this is 71: 29/365


Joni Mitchell

I’m so unbelievably happy that Joni Mitchell at age 71, which is unbelievable, looks exactly as I would have imagined she would look if I could have imagined it.

Please go look at these 5 photos.

This, folks, is 71.

Yes, I’m aware it’s a magazine shoot but still. It’s encouraging that Mitchell seems to have found a way, despite the aging process, to let her self shine through.

I have aging issues. But when I turned 57 last year, I stopped trying to hide how old I was. I wrote about it and added the year I was born to my Facebook page. Baby steps.

Joni Mitchell is a grandmother. I am a grandmother. This is what being a grandmother looks like today or can look like. It may not be true, but it feels as if there are very few role models for aging. Very few times do I look at a photo and say, wow, being 71 must be great. Seeing these photos made me feel hopeful.

I wanted to share two excerpts from the New York Magazine interview of Mitchell. The first shows that it’s not always easy to be who you really are:

[M]ost of her life has been spent in a state of revolt against other people’s nonsensical ideas about how she should think or dress, what she should believe, and how she should play music.

In this second excerpt, she talks about writing:

For some time, she’s been struggling to write her memoir… The liner notes for [Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, a Ballet, Waiting to Be Dancedtook her all last summer to write, but it ended up being a kind of breakthrough. She wrote it “the way I wrote songs, longhand,” though in the past she worried that, lacking the “girdle” of songwriting, she’d “get too writerly.” “I can be very long-winded, and I can digress all over the place,” she says. “I remember too much.”

photo credit: Norman Jean Roy


 365 true things about me

20 thoughts on “this is 71: 29/365

  1. Thanks for sharing this! Love the cigarette, not because I like smoking (well, I miss it horribly) but just for the sheer in-your-faceness of it. It does explain the deep wrinkles. Weird to see that the stars of my adolescence (the ones who survived, anyway) aren’t that much older than I was. I love your idea about claiming age.


    • Ahhhh. I’m 47 and have never smoked in my life and have those deep wrinkles . . . . Perhaps when I look in a mirror and feel a little sad about them I can tell myself that I look like Joni Mitchell . . . (smiles)


    • I liked the cigarette also, Kirie, just because it seemed so Joni Mitchell to me–I mean, it would have been her without it, but as you said, it’s so in-your-face, like nobody is going to change who I am. As far as claiming my age, I wasn’t feeling any better about myself by trying not to notice how old I was, so I thought, why not own it, which I’ve been doing for almost 11 months now. It’s still weird but we’ll see.


  2. Cynthia…

    Might this be about…
    finding the middle ground with aging?
    finding one’s ground in middle age… 🙂

    from “60 something” with love xxx

    I too… am a smoker. Oy Vey!!!


  3. Cynthia, this is very cool. I fell in love with her music after I got out of high school (didn’t take to her before that) when a boyfriend of mine liked her and I started listening to her albums. Was blown away! I can’t believe she still smokes. And her lyrics revealed so much about her, right there it’s the beginning of her memoir, I would think. Thanks for bringing her up. Now I want to listen to her. I’ve imported all my albums to iTunes so it’s easy 😉


  4. I want Joni Mitchell to digress all over the place!

    I liked and admired Frances McDormand already, and now she’s my favorite superhero. YES YES and YES.

    What kills me is that we all judge OURSELVES so much more harshly than others. I look at the “roadmaps” on the faces of my friends and adore what I see. I think Julianna Moore and Kristen Scott Thomas and Robin Wright and Gillian Anderson are so much more beautiful now than when they were young, because they were so untouched, then, far too blank. I am horrified when I see the weird, plasticky faces of actresses begging to be cut so they might get another role–I sure as hell don’t want to look like *that*. So why, when I see the lines creeping across my own face, do I feel mournful and almost… embarrassed? Is that the word?? I think it is. How sad.

    Cyn, you have now, I’m sorry to tell you, turned yourself into my role model on aging. But we both have Frances McDormand, so you should be able to carry the weight.

    Lovely post.


    • I’m still trying to get comfortable with aging, and these two are clearly role models (Frances McDormand also born in 1957). And I love it when age does not erase personality–that’s the challenge, I think.


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