50 OVER 50 PROJECT FOR 2021
"Cultivate the gifts you were born with and stand strong."
age: 69 profession: Avocation: Naturalist/Weaver.
Day job: Program Assistant, Lab on Aging and Dementia
What is the best thing about being your age?
Being irreverent. I love getting older and bolder!
What hardships have you endured that you feel have made you stronger?
Imagine: When I was a kid, we spent every summer visiting my grandparents in California. The summer I was 11, instead of going home my parents told us that we were staying - during the summer, my dad had taken a new job. Not only did I not get to say goodbye to my friends and home, but I found myself an uprooted West Virginia hillbilly in the foreign land of sophisticated, suburban Marin County. I was put into the stupid class (7F!) simply because I was from West Virginia and was mocked for my accent and uncool clothes.
I had never experienced discrimination until that time, and I discovered strength in myself and received unexpected support and mentorship which I treasure. Also: It took me years to understand that loss is loss, whether people or place, BIG loss or small.
Another challenge: I was a single mom at age 19 – long ago enough that I was called an “unmarried mother.” Why did it make you stronger? Fighting to keep my baby and going back to college showed me a ferocity that I had not known was in me. The love in my child and support of many friends carried me through.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My two kids, my grandchildren, my seaweed flashcards, and my abiding relationships.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A cup of coffee in the sun with someone I treasure.
What is a trait you are most proud of?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
A pervasive self-doubt.
what is your greatest extravagance?
Buying gorgeous colors – yarn, paint, clothes.
What do you most value in your friends?
Good humor and being present.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don't sweat the small stuff! It's all the small stuff!
What is your motto or favorite quote?
"No mud, no lotus!" – Thich Nhat Hanh
"Trust in God, but tie up your camel!" – Anonymous
"Promise me you'll always remember, you're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." – Christopher Robin to Pooh
Words of wisdom for younger women
Be kind to yourself. Cultivate the gifts you were born with and stand strong.