She’s Learned the True Meaning of Being Beautiful
By Tim Pompey
When you think about turning 60, images such as wrinkles, gray hair, and loss of memory come to mind. None of these, however, apply to recent birthday girl Janice Ward, who could easily pass for someone half her age.
But Ward insists that beauty and longevity can be attributed to more than just physical appearance. “Beauty is putting God first in your life,” she said. “Beauty is always trying to be the child of God that he’s called me to be.”
Still, when push comes to shove and people ask how she can look so good at this stage in her life, she credits her mother for both her body and her spirit. “I owe my looks to my mother,” she insisted. “My mother is still alive and as sweet as can be. My mother raised us to know the Lord.”
So how does it feel to be 60? For Ward, it’s not a big deal. “I feel the same,” she said. “I haven’t even noticed that I was 60 years old. I just thank God and I think he’s blessed me to see my 60s.”
Born in Searcy, Arkansas, Ward and her younger brother Richard moved around with her military family, spending time in Alaska and Oklahoma. She moved to Oxnard in 1983 where she met her husband, Byron. She credits him with helping to rebuild her life.
They were married in 1985 and have two children and one grandchild: David, 37, Chondra, 21, and granddaughter Dajshai, 11.
Ward has worked various administrative jobs, but her real interest and love is hairstyling and makeup. She thinks that some of her good health can be attributed to her vegetarian diet and her love of exercise, especially walking.
She is an active member at New Vision Christian Center in Oxnard, where she pours her heart and soul into children’s church.
She describes herself as someone who enjoys being with her family and having fun. “I love going to L.A. and hanging out in Santa Monica,” she said. “I love picnics and barbecues. I love going to the movies. I like acting silly, and I really enjoy hanging out with family and friends.”
So at age 60, what valuable life lessons could she share with us? She believes above everything else that the secret to happiness is having a clear set of priorities. “When me and my husband got married,” she said, “we promised to put God first, then my husband, then my children, then my mother, and then my friends.”
Ward also thinks that the local African-American community needs to come to terms with division and jealousy, especially among young women. “I would like to see the young women stop talking about each other, stop being jealous, and learn to work together,” she emphasized. “And all of us in our churches, we need to learn to come together in unity. That’s one thing I would like to see happen here.”
As for life lessons, her tip to young people is to pay attention to inner beauty, the beauty of the spirit, and to be discerning about important connections. “They need to learn to follow their heart and to be careful about who they choose to include in their lives,” she explained.
Ward knows first-hand what it means to appreciate being alive. “Never take life for granted,” she shared, “and be thankful for every day, whether your day is good or bad.”
Looking back on her life, she knows she’s had some hard times, but she insists that everything in life has its purpose. “I wouldn’t change anything,” she said. “Everything that’s happened is a lesson learned and has helped me to grow to be who I am today.”