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The Beautiful Season


reverse mortgage newsIt takes a certain kind of courage to look in the mirror and honor our wrinkles, grey hair, and other indications that we’re no longer on the sunny side of twenty. But would an elder trade the insight and (hopefully!) wisdom that accrues with years?

Maturity is literally “reading between the lines” of the facial roadmap to our soul, according to wise woman Ariel Spilsbury, now in her early 70s. “Winter” is only less lovely than “summer” if we prefer one season over the others.

Angeles Arrien, one of my great teachers, told the story of a child who reverently traced her grandmother’s facial lines and then exclaimed, “Grandma, you have such pretty designs on your face!” That’s a powerful redirect. Reverse mortgage professionals, and anyone else who knows an older person or plans to be one, can choose to perceive gray hair and wrinkles as beautiful.

In the Introduction to her wry memoir, Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty, Diane Keaton, now 69, takes a candid look at beauty and aging. She writes, “I’ve learned to see beauty where I never saw it before. But only because my expectations are more realistic. My favorite part of my body is my eyes. Not because of their color and not because of their shape, but because of what they see. When I was in my twenties and thirties I wanted my appearance to be more interesting than the beauty that surrounded me. It was a fool’s folly.”

Through no-holds-barred stories about her life, she explores the many facets of beauty. In the chapter Healing Humor: “A smile is appreciation, and empathy, and wonder. But laughter is release. Laughter is letting go. Babies laugh three hundred times a day. Adults twenty, if we’re lucky. Does growing up — and, in my case, growing old — have to be characterized by increased seriousness and less laughter? I intend to join the babies of the world and laugh more. Especially since — and this is a fact — laughter leads to less stress. It just does. So while smiling is lovely…laughter is beautiful.”

In the chapter Old Is Gold, after naming her many Baby Boom acting cohorts with no plans to retire, Keaton ruminates, “It’s ironic, isn’t it? I was never a fan of gold. I’ve never owned a gold watch. I passed on gold gowns with gold accessories for the red carpet. ‘The golden years’ is my least favorite metaphor for the period of life I’m living in. I have no interest in espousing the golden age of movies. I can’t stand endless retirement commercials where two attractive elderly people smile at each other as they hold hands while walking into a soothing landscape, as if to say, ‘It’s so peaceful accepting the autumn of life.’ Golden oldies. The golden rule. A heart of gold. Worth its weight in gold. Gold shmold. The one saying that resonates through example, the one that has heart, the one that’s worth its weight in gold, is simple and true: Old is gold.”

As we redefine what it means to grow old today, the focus on inner beauty is blooming. A psychoanalyst describes how entering the Ms. New Jersey Senior America Pageant was more cooperative than competitive. In an essay for The Huffington Post, Dr. Goldberg writes, “For me, the meaning of the experience was about spending hours and hours with my fellow contestants, learning a dance, supporting each other when any of us forgot which way to turn and messed up the whole routine.”

Perhaps as elders, we at last return to the truth we instinctively understood as young children: life is more fun when we laugh, and when we help one other. This is what creates true beauty in the world. And everybody wins.


Editor in Chief:
As a prominent commentator and Editor in Chief at, Shannon Hicks has played a pivotal role in reshaping the conversation around reverse mortgages. His unique perspectives and deep understanding of the industry have not only educated countless readers but has also contributed to introducing practical strategies utilizing housing wealth with a reverse mortgage.
Shannon’s journey into the world of reverse mortgages began in 2002 as an originator and his prior work in the financial services industry. Shannon has been covering reverse mortgage news stories since 2008 when he launched the podcast HECMWorld Weekly. Later, in 2010 he began producing the weekly video series The Industry Leader Update and Friday’s Food for Thought.
Readers wishing to submit stories or interview requests can reach our team at:

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    • Thanks, Carol. And I bet your reverse mortgage clients love YOU!

  1. Very Good. Laughing is the fountain of youth. My eye age lines show quite a few hilarious moments. Looking forward to many more. Thanks.

    • Thanks, Robin. That’s a wonderful way to express it!

  2. The story is great, your comments and Diane Keaton as well. Very nice and thoughtful article.

    • Thank you, Pat!

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