Age – a complicated thing. For we certainly want to grow old, but be old? “Old” – this word is often associated with negative qualities, almost a swear word. Not so for Greta Silver, born in 1948, who took responsibility for her happiness into her own hands at a young age. The author, YouTuber, podcaster, lecturer, mentor and Best-Ager Model, who has been clicked a million times, discovers old age much more as an inspiring phase of life, where life knowledge carries you and stress and lack of past time are finally part of the story. The entrepreneur, mother and grandmother like to encourage others: Her new book shows women what they can concretely do to make themselves shine. Silver shares nutrition tips and his own recipes that cleanse and fill the body with energy, provide advice on the topic of care and explain how to recharge your inner resources, gain new strength and redefine beauty in old age practically and mentally. The hamburger is simply contagious from his zest for life, which ntv.de could experience on its own during a fine lunch in Berlin’s “Paris Bar”.
ntv.de: I am sitting opposite a very natural 74-year-old woman who, if you look at the pictures over the years, can say that she is getting prettier and prettier. Haven’t you been tempted from time to time to “get something done”?
Greta Silver: Well, I decided a long time ago when I saw the picture of an old Indian woman, her face was completely wrinkled, yet so beautiful, so loving and full of wisdom that I would never be upset by a wrinkle on my face again. It can not be, I thought to myself. From then on, in the late 40’s, I actually started to evade this dictation. I’m from Marilyn Monroe’s hourglass day, so Twiggy – ridiculously skinny – and each of those idols should be done justice in some way. It is brittle.
And now we can be who we want to be?
In any case, a development can be observed. In my opinion, it could run faster, but things are moving forward. Despite this, there are still far too many girls who have a chart in their head of how they should be. It’s still not good.
In any case, your daughter, who modeled as a student, has swept you into the brave new world of models, right?
That’s right, she’s to blame for everything (laughs). Back then, it was a mother-daughter job and she really had to persuade me. Fortunately, she did. I had pretty strong images in my head that said to me, “Greta, no, you can’t at that age.” I did not even tell my friends, it was so bad.
And what did you think of the pictures that came last?
Cool. I looked completely different than usual. There was money too and it did not hurt (laughs). Eventually, I signed up for my daughter’s agency and quickly got another job.
And it was for whom?
Then I was a grandmother in an advertisement for a coffee maker.
how old were you then
Is that a difficult number?
Of course, of course. But what can you do? (laughs) I recently met an age researcher, Dr. Verena Klusmann, who since 2017 has led and coordinated aging studies worldwide – and what she has found is truly impressive. We are getting exactly as old as we had imagined, she says.
I have to think about that …
(laughs) When we have a positive attitude, we stay healthier and live longer, 7.6 years.
Then I would be 87.6 years old. I will try to remember it and then, in my 88th year, be aware of how I feel in late May, early June …
You have to look at it this way: There are 30 years between 60 and 90, as many as between 30 and 60. Few people have it on their radar.
But it’s a completely different 30 years. And some die at the age of 77. When my mother died at that age, it was like a slap in the face to me …
It is actually a rudeness in life, as a 77-year-old, very difficult as a relative. There must be time and space for this grief. And yet one should remain optimistic. Brain research by: Your brain serves the images for your thoughts. So if you think: “Your age stinks”, then you also get the corresponding pictures. But if you think, “I’m excited to see what the future holds,” then you see different images, and then you become brave and determined.
What is the best way to achieve this mindset?
Most of them have also been through difficult times in life, including me, of course. Then I sat down on the seat of my pants and realized a few things. I have always wanted six children with my husband, and in the end I did not get pregnant for three years. I was deeply saddened. Then we asked ourselves if we would adopt a child – that month I got pregnant. I have to admit that I got a terrible scare because I had to ask myself if I had changed physical processes alone with the power of my thoughts. I wrote my last two books on this carousel of thoughts and now I am adding exercise and nutrition.
Your new book is called “Make Yourself Shine – Beauty in Old Age” …
… yes, and I thought about why it’s more and more the young women who detox and do everything. We older people can do that too! We do not need magical powers for this, and it does not have to be incredibly expensive. I always have more solid tricks in reserve. Baking powder in the bath against superacid e.g.
I never liked doing that (laughs). I always thought afterwards, yes, that was nice, but I never looked forward to being one of my sisters, for example. I always have to do a few exercises in between, in secret: ten squats in the bathroom or hula hoop right after getting up.
You are not registered for a gym …
For God’s sake, no. I dance Zumba in a gymnastics club. But I let it slip a little during the Corona period.
You’re a grandmother – like that?
Oh yes, I would like that! The kids can also call me grandma, it’s a bit of fashion. Being a grandmother is an incredibly beautiful and warm extra side of my life. I enjoy it a lot. You no longer see with your parents’ eyes, you can be surprised in a completely different way.
Something else to wonder about: love. What about you there?
Love is an insane force (laughs), but that was not what you meant, I know. I got married with the motto “love makes no demands”. And it certainly helped in many areas, for I stayed with him for 23 years, even though my husband crumbled away over the years.
Hardly any woman would do that today, would she?
Yes, mainly because life without a man is excellent. But that’s not the whole spectrum of life. I just did not want to close for fear of injury, there is still something peeping deep inside me. One of my most important issues, therefore, is to make oneself vulnerable again, to say yes to someone and to life. Full of chances and without precautions.
Have you ever really built walls?
Definitely like a young woman: as thick as prison walls so I could barely move. I was full of apprehensions.
What got you out there?
Brené Browns TedX Talk “The Power of Vulnerability”. And I to myself. So when the bomb hits, it hits! Then you have to allow it. However, it is not the case that my inbox is currently abounding with inquiries (laughs). But I want this openness – we have to see what comes out of it.
do you look around Or are men of the same age still looking for women who are 20 years younger who, to put it bluntly, can take care of a little longer if in doubt?
I’m not looking, it’s good. But it does not seem to have written on my forehead: “I would certainly accept the invitation to tea.” No one is asking right now. But: Everyone is responsible for their own happiness! A relationship is, of course, a kind of icing on the cake. I have really chewed the topics of masculinity and femininity through and realized some time ago that it is my own thing when I associate qualities like service, humility or devotion with femininity and also have negative connotations. But words like self-assertion are positive and masculine. Then I thought there is something not going quite right in my head here and I had to reach out and get the words back.
Service: When what I do serves someone, it does not mean I have to kneel in front of another person, it means I am the king of the road. And then this comparison “God let the men fall a little short, but on the other hand equipped them with the greatest qualities that I also want” – there is something wrong.
So you never stop learning.
Yes, even at 74 you can still figure it out for yourself!
On YouTube, do you sometimes get “shitstorms” there?
Almost. But a young man once asked what I old wife was doing here. I answered him very politely: “Show you what exciting things you can do in old age.” He then replied that when he was 34, he would hit the tree anyway. There’s not much you can do about it, I do not classify it as hate or bashing. It’s just bad for the other person. My community is amazing! I sometimes feel like they see my videos as something new in their lives, as inspiration. There are also students who write to me.
What is it then?
One wrote to me because he had a bad conscience, I had talked about it once. He asked how he should behave after he stole and felt very uncomfortable. I answered him, he acted, everything was fine again. Giving a straw out of a supposedly hopeless situation makes me happy. And if I can give the young people a little stability.
Sabine Oelmann spoke with Greta Silver