Changing Shoes: Getting Older – Not Old – with Style, Humor and Grace
Author: Tina Sloan
Reviewed by: Anne Holmes for NABBW
While many women hide signs of aging with tight clothes, heavy makeup and plastic surgery, 67-year old Guiding Light legend Tina Sloan learned to welcome each phase of her life with effortless grace — all while living a very public life.
In the book Tina recalls how she made her first appearance on soap operas in the 1970s as the sex kitten on Somerset, and hit it big when she was cast as nurse Lillian Raines on Guiding Light, a role she played for 26-years, until it aired its final episode in 2009.
During those years, she recounts, her costumes slowly changed from sexy nurse outfits complete with sky-high heels to dowdy sweaters, scrubs and sneakers. At the same time, her role transitioned from playing the young starlet, to the mother of the star – and later the star’s grandmother!
Perhaps her worst nightmare is the story she uses to begin the book: She tells of being struck by the proverbial clap of thunder at age 48, when she and Beth Chamberlin, her soap opera daughter, walked down Manhattan’s Forty-fourth Street one mid-morning, in full evening gown regalia, having just left the show’s set in search of coffee at a local shop.
The traumatic moment came when she realized that NO ONE was looking at her – they were all looking at Beth!
Returning to the shelter of her dressing room, she looked in the mirror and was astounded to discover that – in ONE day – she had gotten old…
Drawing from the lessons she has learned in her own life, Tina candidly shares endearing, sensitive, and often funny, personal stories of crossing over into the next phase of her life.
And, in the process she shares important tips on how to embrace womanhood with ease. From makeup tips, to style how-tos, to embracing the onset of menopause, and even sex, Sloan’s stories illustrate how she embraces aging. You’ll love her resilient spirit the way she uses shoes as a metaphor for the different occasions of your life.
My favorite story, the one I read out load to my husband, is her story of how she climbed Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro in a bright pink parka and matching pink snow boots she special ordered from the North Face outfitters store.
Here’s a quote from that chapter that sums up her philosophy of life quite well:
“Of course there are many “little things” and hassles that we have to face when traveling as we get older. I take my sensitive stomach and my fussy nose with me wherever I go, but I force myself to handle these things and work around them, because there are always a million excuses I can make for why I CAN’T do something. And I find that I can usually have a marvelous time in spite of having “myself” there – myself that is tired from the time change, or grumpy from the crazy cab drivers, or feeling bloated from eating strange cuisines. These issues don’t compare to the wonder of walking the streets where Ghandi walked, or the thrill of seeing the sunrise over the mountains of Cappadocia. As long as I have shoes to carry me places, I’m going to keep climbing aboard cars and trains and planes, and continue to get out and explore the world.”
Read the book and learn why Tina says, “No matter what our age, we need to keep looking for ways to soar.”