Episode #1449 Susan Feldman: In The Groove Is Changing How We Talk About Aging

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Susan Feldman and Jenna discuss her intentions to use In The Groove to acknowledge, celebrate and empower age-defying women. We chat about how to upgrade the aging conversation by focusing on creating community, seeking new experiences, and most importantly, having fun. We also discuss lessons on risk-taking and constantly iterating ourselves that Susan learned from her dad, who after having two successful careers earned his Masters at 80 to pursue being a painter.


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Susan Feldman

Founder of In The Groove View Full Profile

Highlights from the Transcript

  • On aging together: “It’s so important to go through life with other people. There are always feelings of: “I thought I was the only one.” Knowing that you’re in good company and that a lot of people are having the same experience makes you feel less alone…I heard a lot of women say that they feel invisible and want to feel relevant. Hearing that was a-ha moment. We want to create that something that allows them to feel like part of the conversation.” 
  • On appreciation: “Aging is a gift. Every birthday is a gift.”
  • On changing the aging conversation: “The way my parents or grandparents grew up was pretty clear cut: You went to school and learned during the first period of your life. The second was about earning. The last was about retiring. It’s not the case any more. Life expectancy is into the late 80s and 90s. When you hit 50, you’re just starting the second half of your life. 50 is young. If you’re 50, you’re probably feeling like you’re 35. You don’t feel like you’re ready to hang it up by any stretch of imagination. Culturally, there is a dichotomy between how we feel and how society thinks we feel. It’s changing and we have an opportunity to change the conversation around aging.” 
  • On reframing how we depict aging in the media: “We want to show that being over 50 doesn’t mean you have gray hair and look eccentric. We’re trying to put something out there that shows these people are amazing! I don’t see anyone who looks like me in the advertising world. I see either really young kids or really old people. There’s nothing in between. We want to work with marketers and brand leaders to help rethink advertising and make what is out there less extreme. I don’t know why they wouldn’t want to because this demographic is not only very big but they control about 70% of the wealth in this country and shop 2 1/2 times more than any demographic.”
  • On enjoying life: “Fun is our number one operative word. If we aren’t having fun then we aren’t doing our job. At this point in our life, we want to laugh, have fun and not take ourselves too seriously. We understand that the world is not perfect. You are not perfect. There are going to be highs and lows. You have to be able to laugh about it.”
  • On valuing your time: “My time is precious. If I’m going to spend time with people it’s going to be with the people I really want to be with. You no longer feel obligated to be with people you don’t enjoy.” 
  • On intuition: “You have to be in touch with your intuition. It doesn’t just speak to you. You need to really listen and take cues from it…There were times at One Kings Lane when I thought we should do something but there was someone in the room who had more experience or I thought was smarter than me so I went with what they thought. Often times, my gut was right. After walking away from that experience I constantly tell myself: Listen to what your inner voice is telling you. If you are in touch with it, it’s usually right. You know what works for you, what’s going on in your life, and what’s best for you. Listen to those cues. As I’ve gotten older, I have learned to understand that those are really good signals and that they direct me to a good place. I just need to listen and act on them.” 
  • On constant learning: “I think about my dad every day and how he taught me that it’s so important not to be afraid of change or embracing new things. It’s so important to stay in touch with what is going on so you can feel a part of what is happening in the world.” 
  • On iterating ourselves: “I think of it as iteration not reinvention. Think about what you’re good at, what you want to do next and where you can make a difference, and then start moving in that direction.” 
  • On taking bigger risks: “It was really scary launching One Kings Lane at 53. It took a lot to move away from what I’d done and do something new. Once I did it, I was a lot bolder and more open to taking big risks but I never thought of them that way. I was so focused on making it happen.”