50 OVER 50 PROJECT FOR 2022
#25
Deirdre Clum

Age: 68

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"Aging isn’t always easy. You will be tested. The benefits are many though; your years of experience should have enlightened you to understand what is truly important and what isn’t."

age: 68

 

profession: I’m retired, but have had many careers over the years:
From ages 16-25 I was a professional model, first in Japan and then again during college in LA. Years later, I also worked as a professional makeup artist for film and TV.
One of my lifelong loves is the dramatic arts and I’ve been an actor, writer and director in innumerable community and school stage productions.
Following college and prior to having a family, I lived in London and worked as a flight attendant for Pan Am.
More recently, I have been a college counselor and the director of the College Resource Center at a college prep high school. I currently continue to work pro bono to help underserved youth achieve their college admission goals. You never know where the next Einstein might come from!
Most important to me has been my work as a Mother and Grandmother.

 

What is the best thing about being your age?

Being a grandmother, hands down!

What hardships have you endured that you feel have made you stronger?

My father worked in government and constantly moving to a new country, every few years, as a child was often difficult. I hated leaving friends and having to make new ones frequently. However, it made me far more independent, adaptable and able to cope with new situations and people. I wouldn’t change those experiences for the world. It taught me a lot about the our planet and different cultures and it made me far more accepting and open minded.


The toughest thing I’ve ever gone through was the death of my mother. She died, young, at 54. I was the eldest of five children. I was twenty and my youngest sister was only twelve when she passed. It was traumatic and permanently life altering and I'm not sure that it made me stronger. It is something we five kids have never really recovered from.

What's your favorite thing you have checked off your bucket list?

Being a grandma is the best thing ever! I'm not sure it qualifies as a bucket list item, but it’s important to me. Today my bucket list consists of mostly traveling to places I have not yet been. Particularly Iceland, Fiji and the Maldives. I love the relaxing vibe and the beaches, sand and sun of the tropics and am also intrigued by the unique natural splendor of Iceland with its waterfalls, glaciers, thermal pools and of course, being able to view the northern lights.
 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Lying in a hammock on a beach somewhere tropical with a stack of books a mile high. A wonderful person to bring me an occasional drink and snacks and a bevy of grand kids to play with in the water.

What do you most value in your friends?

Honor, compassion, kindness, integrity and humor.

what is your greatest extravagance?

I enjoy a good bargain shopping spree or a massage/spa day and I love to travel, not as a tourist hopping from one sight to another, but doing what I call “true travel.” Travel where you go someplace and stay for a month or more, sit in the cafes and get to know the locals. I rather wish I had lived my adult life more like my childhood. I feel most at home as an expat.

What is your most treasured possession?

The photos and videos of my family, especially those of my mother and, of course, my children.

what do you consider your greatest achievement?

Raising three good, successful, brilliant and compassionate young women.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be more focused and organized. I would finally finish writing my novel.

What is a trait you are most proud of?

My desire to help others. I’ve raised children that I did not give birth to, taken care of several family members for long periods and helped other friends and family financially. It makes me feel good to help where I can.

What advice would you give your younger self?

-Spend more time listening and less time talking.
-Take better care of your body, skin and teeth. Wear sunscreen everyday.
-Study and write more.
-Do more art, music and physical activity.
-Pick your friends wisely.
-Place value on your accomplishments and not on your looks. Look fade very quickly.

What is your motto or favorite quote?

“In the end, only kindness matters." – Jewel

Words of wisdom for younger women

  • Love yourself first because without that you can’t love anyone else freely.

  • Honor yourself and your needs and treat yourself kindly. (I’m still learning this one).

  • Expect others to treat you respectfully. If they don’t, they are not worth your time or effort.

  • Take good care of your body and mind. It's a worthwhile investment that will allow you to do more of what you want.

  • Read the classics and read as much as you can. A fabulous education is possible simply by reading.

  • Do what you love.

  • Travel! It’s the best way to open your mind.

Additional thoughts...

Aging isn’t always easy. You will be tested. There are days everything hurts! Your body doesn’t work as well as it used to. The benefits are many though; your years of experience should have enlightened you. You should also understand what is truly important and what isn’t and hopefully you’ve gained some wisdom along the way.

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