Age is no barrier

Living Well Navigator ambassador and respected Australian media personality Deborah Hutton talks about the positives of getting older and celebrating her 50th birthday – naked on the cover of a magazine.

Since I so unashamedly celebrated my 50th birthday naked on the cover of The Australian Women’s Weekly, I’ve somehow become the poster girl for the 50-plus set… and that’s a very happy and empowering place for me to be.

Personally I like to think that by the time you reach your fifties you’re in a great place. You’ve gathered a wealth of knowledge, a lifetime of experience, hopefully you’re stronger, smarter and more active than you’ve ever been, you have an enormous amount to contribute and you’ve fine-tuned a decent sense of humour because you’ll need it!

We all appreciate getting older does have its challenges, but for me it’s about making positive choices around my future and importantly, my own happiness. When I was approached to join with NRMA as an ambassador of Living Well Navigator, I immediately connected with how necessary and comprehensive a tool this is, and how it offers clear direction around mature-age concerns with real answers and real services.

I want to congratulate NRMA, not only for this brilliant initiative, but for their foresight in calling it Living Well Navigator, because the words LIVING WELL are what it’s all about for me.

I’m very fortunate in my work that I come across some extraordinary people from very different walks of life, and I am in the position where I get to sit down, have a chat on camera and discover what makes them tick. I am continually inspired by age and wisdom.

Only this week I had a very funny, candid and inspiring chat with our own living legend Dawn Fraser, who continues to be as active and valued in the community as ever. She was telling a wonderful story about how an 83-year-old woman from the Sunshine Coast wanted Dawn to teach her how to swim 50 metres. And sure enough, with Dawn’s help, she reached her goal in only a few weeks – 83… bless her!

I was in the Barossa Valley recently filming an interview with the one and only Maggie Beer for my websiteBalance by Debora Hutton. I have been very lucky to have crossed paths with Maggie over the years through my work with Qantas and Channel 9, and I always come away amazed by her level of energy, commitment and good humour.

She was awarded Senior Australian of the Year in 2010 and has used that platform to create the Maggie Beer Foundation, which focuses on supporting the wellbeing of people in aged care facilities by providing them with food that looks appetising, and is full of flavour and nutrients. It’s a major passion for her and we love her for it.

I look at Ita Buttrose who I met many moons ago when I was modelling in the early 80s and she was the queen of the Packer publishing empire. She’s lived a full life of being a mum, wife and businesswoman. She’s now busy hosting a morning show on Channel 10, still sitting on numerous boards, and spending her time speaking and mentoring others. Ita is in her early 70s with no signs she’s about to slow down.

And it’s not just the women who stop me in my tracks. Did you see Clint Eastwood’s latest movie, Jersey Boys? Clint is 84 and still producing exceptional movies that make big dollars for the box office.

My point is, let’s not hold back as we get older but utilise all the wisdom and knowledge we’ve gathered over the years and put it to good use.
What will you regret later if you don’t do something about it today? You don’t have to be an award-winning actor or Olympian to recognise this – it’s about playing to your strengths and never giving in.

I like to think about getting older not as a number that comes round every year but how I actually feel in myself. I don’t like to put limitations on myself. I know that I always want to be fit and flexible enough to move freely and play golf. I want to be doing something valuable, giving back to the community in some way and feeling connected with people. I want to be travelling like my mum in her late 70s and booking cruises overseas. I don’t want my health issues to become a daily conversation. I want to continue to be kind and considerate and hope that if I step out of line, one of my best pals will tell me to pull my head in!

Whatever it is you want, you have to acknowledge it as a priority. It might be as simple as choosing to get a little fitter and starting with a daily walk. Whatever it is, commit to it and make the most of every day. It’s a gift.

Have you recently achieved a personal goal? Do you have any tips to share? Please comment below or start a conversation over on the Living Well Navigator forums.

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