What does it mean to be a Perennial? According to Barbara Warren, a successful entrepreneur and style expert from the fashion world, (founder of White + Warren and B3.0) wants women in their midyears to live their best lives while feeling like their best selves. Perennials, the flowers, are long-lasting and ever-blooming which also defines the modern Perennial Woman. Given Warren’s dedication to the journey of midlife women, she launched the Perennial Project to share her philosophy and help other women who are asking themselves the question, “What’s next?” The Perennial Project is on a mission to share information and inspire women to embrace midlife and redefine aging.
Since I authored a book, Your Best Age Is Now, devoted to this new, exciting time of life, Warren’s Perennial Project appeared to be timelier and more important than ever.
After seeking new career opportunities, Warren searched for publications that were relevant for this growing population of savvy, accomplished women. She was encouraged to change the narrative for them, so she launched her lifestyle blog as well as her media platform to address some of these challenges, changes, and opportunities that affect women in their 40’s 50’s and beyond. She says launching this project has been a life-altering experience.
The name Perennial Project itself speaks to how women now see themselves during midlife. Instead of feeling aged out, they feel younger than they ever imagined they would during this time. They still feel relevant and have a strong desire to contribute in a meaningful and purposeful way to the world.
Barbara Warren is the perfect, glamorous role model to lead this movement that wants women to remove society’s erroneous expiration date and embrace all of life’s future chapters that have yet to be written. Warren says she has given herself permission to aspire and believe the best is yet to come and wants others to feel the same way and join her on this ageless mission.
I interviewed this inspirational woman to learn more about her Perennial Project, and what we can expect from her innovative blog as it moves into the future.
Barbara, as a successful entrepreneur who founded not one but two creative brands, what got you interested in switching gears to focus on the journey of women during their midlife years? BW: It was a confluence of events that ultimately led to my new business venture. Last year, I was seeking new work opportunities in fashion, while at the same time, researching age-related issues that I was experiencing as a woman in her mid-fifties. There was not a single publication covering the information I was seeking. And, since I could not find an appropriate position in the fashion industry for someone with my entrepreneurial background, it became my “aha moment” and impetus for creating a new type of media property.
What misconceptions do you think currently permeate our culture regarding midlife, especially regarding midlife women?
BW: Midlife has been characterized as a time of slowing down and looking towards retirement, and the beginning of physical and mental ailments. As for women, there is often a stereotype that we stop caring about our looks. Another common misnomer is that we are less ambitious and creative during our middle years, when in fact, the majority of Nobel Peace Prizes are rewarded between the ages of 60-64! Midlife is the best time of life, in that we are wise from experience, confident in who we are, resilient from adversity, and tend to be financially sound.
What exactly is the Perennial Project?
BW: The Perennial Project is a multi-faceted media platform for women approaching 50 and beyond. This is the blog where women can read about everything from medical discoveries to nutrition, relationships, fitness, style and more. We are also very active on social channels, especially Instagram, and I am appearing on television, at conferences, and in podcasts, discussing issues related to being a Perennial.
What and who is a Perennial?
BW: A Perennial is a woman in her midyears who is redefining aging by remaining engaged and culturally relevant.
What message do you feel your blog offers women that isn’t currently being offered out there?
BW: The Perennial Project is sending a message of inclusivity and community. I strive for authenticity in everything written and posted in an effort to demystify aging and make it feel more acceptable. We should all be comfortable discussing the issues we are facing as we navigate changes, challenges, and opportunities. It’s also helpful to poke some fun at ourselves along the way—humor is a great way to break down barriers and connect.
What subject can women find on your blog: PerennialProject.com ?
BW: The topics we cover are so rich, as they are exclusively relevant to our current life experiences. There are posts about menopause, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, depression, best exercises for middle-aged bodies, nutrition, aging parents, dressing on-trend yet age-appropriate, and much more.
What personal challenges have you found arriving at this Perennial time in your life?
BW: It’s funny, but when I was 49, I was in a state of panic about turning 50. I ruminated and stressed about all negative things—the career milestones I didn’t meet, having lived half of my life, and being “aged” out of the workplace. By the time my 50th birthday arrived, I had exhausted myself! It turned out that the anticipation was way worse than the actual number. Now, I’m proud of where I am and have worked hard on showing up as my best self. I’m especially proud of starting Perennial Project and the potential impact it can have on a macro level.
In what way do you think Midlife is different today than it was in the past?
BW: We are nothing like the 50-year-olds of the past! Today, women often choose to remain in the workplace, take better care of themselves, are culturally relevant, and do not feel the need to slow down.
What do you think Perennial women need to do to change the incorrect perceptions of them during this transitional time of life?
BW: I don’t think there’s all that much Perennial women can do deliberately. We’re experiencing a societal shift in views on aging which is based on our behaviors. By our engaging differently in the world, the world will come to see us differently.
To Find out more about Barbara Warren and The Perennial Project go to www.perennialproject.com!