I’m often asked what an ageless life looks like. Every once in a while, the answer to that question reveals itself when a spotlight is unexpectedly focused on a singular life of ageless beauty. Often that ageless life, however remarkable, is cloaked in the anonymity of today’s frenetic-paced world.
Yet the incandescent beauty of that life finds a way to cut through the anonymity so that the world can, for a moment, smile broadly and be inspired by that ageless beauty.
Such is the current fascination with an 82-year-young lady in Tulsa, Oklahoma who has caught the attention of the world…
La Verne Ford Wimberly
La Verne (I will address her by her first name because, at 77 and still idealistic like La Verne, I consider her and myself simpatico – I feel I know her even though we have never met)… La Verne has led a life of accomplishment and meaning. She began teaching in 1963. After earning her PhD in Education, she served as a Principal and Superintendent in the school system before retiring.
She was an effective, widely admired educator. But what has brought her to the attention of the world is the one trait that I think most defines an ageless life – ATTITUDE.
Agelessness is an attitude
Merriam-Webster defines attitude as “a feeling or way of thinking that affects a person's behavior.” Agelessness is a state of mind, an ATTITUDE toward life that is ever-positive and ever-aspiring.
La Verne epitomizes that ageless attitude in a simple, yet remarkably optimistic decision that she made in March 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. A lifelong church-goer, she was saddened at the loss of her Sunday morning ritual when church services at Metropolitan Baptist Church had to be suspended because of the pandemic.
For many, virtual church was approached with the comfort of pajamas (or at best sweatpants or casual jeans) and a cup of coffee. But La Verne couldn’t imagine wearing her bathrobe and slippers sitting in front of her computer watching a virtual church service, alone and feeling sorry for herself.
That wasn’t La Verne.
So, instead, she decided to put on a favorite dress, in full makeup and with one of her signature hats, and attend virtual church HER WAY.
She continued this ritual every Sunday and decided to take a selfie of herself posting the photo on her Facebook page after each Sunday service. Every outfit had to be different (She wrote down on a calendar what she wore each Sunday so that she would not repeat any outfit).
For a full year, 52 Sundays without a miss, she would post her new selfie after church services to the delight of the other parishioners. She started hearing from people who told her how the photos made them smile, how much they admired her style and her quietly defying “spunk.” La Verne was thrilled that her photos were inspiring people and making them feel good.
Then in late March a local television station aired a story about La Verne and her stylish commitment to virtual churchgoing the La Verne Ford Wimberly way, and her story went viral.
Here’s an example of the avalanche of social media posts about this lady’s remarkable grace.
La Verne’s ageless attitude continues to inspire worldwide.
ATTITUDE is a choice. Every day we make these sometimes small, but life-affirming, decisions to approach life in our own personal way. I believe that choosing to be positive and aspiring in all parts of our life, however challenging, is the foundation of an ageless life.
La Verne Ford Wimberly is an inspiring example of how to do it in style!
Thanks La Verne!