Coastal Grandma Kicks Ageism Out the Door

The Coastal Grandma look and vibe has stormed the internet. If you have not heard of it yet, go look it up.  Right now.  The term Coastal Grandma was coined by Lex Nicoleta, who ironically is not a grandma.  Well, I am a grandma and I love the coast, so I must be a Coastal Grandma right?  Well apparently not.   It is not just a look, but an attitude.  An inspirational lifestyle.  Think Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give or Meryl Streep in It’s Complicated.  

The Look:

The Coastal Grandma, let’s just call her CG for short, has a simple, elevated, organic, earthy vibe.  It goes along with shades of ecru and white, blues, grays and beach grass green.   This easy lifestyle calls for natural fibers:  linen pants, a chambray shirt, a straw hat, a market basket, cotton slipcovers, sisal rugs, jute, fresh flowers and herbs on the windowsill.  It is a natural, textured, comfortable aesthetic.  

The Lifestyle:   

The Coastal Grandma definitely lives a more relaxed, elevated lifestyle.  It is a crisp glass of white wine and a good book.  It is cutting hydrangias from the yard to arrange in a bouquet or cutting lavender to gather into bundles and dry.  It is taking a wicker basket to meander through the farmer’s market to get fresh green beans and raspberries for dinner. 

The Attitude:

While the Coastal Grandma lifestyle and look is appealing, I think what really resonates with women is the attitude that the CG portrays.  It is the idea of living authentically, without apology, that draws us as much as the look itself. The CG is comfortable in her own skin.   She knows who she is and what she likes and is confident enough to express it.  She is comfortable graciously saying “no.” It often takes years of living to get to this point.  The CG makes time to live life on her terms.  She no longer walks into a room and compares herself to other women there, worried about how she levels up.  Instead, she walks into a room confident that she is her best version of herself.  She is more concerned about connecting with the people and enjoying the experience.

The Trand Setters:

Of course, women of any age can exemplify the Coastal Grandma look and lifestyle, but don’t you love that this term originated from women of retirement age who are living this lifestyle that is setting a trend?  It kicks ageism right out the door!  This celebrates a lifestyle that we have earned and are living fully at this time in our lives.  I believe that the CG exudes a confidence that only years of living can shape.   The pointy, rough edges of her personality have mellowed over time to reveal a beautiful patina.  I recently read CG described as an emotional place the hurried 2022 woman has arrived at after years of making everyone else’s lives more important.   After years of working, raising a family and hurrying, we are ready to slow down and live more intentionally. It is, finally, living fully ourselves and loving it.


How refreshing that retired women were the originators of this lifestyle.  And why shouldn’t we be?  We have learned over time what we like and how to embrace a lifestyle that nourishes us.  We have finally come to accept ourselves. We are not perfect and we are OK with that. Really OK. Maybe, just maybe, having dewy skin, silky hair and cottage cheese free thighs isn’t what it is all about.  Let’s be examples to younger women of retired women who are comfortable in our own skin and are living a life that fills our souls.      

Happy First Day of Fall

I adore summer, but I think that fall has to be my favorite season. And what better way to celebrate the first day of fall than with a bike ride by the lake? Bonus that the first day of fall is on a weekday and since we are retired we don’t have to wait until after work or the weekend to enjoy it. Do something that feeds your soul to celebrate the first day of this wonderful new season.

“And all at once, summer collapes into fall.”

Oscar Wild

This week in retirement…

The smoke from the wildfires here in the Pacific Northwest is “thick as pea soup,” as my dad would say. It makes me really appreciate the fire fighters. Hopefully we will get some rain this week to help out the situation. You know it is bad when I am hoping for rain.

The basil in the garden is coming to an end and needs to be used, so it is a great week to make some pesto. I have a favorite tried and true recipe from Country Home Magazine (2006) that is quick and easy to make.

I have tried walnuts instead of the pine nuts for a little less expensive version, but I think the pine nuts add the best flavor. Be sure to use a good quality olive oil.

I like to freeze the pesto in ice cube trays. Once frozen, you can toss them all into a freezer bag. Similar to what we did when we made homemade baby food years ago. Health conscious, crazy parents that we were.


The Alchemy of Retirement

               Alchemy is the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary. The alchemy of retirement is about transforming the push/pull of work demands and hair-raising commutes into a lifestyle that satisfies our soul and makes us tingle from the tip our grey hair down to the bottom of our bunion toes. Alchemy is defined as “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation or combination.” So while the transformation of our work lifestyle into an extraordinary retirement lifestyle takes intention and effort, we also need to be open to the magical process of a little alchemy.

People often wonder what we do with all the free time that retirement offers up.   Like pre-retirement life, there are the big plans and milestones that need to be planned for and celebrated, such as a son’s wedding, downsizing to a new home, or preparing for a grandchild to be born.   Then there are the big hairy fun things you decide to do now, just because you are retired and can. I call these the big alchemies of retirement.

Big alchemies:

  • Start a consulting business
  • Take the dream trip
  • Build a wood shop
  • Write a book
  • Buy an RV
  • Open an Etsy shop
  • Train for a marathon
  • Go on a sail boat trip
  • Commit to a volunteer position
  • Start a band

These are all truly wonderful parts of retirement life, however, I can’t help but think that the real alchemy happens in what you choose to do with your ordinary days. How do you walk through your days more alert and ready to be awed. I call these the little alchemies of retirement.

Little alchemies: 

  • Light a scented candle and put on some jazz music while leasurely preparing dinner
  • Lay on your back in the grass, feel the sun on your face and see what formations the roaming clouds create
  • Buy a new set of colorful bowls to stir up something delicious in the kitchen
  • Step out your back door to cut some fresh herbs from the garden to make cold herb butter
  • Pour a glass of wine and enjoy the sunset
  • Sew a new pillow for your favorite reading chair
  • Go on an “Artist Date” as described by Julia Cameron
  • Mix up a cup of cocoa and read by the fire all afternoon…during a week day
  • Go on a bike ride and observe all of the harried people at work
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee and journal at your favorite coffee shop
  • Pour a tub during the middle of a weekday and listen to a favorite pod cast

The beauty of retirement is that we have time to practice the art of living well daily, in the ordinary moments. We get to be the curator of those moments.   And really, that is what life is about, moments strung into hours and then into days, that make up a life.   So, I am on a quest to create more moments in the ordinary days. Because, in retirement, we don’t have to constantly make every minute count just to keep from getting behind. Experience life’s moments with all of your senses tuned up. Extraordinary moments curate an extraordinary life. One that transforms our stressed out harried work lives into a retirement lifestyle that feeds our souls. So, practice a little alchemy this week.

This week in retirement is a good week to…

This week is a good week to pawn off share zucchini from the garden. Yep, I am that person.

The person that kindly asks if you would like a zucchini (or 2 or 3) from our garden. You graciously take one, politely declining a second one. In a few days, I am sure you used those up, so I generously leave a couple more on your desk at work. Later in the week they mysteriously appear on the the hood of your car, or you wake up to find a zucchini (or 2 or 3) show up on your doorstep. Zucchini anyone?