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AARP The Magazine

Meet the Winners of AARP's 50+ Model Search

From 51 to 91: Learn how they keep young at heart

The New Faces of 50+, our winners of our

"I am grateful every day for what I have, and grateful that I have the power to create a new life for myself," says Cosette Bonjour. — Ari Michelson

60+ Winner

Cosette Bonjour, 61

Home: Kapoho, Hawaii

Lifeline: Yoga

Words To Live By: Living life to the fullest means not living for yourself but looking outward — serving others and bringing out their beauty.

My first husband died of a heart attack at 38. My second husband died of a heart attack at 54 — and he was incredibly fit, ate well and practiced yoga. He died in his sleep on his birthday. And did I mention I had Hodgkin's lymphoma in my 20s?

From these challenges you could learn one of two lessons: You could become fearful, or you could shift your perception and become grateful. I chose the second course.

My second husband and I had moved to Hawaii and constructed an extraordinary hexagonal glass house on the ocean, and I cherished our memories in it, but I needed new challenges.

I had been a graphic designer in New York, and when I turned 50, I began painting seriously, exploring new techniques and media and always returning to the lush beauty of Hawaii. My work is represented by a local gallery. I also teach yoga and exercise with friends every morning.

Healthy living: Yoga in your 50s, 60s and 70s — and beyond

Grieving takes time, and sometimes you need to give yourself over to it. Because when you come out the other side, it can be beautiful. If you look for joy, you find it. I am grateful every day for what I have, and grateful that I have the power to create a new life for myself.

Soon I'll begin training to be a life coach, and I'd like to specialize in helping others deal with grief and also in overcoming cancer. People have this idea that life coaching is about telling people what to do. It's the opposite. It's about listening — because, really, everyone does know what's best for them. It's the process of figuring it out, and doing it, that's valuable.

And of course I want to find my next relationship — just someone who loves to travel, is warm, kind, someone intellectually interesting whom I can have great conversations with — and maybe someone a bit younger than me. I admit, I will be asking about his heart history. Our second date may be at the cardiologist's!

Next page: A soldier turned rodeo reverend. »

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