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June 2024 - Between the Pages: Aging in Community: Harnessing Your Inner Badass at Any Age with Mary Lou Dobbs

Author Mary Ann Dobbs
Author Mary Ann Dobbs

By Samantha Nagel

Aging is feared. But what if we saw it as a journey of empowerment and a path to the badass within? Mary Lou Dobbs, author of Badass Old White Woman: How to Flip the Script on Aging, advocates this message. Her book is a rallying cry for women to redefine aging on their terms and embrace their vibrant lives. "The definition of a badass woman is someone who stops listening to other people and starts finding out from deep within what drives her, what makes her happy, inspires her, and she follows that list," Dobbs says. "We need to see that there are women out there who have a vibrant, exciting life: women at age eighty-two, driving yellow Porsches, and taking exciting trips."

The fear around getting older is present for all ages: A recent double opt-in survey conducted by OnePoll for Forbes Health revealed that younger American adults even exhibit a greater fear than older generations. "We all still have the same fears. We tap into that lack. Maybe it's a lack of self-esteem or a feeling we're not good enough without looking a certain way. Commercials perpetuate that you'll look and feel better if you have this product, purse, or whatever to feel whole and complete. It's looking at the outside to make the inside feel good," Dobbs shared when asked about the widespread panic about aging that women are experiencing. "The only place to feel safe and secure is resting in your body." Dobbs has always been a badass. She shared, "I was always fast-paced and action-oriented, so I've taken that through my life as far as wanting to stay healthy and active. I love life. What happens to many people is they stop engaging with other people or things that make them stay healthy." Dobbs says the anecdote is being with an inspiring and supportive community. "When you're with the right and upbeat people, you create an upbeat life. I have always wanted to be part of a [community] of people who want to excel and be part of something bigger than themselves."

Community and connection proved to be the backbone of healthy and vibrant lives. In the 2023 U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community, social connection is "a critical and underappreciated contributor to individual and population health, community safety, resilience, and prosperity. However, too many Americans lack social connection in one or more ways." Getting older means we are expanding and growing, an experience that not all people get to have. Instead of fearing Aging, we should embrace it as an opportunity to settle more deeply into ourselves and our communities. Dobbs agrees, saying, "Aging is a freaking privilege. We don't stand in gratitude often enough." Learn more about Mary Lou Dobb's lifestyle coaching and upcoming events, and order her book at


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