50 OVER 50 PROJECT FOR 2020
"Don’t let yourself linger in life waiting for that future time when things will be different.
Make positive responses that move you forward. You can accomplish the unexpected!"
age: 65 profession: Nonprofit Executive Director, professional gardener, past Mayor of Santa Cruz.
What is the best thing about being your age?
That I am still very healthy, active, involved and haven’t slowed down. Like others, I feel young in an older body. I love that even at 65 I am never bored in my life. I run out of hours in the day to do all the things I need and want to do.
What hardships have you endured that you feel have made you stronger?
For some unexplainable reason, as an adult, I have been present at every unexpected end of life experience for all of my family members. Each time there was so much sadness because it was hard to believe they were suddenly gone without warning and without a chance to truly say goodbye. I experienced this with both my Maloney grandparents, my mom, my dad and my brother. Yet, in every one of these deaths, there was such sweetness because of the relationships I had with each of them. At the time I didn’t want the world around me to keep moving on when my loved one was no longer in it. But I learned that being a part of their passing was such a place of honor and it gave me a strength I didn’t know I had.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
To let my life be an unplanned journey that has given me experiences I could not have imagined. I have lived my life true to myself while caring for others my whole life.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To love all aspects of my life. I am pretty close. I do know my happy place is toiling for hours in my own garden!
What is your most treasured possession?
Great question I haven’t pondered before. Maybe my grandparent’s orange antique Bauer oil jar?
What's your favorite thing you have checked off your bucket list?
I don’t actually have a bucket list. Looking back it would have to be creating a very special family of my own.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Over time, probably buying plants for my gardens the past 45 years. I don’t shop or travel but I root myself at home.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
To be happier in my skin at this stage in life. For my first 55 years I lived happily in my many versions of my body, but these last ten years have been rough. I don’t like what I see.
What is a trait you are most proud of?
That I have wonderfully long and very real friendships with so many family members and personal friends.
What is your greatest fear?
I don’t think this is my greatest fear, but it is on my mind: To lose my strength and ability to do all the things I do now, as I grow older. When I retire at 70, I want to garden for me.
What do you most value in your friends?
Both the longevity of my friendships as well as the non-judgment of so many friends over the many decades.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t let yourself linger in life waiting for that future time when things will be different. Make positive responses that move you forward. You can accomplish the unexpected!
What is your motto or favorite quote?
"This too shall pass.”
Advice to younger women
You will find that your life well lived will bring you the greatest joys and the deepest sorrows. Over the years as you reflect on your own journeys you have taken, those peaks and valleys in your life become your blueprint, your own foundation. It’s probably not the foundation you would have chosen to build your life upon, but it is the one that was built brick by brick each day of your life. You will walk through it, all the dark and all the light, so let yourself be present for it all. As hard as it will be to climb some of those mountain peaks, you can experience gratitude for the life you are living. Don’t wait until you are older to feel that gratitude, do it now.