Taking Control of the Aging Journey: Why I Started Modern Age
By Melissa Eamer, Modern Age Founder and CEO
Earlier this year, the Modern Age team and I announced what we’re building. For me, it’s the next step forward on a journey that began when I was in my early 30s, grieving the loss of my mother at far too young an age. It was that experience that planted the seed for Modern Age.
Growing up, my house was always a bit chaotic. Creativity and exploration was encouraged — from art projects, to tadpole hatching, to fort building. I grew up with two sisters and a mother who encouraged us not to let our gender hold us back from tackling messy, hard problems. “Free to Be You and Me” repeatedly spun on the record player. My mom helped me to believe that I could build anything if I set my mind to it.
But after the three of us left for college, something changed. My mom became less active, physically as well as in the community. She stopped doing many of the things she had done throughout my childhood: volunteering, playing bridge with friends, and traveling. Many of my parents’ friends retired and moved away. My mom had chosen to give up her career to raise us and now that job seemed complete. I believe she decided her work was done. From that point on, she declined rapidly and ended up passing away in her early 60s. She never got a chance to meet my daughters or to really know my sisters and me as adults.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about her and her aging journey. How much was genetics, how much was lifestyle? What could I, or anyone, have done to change her trajectory? How likely am I to follow her path of steady decline — or can I fill the second half of my life with joy and purpose?
These questions around aging and premature decline continued to weigh on me. I enrolled in business school with the intention of addressing them by changing the long-term healthcare system. But I couldn’t seem to find the right entry point and felt ill equipped to drive the innovation I knew was needed.
Then I got the opportunity to join a young company called Amazon and spent the next 20 years learning how to build. While a part of me worried I had given up on healthcare too soon, it turns out it was the perfect education for what I hope to build now. At Amazon I learned how to start with the customer and work backwards. About how to leverage the power of technology to solve really complex problems in a new way. And maybe most importantly, how to ‘think big’ about the impact I could have.
When I hit my 50th birthday I realized I wasn’t much younger than my mom was when she passed away. I wasn’t ready to give up on the idea that I could help people age in a better way. And I felt like now I had the experience that might make that possible.
And so after 20+ years, I have come full circle.
I founded Modern Age to do for others what I wasn’t able to do for my mom: to show that we can take control of the way we age. I want to give people the tools and the information to make the right choices. Ultimately, I hope to help many people — myself included — live better, healthier, and longer lives.
Our approach is inspired by research I came across when trying to understand why my mom’s outcome was so very different from that of her peers. I learned about something called subjective age, which is how old or young someone feels relative to their chronological age. The research suggests that people who feel younger than they are end up with longer, healthier lifespans. It just made sense to me — you create a virtuous cycle: if you feel younger, you are more active, more engaged in your community, you take better care of what you eat and how much you sleep. It’s a flywheel that reinforces positive outcomes.
I believe that we all can impact our trajectory, and set a thriving course for the second half of our lives. It’s never too early to start. Aging starts far sooner than most of us realize. We all begin losing collagen and elasticity in our skin in our late 20s, reach peak bone mass around 30, and by 40, 40% of women have experienced visible hair loss and our hormone balance starts shifting. None of these things are out of our control. With the right tools and knowledge, we can take steps to ensure we continue to feel and look our best — at every age.
I’m looking forward to dancing at my daughters’ weddings and chasing after my grandchildren someday. And sharing stories with them of their great grandmother who left this world too soon, but inspired a business that helped so many others.
We’re hard at work building out the Modern Age experience, both in our first studio near Union Square in New York City and online at modern-age.com. Our goal is to get to know you, help you understand your own subjective age and partner with you as you take control and craft your own aging journey.
I can’t wait to share more with you in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, join our list at Modern Age to be the first to access our offerings. Please also check out our open roles if you’re passionate about the future of aging wellness. We are a small but fast-growing team, looking for talented folks to join us in our mission!
Thank you for reading and for being a part of our journey. If you have any questions, we would love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Modern Age Founder and CEO