What’s your story?
My story is all about finding ways to thrive in adversity. I am a 57-year-old woman and mother to a 17-year old son. I am also a Mindfulness and Meditation expert and Psychology Professor. In 2009, my corporate job, which I had been in for 16 years was eliminated when the economy took a downturn. I learned a lot about myself in the ten years that followed. I learned how to be self-sufficient, even without a steady income. I learned that the only person I could rely on was me. My job was replaced with a contractor whom they could get cheaper and I’m sure my story is not unique. I learned how to survive with little to no income over the years and I am a much better person because of it. Finding the strength to stay strong for my son was important to me because I am a survivor.
What are your top 3 tips to aging gracefully & living the best 2nd half of your life?
The most important tool I have for aging gracefully is meditation, I practice it every day. Taking that time to go within is the best anti-aging tool in the world. Without my daily meditation, I feel scattered and disconnected. I also try and eat right and exercise. I enjoy walking and practicing yoga when I have time. There is something very soothing and relaxing about stretching your body and taking the time to work out those kinks. I also start every morning out with a kefir smoothie, mixed with dried oatmeal, strawberries, bananas, and pineapple. Starting my day out with a smoothie helps me eat less during the day as well.
How is your experience with perimenopause and menopause? What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced? How have you dealt with it?
I went through menopause around the age of 53 and I didn’t really have any major issues. I initially experienced hot flashes and night sweats but they eventually went away. The biggest issue for me about menopause is the change in hormones. Once you go through menopause your entire body changes. It’s more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Vaginal dryness and a lower libido is also a big problem after menopause that people don’t talk about much. You take this for granted when you’re young and there are very few medications for women that can help with this. Men have multiple options in comparison to women, but I am hopeful this will change someday.
Do you journal? If you do, how has it been helpful?
I have journaled a lot throughout the years. I enjoy keeping a dream journal because I often find that my dreams have very powerful messages. I have also kept a meditation journal over the years, for the same reason.
What are some ways you stay curious?
I am a lifelong learner and lover of knowledge. I love reading, writing and discovering new things. For me staying curious is all about having a curious mind and staying open to new things. In meditation, they call this the beginner’s mind. It’s about approaching everything as if you know nothing at all. We all need to let go of being an expert so we can keep an open mind. Practicing beginner’s mind has helped me remain calm throughout many storms in life.
What has been the best thing for you in your 40s/50s/60s?
The best thing for me has been my son. I had my son late in life, at the age of 40. I have truly enjoyed watching him grow from a child to a young man. The best thing about the last 10 years for me has been the privilege of being able to work from home as a freelance writer because I was able to be there for my son. Even though money has been tight over the years, I am proud of the fact that my son has seen the importance of setting goals and going after your dream. His dream is to become a Civil Engineer and I couldn’t be more proud.
What are some of your biggest challenges?
For me, it has been health challenges and financial challenges. My biggest health challenge has been an overactive bladder and chronic UTI’s. I had surgery for a prolapsed bladder a few years ago but the infections kept coming back. l struggle with ongoing bladder issues and find I have to stay away from foods that trigger it like beer, soda, and spicy foods. Financially, it’s also been a challenge. When you are self-employed you lose any support you might have had such as health insurance and a steady reliable income. However, I have managed to work miracles with little to no money over the years so I am proud of that.
Do you follow any kind of morning/evening routine? If so, what kinds of things do you do? If not, what is the reason behind your decision?
My morning routine involves practicing mindfulness and meditation. I meditate every morning, even if I only have a few minutes. Starting the day out by going within is a great way to calm and center my energy giving me what I need to get through the day. In the evening, the most important thing I do is to take time for myself. For me, the evening time is all about downtime. I enjoy watching a great movie or binging on a Netflix series because it’s a great mental escape.
What are 3 staple food/ingredients you always keep in your fridge/pantry and why?
I always have kefir, oatmeal and plenty of frozen fruit like bananas, strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple. The probiotics in kefir help restore balance in the gut, helping me stay healthy.
Do you have an ideal woman that you look up to when it comes to healthy aging? If you do, tell us why?
I absolutely adore Betty White. She has always been a role model for me. I have watched her for many years from her time on the Mary Tyler Moore show to her work in the Golden Girls. She is beautiful, vibrant and ageless, even at the age of 98. For me, she exemplifies someone who is aging gracefully and beautifully and with a sense of humor.
While we all wish we could find the mythical fountain of youth – the fact remains – we all age. However, it is possible to age gracefully and to thrive, no matter how old we get.