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AARP Celebrates Age Disrupter Mia Roman

Posted on 10/09/18 by Jordan McNerney, AARP Blog Author

(en español)

The Latino experience in the US is filled with stories of hope, inspiration and pride. This Hispanic Heritage Month, we are celebrating by highlighting New Yorkers who are shattering preconceived notions that exist about aging and embody AARP’s #DisruptAging message by proving that there’s no slowing them down!

Today we hear from Mia Roman (age 51), a self-taught fourth generation artist with a degree in business and a passion for art that has become an internationally recognized visual and Mixed Media Artist, Curator, Expressive Arts Workshop Facilitator, Educator and Entrepreneur whose visual works have been exhibited and are part of private collections internationally and throughout the United States. Her paintings reflect spirituality, culture, humanism, reality and speak of advocacy for women and current events.

1. How are you “owning” or embracing your age at this stage in your life?

Owning my “Maduraness” and embracing this stage in my life has been and continues to be empowering in many ways. Today I can actually say I feel the ground beneath my feet. I feel rooted, confident, secure, and graceful in my femininity as an older woman. Defying age and Disrupting age, I am growing and expanding along with the numbers. I own my womanness and personal growth like a trophy. I believe that I transcend age and in doing so I give myself permission to live agelessly. It is with a knowing that living full, whole, balanced and creatively there is no limit to what we can do at any age. DEFY / DISRUPT / TRANSCEND!

2. What challenges do you face, either personally or professionally, as you’ve gotten older?

Challenges…hmm… There have been many challenges growing up and getting older. Some of my personal challenges have been the way the media portrays women. Making or implying that younger is more beautiful, happier, sexier, etc… all the commercials on “defying” age with creams, surgery, augmentations, editorials “modifying” photos to repair the natural beauty of faces and bodies creating an illusion of what beauty looks like. Taking away the true magic and uniqueness of evolution and aging. I too struggled with the thought of “how do I keep up with the younger girls” “The beautiful ads of women”. I questioned if the value of a woman declined as she aged. As a woman working in a male dominated field in corporate America that stigma added pressure to my work performance. Over 25 years in the Finance Industry and I have seen, experienced, and challenged the corporate culture and status quo. Fiesty Latina they called me, with not much credit for my experience and professionalism. As I got older and gained more knowledge and experience in my field I also gained more confidence and respect. It was not without a pull and tug but as I get older I do get wiser!

3. How has your approach to your life and/or career changed over the years?

My approach to life has always been one of creative living, celebration, gypsy thinking, one of survival and challenge. I learned how to navigate life as I grew with it. My Mother and Grandmothers were and are great teachers but life gives you no manual, no step by step on growing older. You learn as you go and the advice one receives gets filed away until you need it. So my approach has not changed much, I love it, I live it, and I make sure I get the most out of life. I look forward to growing older, wiser, and experiencing things at all seasons and stages of my life. I love my mature body and spirt, she really is a Fiesty one!!

Now my career has changed over the years as I have in so many ways. My approach and focus on career and future shifted once my Daughter went to college. It wasn’t until my 40’s that I decided I needed a career change. It was risky but worth it. I re-Invented myself by finding my true passion. I needed inner joy, I needed to tap into my growing passion for life and all it had waiting for me. So as I worked in the corporate Industry I studied, practiced, listened, and learned. I grew older and wiser and more focused. I took my passion for the arts and for holistic healing techniques and became a licensed practicioner incorporating arts in healing. I now have a growing practice where I see private clients and facilitate workshops, teaching, lectures, classes and more. I have gained the knowledge of indigenous medicine and tools, creating them for other healers, shamans, and medicine people in the holistic healing industry. It doesn’t stop there, my visual creations are sold on house goods, accessories and daily wear (www.artsbymia.com). So DEFY / DISRUPT / TRANSCEND is applied to my every day. No limits!

4. What do you value most about aging?

What do I value most about aging? I LOVE MYSELF!! I love the way I am growing and the woman I am growing to be. I understand and appreciate my self-value. I listen and learn from the growing pains and experiences that come with my evolution. Aging to me is exciting, I feel alive and limitless. The word “Age” or “Aging” is so under-represented, mis-understood and carries a negative connotation and stigma leaving women and men confused and full of insecurities about getting older. If more people embraced and understood the beautiful process of aging, listened to the lessons, and receive the valuable experiences that come with it and within it, they too would be DISRUPTING the clock of time and turning up the volume of age acceptance. Here… I am beautiful, living life and embracing the grow!
Loving every step, turning up the volume, and dancing to the beat of my own drum!

5. What are some things you still want to accomplish as you took towards the future?
There are so many things that I still want to accomplish as I look towards the future… personally and professionally the list grows every day and is truly inspired by my living today, my environment and community. I know for sure that I want to parachute so jumping off a plane and skydiving is on the list and expanding my practice is a YES I WILL. So aside from living whole, full, healthy, strong, worthy of the gifts given and with great love and joy… there is no limit to the list just in the thinking.

6. How has New York living played a part in keeping you active and involved in your community?

As a native New Yorker I feel like I grew up and continue to grow in one of the most amazing cities in the world. I am an avid traveler and have traveled throughout the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe and although those places are valuable parts of my journey and experiences, my heart and soul is New York! My active role in supporting my community expands from boro to boro and community to community. Meeting people from all walks of life, working and sharing with children as I teach through the arts, exchanging stories with women as we heal together, encouraging young girls to recognize their self-worth and self-respect, laughing with the sisterhood, embracing the brotherhood… it all has been good medicine for me. Seeds planted roots growing, and gardens expanding. The growing need of community and humanity keeps me inspired, sowing, active and connected.

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