A Look Back at a Year of WomanPause
I am so excited to say that this month—yes, this very September—marks the one-year anniversary of WomanPause! And What a Year It’s Been!
What a Year It’s Been!
First, I want to thank you all for coming along with me on this wonderful journey! Writing pieces with the aim of offering you something new each week has been a true labor of love! I get great joy when I find inspiring stories of life and share them with you—along with my own “woman over 50” spin.
Looking back is a process I find extremely helpful. I like to see how I’ve changed/grown over time and to evaluate decisions I’ve made: how to build on the decisions that have worked and where I need to learn from my mistakes. In that spirit, and in honor of the WomanPause one-year anniversary, I’d like to do a recap of the “year in blogs,” before jumping ahead to what’s next.
Thanks to My Mom—and Her Warrior Spirit
My very first post, dated September 21, 2018, was about my mom and the lessons she taught me about life. Most importantly, my mom taught me about the value of imperfection. Whenever I think of my mom—which is often—I always smile. She was a trip!
I appreciate my mom’s warrior spirit—and her sense of humor. Mom was a woman beyond her times; she was always eager to learn—and then to learn more.
My mother lived in an orphanage from the age of eight. Though her mother was still alive at the time (her dad passed when Mom was three) her mother was unable to care for her any longer.
Formative losses shaped my mom throughout her life—and they took their toll. But she never stopped forging ahead. Mom was a writer in her own right, and I believe she would be tickled pink if she were alive to read her daughter’s blog! (She would definitely make a lively interview guest!) I still miss her—and I am so happy that I started off WomanPause with her story.
We NEED to Follow Our Dreams!
WomanPause is about midlife—and beyond—and this year I was so happy to bring you lots of posts about the JOYS to be had in our life-stage. There was the review of Barbara Hagerty’s wonderfully informative book Life Reimagined . In Life Reimagined, Haggerty shared her rigorous research along with wonderful personal anecdotes, many of which I, in turn, shared with you.
I also wrote quite a few posts about the about the need to keep—or start—following our dreams. This is a HUGE topic and one that is so close to my heart. For who are we without our dreams, my friends?
One of my very favorite quotes is this one: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough” ~ Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. (I’m actually thinking of getting it tattooed on my arm, so I can see it whenever I’m feeling discouraged.) Dreaming big is every person’s right, and that right doesn’t disappear just because we’ve added a few years to our tab!
Sometimes, though, we lose faith and trust and confidence. Here’s a quote I read just a few weeks ago in my dear friend Terry Opalek’s newsletter. It has stayed with me: “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” ~ Suzzy Kassem. Wow!
Those words ring so true–and make me very sad. So many of us get sidetracked because of doubt. Doubt is the sister of scarcity and the brother of fear. Not one of these mean siblings belongs in our dreamworlds!
Step Beyond That Comfort Zone!
FEAR. Yes, fear is the Ultimate “F” Word, as I discussed in a post of the same name. While fear has its value—alerting us to truly dangerous situations–most of the time, it is simply a signal that we are moving outside of our comfort zones. And YAY for that! In order to grow, we have to step beyond what we already know.
This past year, we also visited the realm of resilience with my shero Stacey Abram (thanks to her TEDx talk) as our guide. At our age, we have hit a few bumps along the road and, thankfully, have become quite good at bouncing back!
There was a post about the importance of mindsets as explained in Marc Middleton’s wonderful book Growing Bolder and, of course, two posts about wolves—and the importance of being part of a pack (inspired by Abby Wambach)!
New Year’s Promises
I remember writing about my New Year’s resolutions. I committed to giving up sugar and alcohol midweek and to giving you all accountability updates. (I used to love a glass of wine with dinner and some chocolate-covered almonds in front of the tube late at night. So decedent!) I actually kept those commitments! For real!
Until … the summer rolled around, and the thought of a nice cold beer—and a scoop of coffee ice-cream (Haggen-Daas)—to top off those wonderful hot summer days …
I am hereby recommitting to my no-sugar/no-alcohol midweeks—starting when I get back from my September vacation the September 15th! By then, we will be done with the hot summer days! There will be no more excuses! I will be back on that wagon—and will continue to report!
I wrote a bunch of posts about inspirational sheroes. Connie Schultz invited us to be seen and Brene Brown “dared” us to “step into the arena”. All the magnificent women I highlighted challenge us to be our very best.
There were fashion dilemas —To Dye of Not to Dye; To Heel or Not to Heel, and, of course, the post on nonagenarian (that’s someone in their nineties btw—had to look that one up) fashion icon Iris Apfel and yogi/ model Tao Porchon-Lynch. Ms. Porchon-Lynch celebrated her 100-year bday this past August (and still loves wearing heels)!
Big XOXOs to My Interviewees!!
And, I will always be grateful to the wonderful, inspiring women who gave their time to give me an interview! Each month, I spoke with an amazing woman over 50. Several turned their passions into nonprofits: Sue Matthews shared her story of loss and growth and continuing her daughter’s legacy. Sharon Richardson shared how she shifted her narrative of domestic violence and prison to soul-healing with food and through helping others who have walked in her shoes.
Patsy Mertz quit a “dream job” to join the Peace Corps after 50 and then continued her support of women and children in the Ivory Coast
Several women made dramatic—adventurous—changes after 50. Dr. Diann Schindler sold her home and most of her belongings and travels the world. Alison Taylor Brown of the Village Writing School sold her home and moved with her mom and dog to a small town in Italy.
I interviewed entrepreneur extraordinaire www.adrianmiller.com Adrian Miller, life coach/astrologer/interfaith minister Debora Roth, business woman turned Sage-ing Leader Deborah Briggs, and the amazing Laura Malfa of One Heart Healing .
I cannot forget to mention my wonderful Antioch friends who all went back to school for their MFAs after 50 to pursue their writing dreams: My dear—and very funny—friend Sarita Sidhu, beautiful poet Julia Knowlton , and the incredibly brave Janet Rodriguez. And of course, there’s my wonderful mentor Ana Maria Spagna, who just last week shared her thoughts about writing, the woods, and life after 50.
How Have You Grown?
Wow!!! Looking back, it has been quite twelve months! I hope that if you missed reading any of these posts, you will do a deep dive and catch up! (There actually are many more posts that I haven’t mentioned here—it’s been a FULL year!)
So … my goal for the coming year is to connect more deeply with all of you!
Please let me know if there are any topics/books/women you’d like me to write about or do some research on and “report.”
I’d also love to know if any of this year’s posts have led to changes in the way you see or do things. Which, if any, felt most meaningful to you?
Lastly, please let me know if this week’s look back has inspired you to take stock of your own last year. I’d love to hear how you’ve grown!!
Thanks again for joining me on this rediscovery journey! So much more to explore ahead!
Have a wonderful week, and see you next Friday!
Congratulations, Diane, on the anniversary of this exciting blog! What a cool mom you had! I’ve heard your weekly plans for your writing and workshops and publishers and interviews through our accountability partnership with AMP. Amazing how far this blog has come in such a short time. My major accomplishment was changing my complete name at age 70, a task almost akin to finding a publisher for a book, as it turned out. Turning 70 has been a jolt for someone who never in her entire life cared about age. Perhaps a combination of looming mortality as well as victory (“Wow, I survived on my own terms in spite of five near-death experiences, a lifelong controlling parent, unsupportive former husband, unsupportive in-laws, a couple of abusive partners and a patriarchal culture discouraging women to be other than their unique selves!”) caused sleepless summer nights, but it’s all good. Keep writing, Diane, you are giving us fellow female travelers hope and courage. And yes, politics very much affects women over 50, one national party wants to eradicate Social Security and Medicare for starters. In the bigger picture, this same national party is systematically attempting to destroy the future of our very hard-earned democracy, which should be expanding for future generations, not contracting.
Thanks, Diana! Turning 70 and taking stock of your life are two great accomplishments–on your own terms, indeed! You have had quite the journey and are still going strong! Woohoo!! I love connecting to “fellow female travelers,” and if I can add some courage and hope, I am thrilled! As for politics … I will be reaching out to subscribers shortly about their political concerns–thanks so much for sharing yours!
Thank you Diane for this post! Unfortunately, I’m an infrequent reader, but today I was compelled to check in and I’m so glad I did. Your “We NEED To Follow Our Dreams!” section really resonated with me. Yesterday I had a long talk with my roommate about regrets about not taking any risks, feeling stagnant and how I’m at a crossroads in my life. Your words and quotes really inspired me! They quelled down my fears and doubts, and I’m left with feelings of hope and openness to possibilities. Thank you again! I’ll try to be a more frequent reader in the future, but it’s great to know that this blog exist whenever I’m at a low point and need inspiration!
Thank you, Grace! I am really touched that you felt inspired by “We Need to Follow Our Dreams!” Of course, we do! AND, we need to support each other on the journey!! I am so glad that you’re feeling hopeful and open and your doubts and fears have chilled. (You may want to take a look at this post about “feeling the fear and doing it anyway”: https://dianegottlieb.com/the-ultimate-f-word/.)
I am so glad to have you aboard–anytime you feel like reading is just the perfect amount! I am a firm believer that we read what we need when we need it.
Thank you Diane and congratulations on your one-year anniversary!
I’ve enjoyed your blogs. They’ve been inspiring and healing.
My journey at this stage in life has brought me compassion, gratitude, patience, and humility. Wonderful characteristics that I did not possess in my younger years.
Aging and maturity has been a blessing for me emotionally, mentally, spiritually, which makes up for the unfortunate physical aspects of aging!
Thanks, Denise! Compassion, gratitude, patience, and humility–blessings that make up for almost anything!
Thanks Diane for this great summary +very apropos before the new year! This look back is very helpful to me since I got on the Women Pause bus midyear after meeting you at a First Monday’s Gossip Bar event about “Growing Bolder”.
I have enjoyed your inspiring, interesting and informational weekly posts! Glad to be a passenger on your journey! Keep your foot on the gas!
Do we dare d(r)ive into Politics to look at what affects us as women over 50 in this upcoming election year?
PS I saw a great show last night Fern Hill at 59E59th ..which I would love to hear your review and analysis on( if you get to see it)..maybe an interview with the curator/writer –
The topic is “write up our alley” 🙂
Thanks, Fran! It was wonderful meeting you and so happy you’re on “the bus”!
Yes, daring to d(r)ive into politics for a look at what affects us 50+ women!!
Thanks, also for the recommendation to Fern Hill–just purchased tix for beginning of October!
Foot is on the gas!!!
Diane, congratulations! Today happens to be my one year anniversary, too. Exactly one year ago today, I sold my house in Kansas City, walked away from a thriving private practice I had spent 10 years building, and moved to a tiny town without even a gas station or a stoplight – a town I had never heard of before I found this restored Victorian house on Zillow and fell in love. Now I sit in that house, surrounded only by the things that bring me joy, and I am writing on my laptop in the sunroom I dreamed about for years. Last year, I went back to school to pursue my dream of being a writer and I started an entirely new business online. I turned 50 in this house, in the new little rural Kansas town that I now call home. My absolute favorite thing is watching people’s faces when I tell them about my move. They say, you did what?? You moved where??
Following dreams when you have followed plans your whole life, doing something no one understands completely but you, and risking everything for the chance to feel truly free is not for everyone. But we women over 50 are not everyone, are we?
Happy Anniversary to you!AMAZING story, Sherry! Thanks so much for sharing it!! We women over 50 may not be for everyone, but we sure do rock!!
Congratulations on a year of fabulous posts! You introducing me to so many women of courage has inspired me to dream bigger!
As for taking stock of accomplishments, yesterday I was compiling my quarterly report to Dan Blank, a practice I started this year after a year of Mastermind (where I met you!) and find amazingly helpful. To see how much happens in a quarter or a year is inspiring in itself!
You inspire me!
I look forward to another year of WomanPause!
Thanks, Nicky! I love your quarterly report idea! Such a wonderful practice, taking stock of accomplishments!
Yay for women of courage and big dreams and so looking forward to the next year with you aboard!!