Hello and most welcome to Women's portraits 50 plus. This is a new blog for women aged 50 and over. Here I will share one interview every week each Thursday.
The interviews will be with ladies from all over the world. What I want is for you to be inspired and feel fellowship. Even if we live in different countries and are at different places in life, we also have much in common. We all know that life is up and down, which we also will see when we read about other women's lifes. That is all right as long as we can enjoy the good in it.
And to all of you who will share your story here with the rest of us: Thank you so much for doing that!
Enjoy your reading.
Changes on my blog
Hello all! Just an ordinary post this week as things have changed on my blog and it was a while since I "spoke" with you. Next week though it will be a new interview like usually. And for you who have not been here before, this blog is an interview blog with women 50 plus. Being middle age and older means that there are so much to tell and one has so much knowledge and experience. Why not show it and let 50 plus women take more place in social media?
Anyway, the latest days I have been working with converting the interviews to individual posts under a button called "Blog" which you can see up in the right corner. This means that you easily will find all of them and it is a few considering that I began this blog 13th of September last year. To do this had been on my mind for a while, but as I had only had positive respons on my blog/site, I let it be as it was. Then the latest women that I interviewed asked about individual posts so they could share the interview with only themselves. I agree that it is much better the way it is now, and as soon as time will let me, all the interviews will be find under the blog-button. If there are other wishes for improvement, just let me know. I want this site to be as inviting and easy to navigate on as possible.
So, is this positive in some other way? Yes it absolutely is. The number of visitors are much higher, which means that the stories the ladie's are sharing will be read by many more. That is of course one of my goals. No need to make an effort if no one sees it. Many also have their own blogs or companies and therefore it is a great way of show whatever they are doing.
The subjects we have spoken about during all those months since mid September have been many and I can not tell how grateful I am for all that shares their thoughts and lives. I know many have been inspired by reading the interviews. So once again: Thank you all! Perhaps you who are reading this have something to share with all of us? Do not hesitate to contact me. Nothing is too small to tell. Also, if you miss something, a subject that would be interesting, tell me also then and I will do my best to do an interview about it.
Finally I want to wish you all a nice Easter. Hope you will relax and enjoy the holiday. See you soon again.
Let us face it, we are all different and some are more positive and outgoing than others. We may even be very pleased with who we are anyway. Perhaps we do not want to be shining like the sun all the time. But regardless, we usually like people that inspire us and can brighten up the gloomiest day. To be met with a smile instead of the opposite means a lot. And to be honest our health does benefit from positive thinking. "I love being positive" says today's lady. What a wonderful attitude. There are good and bad days in everyone's life, but if we look at it from the bright side, hopefully we can see something positive even when the life is miserable. Enjoy your reading!
Name: Veronica Lariviere
Occupation: International beauty guide
Family: Married, daughter 18 year
Lives: New York State, the USA
You do like to inspire and make others happy. How do you do that and where does this positive attitude come from?
It just comes from something inside of me. There is so much negativity in this world. I love being positive and enjoy spreading it to others. I want to encourage them to do their best and not give up when life gets them down.
You are working with skincare and cosmetics and meet many women that way. Would you say that your attitude is a value even there?
Yes absolutely! I want them to see a positive, happy person that enjoys what she does. I love sharing what I love with others to inspire them and to be the best that they can be. I'll always be there for them to uplift them no matter what the circumstances.
Your upbringing was wonderful you have said, but it was not by your biological parents as you were adopted as a little girl. How has this affected you?
I think it affected me in a positive way. I had the best parents a girl could ask for and a wonderful extended family. I always knew that I was adopted, as early as from when I was only 2 ½ years old. My parents told me they were waiting for a beautiful curly haired little girl to call their own.
I have met some of my biological family and being given up was the best that could have happened to me. My life would not have been what it is now if I had not been adopted. That's all I can say about that and I have accepted my situation.
We cannot help who we are, but we can always try to see things from the bright side and be more grateful for all that we have. Still that is easier said than done; do we tend to think "what if", compare ourselves with others and think that more material stuff would give us the happiness we want you think?
I do agree with that. We always compare ourselves to others. Yes there are things I know that if I could do over again I would have done it differently, but you can't go backwards you just move on and go forward. Of course sometimes material things and more financial well being would give you more happiness. Life gets easier if we don't have to struggle too much, but to compete with others or think that only material things are happiness won't make us feel good.
I am going through some tough times right now, but I remain positive that it will all work out. Life is truly wonderful and the best is yet to come!
Would you say that happiness is a choice?
I think that you do have the ability to create real and lasting happiness for yourself. I do know that sometimes life is not always easy and this may be hard for some people to do. You do have the choice whether you let it affect you or not. To me happiness is your best makeup. I think happiness is something you can make and create for yourself - it's all in your mindset.
Do we choose our own happiness, or do we feel the way we do regardless of attitude? Meet tomorrow's woman and hear her thoughts about this.
A place in the sun!
Who has not dreamt about changing life when it feels like there is no end to the rat race and the days are always the same? One thinks about taking the plunge and to do something completely different. And why not relocate to a warm beautiful place? Some do just that and one of them is Elwira Kotowska and her Greek born partner. They moved to the sun only a few years ago. The two of them changed the grey and rainy Göteborg/Gothenburg in Sweden for the Mediterranean life in Greece, and they have not regretted it once. Even if you are totally fine with where you live and have already found your dream living and enjoy what you are doing, this is still a nice and inspiring story. So follow us to Greece this week.
Name: Elwira Kotowska
Occupation: Business developer at husigrekland.se and project leader, digital marketing
Family: Partner, two grown sons, one grandchild and a cat
Lives: Most of the year in Stoupa, Peloponnesos and the rest of it in Jönköping, Sweden
You and your partner moved to Peloponnesus a couple of years ago, started your own business and now you are residents there. Would you say that you are living your dream?
Yes, absolutely! We may have passed the first stage of love to Peloponnesus, but we are still not regretting our decision. We are not working less than before, but we have more freedom. After 8-9 hours work we use to go to the beach for a swim, or just sit and watch the sunset. Neither of us miss the sound of the cars, the trolley cars, the ambulance and so on.
Both I and my partner still have consulting assignments in Sweden, Elias 100 percent and I 30 percent. The rest of the time I work with Hus i Grekland/husigrekland.se, which is an agency of dwellings, but we also arrange events, meetings and classes, that are held in Mani.
For many years you lived in Sweden, but you are from Poland, where you grew up and lived in your early adulthood. How come that you moved to Sweden and what took you further to Greece?
I moved to Sweden because I was searching for a place where I could be independent when it came to politics and culture. I think that I partly found what I searched for. But it was in a dull context: bad weather in a prefect society. Greece offers me sun 360 days per year and it also gives a bit of a rebel feel that I like.
Here people don't ask about citizenship, just if you are Greek in your soul. And I am! Even as growing up in Warszawa, I was a free thinking and rebellious person.
If you would compare those three countries, what are the differences and the similarities?
First thought is: we are only humans and that is independent of where we are born and regardless of conception of life. We are good or bad, forgiving or not forgiving. Then we have different opinions and principals about for example what to eat or what to believe. But we are basically the same I would say.
We may be from Poland, Sweden or Greece. For me it's really no difference. But, in Greece I can be more open with who I am and what I think. Even if I'm not always political correct, it's still fine. It's easier to be an individual here.
You have moved to a new country twice in your life, first time as a young adult and now in midlife. Was it easier this time?
On the whole I find that it's easier when one is "more grown up". My self esteem is higher and I don't feel that I always need to fit in with norms or roles. My earlier experiences have also made me stronger and as long as I am myself and I'm open, I find new friends and acquaintances.
As a young mom I also had to see to my children's well being and they had their schools. Now it's only my partner and I to care for. I can be more flexible and experiment more now than compared to the first time I moved.
Seems as you are getting on very well in sunny Greece. Do you think you will ever leave your new country?
One should never say never, but the simple answer is: I will never leave!
That is exactly what Elwira Kotowska has done, first time to Sweden,
next time to exotic Greece, where she works with properties.
Meet her in two days.
Eating the right food, exercise and living a healthy life. Sounds easy but can be very difficult. But does it have to be? We all want to stay fit, look good and of course to have good health, but we also know that it is easier said than done. However, just small changes can make huge difference. This week's featured woman is a health and wellness guru and despite the age of 65 she still lives an active life and has no plans of slowing down. We may not all be able to be as fit, but we can all improve, and make small changes in our day to day life. This story really shows that even if life is all but salubrious it is possible to do something about it. Be inspired!
Name: Debra Mazda
Occupation: author "Eating my secrets", motivational speaker, health/wellness expert
Family: single, dog Chanel, cat Phoebe
Lives: West Palm Beach, Florida, USA
You are a real fitness guru, but some decades ago your weight was 300 lbs/137 kg. That is a lot to carry around. Even with the motivation it must have been hard to start exercise. How did you manage?
Many years ago, I weighed over 300 pounds, I was chronically depressed and in a very dark place. I was in an abusive relationship with an alcoholic, while my own addiction to food was my comfort, friend and saving grace back then. I was an emotional eater who was slowly going further and further into a world that I was not sure I could or would come out of, but I did. It is amazing the strength one has when one is pushed to the limit. My mind would be put to the test and within time I would surely discover what courage I possessed.
Have survived sexual abuse and using food as my comfort my weight escalated over time. In my 20's, at over 300 pounds, I decided that I had enough and found the courage and strength to begin my personal journey back upward and I started with exercise. With the help of God I found the courage to walk into a fitness center where everyone was a size 2. I met a bodybuilder named John who helped me and never judged me, and I took my first fitness class weighing over 300 pounds. It was a now or never moment. This began the journey for my change that is still evolving today.
I had been on every diet on the market, but it wasn't until I began to exercise that I lost weight but more importantly I began to feel so much better. Sometime later, I walked into a Richard Simmons Anatomy Asylum, became the training director, and never looked back. I eventually lost over 130 pounds and still have my weight off 30 years later. Exercise was the catalyst for me and that motivated me to create Shapely girl fitness DVD's for plus size women. I know how hard it is to get moving but your life is worth it.
You are talking about the aha-moment. What do you mean by that?
Like I said, I was the diet queen, uppers downers, injections, starvation, binging, weight watchers, diet pills, and nothing worked long term. It was not till I thought I was having a heart attack and was told I was obese that nothing sank in to my brain. That was my aha moment!
I talk in depth about this moment and about health/healing/hope in my new book "Eating my secrets". I became focused, determined and nothing was going to stop me. Once I realized that dieting was getting me nowhere fast, I took matters into my own hands. I began to breathe and learned how to live. I started not only to eat better but befriended food. I realized I was in control. I had the power not the diet. No longer was I focused on negative thoughts about myself. While that was many years ago, and those days are far gone, today I live a very different life. Learning how to move, think positive and use food as fuel and nourishment for my body to move changed my life.
Another interesting thing about your weight loss is that you began by cutting your portions in half.
Back in the 70's obesity or being overweight was almost unheard of. Most people were a normal size; today two out of three women are either overweight or obese. When I decided to make life changes after being told I was fat and obese I had to find out how to eat differently. However, there was not a lot about nutrition for me to read that would be a help. I had to take matters in my own hands and came to conclusion that if I ate only half of what I normally ate that would do it and it did.
A normal breakfast for me back then was a rack of ribs, three or four eggs drowning in butter, quart of OJ and two to three biscuits again drowning in butter. Today, as a professional I know a lot about foods and tell women this, stop dieting, it is not the answer! Food is not the enemy, it is vital to find out what will work for your life, such as environment, daily schedule, culture, and certainly your lifestyle.
Would you say that a lot of food and eating issues are due to bad habits and not hunger?
Yes, I would. Emotional eating has it grips on a lot of women not matter what size they are. Food becomes comfort, friendship and a friendly night out for a lot of women. Eating out of boredom, sadness, shame, or for whatever we use it for can be easier than to look at what we might be eating emotionally for. The move more, eat less philosophy is so complicated but we need to search inside to figure out what is eating us.
Emotional eating has nothing to do with hunger, there is a hole inside of us and for million food is the comfort to fill that hole. For me, pray and God has played such a part of my recovery. God has been with me thru it all and I give him the glory for pulling me out of the miry clay and he has never let me down even when I wanted to crawl in a hole and hibernate.
You are now 65 years old, how do you manage to stay healthy and not put on weight again?
It can be very challenging but at 65, I feel fabulous and am in great health. I do not take any medications, I eat well, stopped binging many years ago. I sleep 6 - 8 hours per night and workout 4 - 5 days a week. I have some minor aches and pains every now and then, but I attribute my great health to my lifestyle. I do fast two days a week for health reasons. I give my digestive system a much-needed break to relax. On the other days I eat pretty much what I want to, but 90 percent of my calories are from healthy nutritious foods. My body is my temple and appreciate how it functions and I trust my decisions, while not thin I am loving myself and respect my body. Do I eat junk food? Yes sometimes, though not a lot, but if I want it I have it. This is what works for me, find out what works for you!
I know that you have inspired many women to embrace a healthy living. Now you have also written a book, would you like to tell some about it?
My book is called "Eating my secrets" and is a book about health, healing and hope. This is not a diet book, it is a book about my journey to health and wellness. I also have interviewed and added other women's stories. I talk about my own sexual abuse, binge obsession, chronic depression, my weight, and how thru all of those setbacks, trials, doubts, fear and shame how God lifted me up and I was able to come out and taste the victory! It is a fascinating story.
And to all who want to take the step, but hesitate. How shall they get started?
Take a deep breath, know you are worthy to look and feel better. Just take that first step and continue one step at a time. This is a journey not a destination. We are constantly evolving and so take the ride, move your body, eat well, laugh at yourself, have a great support system and know that you got this!
If you need to move, to get motivated and inspired, go to www.debramazda.com
How to stay healthy and keep the weight for decades?
Want to know? Read this week's interview of Thursday.
Want to chat with other ladies? Please join our facebook group:
Women's portraits 50 plus
I let the weight go and
my soul woke up!
It is spring and many wants to be slimmer, and also we care more and more about our health as we grew older. We know it will not be better unless we put some effort in it. and we need to do so, even if we are not big. Some women are healthy from early years and it is the normal way of living for them. But many suddenly find themselves with some extra weight that did not use to be there, or they realize that they have a too comfortable lifestyle. Some would say it is harder to change the way of life when you are a little older, but not all agree, like this week's lady. Finding the right way to do it may be the answer. Perhaps this interview will support you in a change if you are one of us who would like to do so.
Name: Pamela Franklin
Occupation: Certified health coach
Family: Two grown girls who are 24 and 28
Lives: Maryland, USA
You have done an amazing transformation with your body and that after the age of 50. What made you do this and do you think it was more difficult than if you would have been younger?
Honestly, not at all. The program made it so easy for any age.
There is a health program called optavia that you joined. There are both positive and negative words about it. What was it that worked so well for you and would you say it is for all?
For me it was the simplicity! Everything is figured out for you! I loved the education component as it got my mind right about food for the first time in my life!! I loved the health coach component as you have someone to be accountable to! It is for all as we have programs for teens, nursing moms, diabetics! The program can be altered for those with certain allergies!
It's never too late to change and be healthier, and we all want to feel well when we are older and the body is not as strong as it used to. Then it may be even harder to carry around a lot of overweight, especially for women when the skeleton become more fragile and we risk breaking something.
Now you are a health coach. Do you work with all age groups?
I work with anyone who wants to trust me and make a change! My youngest client was 17. My oldest was 78!
Even if there are plenty of examples of women over 50 starting a new and healthier life, many also have given up since long. How shall we encourage ourselves to change life style when we love the goodies of life and perhaps are not the sporty type?
This program is so good because you do not have to exercise! You can't out exercise your fork, you have to learn how to eat. We teach new habits of health that will carry you into maintenance and beyond! Once you meet your weight goal, I, as a health coach, will transition you off and help you keep the weight off. I feel so amazing that I don't want to put things that aren't good for me in my body. Can I have a cookie? Sure! But in moderation. This is what we teach! If your why is bigger than your excuse, you can do anything!
Finally, what have been the best about your life changing journey?
It's not just the 58 lbs I lost, it's the life I
gained! The weight was weighing my body, mind and spirit down! I let the
weight go and my soul woke up! Now I wake up with so much passion to help
others feel this amazing!! It is truly life transforming!
Do you want to be inspired to live more healthy? Then read tomorrow's interview. It does not need to be so hard.
We need to learn about menopause
Photo: Johan Strindberg
Menopause hits you and it hits you serious. What do you do about it? This week's lady - a writer - decided to find out as much as possible and then she wrote a book: Perimenopower: The Ultimate Guide Through the Change. Many has experienced that the health care not always has the answers that we need and want. Still many suffers for several years, and it is not a disease, so it can be really tricky to find the answers and feel better. However, this may already have started to change as menopause is spoken more and more about, and it should as it is something natural. Thanks to women who talk and write about it, we will learn more and we will know what we can claim when we see our doctor.
Name: Katarina Wilk
Occupation: Writer and communication officer
Family: Two sons, Ville 19 and David 17
Lives: Stockholm, Sweden
It feels like suddenly menopause is spoken about more than ever. Like a taboo has been broken and we can speak openly about something that all women will experience. Would you agree?
Yes I totally agree. Something is happening around the world and maybe it has to do with that women raise their voices in different areas and because of that we can even bring the menopause on the agenda. In UK it has actually even been up in the Parliament and in the US a lot of actors are starting to talk about that we need to rebrand the menopause.
You have written a book about it as you wanted to help women through this period of time. How did you come up with the idea?
I had severe symptoms when it started and my doctors tried to convince me that I was depressed or burned out, but as a medical- and health journalist I wanted to find out more and came to some conclusions while I researched. And I realised that if this is so confusing for me, who reads studies every day, how confusing isn´t it for "common" women.
I realised also that I could help women across the world by writing this book. That they can stop goggling around and instead read my book and be helped in that way. Knowledge is power and I wanted to share my knowledge.
What has been your own experience?
As I said I had severe symptoms especially with insomnia. And my experience is that healthcare would rather give us a diagnose of depression rather than see that it might be our hormones that goes bananas.Many women feel that the health care either not have the knowledge, or they do not have the interest in menopause. Still it can go on for 10-15 years. What is your explanation to that?Actually they don´t have the knowledge. In Sweden not even gynecologists study the menopause while in medical school. And the lack of gynaecologist leads the patients to the medical center where doctors have no clue. I think they also don´t have the interest because menopause is not a disease, it is a condition.
You mention that the health care has lack of knowledge, still many women are working there. How come that they themselves do not show more interest?
That is a very good question. I think that if you are a doctor you want to cure diseases, whether you are a woman or a man. Menopause is not a disease - it is a condition. And many doctors (even women) think that we are hypochondriacs or burnt out. They prefer to call us depressed, then they have a medication for it. I think there are a whole lot of women out there getting misdiagnosed and that is one of my mission - to change the mass description of antidepressants while in perimenopause/menopause.
So what is your advice to women who are suffering and feel like there is no help to get?
There are a lot
of things to do. Firstly changing their lifestyles. Not drinking alcohol, no
coffee. Cut down on red meat. And of course physical activity. Your body is
made to move. And later on the majority of women would do well with HRT (hormone replacement
therapy). I have a lot
of suggestions for what you can do in my book, from sleep yoga, natural
remedies and then the latest oestrogen research.
Tomorrow you will meet the author of this book. Welcome then.
Photo: Johan Strindberg
Enjoying life after a tough divorce
Making huge changes in life can be tough, but when life itself already is, one may not have a choice. However, many of us may probably have taken the easiest way out of a hard situation, but this week's lady decided not only to start a new life without her husband, but also to give herself a new high education and start a new career. It may be overwhelming when we are in difficult life situations, but in the end, things usually turns out for the best. Sometimes we need to be a little bit braver than we may think we are. Cynthia is a proof of that we can manage a lot even when things are tough.
Name: Cynthia Furr
Occupation: Special education teacher
Family: One son and one daughter, a son and daughter in law, two grandchildren
Lives: The USA
Last month it was ten years since your life took a new turn. You decided to leave your husband and start a new life without him. What happened?
My ex husband decided that he needed to be with other women and in doing so, he left our family in a huge financial mess.
A whole decade has passed since that February day and after the divorce so many things have happened for you. One of them is that you went back to "school" and after the education got a new work. Did you ever hesitate to take that step being a bit older?
Yes, I was scared to death; however, at that point, it was sink or swim. I chose to swim by jumping back into school because I needed to sharpen my skills and be more marketable. The only way was to study. Doing so also showed me that I could do it and really had nothing to be scared of.
You call yourself a survivor and you have also said that your life began after the divorce. For many a separation can be a huge life crisis. Did you ever feel so yourself and have you ever regret that you took the step?
The divorce was devastating, but the four years before the divorce was painful. I pour myself into my marriage, but I felt that I had lost myself trying to make my ex husband happy. There were many times that I had regrets, but then I remembered that I did not have to worry about being cheated on. Even counting pennies and declaring bankruptcy was nothing like the feeling of being betrayed.
I wished I had known exactly what happened. I thought we had a Godly marriage and were in the final contentment of marriage - empty nesting and traveling. That was all he talked about the 2 years before he started cheating.
Looking back, I realized through comments of others and his actions, I don't think he was ever happy with himself or us. He grew up in a very strict religious missionary family, and he told our therapist that he had always been a closet rebel until I caught him. He told me that he felt he cheated on me because he felt his mom thought I was not good enough for him. I was really angry for many years until that God released me from further hurt and pain.
After the divorce, I had to declare bankruptcy in order to survive. After four years, I was able to buy a little cabin in the woods in Pine Mountain Club, California to have something that was mine and to keep the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) from killing me, and I loved that little place for two years.
However, due to an hour commute and my mother's failing health, I sold my little cabin in order to put things in place for me to move back to North Carolina to help take care of her. However, her health is failing faster than we imagined, and I am not sure exactly what my next step will be, but I know that God is in control, and I am a survivor.
Your children became adults, got married and had children of their own during this period of time. How did you cope with the loneliness when they flew the nest? Or perhaps being alone is actually underestimated and it can even make us grow if we let it.
It was an adjustment when my children went off to school, got married, and had children. However, I was in school myself and was rediscovering who I was with going out with my girlfriends. I needed that time for myself.
What do you look forward to the following ten years?
I am not sure what the next 10 years hold, but I know one thing. I will be standing and enjoying life.
A pause on the blog
Hello all! Yes I know, an interview should already have been put out here. Unfortunately I do not have access to my own computer at the moment and I am not able to reach all the text/documents that I need. How annoying it may be, I have to give up after several tries. There will be a new interview in March again. Thank you so much for understanding.
Hello all readers!
If you have not been to this blog before, you may have noticed that there are no men here, well, at least not that I have interviewed, but it may very well be men reading of course. Although the blog is for women and them over 50 years of age, even others are welcome of course. As there are many interesting stories here, one does not have to be a woman or over 50 to enjoy them. So hello and welcome whoever you are.
To me it means a lot to do this blog as many of you already know and I am so glad when I hear what it means for them being interviewed. That makes me feel that what I am doing is right and exactly what I want to achive.
The other day I received an e-mail from one of all ladies I have interviewed:
Just saying "Hello", Katharina! I love reading your blog and I am very fond of the fact that I was part of it. Keep it up! You are giving us a voice and - I am sure - inspiration for many followers. Thanks and warmest greetings, XX
Giving women a voice and inspiration at the same time were two of the things I had in mind when I started this blog, so having it confirmed like this means a lot to me. When I do the interviews I am very particular about that all shall be comfortable. This blog is not about telling the most sentional stories to have as many readers as possible, it is simply about showing women as they are and nothing else. Being over 50 also means a lot of life experience and therefore the stories are so interesting.
Perhaps you also have something to share? Just contact me. As this blog is in English, ladies from all countries are welcome. Last week Women's portraits went to South Africa and took us to the fourth continent. Not too bad covering so many since only September, eh!
But regardless where you live and what story you have, please share it here and inspire others, or you may be a great support depending on what
story you tell. Have a lovely week-end!
Long hard work took me
where I am today
Being a black women in South Africa and going in to politics is not the easiest thing. Some though, like Phinah Chima, defied the problems and followed her heart at an early age. She did it both for herself and for other women. Through engagement and a belief that she, like all men, has a place there, she has come far. She has also met many women from both her own country and many others, who like her, fights for their rights, and it does pay off. This is a story most interesting, but equally important, because who is going to change things if not women begin themselves?
Name: Phinah Chima
Living: Mpumalanga, South Africa
You have been in politics for many years. When did you start and why did you became active?
I have actually been in politics since I was a teenager; it all started when I was growing up in my village. My mother was a domestic worker. Where she worked I had friends among the white privileged kids. When I visited them at their houses I realized we lived differently and most black people were working in the kitchens and gardens while whites were working in the offices and clinics. This experience opened up my mind and I started to develop a black consciousness.
Where my parents lived, they lived in mud houses, no water, electricity and sanitation while were the whites lived they had big houses, they had water sanitation and water even otherwise, while they were the minority in the country. As you are aware the history of South Africa has a lot of painful past, with the land dispossession where the indigenous people were forcefully removed from their native land to places where it was infertile or difficult to produce. All was done to make a way for the minority to live large and expand their businesses.
Also in 1948 the story of the apartheid system began and it was going on until 1994. It was all against black humanity. Black people were reduced to cleaners and gardeners, excluded from education, health and development. This was done deliberately to eliminate the black children and to expand so they can no longer increase their population.
When I moved to high school I came to a segregated society where black people were living in a secluded area without electricity, water and proper roads. The education we received was of a low standard. After 1976 South Africa was ungovernable and the students had vowed to fight for the end of the apartheid regime. After the famous Soweto uprising the aftermath was now spreading to our small villages countrywide.
By the time I arrived at the high school my mind was already aware of the injustices. When other students recruited me it was easy for me to join in. So at an early age my dream was to fight for the equal South Africa where all citizens are equally. The teachers even though they were black never really looked after the black child desires, but were more on serving the interests of the whites counterparts. Their actions discouraged many students that fell off from the schools.
It was in 1976 when the students finally said enough is enough with this unfair system. In the mid 80's when I started high school the country was not governable anymore. I was recruited to defend the country, the South African military heard about my involvement. Unfortunately many youths disappeared and some were killed by the forces. When the forces started to inquire about I was compelled to leave the country to seek refuge from a neighboring county while training to fight and defend my country South Africa.
Being a woman in the South African politics is not always easy. Would you say that it is a big difference being a female or male politician?
Being a female politician in South Africa is a difficult thing. You are not supported by men, but also women do not support you. There's a women syndrome how strange it may sound. Hardly no woman supports you at all. We live in a country where we don't have apartheid legacies only but patriarch problems as well and where women are not expected to lead or hold any influential positions. But for the past 10 years my political party has adopted a 50/50 gender policy to be equal in the presentation. So things are going in the right direction. Since 2009 the national election has made women in government to increase and this is welcomed by the majority of politicians and this has spread to workforce of government as well. So I'm positive after all. With hard work we women will take more and more place in decision making positions.
I assume that now when you are over fifty, it is easier. Am I right or wrong?
Yes now in my early 50's things are easier and the youth are now groomed to take over from us. Soon I will be one of the veterans of the movement and I'm glad we have done all that we have so younger women can take part in politics. We are now passing over what we know and have learned to the young women who will take a bait from us and lead the country, the regions and cities. It's not been easy as unfortunately smart women often have no interest in politics.
After 1994 when we gained independence unfortunately most youngsters in South Africa were never interested in politics, and the party never emphasized the youth involvement. It's only in the recent years my organization realized the age gap. As for now we are busy recruiting youngsters to be part of the movement and be given same opportunities.
As I know that you have met women from many other countries, I would like to end this interview by asking what it means to exchange knowledge and experiences with other female top politicians?
It has been great to meet
women from different countries and even explore some of them in real as it has
given me the chance to visit other places. It has also been interesting to
learn about different cultures. I have gained knowledge and experiences from
other top politicians and even today we still contact each other to give
support and to learn what we are doing. Another thing I have experienced more
clearly is that women are marginalized in politics in many other
countries. Earlier in the interview I have mention that 50/50 has been decided in my party and that's much better than before when there were too few women. By supporting each other, women
in many countries will have more influence. If we can do it, it can be done
Finally I want to say thanks to all women I've met and especially to my political mentor Paula Örn and officer at ICLD/International center for local democracy, Kristin Ekström, both from Sweden. Thanks to them I became a top politican.
Women in power!
How is it to be a female politician in South Africa?
In two days you will find out. Welcome then.
A bad start in life, but still happy
Having a difficult relationship with your parents is nothing new, but it is still as sad. This week an Australian lady tells her story about her mother. Due to their poor relationship, her mom had been dead years before Janet found out. Read about her difficult childhood and how she herself still has managed to create a happy family. A bad start does not mean a bad life. It is usually about how we handle things and how much we let them affect us. Easier said than done, but it is possible. This story will hopefully inspire and help others in the same situation.
Name: Janet Camilleri
Occupation: Copywriter and blogger (https://www.middleagedmama.com.au/)
Family: Married since 1990, with a 24 year old son and 22 year old daughter
Lives: Brisbane, Australia
Some years ago you lost your mother. But you sadly found out on the internet that she had passed away, and had been gone for quite some time. How come?
It was quite a shock to stumble across her funeral notice online in 2011 - nearly FIVE YEARS after she'd died, in 2007.
We hadn't had contact since 1994, when I was pregnant with my first child. My husband answered the phone that day, and told my mum that we were about to visit my father. As soon as I got on the phone, she unleashed all this vitriol at me that she had inside of her about us seeing him. I told her that I was tired of having to choose between my parents and she would just have to accept it - and she hung up on me! (I should add that my parents had been divorced nearly twenty years by that point.) This wasn't the first time I'd been estranged from my mum, but it was the last. We never spoke again.
Obviously my mum was very bitter about her divorce, and about life in general. She was a very difficult person to get along with. I'd known since I was a teenager that she had "manic depression" (now known as bipolar disorder), but as I grew older I read more about this diagnosis and it didn't quite fit.
About ten years later, I came across a book at the library called "Walking on Eggshells". I was intrigued, because that is what I always said I would call my book, if I ever ended up writing one about my difficult childhood.
The book was about borderline personality disorder so I took it home, and the tears started sliding down my face as I read. I'd blamed myself for so long for not being a "good (enough) daughter" but with each page I came to the realization that it wasn't my fault! I would never have been able to please my mum, no matter what I did. The authors understood that I'd had little choice but to cut my mother out of my life.
She was bipolar and due to the effects of her mental health issues she did not even met your children, her grandchildren. She could be violent and you have described her as narcissistic. How would you explain such a difficult situation for someone who has not been there?
She didn't even come to my wedding! That says it all, doesn't it?!
As a mum myself, I find it difficult to believe that she could have been so cruel to her own child. Mum said that if I invited my father, she wouldn't come. As my husband and I paid for our own wedding, I didn't think she had the right to say that - and I was sick of having to pander to her demands. So when the time came to send the invitations, I sent one to my mother and her partner, and one to my father and his partner. She wouldn't speak to me for nearly three years after that, only getting in touch to tell me she was getting married again (her 4th marriage!). In hindsight, she only reached out because she wanted to pretend she had a happy family to her new man.
During that year when we last had contact, she said some terrible things to me - including how upset she was that she wasn't at my wedding. I bit my tongue to try and keep the peace, but inside I was screaming: But that was YOUR fault! You received an invitation like everybody else, YOU were the stupid one that couldn't put your bitterness aside for just one day!
It's almost impossible to explain it to other people, so I usually save the explanations for when I've known somebody a while. I'm fortunate my husband saw my mother "in action" in the early days of our relationship so he knows exactly what she was like - no explanation required!
I find that once people learn that my mother refused to come to my wedding, and never met my children, they begin to understand that there was something very wrong in my family. If they've known me for any length of time, they can see that I now have a lovely family and great relationships, so the problem obviously wasn't me...
You have seen the judgment in the eyes of people when your mother was still alive and you told them that you had no contact. Why do you think they added insult to injury?
Mothers are seen as being these wonderful loving people, and most of them are, which is why it's so hard for people to realise that not all mums are like that. There's an old saying, "You can pick your friends, but you can't choose your family", and the fact is some of us manage to pull the dud straw in this lottery of life, when it comes to their parents. It was hard enough dealing with the pain of not having a loving mother.
When my children were little I would see other young women out shopping with their baby, and their mother would be there to help them, and it would make me cry. I was already in a world of pain without having to endure the judgment from others, who had no idea what I had been through and just how strong I have had to be to cope.
Several years have passed since she died; are you at peace with life and the fact that the two of you never became close?
It may sound strange but I was actually at peace with having no contact with my mother, long before she died. I'd reached a place of forgiveness, and genuinely hoped she was happy and enjoying life - and deep down I guess I hoped that she felt the same about me. I even hoped that maybe one day we could reconcile.
Alas it was not to be. My workmates didn't understand why I was so upset about my mother's death, after all I'd had no contact with her for more than 10 years at that point. But no matter how fraught the relationship, it is still your mother and death is so final.
In other ways it's been easier. If anybody asks me about my mother now, I can just say, "She passed away" and they say "Oh I'm so sorry to hear that", and that's the end of the conversation. However, I've always struggled with working out how much of mum's nastiness was caused by her mental illness, or her choice.
To end this emotional interview with something positive, you are married and have two grown up children. How much does it mean to have a functional family of your own after the childhood you had?
As I mentioned earlier, being a mother myself I will never understand the way my mother treated me (and her other children). My kids aren't perfect but I will always be there for them, and am so proud of the wonderful human beings they have become.
I used to have a secret fear that I would end up like my mum, so I feel so very blessed to have been married to a wonderful, supportive man for nearly three decades. Mind you I had to work hard to set aside some bad habits and correct some of the self-talk I'd picked up from mum in my formative years!
It is also truly precious to have the mother-daughter relationship with my own daughter, which I never had with my own mother. My daughter is now engaged to be married, and I am looking forward to becoming an awesome grandmother too in the next few years.
My sincere hope is that the hurt, abuse, and damage all stop with me - I don't want to pass them on to my children, or my children's children - which I suspect may have been the case with my own mother. I don't want to let the past rule our future!
the interview will be about a difficult childhood and how to handle that. Many know how it is, not all want to speak about it. Other judge.
Welcome then and read Janet's story.
Always on the go!
Working as a singer and traveling the world. Does it not sound lovely? It would be a dream for most of us, but for Louise Kennedy it was normal life for many years. Now she stays put and enjoys her life with great memories. But not traveling as before is not the same as doing nothing. Since she stopped singing she has created herself a new career. Follow her on her journey that she shares here with us.
Name: Louise Kennedy
Occupation: Spiritual teacher and transformational coach, songwriter, author
Family: Daughter: Grace 36 yrs, Adam, 22 yrs and granddaughter Jodie, 11 yrs
Lives: Presently in the UK but returning to my home in Australia next week
When you are younger, you were traveling the world as an opera singer. Which places did you go and do you miss that hectic time?
As an opera singer, I performed in many countries. After attending the prestigious National Opera Studio in London, I began working first of all in the UK, in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.
It wasn't long before I became sought after for jobs abroad. Over the years I worked in France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Germany, South Africa, Australia, USA, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia.
I miss the performing: the costumes, orchestras, colleagues, rehearsals and seeing the countries. Although when you travel for work it's not like being a tourist because you're too busy with what you are doing. You mainly see hotel rooms, rehearsal studios, theatres and restaurants. If you were very lucky you might have a few free days after the rehearsal period was over, and during the "run" of performances, where you might be able to do a bit of sightseeing. However I treasured the moments when I had time to see the places and they are valuable memories. But generally, you were concerned about conserving your strength for the shows!
It wasn't too hectic really, because in between the jobs, I would have time to rest at home. I could be with my family and study the next role that I was preparing, and, of course, work on my voice with my teacher. As a singer one always has to take care of it as it doesn't come by itself once you have learned how to sing. It's like an instrument, need to be kept in shape.
Music is still part of your life and you write songs now. Do you ever sing them in public?
Music will always be a part of my life. I still perform occasionally for parties and functions and I make it comedic... In fact, I make fun of certain arias and operas and do parody versions of them. It's different from what I used to do, but fun and appreciated.
I have also been writing and producing some songs of my own in collaboration with a music producer. I have only performed them in public once so far, but watch this space!
You have seen many countries, but Italy is special to you, what is it about the country that appeals to you?
Italy is special to me, yes. I love the food, the culture, the wine, the people and the dramatic and beautiful landscapes and architecture. I also lived there for a while in the mid-eighties and learned to speak Italian, actually even had an Italian lover and have many beautiful memories from that time. Whenever I return there I feel nostalgia for those amazing days!
In recent years I obtained a certificate qualifying me for teaching English as a second language and got a job in a small private English school in L'Aquila. I taught there for a year and loved every minute.
You have also written a book. What is that about?
My book is about my spiritual interest and work that I am passionate about and which I have been pursuing since my early 20's, when I studied yoga and meditation and became a teacher of it. I have since gone on to learn about consciousness, awareness, mindfulness and have also studied techniques and practices for raising awareness and, in doing so, achieving a level of appreciation and happiness with the present moment, enabling the creation of new and wonderful things in life.
I currently have clients that I coach in this work helping them to know themselves and create the lives they dream of. To help others is very rewarding.
Learning about all you are doing shows that one does not have to be young to try new things. This time in life can just as well be a start of something as being the time we stagnate.
I am 64 years of age now and am still learning and doing new things. Life is about expansion and growth and if we are not doing that, we stagnate and die internally, before we die physically. It is easy to see that in many people, who get to a certain age, retire and then try and fill their time with whatever until the end, but they are really not follow their passion or continue to explore. It causes ill health and depression. We don't need to stop living just because we retire.
My aim is never to stop doing the work and the things that I enjoy. I love exercising and continue to work out and keep myself young and fit. I keep my voice in shape. I keep my mind in shape too with constant studying the metaphysical subjects which I love. I write poetry, short stories (maybe the next things I will publish?) and I also paint. I have always been a great lover of red wine too, and that keeps me happy and mellow!
Exploring the world
and enjoying life!
If you want to meet a woman who has done a lot in life,
then read tomorrow's interview. You will be inspired.
Looking our best!
Looking our best regardless of age is what many of us women want. But then we may find ourselves the opposite. Not that we want to neglect how we look, but life is more than being pretty. Still, feeling good about oneself gives us better self esteem. But who has time and energy to spend hours on it? We want it to be fast and easy, and how to achieve that is exactly what this week's lady help others with.
Name: Pamela Lutrell
Occupation: Marketing communications specialist
Lives: San Antonio, Texas, USA
You are running a successful blog - www.over50feeling40.com/ - for women over 50 and you inspire by photo's and posts with tips. You also show clothes and link to their web shops. How long have you had it and what has it meant to you?
I began blogging in July 1, 2010 after my best friend encouraged me to share all that I was learning after I experienced a reinvention at age 50. The blog was redesigned a year ago with great success and I moved to the Wordpress platform. Though I am now 65, the sentiments behind the blog have not changed. I am still over 50, and still feeling great!
The blog opened many fun and exciting opportunities. It expanded my territory and has kept me learning and mentally active. Also it has brought me new friends on many platforms. I have always been a writer, the interest started already in fifth grade, and for someone who loves to write, the blog means the world.
You describe the blog as a "Fashion and Lifestyle Blog for women over 50 to help achieve strength, confidence, joy, inspiration, and, of course, head-turning personal style!" When you entered the age of 50 yourself you were not as colorful and fashion-conscious as now. What made you blooming out?
I literally had a wakeup call. I had neglected myself after becoming mother of three. I had placed me on the back burner and received some discouragement from others around me in regards to my appearance. But, on my 50th birthday I had to renew my driver's license, it was that picture which captured my attention and resulted in a major reinvention inside and out. Life is too short to neglect our appearance and we need to care for ourselves and enjoy life to its fullest one day at a time.
Furthermore my friends and family have been incredibly supportive and encouraging. But, I went through this reinvention for me. I finally put me at the top of my priority list.
Do you reach many ladies outside the United States and would you say it is any difference in how much we care about how we look depending on which country we live in?
Over the years, I have met and spoken with women all over the world. We are pretty much the same. We want to feel good and be confident about our looks. I love everyone in my audience and find us all to be very similar. I am honored to have readers in many different countries.
What is the response you get from your readers?
The fact that I get a great response, and hear from so many is really what has kept me going for so long. Blogging is a lot of work and I also work full time during the day. Just when I was too tired of my busy schedule and entertain the thought of quitting, I got an email from someone saying that reading has helped them to enjoy life again. That is what fuels me. I want to encourage and inspire other ladies. "Over 50 Feeling 40" is about so much more than clothing.
What is the biggest failure we women do when it comes to how we dress?
I think all of us get in ruts with our clothing and do not know how to get out. This is where blogs can help us. Watching real women can make such a difference over models in a magazine. I was in rut and did not have the courage to step out of it, until I opened my eyes. It is amazing how we can look and feel when we make some changes, take some risks, and learn what we want to say with our style. It is also tons of fun to live each day with confidence.
Lastly, what is your number one tip when we are in a hurry in the morning and still want to look good?
Best tip is: plan your outfit the night before. But,
always, always look in the mirror before leaving and ask: "What does this
outfit say about me? What am I telling others about me by wearing this?" If you
like the answer to that question, go out into your day with confidence. If you
don't like the answer, take time to make a change.
What to wear?
Do you ever ponder about that in the morning? Read tomorrow's interview and look at this week's ladies blog, and you will find lots of inspiration.
See you all next day.
Just a reminder that Women's portraits 50 plus have a facebook group with the same name. You are all welcome to read and discuss there.
Finally a new chapter in life!
Life can be awfully hard sometimes and we all handle it differently. This week's woman have been through lots of struggle, but never gives up and although the difficulties, she try to look at things from the bright side. Life can be unfair, and it can be overwhelming, but keep struggling is still the best we can do, and this interview will hopefully be a support to you who are in the middle of a tough time yourself.
Name: Renea Juin
Family: Live with my youngest son
Lives: Gloustershire, Great Britain
Problems or mental illness can of course not be taken care of just by "right thinking", but a positive attitude is always good. How does it help you to have that approach on life?
It's not always easy and something I'm still learning to adapt and some days I feel like I'm drowning or suffocating, but then I know that someone is always going to help me out. There is always support if one needs to have it. Even if it's hard, I got to do it. Some days are of course harder as I suffer from depression. After 23 of domestic violence I was diagnosed with Posttraumatic stress syndrome and Stockholm syndrome. So of course it's hard.
I'm 50 years old and have been through lots of violence and I want some normal life now. I look forward to the little things, it's all I want, just the normal things that we find in the common days, and to be like a complete person. I want my family, friends and my children to see me as the woman who got back up and showed the world she's a lot more than a victim.
Unfortunately last year my dad passed away. That was another blow. But I'm going to fight because going down will let people that hurt me to win and if I can help anyone then something good can come out of the pain. I know that there are many women going through the same thing as I do, that's why I'm telling this even if it's difficult.
You say that sharing our feelings and experiences can be a help for others in their tough situations. How do you mean?
I have had to learn by myself to get back up and carry on. It's a very harsh world we live in and sometimes I have felt that mental health issues are treated like you have the plague. I think the reason is because there's a lot of stigma attached. That's why some people finds it hard to seek help. I also find it hard, but the fear of things breaking me down puts this anger in me to survive and to battle it instead. Because even though you may feel worthless you want to show the world that "yes I'm different but I have rights to a happy life". When one is in that kind of situation, the best thing to do is to speak to others and share the burden.
Myself I never went out and didn't see family or friends during the tough years, so it's going to be hard to find a new path in life. However I will get there and although some may say that people with mental health problems are weak, I can tell that it's not true. We go down sometimes, but then we get back up and try, that's not weak, it's to be strong. Actually we all have hard times and it's the strong people that show it.
As I've got older I was told that so much has happened and you should be used to it. What people saying so don't realize is that you do get used to things, but it's not the same as to stay where you are. It hopefully is making you stronger and stronger and the stronger you get the harder it is to be broken again.
Would you say that it is easier to tackle life when being older?
I wouldn't say that things get easier when one is older, but you learn from experience that even if things sometimes breaks you down, you will survive. So it's still as hard, but one is better to handle things.
We are facing a brand new year, and you have turned 50 and began the "second phase" of life. What do you hope the future will hold for you?
I've made several plans for the new year and hoping to start with several new things. One is to do some volunteer work as I feel that there are a lot that we can do to help others. I'm also hoping to join an art class. Something else that would be fun is to take classes in photography.
Starting with new interests will hopefully bring more positive things in to my life. That will help me to build a better future for myself, but also to get the confidence to have more new experiences further on. I'm looking forward to discover new things in life and also to learn to know new people. But so far, these are my plans and it's not like going out on a big sail or so, but I'm sure it will give me lots of joy.
So after all, I'm looking forward to what will happen this year and further on. Having things and interests to focus on is a great help when life is difficult. We can never give up.
Women's portraits wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
See you 3rd of January again.
Grown up children? We still worry!
Worried about grown up kids? We are many that still worry and in this interview one of all us mothers tells about her thought and talk about the importance of support each other. Shea Delaney, mother and grandmother do feel the joy over having children and grandchildren, but also knows about the worry that one feels now and then. Here she shares her story which includes both reflections and gives wisdom. She may only be 47, but nevertheless her thoughts are exactly what we moms 50 plus have.
Name: Shea DeLaney
Occupation: work from home
Family: Married since 24 years, son and daughter, two beautiful grandsons
Lives: Arkansas, USA
As being middle-aged many of us have grown up children and even though they may have left home, we continue to worry about them. Do you think it ever stops or is it our fate as long as we live?
There are times where I as a momma can't help but worry. I don't think of it as my "fate" but more like my curse at times and other times as my sweet reminders to be on my knees more praying for my children.
I grew up with a momma who worried about everything. If you could imagine it she thought of it and did just that - worry. I knew when I got older I was so much like her and I'm not saying at all I don't love my momma because I do, but worrying isn't something I wanted to get from her.
I know my children are not my own and I know I'm not in control. So I'm still a work in progress but I'm learning everyday to trust Him more. To do so helps me dealing with things better.
In a facebook group you lifted the question about being worried for one's children and the response was huge, so many moms felt the same way as you did. The question witness about that we do not speak very much about it. Is it because we tend to keep things like this to ourselves or simply because we do not want to look like a mother hen?
That night when I asked the question about worrying for our children was such a fearful 2 hours for this momma. Even though my son is married and he's no longer my responsibility I was crippled with absolute fear of knowing where my son was and if he was okay.
To me personally my biggest reason for not sharing isn't because of the fear of being seen as a mother hen but the fear of looking like a failure as a momma. Still, am I the only momma who has had those thoughts of failing my children? I would say probably not at all.
We as mommas need to build each other up instead of tearing each other down. Being a momma is the hardest responsibility and yet the most rewarding. We don't need to add to other mommas struggle by making them feel like they are failing because if they are like me, they are already thinking about it, so they don't need the reinforcement from someone else. However I saw a big support among mom's in the answers on facebook, which was great.
At the same time, it is important not to be too controlling as we have to give our children the free-dome they are entitled to. How did you do yourself to keep that balance?
We've never really be in control of our children. We may think we do but we don't. Our children know they can come to us for advice and they really do. Sometimes they listen and sometimes they don't.
Example... our son has always had to learn the hard way. In fact he's in the middle of learning one of those lessons now. It's so hard to watch and it would be so easy to just sweep in and fix it, but where's the lesson in that for him? He came to us for advice before he made a decision and because we had been there and done that ourselves we gave him the only advice we could from our own experience. He listened and then did what he felt was best for him and now he's being slapped with some consequences.
The last thing I wanted as a young adult was for my momma to try and control me. So why would I think my children would want anything different? It's about respect.
Would you say that fathers are less worried than us mothers?
That's a tricky one because I'm not a dad. So the only way I can even begin to answer is by watching worry between my parents and my husband. Worry comes out in a different way for us. In my home I'm vocal about my worry and I'm emotional and physically sick to my stomach. My husband doesn't tell me he's worried, but I know by his body language and his few words. Sometimes his worry about our children may appear to be anger but it's really deep down fear.
Do daddy's worry? Of course they do and maybe even as much as us mommas but men are (in my life) less likely to vocalize it. Daddy's are just as fearful as the words failure as us mommas.
You even have grandchildren; are you as worried for their sake as well?
The worrying for them hasn't really started yet because they are still so young. Only 4 years and 20 months. But the praying has for sure started!
So, before we end this interview, do you have any idea about what we can do to reduce our anxiety or perhaps being better to support each other?
We've got to be more open with each other without the fear of being judged by others. We've all got our stories of being in the valley for our children, crying ourselves to sleep, sleepless nights of wondering when is the other shoe gonna drop. But we've also got those stories of being on the mountain top shouting sweet victory! The sweet joys of the sweetest blessing and triumphs.
When we release the fear of failure and share with those who don't judge and who's actually walked the roads we're walking there's wisdom to gain. When other mommas share their struggles there's always a momma who has had the same situation and has already claimed victory over it. That's where the wisdom comes in. Another momma investing in another, sharing the struggle side by side. How much easier is it for two people to carry a load rather than one carrying it alone?
Worried about adult children?
If you are, you are far from alone. Tomorrow Shea Delaney shares her thought about this topic and how she herself deals with it.
Three month of women's portraits!
Hello ladies. Already Friday and no, I did not forget the blog yesterday, but was out of town and could not do any post from the device that I had with me. Annoying. But here I am and this week it will not be an interview, but some thoughts and comments. Next week though, the interview will be about worrying when it comes to grown up children. Seems as it never stops and being a mom is a lifelong commitment.
Anyway, now three months have passed since I started this blog and to be honest the reactions has been more positive than I could have wish for. Thank you all for that. Thanks also to the ladies that let me interview you. As the topics has been many, like for example finding a new job after 50, going from poor lifestyle to healthy, dressing smart for the age, how to plan for retirement and the pleasure of having grandchildren, it has been both inspiration and support in the stories that have been told.
The countries from where all women come are many and so far we have covered three continents. What about that! My goal is to tell stories from many more countries, but it has been a good start, that is for sure. Even if we come from different countries and cultures, it is always fascinating to see how similar we are. The challenges in life are pretty much the same even if we live in the USA, Sweden or Australia, to mention some countries that we have been to.
Now, three months after I started doing this interview blog, it has absolutely turn out to what I wanted it to be, a place for only 50 plus women. We are an active group of people, we have more pover and are better educated, and compared to the women some decades ago we are more and more visible. I love to see all women that now is shown in advertises for clothes and make-up. To think about it, how come it has been any other way? I also find it positive that we demand to be seen and want our space in media or wherever it may be. We also talk about whatever we like, no taboo anylonger and that is great.
There are so many places for younger women and also for men, showing only mature ladies was something I wanted to do to contribute to this change as we simply deserves it.
Perhaps you have something, big or small, (nothing is too simple) that you would like to share with us.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if so.
Have a nice week-end!
What would you like to read about?
The ladies that I have had the privilege to interview have shared many different stories. What else would you like to read about? Or do you perhaps have something to share with the rest of us?
Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Traveling the world!
How many of us have not dreamt about doing this special travel to an exotic country but hesitates as we are a bit scared of the unknown? Or perhaps we even want to move to another country to experience something new or develop as persons. But then again, it is so much easier in theory than reality, so we find excuses to stay where we are or make the changes less big. Not all are like that though and some sees the opportunities and not the obstacles. This week's lady has been exploring the world for four decades and still is. Join her journey in life.
Name: Annmarie Goldmann
Family: Separated, one child
Lives: Near Hamburg, Germany
You are a real globetrotter and have even been living abroad for many years until you went back to Germany. Which countries have you been traveling to?
I've seen a lot of the world and been to more than 20 states in the USA, but also traveled to Italy, Austria, France, Venezuela, Bermuda and Japan. I've even done volunteer-work in Kenya in Africa. Tanzania is one of the places I will go next.
How did the curiosity for the world begin?
In short, I had to choose between tradition or my own future and life. Perhaps some of your readers grew up in the 1970s, like I did. It was the "Zeitgeist", this German word which made it into the English language. In those years it meant that everything previous, traditional and the way your parents live, was in question and if in doubt, you choose the opposite from your elders. (That was typical for the 68-generation. But since I was out in the country, that spirit may have reached me with delay. So with my experience as a 15 year old, perhaps your readers aging 60 to 70 associate more.) Anyway, for me that was my world at the time.
The trade mark of teenage life is to find yourself, you identify and search for direction. My conflict was perhaps a bit greater than average. Overpowered by my four brothers, who were hard on me, it was a daily challenge. Whereas on the outside, with relatives and in the village, I was viewed as the "Princess". Home it was however different.
Over the years, I had to fight for my place, my real, the deserving place. When I was over 20, tired of endless competition, I realized that there can't be a solution, not here at home! At the age of 23 - 24, the pressure mounted in an arranged marriage, with no feelings for the "chosen one". By that time, I felt tough enough for whatever is out there, and I grabbed the opportunity to a contact in Chicago. So I was leaving at night, into a frosty January morning, flying to Chicago, Illinois.
After the arrival, when standing there between Lake Michigan and the Skyscrapers, from the first moment on, I felt that this is the gate to the world. I thought that If I can survive here, if I can fit in and let this experience become my identity, nothing and no country is off limit anymore!
I had managed to escape! With all my courage combined, shaky knees, tons of doubt and rough calls with my parents. That was the price I had to pay. And it paid off! That jump across the ocean into the un-known, has somehow changed my DNA (that's how it feels). Once the rope that tied me down was cut and I managed my own life, I realized that the world out there is no scary place.
It's the people you meet, the ones you depend on, that you have to trust. That includes for example the airline pilot and the rickshaw man in the middle of the night in Kuala Lumpur. One has to trust others. It's very much about your level of judgment of people and locations, and how secure you feel about yourself, that's the key to the world!
Back to your question, Katharina: It was out of necessity that I left, and that one jump grew into a lifelong love for discovering people and countries around the globe. I liked the USA and except for living in Illinois many years I also stayed in Florida for six months.
Would you say that it is easier to travel when getting older? Perhaps the body is a bit slower, on the other hand one has more experience and confidence.
In deed I do think so! The physical part, well, of course you have to take care of that. I was thinking ahead. For example when I started to think about Africa it was about 2007. Then I started to spend one hour a day exercising, in the noon-hours, to train myself to hot temperatures. I have kept up this routine all the way "to Africa" in 2016 (and still do today).
Aside from the physical part, it's the emotional side: one benefit is that as a "women of age" your dealings with the opposite sex is much more relaxed and focused on subject matters. You know yourself and you are aware of your appearance. With kindness and the way you carry yourself, you know when to use a little extra-charm to get needed information and extra-help.
That pretty much is the whole secret to gather nice, good people around yourself when in foreign places.
Now you are living in Germany again, in the country where you were born. Will you stay put here or will the curiosity for the world make you move somewhere else again?
I do consider Germany as my base. It was the place I wanted to raise my child, so he would gain the same identity as I have. That was so for the past 26 years. But now he is on a very good road to shape his own life and my husband has liberated me when he asked 2016 for a separation.
Since then, 2016, I am free again to explore and "leave the
house". The base will remain, like the house, the good relationship that I
still have with my husband and no formal divorce. My son Maximilian (26) is
very happy that I re-charge and go out in the world again. So then after the
separation I did my first trip to Africa for three month. That was a very
special and interesting trip of course. So yes, my curiosity remain but Germany
is always my home.
Meet a globetrotter
Dreaming about seeing the world? Next lady, Annmarie Goldmann, did more than just dreamt. Meet her on Thursday.
It hits us all!
Yes, we all know how it is, more of less of course, but regardless of the amount of problems we have during menopause, there are changes in our body. They will not go away just because we talk about them, but ventilating things can help a lot and we may also get some good tips that can relieve our problems. In this interview you can read about a lady that did not suffer in silence, but put a group together and also wrote a book about it all. How lucky are we not to be in a generation that can speak freely about this?
Name: Lynette Sheppard RN
Family: Live with my husband and a cat we call the Dark Lord, who is the boss of our household. We have two grown children and five grandchildren
Lives: We split our time between Molokai, Hawaii and Lake Tahoe,
You have a blog called Menopause Goddess Blog. What made you create a blog about menopause?
My good friend Theresa and I were totally unprepared for the crazy symptoms of menopause. We wondered if there was something wrong with us or if other women were experiencing these changes. So we got a group of women together for what we called "a slumber party with a focus" to explore the Big M. We found that we were all shocked by the changes and bonded in a sisterhood that became the Menopause Goddess Group. I put together our shared wisdom in a book - Becoming A Menopause Goddess. I started the blog as a way to share samples of the book and it took on a life of its own. https://www.menopausegoddessblog.com/ We have a worldwide virtual community of women who connect through the blog now.
After that first meeting, we realized we needed to meet at least once a year to keep learning from one another. We found that sharing wisdom didn't stop with menopause issues, but also was pertinent in aging gracefully and crafting a vision for the second half of our lives. We all believe that we survived and actually thrived because of our group sharings.
It would be interesting to hear some more about the book.
The book, Becoming a Menopause Goddess is really a compilation of the wisdom we shared over the course of several meetings. Physical changes, emotional changes, and mental changes were discussed along with ways to cope with them. I really wrote the book so other women didn't have to go through what we did. I also included exercises for growing ourselves and a guide to Creating A Menopause Goddess group so no one had to start from scratch. The Menopause Goddess blog continues the tradition of women sharing wisdom.
Menopause starts out as a horror movie, but then
transitions into a coming of age story. The time after menopause can truly
become the best part of our lives as we create a vibrant second half of life.
You have experience yourself of how tough it can be. How shall we be able to look forward when things may be difficult due to those pesky hormones?
I always say that women are tough. We can handle anything as long as we know it's temporary and it's normal. Menopause issues are both. Once the worst of the hormonal fluctuations are over, we have the chance to recreate ourselves. We can try the things we've always wished to explore. We are less concerned about our appearance and we become way more comfortable in our skins.
Would you say that menopause is less sensitive to talk about now than for the generations before us? At least it seems like now with the internet, so many more women open up about problems there may be.
Our mother's generation was dubbed "The Silent Generation" for a reason. We grew up where women were no longer silent - we are naturally vocal about our feelings and these changes. That's a very good thing! And the internet helps us connect with other like-afflicted women.
But menopause is not only bad. This is a time of life that we should also celebrate. Many women say that there are many positive things as well. Would you like to share some of those?
First of all, I no longer worry about wearing white pants or skirts.
Seriously, though, I feel comfortable trying all manner of new things - even
just dabbling in artwork and writing and I travel. I no longer worry about
doing things poorly - I can do something just because I enjoy it. I don't fret
about my looks or appearance. I often say that we don't "let ourselves go" but
we "allow ourselves to be". We learn to nurture ourselves as we once nurtured
our kids and spouses. The sky is the limit. Second adulthood is the best!
US lady next
On Thursday you will meet the next woman, Lynette Sheppard from Hawaii and Nevada, USA. Welcome then and see what she has to say. As always it will be interesting.
Planning for retirement
Retirement; taste the word. What does it mean to you? A feeling of "finally" after a whole life in the rat race? Or does it make you feel old and furthermore stressed about losing your identity and all co-workers? We all approach this time of life differently. Some of us choose to stay at work but fewer hours per day or week, others embrace the free time fully and look forward to finally being able to do the things that had to be put aside due to all the "musts" in life. But regardless, it is a period of time that needs to be considered and planned. It is actually the rest of your life. Jan Wild, a lady from Australia, has an award winning blog with her partner Rowan Rafferty about this topic. Here she tells about how the two of them are looking at retired life and what is important to think about to have the best out of the years to come.
Name: Jan Wild
Family: In permanent relationship, no children
Lives: Noosaville, Queensland, Australia
You have recently retired and at the same time you and your partner started a blog about this phase of life. Actually you seem to still be working as it must take some time to managing it.
We started blogging at Retiring not Shy! - https://www.retirement-planning.info/ - just over 3 years ago. At that time we had both left full time employment although Rowan was working from home helping clients who wanted to take their businesses to the web. We also had 2 acres of land to manage and Rowan was involved in an important volunteer role. We were busy, but I in particular felt isolated in the location we were then living in. Blogging was the perfect mechanism for me to find a new community in the online world, and I have had so much support and pleasure from the women who I have met online (and subsequently some, like Kathy Marris, face to face). (Kathy Marris has also been on Women's portraits, adm.)
Managing the blog and associated social media can be incredibly time consuming, and yet as a business owner there is the opportunity to balance and manage ones own time. Whilst there can be a financial impact in stepping back, I have learnt to not put too much pressure on myself. At the moment we are having renovations done at our home, and because that has been draining, I have taken a mini break from social media in order to take off pressure. We are usually our own worst enemies and funnily enough the world hasn't stopped despite my pulling back a little.
We don't really talk about retirement in our lives - we use instead the word rewirement, the re-focusing of energy more in accordance with preferences. Retirement can give such a negative impression of withdrawal from not only the workforce but from the world. For us, rewirement is a time to re-engage with the world in new ways; it can be a time of great vibrancy.
The blog has even been awarded. What was it that stood out you think?
We knew when we started the blog that there was a gap in terms of information on the non-financial aspects of retirement. We cover many aspects of life after 50 - both planning for it and living it. There is not a lot of point having pots of money if you don't have good health, happy relationships, and meaningful activities.
I think it was our holistic focus on retirement that gained us the Top Ten Australian Retirement Blog Award. As you can imagine, we were delighted.
When browsing on your blog Retiring not Shy! this caught my eye: "time management". One would think that being retired is the same as having all the time in the world. Can you develop?
Hah yes, one does expect to have all the time in the world but retirement for our generation is, and needs to be, different to that of our parents. They retired at 65 already worn out and often with a short life ahead of them. Their retirement aspirations were usually quite "domestic" with a focus on local community and family and taking it easy physically.
With the changes in family structures and a lot of breaking down of community supports, as well as living much longer lives, our generation needs to find new and personally inspiring ways of using that extended time. By and large our health is better, we are better educated and more financially secure (although that doesn't apply to everyone).
We have typically had careers which have engaged our minds and given us a sense of purpose. If we leave the workforce without any well developed plans we can quickly experience relevance deprivation syndrome and fall into depression. It is crucial to our happiness to plan activities (yes they can be leisure activities like travel) which provide personal meaning and a sense of engagement with the world. One often needs to work on relationships too if past relationships have been largely focused on the workplace. Those are all reasons to use time wisely and "productively".
Even if you have not been retired for so long, is it like you thought?
I am not sure I thought about it too much, and hence my understanding of relevance deprivation and depression, I, like many others, retired from something not to something, and that was a mistake. Having learnt that lesson we wanted to, through the blog, help others to get it right.
Nowadays my life in semi-retirement is pleasantly full with blogging, friends and family, community, travel, and activities to take care of my health. So, I guess I can say that if I had positively imagined my retirement I would have wished it to be like it is now.
So, when shall one begin to plan for the years to come being 65 and over?
That is such an individual decision. Certainly getting your financial affairs in order should start absolutely as soon as possible. Whilst I would say that money isn't everything, it is a means to an end and can create the foundation for a fabulous retirement.
The rest of the details
like where to live, what to do in retirement, etcetera, may evolve over time. I
recommend creating a vision board as "retirement inspiration" pops up. And of
course, if you are in a relationship, have many long and honest conversations
with your partner about your dreams and aspirations. Get ready
to have the time of your life.
About to retire?
Then you would not like to miss the next interview.
Jan Wild started a blog about the years to come together with her partner when the couple retired. Now they share what one needs to think about to have the most out of the new life.
Being stylish has no age
Vanity. Some may say it is superficial, but most of us want to look good and being your best is not something bad, actually the opposite as we feel better inside when we look good on the outside. And the other way around of course. So we do try to take care of both inside and outside. Then again it is not always easy to know what to choose and looking good sometimes also comes with a price tag. But it does not have to be either difficult or expensive to be vain and beautiful and to make the best of ourselves. Take a peek on Laurie Bronze web site and you will find lots of tips about all from skin care to where to buy your new boots.
Name: Laurie Bronze
Occupation: Fashion-, beauty- and lifestyle blogger
Family: Married, three children and eight grandchildren
Your blog is called "Vanity & Me" and you also add: "Fashion & Beauty For The Mature Woman Not Ready To Hang Up Her High Heels". Could you tell about the name and the statement?
I found choosing a blog name really hard actually. If anyone reading this is thinking about starting a blog, you need to make sure that the name you choose is available for all media platforms and hasn't yet been taken. That way, it's easy for people to find and reach you on those platforms.
Vanity And Me popped up when my partner was helping me choose. When the suggestion was that blogging was for women who love themselves and constantly looking in the mirror! A total misunderstanding! Yes, I like to look after myself but I'm actually quite shy and my partner thought I wouldn't have the guts to put myself out there.
The tagline "not ready to hang up the high heels yet" means exactly that! Plus the fact that I'm only 5'2/157,5 so I need extra height! I'm not wearing skyscrapers but you can't beat a nice heeled shoe/boot to finish off a look.
What kind of response do you get from women who read your blog?
A lot of my readers like to read about new skincare tips. If I find something that's good I will be shouting about it. I receive lots of beauty products to try but if they don't make the grade then they don't get talked about. So when I'm writing about beauty products or a treatment that I've tried I'm quite passionate about it.
My fashion is very purse friendly. I love to shout about a bargain and I know my readers like that. I find my fashion everywhere. I dress classic and often look for high-end high street items in the sale plus I shop in cheaper stores; it all depends on the quality. I don't wear anything overly expensive on my website and I stick to my favourite brands. If the quality is not good it wouldn't be shown there.
When you were at senior school it happened that you traded your lunch money for Vogue Magazine and the interest for fashion has been following you through life. You have also had three hair salons. How do you look at style and fashion now as middle aged compared to when you were younger?
I feel a lot more confident in making my choices regarding fashion at my age. I know what will suit me and which new trends I can try and which ones to stay away from. When I was younger I would try everything! I'm cringing at the thought of some of my mistakes!
Ten years from now, where will you be then?
In ten years I will be 65! I'm really happy doing what I'm doing. Ok, I'm going to look a lot older in photos but I'm hoping my readers will stay and age with me.
dream would be to write an online magazine featuring my blogger friends I've
made along the way. I can't imagine ever not blogging. I feel like I'm living
the dream at the moment in my fifties (who'd have thought?) and I hope it will
continue. I'm also learning the vlogging side. I've made a few films and
there's a lot to learn! But do pop over for a nose. I could use the
Looking good after 50? Of course!
On Thursday you will be able to read about and be inspired from
Laurie Bronze, a true fashion lady.
Invisible after 50? Absolutely not!
Being middle aged makes most of us reflect about life and sometimes the conclusion is not as bright as we want it to be. For Kathy Marris her feeling of being invisible led to a blog where she shares a lot of things about life and she is certainly not invisible any longer. She now inspires other women with posts about many different things. And if you want to learn more about the country down under, you find 263 articles to do so from.
Name: Kathy Marris
Occupation: Freelance writer and blogger
Family: Married with two children
Lives: Kingscliff, New South Wales, Australia
Your blog https://www.50shadesofage.com/advertise-with-me/brings up many issues for women 50 plus. Where does the inspiration come from and how do you pick subjects?
Around 6 years ago I was working as a bookkeeper in an office, having just said goodbye to my second child as he moved out of home, felt very bored with my life and despondent. I felt like an invisible woman! I started writing short articles about my experiences of being a 50 something year old in a lighthearted and humorous manner.
Eventually I decided I would like to start up my own blog and publish these articles with the intention of making women of my age feel like they weren't alone and hoping to inspire them to embrace their age and do more with their lives. 50 Shades of Age was born and I have never looked back. As the blog has evolved it has transitioned more into a travel and lifestyle blog. However I do write about other things as well, for example technology, which one usually won't see on a blog like mine, but I find it important to not fall behind.
For many women in my age group one of the biggest challenges is technology in this ever-changing world. Fortunately I'm able to keep abreast of most technology changes as I work for a company in the hotel marketing and sales sector writing website content and blogs, so I have to be up to date. There are times when I feel in over my head with technology because there are new advancements every single day.
My advice is to take short courses and workshops in technology. These are sometimes available at your local library, TAFE college (if you live in Australia), or try some online courses. Otherwise I find other bloggers are a world of information and I'm part of Facebook groups that are also a great source when you have a technological issue.
It is six years since you stated the blog and it is still your passion. Did it turn out the way you hoped?
Yes my blog is definitely still my passion. As is travel! I get immense pleasure out of travelling throughout Australia and the world, taking photos and writing about my experiences on the blog. Although I initially thought I was going to make heaps of money from my blog, I would have to say that the blog didn't quiet work out the way I hoped. However what was surprising was the following I collected and the many wonderful over 50 women that I have connected with through this experience.
Your blog is well organized with much information and with many nice pictures. If someone reading this interview would like to start a blog of their own, what would your tip be?
Thank you. Photography is one of my hobbies and I always try to post beautiful photos of the destination that I'm visiting on the blog.
My tip for those starting a blog would be not to set your expectations too high. There is a lot more competition around these days in the blogging world and you may set yourself up for disappointment if you think you're going to make heaps of money from a blog. If you're starting up a blog for enjoyment then I would say "go for it"!
You wanted to inspire and you really do, but is there anything that we cannot do after 50, or is everything still possible?
The saying "the mind is willing and the body is weak"
springs to mind! I think mentally we are still on our game after the age of 50,
but sometimes you can't physically do the things you used to do. Otherwise I
think the possibilities are endless and the over 50's should continue to
challenge themselves every living day.
Tuesday already and only two days from now next interview will be published. Meet Kathy Marris from New South Wales,
a lady that makes the most of her time.
Did you know that Women's portraits 50 plus has a facebook group? Welcome there!
A lady full of energy!
What would be the best way to introduce this week's lady? Well, a quote from her web page does the job very well: "Hi. I'm Patti. I'm a baby boomer who's still amazed I survived the '70's! I'm a hopeless DIYer and love any project that stretches my creative muscles. I'm interested in more things than I have hours in the day to pursue. I have an insatiable need to learn and am happiest when I'm Googling." Her community has a lot for women our age, so go to https://www.womenoverfiftynetwork.com/about/ and find out more.
Name: Patti Huck
Occupation: Writer, motivator
Family: My husband (the love of my life), daughter 38, son 37, and five grandchildren
Lives: Washington State, USA
You seem to be highly motivated. Have you always been that way? What motivates you?
Thinking back, I guess I have always been that way. What motivates me? Being faced with a challenge, whether it's a self-imposed challenge, or one that life has thrown at me. I've always loved to learn, and was that annoying child always asking "why?" I'm a highly emotional person, a little defiant, and very independent. I tend to throw myself into projects that I'm passionate about. I'm very driven and have always loved a challenge.
When I was a child, I had pretty significant asthma that interfered with a lot of normal childhood activities. Although I knew what my allergy triggers were, I often ignored them in an attempt to be "normal" like the other kids. I'd desperately wanted a pet, but was deathly allergic to dogs and cats. There was a night my mom came in to kiss me goodnight and found me in a full-blown asthma attack. She couldn't identify what triggered it until a cute little kitten that I'd smuggled into the house and hid under my covers peeked it's little head out.
I continued to push my limits throughout my childhood and into high school. I remember hating my Civics class and my grade reflected it. My dad challenged me to work hard enough to just pass the class. His challenge excited me, and was the motivation I needed to not only pass the class, but receive a final grade of an A.
When I married and had my two children, I fell madly in love with them. I vowed, like most new mothers, to become the best mother I could possibly be. My husband's work took him out of town for months at a time which put a strain on a marriage that was already precarious. He had been gone during the majority of the challenges I was faced with during our marriage. Over a 5 - 6 year period we almost lost our son to meningitis, my mother passing from leukemia at 51, my father suffered a fatal heart attack two years later at 61. I was alone when I underwent surgery for cervical cancer with an uncertain prognosis. My love for my children was my motivation to keep pushing forward and gave me strength.
You are running a website called "Women Over Fifty Network". What is it, and how did it begin?
Women Over Fifty Network is a network of women over the age of fifty who come together to inspire, support and celebrate each other.
A few years ago, my daughter and I created a website called organized CHAOSonline (https://organizedchaosonline.com). We both are list-makers and love to organize. We are also DIY'ers and love discovering cleaning hacks and great tips. Most of our readers were more my daughter's age, so the blogs we wrote spoke to that age group. After a couple years, I missed "my people". I wanted to write about things that interested my age group and develop relationships with women my age. But I wanted my site to be different from others I'd seen. I didn't want to just speak at other women, I wanted to have two-way conversations with them, and I wanted to find ways for them to all connect with each other.
My vision was to have women over fifty from all over the world have a place they could go where they knew they were accepted. I wanted them to be inspired to try new things, learn new skills, make new friends. I wanted all of us to celebrate each other's successes and accomplishments, no matter how small, and a place they could get support and comfort when struggling through difficult times.
What makes Women over Fifty Network different from other "lifestyle blogs"?
I wanted Women Over Fifty Network to be a different website than just one where I write blogs to you. I love all my subscribers, but at first they're just a faceless name. I want to know my subscribers. I want my subscribers to know each other. We all have our age in common. I want Women Over Fifty to feel like a women's club where we all get together and become friends. I want all my subscribers to know each other. I am forever coming up with different ways to make that happen. I ask readers to write in and share their stories about reinventing themselves in hopes of inspiring other readers. What they have gone through and how they survived may be exactly what someone else is needing to hear right at that moment.
We have a Pen Pal Exchange for subscribers. After completing a profile, women are matched with other profiles and become pen pals. Some great friendships have come from this.
I have recently requested that any subscribers who have their own blogs let me know. I will be featuring their blogs in upcoming blog posts. This gives those bloggers exposure and it also lets other subscribers get to know a fellow subscriber.
I also am continually searching for information, products and other over 50 bloggers to share with my readers and ask for their feedback. I encourage communication on our Facebook pages, and love when I hear from my subscribes through email or messages. I am passionate about bring women of the Baby Boomer generation together to lift each other up, celebrate and be proud of the strong, resourceful, fun, independent women we all are!
On your website you wrote: "My passion is to provide resources and teach skills to motivate, educate and inspire women over fifty to move them closer to realizing their dreams. I believe it's never too late to live the lives we've always wanted." Would you say that women in general aren't very good at promoting each other, and don't often end up actually doing what they dream about doing?
Yes and no. Although times have changed and women are no longer considered the weaker sex, I do believe that our generation sometimes still holds on to that old school stereotype, and oftentimes it's the women themselves. I've thought about this a lot. One theory I have why we don't end up doing what we've always dreamed about is because we may have created our 'bucket list' at a much younger age, and then life happened. Maybe when we have the chance to revisit our list of dreams, most of them have now lost their appeal, and we don't have a back up list. For some, that can cause a feeling of resentment that they've' missed the boat'. Thinking their dreams are no longer attainable, it can cause complacency and laziness. That's when people can become more and more closed off from the modern world and become an "old person", not willing to learn new skills, try new things, or meet new people.
When we have nothing in our lives that we're looking forward to or are excited and passionate about, our world becomes smaller and smaller, and all we can do at that point is to resort to doing only the things we already know how to do. For a lot of us, that would be cleaning house, cooking, and other household chores. How boring is that? That leaves a nagging or depressing feeling that life has passed us by.
It sounds like you're a woman on the go. With all that you're involved in, where do you get your energy?
I think I've always been kind of hyper. I love being outside, and when I'm feeling well, I love to golf, ride bikes, and do other outside activities. I have recently made a commitment to better health. I have started walking every day, and a friend and I are doing a plank challenge. We time ourselves, take a screenshot of our end time and send each other the results.
The biggest change to my life though is having recently discovered pure therapeutic exogenous ketones. I drink them twice a day and quite honestly they've changed my life. Just like wanting to share the benefits of massage for women with fibromyalgia, or just women in general, I'm sharing the benefits of pure therapeutic exogenous ketones. There is medical evidence emerging every day of how they help different conditions, one of them showing vast improvement in Alzheimer's and cognitive function.
I won't go on and on about them here, but there is a 4-minute video that explains in non-medical fashion how the ketones work in your body that I'd be glad to share with anyone who is interested. Just friend me on Facebook and send me a message.
You asked about passion? I am ABSOLUTELY passionate about getting the word out about this amazing product!! In just two months my mood has changed, I've lost 15 pounds effortlessly, I have 3 X the energy and I haven't had a flare of fibromyalgia since I started drinking them. I've also noticed that I'm able to focus better and don't have the "brain fog" anymore that is so common with fibromyalgia. Science has also determined that they have anti-aging properties. Woo hoo!
It's easy to get stuck in routines. With stressful lives, just taking up a new interest can be overwhelming. Any last word about how to get started if one feels that way?
It's interesting that you asked me this question. Not long ago I was looking for ways to change my sleep schedule to allow me to be more productive. I found the advice: Start changing a routine with just one thing. I was in the habit of staying up until 2:00 - 3:00 am and then waking up late the following morning immediately irritated that my day was getting a late start. Here's what I did...
My 'one thing' was to make myself go to bed ½ hour earlier. I used a method that Mel Robbins originated and explains in her book "The 5 Second Rule". She claims that to get yourself to do something you don't want to do, aren't used to doing, or are afraid to do, you you just count down quickly from 5 to 1. When you reach 1, you immediately do that thing without thinking about it. So when I was sitting at the computer at 2:30 am and remembered I wanted to start going to bed earlier, I immediately counted 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and got up, turned my office light out and went to bed. Once you start counting, you just do that thing. No excuses. No matter what.
I've used it to get myself out the door for my walk on cold mornings, and find myself counting down in other situations before I even know I'm doing it, I guess we subconsciously know the things we're going to drag our feet on. Try it - it works!
New interview on its way
Next interview will be as interesting as the others have been. It is about Patti Huck who runs a community for ladies over 50.
Do not miss that. Soon it will be out.
My grandchildren keeps me young!
Having grandchildren or not, I am sure you will like this story. Lisa Ayala loves her family and is blessed with two grandsons that keep her young. There have actually been studies done that shows that grandparents who cares for their grandchildren live longer. Same with parents helping their own adult children with things. So except for the positive in general with a close relation to the family, it is also good for the health. Then of course the small members in a family deserve attention and love, which also helps them to be good humans as adults. So it is an investment for all. But for Lisa, it is not only the children in the family that she cares for, she even works with kids. Read and be inspired!
Name: Lisa Ayala
Occupation: Child care provider
Family: Clarissa, Marina, Nick and grandsons Nixon and Xander
Lives: Fontana, California, USA
You have said that your grandchildren
keep you young. What do you do together when you see each other?
Yes, my focus in life is to be active for my grandchildren. They keep me young and on my toes. I try my best to spend as much time as I can with them. My special time consist of playing, running and showing them that grandma Lisa will always be there for them no matter what. I want my grandbabies to always remember our play time and how much fun we had!
Would you say that you would be less active as a person if you did not have your grandchildren? Furthermore you even work with young ones.
I wouldn't say less active but it definitely helps to be with them. I try my best to be as active and healthy as I can. Not only do I need to stay active for my grandchildren but for my job as well. Being a child care provider and caring for different age children keeps me going to. I've done this for over 20 years and I still love my job.
My job as a day care provider allows me to love, teach and nurture children while parents are away at work. As children grow and move on it's very heartbreaking because I get so attached. In the end it's rewarding because I know they will always remember me and the tender loving care I provided for them.
Family is very important to you. Do you look at the value of a family, I mean in general, with different eyes now when you have reached this age?
Yes, of course! I was raised by a single, strong determined mother. She taught me everything from fixing cars to fixing things around the house. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't value the relationship my mother and I had. The most important thing she taught me was to be the best mother I can. I thank her for that!
Family has always been very important to me. After ending a 23 year marriage, I went through a very difficult time. I thank God for my kids because that's what got me through my tough time. My children have always meant the world to me. I never thought my heart could be fuller until my children began to have children. My love grows stronger every day. In matter a fact I will be a grandmother to another little boy next month, and of course there will be room for him in my heart also.
Reaching my 50's was not as bad as some other women make it sound. I've always told myself, "age is just a number". My goal in life is to live day by day, live life to the fullest, and to be happy. That goal helps me to be who I am.
As a grandmother, would you say that the relation towards the grandchildren is different from the one you had with your own children when they were young?
I have three children: Clarissa (28), Marina (25), and my son Nickolas (20). Our bond is very strong. I've always felt I had a great relationship with my kids as they were growing up. I was called the "Cool Mom!" which I loved because my mother was the same way. It's thanks to her that I am the person I am today. I love my kids dearly but yes, the bond with my grandchildren is a little different. It's kind of hard to explain. In a nutshell, I can enjoy them without having to worry about them. We all worry but I have all the faith that my children know what they're doing as parents.
Not all grandparents have such strong bonds towards the grandchildren. Can you as an ending to this interview give any good advice to succeed?
My advice would be to spend as much time with them as possible. Kids grow so fast, so don't wait or postpone seeing them. Let them know they can trust you, spoil them to a certain extent, make them feel safe when they're with you, and most importantly, show them lots of love and affection!
Only one day left
Tomorrow you will meet Lisa Ayala from the USA. Read about her love for her grandchildren.
Monday and new week. Hope it has started well. When I wrote last week and developed some more about this blog, I said that following Thursday will be as usually, with a new lady sharing her story. This time it will be about a grandmother telling how much her grandchildren mean to her. I hope it will be pleasant reading regardless of being a grandmother yourself or not. So, see you then!
About the blog and me
Yes, it is Thursday, and normally I would put an interview out here, but today I am going to talk a little about the blog and reflect upon the first month of it. I will begin with saying thank you for all the positive comments. I am truly overwhelmed as there has been nothing bad said so far. May come though!
Anyway, it has been lots of fun doing this. During those five weeks I have recieved questions both on why I am doing the blog, who I am and even how I find the ladies that I interview. I though I should develop this a little bit more, even if I have been rather clear about the blog itself and also written some about why I am doing it.
When I turned 50 three years ago, it was my best birthday. Not in every way as I was in a difficult situation in life, but still I had a great day, a calm one, but great still. The fact that I share birhtday with the famous Agatha Christie, who should have been 125 then, did not make it worse of course. I think that why I felt fine with being older was the fact that I had been pondering a lot of ageing. Then I began to read a magazine for women 50 plus and also joined different facebook groups and talked with friends about getting older. Somehow it was like being 20 again, it kind of started all over with a new part, a second phase ahead and now I was at the beginning of the new so to speak.
I can not say that I like all about growing older. Health change to the worse, that is for sure, wrinkles come and even the knees have them! But there are other things in life that at least I feel is something that is positive and that is that one has lots of knowledge in combination with life experience. That is truly a positive thing. For example it helps us taking better decisions. Many also feel that they know better who they are, which absolutely is an advantage. Then if we compare with the generations before us, we are certainley not old. Older yes, but most of us can look forward to many, many years to come with good quality.
To sum it up, life is more difficult in some ways, but the advantage of getting older usually is bigger than the disadvantage of it. Reading about all women that I did, and seeing friends and workmates around my age and older, some much older, told me that life goes on and it does not at all have to be bad getting older. It can even get better. So since the day I turned 50, I have embraced this age and honestly love it. I find it so rewarding to read and learn about other women, even if the stories not always are about success or happy things, but they are about life, and life includes both ups and downs.
Out of all those thoughts this blog developed and I am so glad I did it and not left it as a thought. In this blog I want to show life's different sides. It can both support and inspire, but also motivate us to take new ways in life, or finding new interests or something else. One woman also asked me where I find the ones that I interview. The answer is: different ways and so far I have found them myself. I am keeping my eyes open all the time if someone shows up that would be nice to interview. But if you have a story to tell or know someone else who has, please contact me.
When it comes to me and who I am, I have mostly been in politics, mainly as a political secretary and a municipal commissioner. After leaving that life, I have written a book about politics, written debate articles, started a political blog, and also been studying. I am married and have three grown up children, and also a cat.
Thanks for reading, and do not hesitate to send your thoughts. Next Thursday another lady will be here telling her story. Look out for that.
With the right attitude, changes are always possible
As 50 "plussers", Carol Turner and her husband started all over in a new town and Carol even changed work. With a solid base consisting of friends and family, changes do not need to be scary. Then, with interests that give life meaning and help one to relax, it is even easier. If you are a foodie, there are no limits for the creativity. Be inspired and why not follow this Canadian food lover on Instagram?
Name: Carol Turner
Occupation: Sales and merchandising representative
Family: Harold, Zack and Alannis
Lives: Ontario Canada
Within the latest years your oldest child has left home, and you, your husband and youngest one have moved to another town. You have also changed work. A lot have happened, how come you did all those changes now?
Yes, there have definitely been a lot of changes the past few years. When you experience a lot of major changes in a short time it's almost like beginning a new life. For me, I've always been a firm believer that if you have the people you love around you any change is possible. This does not always mean "physically around"; my son, Zack, has been away at university the past three years but we have a solid relationship and he has reacted favourably to our family changes as well, particularly in relocating from a small town where he lived his entire life to a small city with much larger population.
One of the reasons we relocated from the small town we'd lived in the past 15 years was our daughter began attending university in the city we moved to. Another reason for the move was our desire to have more opportunity in terms of how our leisure time is spent, ie restaurants, night school courses, theater, etcetera. There is so much to offer now we are once again living in the city.
As for my employment, that has been another change but definitely a positive one. I enjoy the challenges of a new career and now I am working as a sales representative for a major food company I feel like I am experiencing complete job satisfaction. So yes, there have been a lot of changes but my family, consisting of my husband and two children, is incredibly strong and supportive which has always made any change possible.
Leaving what has been home for many years and start all over again means that one has to start a new social life. Has it been easier or harder when being 50 plus and what have you done to find new friends?
It is certainly a bit harder making friends when you are over 50 and relocate to a new town or city. For me the question is, how much effort are you willing to make to meet new people? There is ample opportunity through classes, meet up groups, clubs, volunteer work, etcetera, so I have never felt it is particularly difficult. I have a core group of friends who I see on a regular basis; friends I made over 20 years ago when I lived in Toronto. In addition, I have made a few lifelong friends through the jobs I've had and places we have lived. Best of all, I regularly see my best friend from childhood who I've known for 40 years.
You don't need a lot of friends; you just need quality friends! In addition, I ran into a good friend of mine last Easter who I had lost touch with and we instantly reconnected. She now lives only 10 minutes from me. I see her socially every couple of weeks which is fantastic!
Food is central both when it comes to finding friends, socialize and work. Tell about that part of your life.
Food! Yes, food is a huge part of my life. It satisfies me in so many ways. Mostly cooking satisfies my creative spirit. Not every dish is a masterpiece but it is satisfying to tackle a complex recipe successfully, pull a bunch of mismatched ingredients from the fridge/pantry and create something interesting, or pick an ethnic cuisine and prepare a full course meal with flavours that are unique and foreign from what we may commonly eat in Canada.
When my husband and I travel we make a point of renting apartments so we can shop at the local markets and create meals in our own space. Restaurants are great but there's nothing like picking your own produce, proteins and spices and cooking your own dishes either from a recipe or simply what inspires you. A while back I opened an Instagram account where I feature mostly food I've prepared. It's fun to showcase my food creations as well as become inspired by photos submitted by other Instagram foodies. Another bonus to gourmet cooking is it completely relaxes and "de-stresses" me after a long and busy day and gives me the opportunity to share my passion with my friends. Sharing meal time with friends and family is a big part of my life.
As both your children are adults, very likely also your youngest will soon leave the nest. How do you look at life in the future when it will be only you and your husband?
I am lucky to still have my youngest child living at home but I realize it is just a matter of time until she completes university and moves on with her life. This is simply another change for all of us. It brings me back to how change is easily possible and can be embraced as long as you know your family unit is strong. Children have to leave and spread their wings. I will miss her, being our last child to leave but my hopes are that both she and my son will eventually settle close to us. Regardless of where our children end up I am looking forward to this next stage of life with my husband. This year we celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary and are fortunate to still have a great relationship. Hopefully there will be a bit more travel in our future and perhaps a night school class together, but I honestly don't expect things to be too much different. It's just another change in life.
Would you say that common interests would be the best for staying together when the parenting part is over?
has been a very important responsibility for my husband and I but we have
always taken time to nurture our relationship which has included traveling
without the kids, date nights and social activities. We have also made a
point of focusing on our own independent lives which we have both always felt
was important. We share many common interests such as camping, traveling
and cooking, and we will continue to enjoy those activities together. We will
never stop growing as a couple when we partake in our similar interests
together but we will never lose that independent aspect of our relationship and
will continue to enjoy interests of our own. Balance is important!
Interview on its way
Yes ladies, it is Thursday again and an interview is on its way. Next will be with Carol Turner from Canada. Please be patient and within some hours it will be published.
On a mission to help others
This week's interview is about something that many parents are dealing with, or have dealt with when their kids were younger. Or perhaps you are a grandmother to a child with ADHD or some other neuropsychiatric disorder. Then you will find what Lyn Oualah does both interesting and important. But even if you have never got in contact with this, read and learn, because there are still many parents that feel judged, and they ought not to. We are all different and should be treated equally.
Name: Lyn Oualah
Occupation: Specialist parenting coach (teacher, accredited ADHD coach and ASD advisor).
Family: Four children (18 - 25), one of whom had a formal diagnosis of ADHD as a child.
Lives: Just outside Reading (Woodcote), England, for almost 21 years.
You have a business called Redkite Coaching Solutions (www.rkcs.co.uk) where you help to both parents and professionals dealing with children and/or adults that have different needs within the neuropsychiatric field as well as those who do not. Can you tell about the business and what kind of assignments you take on?
My business, RedKite Coaching Solutions, was set up in April 2017. I had previously spent 16 + years with Reading's Youth Offending Service where the principal aim was to prevent further offending. As education/parenting officer, my specific role was to support children (aged 10-18 years) and their parents to access and/or maintain whatever education placement was to hand or on offer. I also ran close to 40 Positive Parenting Programmes (Triple P) for the whole of Reading. This post gave me first-hand experience of working with families from all walks of life and professionals from a number of agencies: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), Children's Social Care, Schools/Colleges and Police.
RedKite Coaching Solutions (RKCS) provides impartial advice, guidance and encouragement to parents, children or professionals who are looking to do something positive about presenting behavioral or parenting problems. My work is dictated by the needs/wants of the child, parent or professional and can be delivered on a 1:1 basis or in a group setting. It might be a one-off session, anywhere between 8 - 12 sessions as part of a programme or even ongoing weekly coaching/mentoring sessions. Either which way it usually involves unpicking the presenting issues, creating a sense of optimism and purpose and resulting in a commitment to the agreed action plan or action points.
The work typically focuses on: all things ADHD/ASD related, anxiety, mood regulation, routines and boundaries, positive parenting strategies, resilience and well-being, school, safety and safeguarding (child protection), Child to Parent Violence & Abuse (CPVA) not to mention advocacy at meetings.
What is the best bit about having your own business?
I love the fact that I can channel my energies into providing parents with the kind of practical support and guidance that will be of benefit to them. One of my aims is to help parents realise that having a child with special educational needs and/or a "disorder" isn't the end of the world and that all parties can live to tell the tale! Secondly, I encourage parents to acknowledge and appreciate that 'sparkly moments' are still there in abundance, even when the going gets tough.
This is a concept I coined more than 10 years ago. "Sparkly moments" are essentially the smallest of things which make the parents smile. They are the sorts of things that may be unexpected, provide a bit of light relief or give the parent hope that this type of positive behaviour can (and will) happen again. Quite often, the biggest single challenge for parents is in fact to notice them in the first place and then to be sure to celebrate them with the child!
As a teacher and also a mother to a child with ADHD, you have had many years of experience in dealing with these problems. How would you say it has helped you?
My professional life has had a huge influence on my personal life and vice versa. It has been really important to keep up with current research as well as trends/thinking in terms of behaviour management and it has benefitted my professional practice as well as my personal circumstances. I've come to realise there's a lot I can do, in either capacity, but that one person, does not and cannot have sole responsibility for how the child behaves or turns out (with or without ADHD), be they a parent or professional. Moreover, it's a message I really want other parents and professionals to understand and accept.
Even if we know much more today, would you say there are still many prejudices?
Who knows? Either which way, it's vital parents and professionals have access to the right level /kind of support when they need it! It's a shame but parents are always telling me they feel judged and this often prevents them from coming forward yet alone from trying to access services.
You are living and working in the United Kingdom. How far have you come compared to other countries when understanding and helping children with these diagnoses?
We've come a long way, but there's still so much to learn and do, especially when it comes to 'joined-up' thinking and the pooling of resources particularly when there are so many job cuts (as was the case for me in 2017).
Finally, what would be the most important to think about as a parent or a grandparent?
Stay away from the naysayers! Seek out people
instead who 'get it' and can give you practical as well as moral support to
help you on your parenting journey! You and your child are worth the
Thursday tomorrow and a new interview again!
Only one day left to the next, and fourth, interview. This time we will learn about Lyn Oualah from the United Kingdom telling about her work helping children and adults with ADHD and similar diagnoses. Do not miss that.
Why are you doing this blog?
I was asked that question during the week-end and although I did answer directly to the person, and also have told why here on the blog, I continued to ponder about it. First of all I have to admit that it is a great pleasure to do this and I find it very interesting to hear about different life stories. But except for the fun part, I know that many goes through a difficult phase when leaving the 40's and suddenly being closer to 60 than to 40. Hearing about others and their stories can be something positive then. Many may feel old, but hey, we are not old! We are just older, but still have so many years to come if we are lucky.
When I turned 50 I wanted this "second part" of life to be something great and felt that it was the start of something new. In some way it was like being 20 again with so much to come. On the other hand my body told me that I was far from that young age. Still, I was at the beginning of this second part and I asked myself what I would like to do with it and how to use my time the best way.
I would lie if I said that I am as affective as I would like to, but I do try to do as much as possible and one thing that has helped me and also inspire me is to read about this age and other ladies. I have done that on the internet and in magazines and it has showed me that although we face new problems related to being older, this other half of it can be great. So I guess that these years of being 50 plus has lead to this blog and to celebrate 50 plus life. We can read a lot about young women and about men, but this is for us!
Before starting the blog I looked on the internet to see if there already was a blog like this, and I did not find any. Still I wanted to read one and here it is. I hope you enjoy the reading and if you have a story to share or know someone, just let me know.
Have a nice week, regards Katharina Wallenborg
I got my life back!
It is so fascinating to hear about Cindy Valenti's destiny. From being so close to death as she was, and then changing to be as healthy and vibrant is admirable. Her story may hopefully help others that need to change their situation, but finds it hard. Life is sometimes very hard, at other times just wonderful. Cindy is a perfect example of how much our lifestyle do for us. It can either take us down the road and make life miserable, or it can give us good quality of life. It is possible, read this interview and you will be convinced.
Name: Cindy Valenti
Occupation: Health- and Wellness Coach
Family: I am married to my husband Richard. I have two children, Tom who is 30, and Lizzy who is 28. I have three sisters and one brother, and my mom is 82 years young. My grandson Coleman was born on December 9, 2017 on Richard's birthday.
Lives: East Haven, Connecticut, USA
You do seem to be a text example how to live the healthy way that we all want to live. Tell about your lifestyle.
I exercise every day with a combination of HIIT (high intensity interval training), weights and core work. It is only 30-40 minutes and then I drink at least 96 oz of water a day. I eat a balanced diet with veggies mostly, lean protein, fruits, fiber filled carbohydrates and healthy fats. I try not to eat in between meals, and drink my super food shake for breakfast every day.
However, life has not always been as healthy for you. How come you changed path?
My life changed in 2016. I changed the way I was living because I was an active alcoholic. I admitted myself to the hospital because I knew I was going to die if I didn't. I was there for seven days in detox and was discharged on 14 medications. While I was preparing to go inpatient for 30 days for substance abuse counseling, I had a reaction to one of my medications and I fell and fractured my skull and ruptured my spleen. I died in the ambulance and thankfully they brought me back and had emergency surgery. I survived, and spent the next nine days in ICU (intensive care unit), and then was transferred to a rehab facility where I learned how to walk and use my hands again.
My health was failing and I knew that if I didn't do something I was going to die. I think that if I had not had the bad reaction to the medication that the hospital gave me, and fell and almost died I would have stopped drinking. I was at such a low point that I think I really needed that to change. I used to drink 2 litres of chardonnay daily. If we went somewhere to grab a bite to eat at night I would drink vodka. It was a terrible life.
I used to eat whatever I wanted. I never saw that fat person in the mirror. I never weighed myself so I didn't know the numbers, and I definitely avoided cameras.
I run Challenge or Accountability Groups for people who are looking to get healthier, happier and more fit in their own skin. They are based on clean, healthy eating, super food shakes once a day, on demand workouts and support from the group and with me as their coach.
You say that it is never too late, and you also help others who want to eat better and exercise. Do you think it is harder to change things at our age?
I think it is harder to change things at our age because of our minds, not our bodies. I believe that the human body is an amazing thing, and we never know how much it can do. I know that at our age we are more opinionated and have lived longer obviously, and it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks if you don't mind the expression. I know our body is capable of anything... we just like to make excuses for ourselves sometimes.
One last question: Do you not ever fall for the temptation like the rest of us when you see something really tasty?
Of course I do, I am human. I have a problem though... I have a very addictive personality. I don't do well with just doing a little bit of something, I go full force into everything, I really do. I did that with alcohol, cigarettes and food. That's how I ended up a 306 pound alcoholic. LOL. I know that if I have a taste of something that is not good for my body, I will not stop. I never want to be where I was before, so the incentive to snack badly is not as enticing. I do snack, I just have discovered other types of food that I enjoy as much.
As you may have noticed the blog was out of order for some days. I regret that or course, but it was technical problems with an update that Webnode did, and it will not happen again.
However, here we are again and tomorrow it is Thursday and you will then meet Cindy Valenti, a woman that did a huge change in life after 50. Do not miss that.
New job after 50
Learning about Lotta and her life will probably make many women recognize themselves. Life is up and down and when we are 20 with all life ahead, we usually think about all that we shall do and achieve and not all difficulties that we will bump into. But those bumps are not always as bad as we may think, and when we have handled them, we can see that things usually turns out well at the end. The problems also make us more grateful when things are going well. This interview does show that strength and hard work pay off.
Name: Lotta Borgman
Occupation: wardrobe supervisor
Family: Son Simon and daughter Marina
Lives: Stockholm, Sweden
You have been working in the theater world almost all your life and your field is costumes. But it was only last year that you got a permanent employment after the second time losing your work. Many women over 50 says it is difficult to get a new job, how did you manage?
I became involuntary freelancer when my employment was taken away. It was extremely tough as I had been working at the same place for 17 years and in the business around 30. There I was with all the experience and I wondered what I should do with it all. Also my work was a part of my identity. It was difficult to handle. What I finally did was to "switch my brain" said to myself that somehow things must be solved, and then I began to refurbish my apartment. Exercise is helpful in such situation and I can warmly recommend pilates. A quick walk is also good as it helps to sort the thoughts.
Afterwards I can see that I ought to have started searching for another job directly when the company was acquired and the reorganization began. What saved me work wise and also mentally though, was my social network and the network with fantastic colleagues at other theaters. My contacts with them opened the doors to temporary employments. I began working extra at a theater during the reorganization and eventually an employment came up there and then they knew my skills and that I fitted socially in the team.
So the answer to the question is that without a well worked up network that I have taken good care of, I would not have my new employment now. It is not the first time I have been in this situation. Once during the 90's same thing happened when my employer went to bankruptcy. But then they continued to drive the company with a new part-owner and the employees could go on working with seasonal contracts. It was of course not optimal but still easier as I was around 30 back then. Even if I am optimistic about the work situation even at my age, it is more difficult, no idea to deny that.
During the periods of involuntary unemployment I have added to my knowledge by studying and learning more within my profession. I have adapt to the situation and been having both plan A, B and C. If I may give an advice to other women who are where I was, I would say: use your time, a lot have happened since we were young and updating yourself and gain more knowledge shows that you are still on track and have not stagnated.
With all that said, I do believe in karma. When I after a while lost my job at least I could see that it was nothing personal. That made it easier to go on as I understood that this was part of the development in the private theater world to not have permanent employment.
Are we too bad in marketing ourselves? I mean, we have both knowledge and life experience and most of us have no infants or will get pregnant. Still not all employers see the benefits hiring us instead. How shall we change that?
Yes we are too bad in marketing ourselves and show that we are attractive even after 50. We need to market our competence better and let the employers know that we have more to offer than someone directly to school. Then of course telling about the benefits with life experience, that we are educated and have no toddlers. Furthermore diversity at the workplace is good for all and that goes even for age. All this is important to lift already at the job application.
The attitude in society needs to change, we need more equality between the genders and we also must considering that we live longer and therefore work longer. Thus we have many years left at the labor market. There must be a change in attitude in general and we are the ones that need to make it.
I know that only a few years ago, you began travel regularly. Your children are adults since long and you got your freedom to plan for just yourself. Do you ever miss the time when they were small, or is it all about enjoying the new phase of life now?
I am happy that I have been part of my children's childhood. I still live at the same place where they grew up and the latest years I have witness the alternation of generations. It is fun with all children again and I am grateful that I have done that too. Life has different phases and I am happy being where I am now. My kids find it great that I have started to travel and think more about myself. It feels good to have done the part in life that includes bringing up children and I am happy that I have them, but I do enjoy the freedom now when I am older and can plan only for myself. Now I can focus on my own need, after satisfying others. Typical mom's I guess.
As I was a single mom for many years, it was difficult to travel both financially and practically. Also it costs a lot to travel alone and not as a couple. I go with friends and we do prefer our own rooms, so when I had kids at home and that cost, it was difficult to get away. Even if I have no small children any longer, traveling is very good for recovery and one needs that more now at this age. The energy does not last as long as when I was younger, that is very clear. Going somewhere else helps to let go of work and that kind of thoughts and gives distance to that and everyday life. We all need a break now and then and especially when living in Scandinavia with the long winters. To have some Mediterranean heat to think about when the cold and darkness comes is wonderful.
However, I have to mention my boat also. Boat life with all that comes with it, like friends at the club including social life and parties, and other friends that comes over for dining and bathing is real life quality. The season may not be so long in Sweden, but it sure is lovely. The water in Stockholm is clean enough to swim in so one can jump in to the water even downtown.
The best is all knowledge and to know that finally things always works out. The disadvantage is that one cannot cheat with food, sleep and exercise any longer.
Last week we met Lorraine C Ladish who really makes the best of life and who inspires others with her energy. Tomorrow you will be able to read about Lotta Borgman, a Swedish 50 plus lady that tells about how to find a new job at this age and also how she takes care of the freedom and time she got now when the kids have flown the nest. Do not miss that.
And to you who have not found us at facebook yet, search for:
Women's portraits 50 plus
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Browsing around at Viva Fifty is a joy and if anyone felt that life would be on its way down at this age, Lorraine C Ladish shows the difference. But not too many years ago she went through real struggles, which she also shares with us. In this interview you can learn more about her life and find both support and inspiration. She also lives a healthy life style, something that does not have to be boring at all. Read and enjoy.
Name: Lorraine C Ladish
Family: Husband (also a writer and photographer who I´ve been with for 9 years now), two daughters, 17 and 14 and one stepson, 15. Also a dog, Toby.
Lives: Sarasota, Florida, USA. I was born in Spain to a Spanish father and US-born mother.
Your Viva Fifty web page is a true inspiration and really shows that we are not older than we make ourselves. What made you do this page and what is the idea behind it?
I started thinking about it when I turned 50. I felt better than ever, I had overcome a very tough situation in my mid-forties when I lost my marriage, my source of income, savings, and found myself as the single mom of two young girls, then 4 and 7. I even went on welfare to be able to feed my children.
By 50, I had divorced, met the love of my life and remarried, and had also rebuilt myself professionally and financially. I felt physically, emotionally and spiritually in a very good place and I felt like sharing my enthusiasm over turning 50 with the world! Only when I shared online how happy I was about my life and my age, did I realize I was not the norm. Many women around me felt that their best days were behind them and I saw too many friends unhappy with their age (and many of them were younger than me).
I´m a writer and author by trade and had reinvented my career from print to online. After many years of experience running digital publications aimed at Hispanic women, I decided to launch my own and that's how Viva Fifty was born. I made it bilingual, because I am bilingual and bicultural in English and Spanish, and wanted to serve both audiences. vivafifty.com will turn 5 in January of 2019! What makes me even happier is that younger women read us too, and are inspired to age with joy!
You do tell about health issues that you are going through. Is it an opinion among people that an active and happy looking person has fewer problems in life?
I do share my journey - physical, mental and emotional - because I know I´m not alone in much of what I go through. Too many women feel embarrassed or scared of sharing what is going on in their world, and I would love them to know they are not alone and also that they should go ask for help if they need it. I´ve been very vocal and still am, about my menopause, which was very tough at first, and I've shared a lot about how I decided to deal with it (I take hormonal replacement therapy and can't be happier).
I recently had a health scare where a colonoscopy that a doctor didn´t really want to perform showed I had developed a precancerous polyp. I almost went through surgery but thankfully another specialist found a different way to deal with it all. That made me wonder how many unnecessary surgeries happen in the world? I wrote articles and did videos on what a colonoscopy is like, so that other people will hopefully feel inclined to get screened and prevent colon cancer.
I share energetic and active pictures on Instagram at @lorrainecladish but I accompany them with Instagram stories where I share my daily life as at 50-plus woman, with the joys and sorrows that life entails for all of us. I'm generally a joyful person, but my life (like most people's) has been filled with obstacles that I've managed to turn into positive experiences: from growing up without a mother to having a sibling try to end her life, going through addiction, an eating disorder, loss, divorce, health scares ... But we all go through these things.
The concept that being active or being a certain size gives happiness is of course false. I want my daughters, now 17 and 14, to know that we can and should love ourselves no matter what we are going through. And that no matter what life throws at us, we can always learn and grow stronger from it.
I use to think that the combination that we 50 plus ladies have of knowledge and life experience is a great thing. Do you agree?
Maybe in general, but I don't know that it is true of everyone. I know people over 50 who seem to have the brain of a 15-year old when it comes to making stupid choices. And I know 20-year olds that have already learned from their experience and mistakes and are very mature.
I believe in cherishing absolutely every year, every decade, and honoring them, both in our own pasts and in the lives of others. While I love myself in my fifties in a way I was not able to before, due to depression, anxiety and an eating disorder, I don't think age in and of itself gives us wisdom. That comes from the ability to learn from experience. The experience itself may or may not help us evolve depending on our character.
It does bother me when older people talk about youth like they were from a different species, and criticize them, saying being older is better. But, hey, we were once young too! Of course I also dislike when young people criticize older people just because of their age. One day they will be old too. Age doesn't always imply maturity or the ability to embrace life.
Yoga seems to be a big part in your life. What has it done for you?
A lot! I started when I was 12, with a book my father gave me. I also started running with my dad that year. It helped me deal with mental health issues, mainly compulsion, depression and anxiety. I wasn't faithful to yoga throughout my life (I became a fitness instructor and also devoted years to dancing) but it was always there when I needed it. I came back to daily yoga at 51, after I injured my hip during a half marathon at 48. I kind of stumbled into a class during a retreat where my husband was teaching photography. A week of practicing yoga, and my hip was fine. I was hooked.
I just turned 55 and continue to practice daily. Yoga, of which I practice its eight limbs, is more than physical exercise. It also involves learning about its origins and, in my case, meditating and indulging in a spiritual practice. This has helped me deal with menopause, the health scare I mentioned before, which went on for almost a year, and it helped me cope with the loss of my grandmother, who raised me. It also helps me deal with raising teens. I have three, including my stepson, and although they are good kids, there have been some tough moments as a mother, that I'm sure I would have handled very differently (not in a good way) prior to having a daily yoga practice.
When my grandmother passed in July of this year, I decided it was time to get certified as a yoga instructor, hoping to inspire others to take care of themselves. I post my yoga photos online because I see they motivate younger women too. Few young people think of a 55-year old woman as being in better shape than they are. Taking care of ourselves needs to start when we are young and shouldn't stop as we get older.
What advice would you give to all ladies that want to do more for their health, but have problem getting started?
Please think of it as a gift to yourself and your loved ones. When people tell me how much they hate exercising or making healthy life choices, I ask them whether they don't hate what NOT exercising or making poor health choices does to them? I have acquaintances that can't walk up a flight of stairs without getting out of breath, and they are only 40. I tell them I am 15 years older, and if they continue not to take care, by my age, they will be in even worse shape than they are now. As we age, we need to move more, not less.
My grandmother lived to be 101 and, although she was of sound mind and in mostly good health, for almost 20 years she was housebound by choice. She grew afraid of going out because she would trip and fall and she hurt herself badly a few times. She lost mobility because she didn't move, and spent over a decade at home, sitting in a chair. My father and his wife became her primary caregivers, and their life was complicated by this for a long time.
I don't want that to happen to me. I don't want to be a burden to my children, and I want to live however long I have left in the best possible shape. Of course there are things beyond our control. I'm the perfect example that we can get sick despite taking care of ourselves. But whatever I can control, I will, and that is to sleep enough, manage my stress, make generally healthy dietary choices, and move my body daily as well as exercise my mind and nurture my spirit. If you have a big enough WHY to take care of you, then it's much easier to get started. I don't exercise to look better, I do it to feel my best and to enjoy life and my family.
Photo by Phillippe Diederich.