40 Over 40 for 2023
"Be strong, stand up for yourself and don't be afraid to speak out. Be the person you are, always. Don't change for anyone else."
PROFESSION: Retired Payroll Specialist
What is the best thing about being your age?
I have been through all the ups and downs of growing through different stages of life. I feel like most of the big challenges of marriage, raising two children and working have been done. Then retirement and enjoying our lives together, while our two children are grown and out on their own. Gray hair is here, but that means I have earned them all. Respect is definitely felt.
What hardships have you endured that you feel have made you stronger?
Many hardships: My husband inherited heart disease from his parents, so we knew it was going to be a challenge for him early. The challenge began in May 2000. But he survived open heart surgery that had 3 major blockages. Retired in 2001 and moved to Nevada where we both enjoyed life, not knowing how long he really had. Motorcycles, jet ski and several long road trips. Fishing with grandkids, them visiting us and taking them to play in the snow! He passed in November 2015.
After moving back to California in 2017, I had to face being alone. My husband had been the extrovert and me the introvert. I challenged myself to do things that I wouldn't have before. I answered an ad for extras in Santa Cruz - It ended up being for a movie: Transformers, filmed at the Boardwalk for 4 days. Wardrobe, Food services, makeup and hair. It was so much fun! Then my next adventured was a Cruise to the Mediterranean: Italy, The Amalfi Coast, Palma de Majorca and Spain. Then in 2018 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which led to a lumpectomy and reconstruction. On my 3 year annual mammogram in 2021, they found cancer again in the same breast. It wasn't breast cancer, by a soft tissue angiosarcoma! Chemo, and a Mastectomy and more chemo. And of course in between that we had the Pandemic. The one thing my sister and I did before I began chemo, was going to Cabo together!
Favorite thing you've checked off your bucket list?
Cruising the Mediterranean and seeing Italy and it's monuments, as well as visiting Pompeii, seeing the Amalfi coast and visiting Palma de Majorca and Valencia, Spain. On my birthday in 2019, I drove to Cambria by myself. I had reserved a place to stay on Moonstone beach and a great Massage. I was able to walk on the beach and down to any of the places to eat. It was beautiful.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Just enjoying life and laughing again. Grief and loss are draining. I love being with my family and four grandchildren. Whatever time I have left makes me want to see new things and enjoy my life. Love the beach. Miss Lake Tahoe, but I have been able to go up there and stay at my daughter and son-in-law's place.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Having a 48-year marriage to the love of my life, and having a son and daughter. Watching them grow up into wonderful adults, and then become parents of their own children. That, and four beautiful smart and kindhearted grandchildren. Twin girls (son), grandson and granddaughter (daughter).
What is your greatest extravagance?
I bought a VW convertible Bug when I moved back to California!! Fun car! It's Red, my favorite color.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Being more adventurous for things that are a challenge. Stop being shy. It's been hard to find myself, since losing my husband.
What is a trait you are most proud of?
Having been hard working, both my husband and me.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would give my younger self the advice of being more outgoing, rather than painfully shy. It was so difficult for me growing up. I found out I was adopted, without my Mom telling me. I was already a teenager when I found out. I would probably have done more things while I was growing up by being more outgoing and stepping out of my box.
What is your motto or favorite quote?
My favorite motto has been for many years: Live, Love and Laugh..
Words of wisdom to younger women
Be strong, stand up for yourself and don't be afraid to speak out. Be the person you are, always. Don't change for anyone else.
When a person reaches their 40's, life becomes more relaxing. You have probably married, maybe had children, bought a house, cars and now you don't have as many pressing responsibilities. When you reach your 50's you really feel blessed and more free. At my current age, I just feel like I have really earned joy and fun for the rest of it.