50 OVER 50 PROJECT FOR 2021

41

Angelica Niklowitz

Age: 59

Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Currently: Program Manager/Supportive Housing Department, Santa Clara County

"Don’t sell yourself short, be confident, and believe in yourself."

Angelica Niklowitz

What is the best thing about being your age?

My life experience; the ability to pull from my personal treasure chest to learn about myself, to share with others and to teach what I know. I have worked hard my whole life and one of the benefits is my career and financial stability. And as corny as it sounds, one of the best things about my age is the wisdom you have garnered over the years, not the wrinkles or gray hair, but the wisdom!

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

Attending Les Miserable in London’s West End Theater District.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Well I can I think of a few ideas….. Spending time with family and friends. Hiking or walking with my dog, Benson. Babysitting my grand puppy, Rosie. Traveling and exploring new places. Live Theater. Live Music. Museums. North Lake Tahoe – sitting by the lake or in the woods is fuel for my soul. Sharing a bottle of wine/or champagne with by husband on the patio.

What is your most treasured possession? Antique dresser from my grandmother.

what do you consider your greatest achievement?

My two children, Amanda and Garrett. Going to back to college in my 40’s and not only getting my Bachelor’s degree, but getting a Master’s degree and going on to pass my Licensed Clinical Social Worker exam. If I were younger, I would have gone on to get a Ph.D.!

What is a trait you are most proud of?

I’m very intuitive; I have a good understanding of people and can pick up on emotional cues and body language.

what is your greatest extravagance?

After growing up in a low income family, I consider everything in my life an extravagance. My mom died when I was young and I had a rough childhood, money was elusive, and I moved around a lot. I never thought I would own a home, or have the ability to buy a new car. I can go to the grocery store without the worry of going over budget, or having to charge everything on credit cards and racking up a crazy high balance. I am grateful for everything I have, and try not to take things for granted.

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

My age! Haha. I would love to change my perspective on aging, it’s something I’m still coming to terms with and it’s something I struggle with. It’s hard for me to accept my age, because I don’t feel like a 59-year-old. It’s amazing that all this time has gone by, especially when you think of all your experiences; the good and the bad, your childhood, school, making friends, your first heartache, marriage, college, job after job, and the blur of motherhood. And here I am – making it work and surviving.

What do you most value in your friends?

I have a small group of friends whom I absolutely adore, they all differ from each other, but I trust and love each of them. When I was growing up, I always thought a true friend is someone who lets you in their door at 2 am no questions asked, and I definitely have those friends.

Generally, I am a reserved person, but with my friends, there is no pretense, we can let our hair down, be ourselves, whether it’s silliness, vulnerability, pain or anger. The world feels a lot lighter after hanging out with my friends.

What is your motto or favorite quote?

My mother used to always tell me to treat others how you would like to be treated, I’ve tried to stay true to that motto. Sometimes you lose sight of that concept, but it’s definitely been a foundational pillar in my life.

Some quotes I like:

You fall, you rise, you make mistakes, you learn. You’re human, not perfect. You’ve been hurt, but you’re alive. Think about what a special privilege it is to be alive – to breath, to think, to enjoy, and to chase the things you love. Sometimes there is sadness in our journey, and there is also lots of beauty. We must keep putting one foot in front of the other, even when we hurt For we will never know what is waiting for us just around the bend. – Unknown Do not judge my story by the chapter you walked in on. – Unknown Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often – Susan Statham What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t sell yourself short, be confident, and believe in yourself.

Words of wisdom for younger women

Top 10 tips to the younger woman: 1. Wear sun screen! Or you will definitely regret it later in life 2. Find your tribe, build a group of friends that become your family, you will need them in life. 3. Don’t measure your worth on your marital or romantic relationships. 4. Take moments to be your true self. 5. Respect yourself. 6. Be a forgiving person. 7. Give back to the world. 8. Reduce your carbon footprint. 9. Appreciate Mother Earth and take her for granted. 10. Walk through life with empathy and curiosity.

Additional thoughts...

As I approach 60, I realize my future thinking has dramatically shifted. I hope my kids will be okay without me, and live a satisfying life. I hope they stay safe and nothing bad happens to them. And if they do experience heartache, they can find the strength to heal and to have hope. I definitely think about retirement, and what the heck would I do? I think about my retirement fund and wonder if it will be enough. I think about where I would live, would I stay in my house or move? I think about my health, and pray that I remain healthy. I think about my husband, and wonder who will be left behind first? And how will either one of us manage the world without the other. I think about my family and friends and wonder how we will all manage aging?

I look forward to the celebrations awaiting me on my 60th birthday; I look forward to planned trips and unplanned trips. I definitely think about mortality, and it brings on moments of terror and sorrow. I then try to practice gratitude for where I am in life, the goals I’ve accomplished, the joy and the heartache…and my resolve to try and live my life to the fullest.

Angelica Niklowitz
Angelica Niklowitz