The Twinagers – identical twins; Cynthia Heyd and Leslie White, coined the term “Magic Hour” to describe the undeniable time when we are no longer young but not yet old.
Photography by Helen Tansey https://www.sundariphotography.com
With a social platform created of the same name, Cynthia and Leslie have set out to foster intergenerational dialogue and understanding by demonstrating the many ways we can all contribute to society, no matter our age.
By telling their own stories and collecting the stories of others, the Twinagers are:
We’re no longer young but not yet old. So what’s next for our parallel chapters?
We believe this is our magic hour. That we are growing free, not growing old.
We believe in showing up, shouting out and celebrating the wisdom and power in your lived experience — you never know the echo it might make.
We believe in being frank about the ups and downs of this season of change, to encourage greater understanding and mutual respect, no matter your age.
We believe that when you join others committed to leaving this world better than we found it, the journey is twice as nice.
We’re here to double down on enjoyment, to amplify how our lives and legacies are rich, meaningful, and entirely our own.
To share our stories and live life to the fullest now that we’re all grown up.
WHY RETIRING AT 55 WAS A BAD DECISION
Didn’t we all grow up with the catch phrase “Freedom 55”? Well, it might have been a life insurance marketing slogan; it was the catch phrase of a generation. So how is it a wrong decision when it happens?
Leslie chose to step away from her career at 55. After years in the high-powered world of wealth management marketing, strategy, communications and community investment, Leslie felt constrained by the bureaucratic machine, unheard and underappreciated. It was time to leave and look to new challenges. As many of us know, there becomes a stage in life where when you apply for new positions you put yourself straight into the crosshairs of ageism. It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female, we as a society, still do not value experience enough.
In Leslie’s own words, “Sure, I applied to a few positions, met with head-hunters, and hit the predictable ageism wall — you’ll be so bored in this role (read old). You’re overqualified (read expensive). Feeling fragile and battered, I soon paused my search. And in the years following, without the security of my corporate identity, I fumbled along for way too long thinking, where was my incisiveness, that confident, unshakeable sense of purpose that I'd always counted on.”
Many of us will identify with this, when we no longer define ourselves through our work, what is our value, what is our purpose? Who am I without my corporate identity. What do I fill my days, weeks, months with? Where is my community?
“At 62 (now 63), I have experienced a diverse range of roles. From working in the corporate
world to starting my own not-for-profit venture, hustling as an entrepreneur on the side, and juggling the demands of being a mom and the CEO of my family, my plate has always been full,” says Leslie. “These experiences at times felt like a nonstop roller coaster ride, challenging in the best possible way and filled to the brim with creativity (believe it or not!), and the most fabulous people, and for all of this I am beyond grateful.”
I’M MORE CONFIDENT NOW. I’VE LEARNED A LOT ABOUT MYSELF.
“I’m more confident now,” says Leslie. “I’ve learned a lot about myself, and my journey continues to unfold. I’m not one to slow down. I want to be bolder in showing up in my life and use my voice to advocate for other aging women. Here’s what I know: there is power in sharing our experiences and wisdom and celebrating this stage of life.”
Leslie started to put ideas together with her sister. “I wondered about others who had found their “what’s next”. I wanted to learn from those who were already actively changing their companies, organizations, and communities to be fully inclusive, to consider the needs and contributions of both young and old.”
“And it’s oddly liberating to realize that rising to the potential of my magic hour years is bigger than myself. I can be part of a vanguard of change that tackles arguably that final sanctioned “ism” in a world grappling with true inclusivity like never before.”
INTERNAL AGEISM FUELLED MY PIVOT
“My career has been in advertising production. I worked hard climbing the corporate ladder within advertising agencies for over 30 years. As I hit 50, I knew I’d reached a peak and didn’t see an obvious way forward – let’s just say I could see the glass ceiling and I wasn’t breaking through, but I knew I wasn’t finished by a long stretch,” says Cynthia.
“My answer was to start my own company at 55 that has grown successfully over the last 8 years and I’m incredibly proud of that.”
Even in your own company does not fully protect you from ageism. It was at a prestigious international advertising industry event – the Lions International Creative Festival – that Cynthia really began to think about ageism and its impact on her and all of us. If you’re not from the industry, the Lions are a big deal – think Oscars, Baftas, and everything else rolled into one. It’s also a really big party scene, which can be hard to keep up with if you’re in your late 50s.
I'M PROUD OF WHAT I'VE ACCOMPLISHED IN MY CAREER, BUT NOW IS TIME FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT - SOMETHING MORE
It was on her flight home that Cynthia questioned why she would be expected to “keep up”, to continue to “prove her relevance”. Ageism wears many faces, and it can be subtle, even difficult to identify. The constant fear of becoming irrelevant fuels a slow erosion of professional self-esteem.
“I’ve always worked behind the camera. It’s where I’ve been most comfortable. Telling stories was my passion but I wasn’t sure mine was worth telling. And yet as I enter my 60s, I feel more comfortable putting myself out there. I’m proud of where I’ve been and know my story is valuable for others to hear. That’s the power of experience, of embracing what is ours to share. Do I want to celebrate? Yes! Shout it out? Yes!”
“It was recognizing this that I knew it was time for me to leave,” says Cynthia. “But leaving doesn’t mean running away. That would mean ageism won. Instead, take the time to scan the horizon and figure out where your talents and interests intersect with the world, anywhere in life. That, I believe, is where we find our “Magic Hour”. For me, embracing my Magic Hour meant creating a new environment in which my life-wisdom and creative instincts could flourish. Where I can fully indulge my entrepreneurial spirit. With Leslie, I wanted to create a place where the best of generations could come together, to challenge long-held standards of beauty, what’s cool, who’s cool. To prove that we all have something to add to the greater good, regardless (or maybe even because of) age. For me, this chapter is about embracing where I’m at and sharing my voice. It only took a couple decades!”
WE TELL STORIES
Twin-agers tells the stories of real people who are leading the way – who are walking the walk. The website https://www.twin-agers.com/stories houses the stories of real people who are embracing their age and moving on to bigger and better things.
“But it’s not all about finding a big P Passion,” says Leslie. “We just need to find little Ps. Little Ps together add up to a lot. If you’re day includes reading and being by yourself, that is your passion, and if you combine that with being pleasant to those around you and helping your neighbour, that’s another passion. Your Magic Hour is finding what makes you happy and where your skills can be put to best use.”
“That’s right,” added Cynthia. “You don’t have to develop a whole new successful career; you do need to find something you want to do. It doesn’t need to be remunerated to be valuable.”
MAGIC HOUR MEANS TURNING ATTENTION TO ALL THE AVENUES OF AGEISM
“Through the Twinspiration Blog, we’ll turn the spotlight on areas that need scrutiny,” says Leslie.
“We draw attention to the media and its representation of age in film and media. In a 2021 NextFifty initiative collaborated with the Gene Davis Institute on Gender in Media survey found that “the media/culture doesn’t realize how much they stereotype older people.” There is clearly a long way to go. Go to the blog to check out the amazing Saga Travel ad from the UK to find an organization that is getting it right.
“We also celebrate those who are working to draw attention to the challenges of fighting aging myths. Toronto photographer, Helen Tansey, captures the exquisite beauty of aging through her stunning Sundari Women images. Her ability to put her subjects at ease shines through in every photograph, resulting in a stunning celebration of life's rich tapestry. Be sure to tune in to NEXT CHPTR CHATS Nov 29 when Helen is our guest.
Check out all Twin-agers activities on:
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/twinagers @twinagers
Tik Tok - https://www.tiktok.com/twinagers @twinagers
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/company/twinagers/
Welcome to the Magic Hour.
In this edition of NEXT CHPTR CHATS, the Twinagers – identical twins; Cynthia Heyd and Leslie White - sit down with Pat to talk about the “Magic Hour”, a term they've coined to describe the time when we are no longer young, but not yet old.
Using TikTok, Instagram, a blog and Facebook, the Twinagers are creating a conversation we should all be part of.