Happy Birthday to a Hero

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is celebrating her 80th birthday, which is somewhat hard to believe given her youth and continued vigor.  She remains an inspiration to me in so many ways, and I was excited to read that she is looking forward to her 80s in this article, which ran in The New York Times this past weekend.

Two years ago in New York, I had a chance encounter with Ms. Steinem.  I noticed that she was standing near me in the elevator bank of the hotel we were staying in (on my birthday, of all days), and I nearly had a heart attack.  As a lifelong feminist, she is a hero to me, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell her so.

Gloria could not have been warmer or more wonderful.  I thanked her for her work and told her what an impression she made on me.  A few seconds later we were hugging.  I can’t completely remember the sequence of events as it unfolded, because I was trying to retain consciousness while meeting one of my heroes, but I walked away feeling like our meeting went exactly as I would have hoped it would (had I imagined such an encounter).

After I got up to my hotel room and relived the encounter multiple times with my husband (who had been standing next to me as my meeting with Gloria unfolded), I Googled her to see how old she was.  Because I couldn’t get over how gorgeous (and young) she looked, though Wikipedia claimed that she was 78 years old.

Too much has always been made of Gloria Steinem’s looks, but I have to say that, on top of all the other inspiration she offers, I love seeing women get better with age (and not by artificial means).  When I’m 80, I hope that I can be as vital, alive, and even a fraction as inspiring.

Happy Birthday, Gloria!!

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