers me—but the process is the rub. I know there’s a transition of sorts between life and death, from what my mother and grandmother said they could see on their deathbed. No one else could see what they saw.
But for me, it’s feeling like a veil. A soft, light veil descending.
And then this reminds Mimi of one of her favorite poems. In turn, it confirms how engaged my friend is with living fully in each and every moment—which is my definition of the ultimate pro-ageing attitude.
The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you
Don’t go back to sleep!
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep!
People are going back and forth
across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,
The door is round and open
Don’t go back to sleep! —Rumi
The Wrap on Pro Ageing with Mimi
Yes, I’m including this image: a shameless plug of Mimi endorsing my book —such a discriminately literate soul, hehe!
But back to Mimi, while she’s still in an introspective mood. What’s her pro-ageing take for living life fully over 50?
Our 50s are a call to action. Time to lay the ego crap down. Target dates for retirement loom.
Our 60s are a really great decade. We can get a lot done, get focused, and calm down. We want to have nutrition, alcohol, drugs and exercise in order by now or it gets worse.
Our 70s, the picture of approaching death becomes crystal clear. I am beginning to see the fruition of bad choices with so many of my friends. Sad.
Yet even those who have taken excellent care of themselves may have their ‘check engine lights’ come on. But so far, so good for me! I am very, very careful with what I digest with my eyes, ears and mouth.
Isn’t Mimi a “walkin’-on-sunshine” soul?!
- What’s your take on Mimi’s pro-ageing attitude?
- Who are the 3 bands for the song titles above?
- Drop your thoughts below … and thanks for stopping by!
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