Hang on to your red hats, ladies – the entire month of February is Spunky Old Broads Month! It kicks off on February 1st with the irreverent Spunky Old Broads Day and we’ve got some celebration ideas for you. But first, a little background about this trademarked holiday:
Spunky Old Broads Month is the brainchild of Dr. Gayle Carson. She was not only an author of more than two dozen books, she was also an international speaker, coach and mentor, and four-time cancer survivor. In addition, Dr. Carson aired on three of her own radio shows (which she turned into podcasts).
Did I forget to mention that she continued this work until she passed away at the age of 83 in 2021. Yep. Clearly, “spunky” was her middle name.
As a self-described “SOB”, Dr. Carson wanted to turn the negative connotations associated with this term into positive ones. In fact, her book, How to Be an S. O. B.: A Spunky Old Broad Who Kicks Butt, explores this concept and lays out the “nine secrets to living a regret free life for women over 50.”
For an example of spunky broads of the kind Dr. Carson means, think about The Golden Girls television show – they were all SOBs!
Each year, Dr. Carson picked a Spunky Old Broad to honor. Past recipients of the award include Robin Roberts (2019), Dolly Parton, Sharon Osbourne, and Katie Couric, among others.
The takeaway from a holiday like Spunky Old Broads Day/Month is that it celebrates the fact that mature women should continue to embrace a regret-free life – and live it with enthusiasm. Don’t walk around saying, “I’m getting old” because, in my personal opinion, that’s what makes you an old woman.
Here’s a good example: my dad hated the fact that he lived his last three years of life in a senior independent community, because he was surrounded by people who could only talk about the things they had done in their youth.
They habitually recounted their aches and pains and bemoaned their old age. He felt it made him old by association because it was so easy to fall into that “poor me” mentality (he was 97 at the time). This exactly is the kind of thing that Dr. Carson wanted us to avoid.
Positive thoughts and keeping positive will get you through a lot in life.
Even if you don’t get the outcome you desire in a particular situation, staying positive can reduce its impact on your life. It certainly helped me to stay positive when I went through a breast cancer diagnosis, the accompanying four surgeries, and 20 weeks of chemo. I am thrilled to be an SOB!
How To Celebrate Spunky Old Broads Month
1) One way Spunky Old Broads can celebrate is by joining a group of like minded women – for example, the Red Hat Society. These ladies say, “Membership in the Red Hat Society is a rewarding vehicle for reconnecting old friends, making new friends and rediscovering the joy of getting together with other woman for the express purpose of… having FUN!“
For the record, let me just say that I had an issue finding a chapter near me because they want you to join them (translation: pay a membership fee) before you can see a list of chapters near you (weird, huh?).
A search feature on their website tells me there are 45 active chapters within 20 miles of me, but it won’t tell me where they are located.
I live in a huge metropolitan area – it’s possible there are no groups close to me, which could mean driving over an hour in traffic to go that 20 miles. Who wants to spend $30 to find that out?
So, I looked for an alternative and came up with the MeetUp.com website, instead. Meet Up is another way to make spunky women even if they aren’t card-carrying members of the Spunky Old Broads “club”.
With Meet Up, you do a search for your interests – hiking, crafts, pickle ball, coffee drinkers – you name it – and you’ll get a list of groups and events near you that match these interests.
You can join any group that sounds interesting. It’s usually free to join a group, although some groups do have small annual fees.
2) Proclaim your status as a proud SOB by wearing a feather boa. Then, meet up with your groovy, fun loving friends for a margarita or glass of wine to toast your energy, spirit, and feisty attitude.
3) Celebrate your zest for life by doing something you love during February: go ballroom dancing, run a race, take a walk through a nearby park, ride a bike, sign up to volunteer, take an art class, or throw caution to the wind and brave a zipline.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is something that will feed your soul.
Famous Spunky Old Broads Throughout History
When I think of ladies who are Spunky Old Broads, a few always come to mind:
Betty White – Who didn’t love this quintessential SOB? She even played an SOB on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (remember her Sue Ann Nivens character?). Betty, who just passed away, 3 weeks shy of her 100th birthday on January 17, was also known for her role as Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls and Elka Ostrovsky on Hot In Cleveland (as well as Sue Ann Nivens!). Off camera, she was an animal activist and author of several books.
Oprah Winfrey – Everyone knows Oprah! She’s a multi-talented woman who has seemingly done it all. She’s an actress, speaker, former talk show host, a television producer, and a philanthropist. It seems like everything she touches blossoms under her fingertips. In 1999, Life magazine named Oprah as the most influential woman and the most influential Black person of her generation.
Marie Curie – a scientist in the 1800s at a time when women were expected to stay home, raise babies, and keep out of a man’s way, Marie (along with her husband, Pierre) discovered the chemical elements polonium and radium.
This led to the development of radiotherapy, which we use today to cure illnesses, as well as the development of taking xrays to uncover hidden conditions in the body. Marie won two Nobel prizes and even developed a portable xray machine that was used on the battlefield during World War I.
Other spunky ladies throughout history include:
- Mother Teresa
- Rosa Parks
- Josephine Baker
- Hillary Clinton
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- “Dr. Ruth” Westheimer
- Maya Angelou
- Winnie Mandela
- Aung San Suu Kyi
- and Jane Goodall.
As you ponder what to do in celebration of Spunky Old Broads Day and Month, I’ll leave you with this quote from another famous, Spunky Old Broad:
Whatever you do to celebrate, I wish you a Happy Spunky Old Broad’s Day!