How My Teenage Son Got Me Instagram-ing at 50+

Summerland! One of Mount Rainier’s – and the world’s – finest subalpine meadows!

Back when I was young and foolish – about 20 minutes ago – my teen-age son observed, “You and Dad are out on the trails all the time and take zillions of pictures. What’re you doing with all your cool hiking photos?”

“Whaddya mean, ‘doing with’?” I queried. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

“Are you ever gonna share those photos? Cuz if not, what’s the point?”

“Whaddya mean?” I reiterated. I’m nothing if not original.

The Kid proceeded to wax eloquent about opening an Instagram account. “Like, you know, Mom, maybe you could join the 21st century or something?”

What? Leave my cave and flag down the nearest horse and buggy? Tell my camera allergy to take a hike? That a surgeon who shall remain nameless told me a few years ago, post-op, “You probably won’t ever want to be photographed up close” due to scarring and other issues related to skin cancer.

Hey Doc! This one’s for you!

But my son wasn’t giving up. He’s nothing if not persistent. The Kid threw in a few more choice phrases and something that sounded like, “I dare you to open an IG account.”

Well. Who can resist that?

So I took the plunge. I opened a new Instagram account a few months back, much to his amazement. (Even though he kinda started it.) I even gained a bit of traction as well as some followers. Also to his amazement.

I soon found that coming up with interesting, engaging content for a visual platform like IG can be a real challenge. So I read up on stuff like Posing. Lighting. Camera angles. Fabrics and textures. Clothes, collars, and colors. I also took some online courses in IG Dos and Don’ts. Followed them to the letter. For awhile. Then I dumped most of that stuff. Because, really? I’m not out to impress anyone. Or sell anything. So who cares?

Mind made up, I jumped into this new adventure with a budget of about $50. (That’s “fifty,” not “five hundred.”) I “hired” a make-up artist. Hair stylist. Wardrobe coordinator. Photographer. Me. Me. And me. Number 4 is The Kid, of course, since he recently completed a photography course and he works cheap. Like, gratis.

Behind Longmire, park HQ at Mount Rainier National Park, WA.

For clothes, I shopped thrift and second-hand stores and clothing banks, often finding items with the original tags intact for next to nothing. I borrowed a few things from my sons and hubby.

For settings and back drops, The Kid and I immediately decided to forego that indoor studio thing. “Too plastic and artificial. It’s not real,” opined The Kid. I agreed. The fact that we don’t really have an indoor studio was also a major factor. The fact that I’m more an outdoor, hike-till-you-drop, what’s-around-the-bend?, let’s-explore-that-new-trail and who-cares-if-it’s-bear-season? kind of lady also had something to do with it. Besides. The Kid and I both prefer outdoor shots. Even with sudden wind shifts, unpredictable weather, and almost no control over who decides to join us in The Great Outdoors.

You learn to be flexible.

Mount Rainier from the Glacier View Summit Trail. And they’re not kidding!

Most importantly, we’re having fun. Okay. So we wind up with maybe two or three “usable” photos out of scores taken on every outdoor shoot. But sometimes those “blooper reels” can be just as good as the good stuff. Know what I’m saying?

Now, I’m not pushing a specific brand, business, or name. I’m not IG-ing to sell stuff. Although I wouldn’t complain too loudly if that occurs in the course of this adventure. As long as I don’t have to crawl out of my cave too often.

Like I said, I’m just in it to have fun. Cuz you know what? You can be a successful Instgrammer – whatever that means – and not be a size 6. Call a plate of celery sticks and arugula “dinner.” Or be 18-25 years old.

Mazama Ridge, baby!

In fact, bodacious 50-plusers are the main reason my account took off, growing from two followers a few months ago to about 800 today (not a lot, but hey. I’m new. And still learning. So there!). This is especially true of two on-line groups of awesome like-minded peeps: Instagram Over 50 and Forever Fierce.

Founded by the Loretta Sayers the Effervescent a few months back, Instagram Over 50 is an exclusive Facebook group. Just like it sounds, IGOver50 exists for women over 50 “to help find and support each other on Instagram.” It provides opportunities to “create followers and engagement on your Instagram account with like minded people.” It’s also a lot of fun! (Check out Loretta’s blog, Loretta’s Countdown to 60, here.)


The Forever Fierce Revolution, sometimes known as TheFierce50, focuses on putting “a new, fresh frame and perspective around midlife and beyond. We feel that midlife is a powerful time in a woman’s life and we are more vibrant than ever before.” Forever Fierce is also:

  • Shifting the paradigm and perception of women at midlife and beyond.
  • A worldwide network of women working together to “empower and inspire one another.”
  • Sending “a powerful message to younger generations to look forward to becoming older rather than fearing aging as current marketing would lead you to believe.”

I’m all over that, baby!

I’ve met some super cool peeps along the way. Had a chance to explore some awesome hiking venues vicariously as well as share some of my trail favorites. As my old boss used to say, “Old age and treachery trump youth and inexperience any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.”

Just ask The Kid.


Catch me on Instagram at Thymelesswon.


6 Responses

  1. Annick

    Here’s another over 50 blogger and you’re doing great! The best part of this journey is that you found an activity which allows you to spend time with your son in which you’re both doing something you enjoy.

    • HikerBabe

      Thank you. My son and I don’t always agree on what or where, but that’s half the fun. 🙂 He’s always a good sport.

  2. Janey

    Love the article AND the links! We ladies need to stick together and show this next generation how it’s done. 😉