50 Over 50 Project for 2021


Barbara Chatfield

Age: 70

Professional Embroiderer/Chiropractic Office Manager

"Give more than you take. Leave every situation better than you found it."

Barbara Chatfield

What is the best thing about being your age?

The best thing about being my age is having the wisdom of the years already past. So much happens in life and it happens so quickly that you don’t really get it all the time while you’re in the midst of it. But looking back, there are so many lessons that I’ve learned. So many things to share with family and friends, so much insight to pass down.

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

I think my husband’s unexpected health issues have been the most difficult thing I have had to endure. Having to pick up the pieces and make it work has been extremely difficult. I’ve learned hard things. It is hard to watch this extremely brilliant man be unable to say the words he needs to say, to count, to write, to know the alphabet. I’ve learned what real love is. My life changed drastically from being a free wheeling gal to being responsible for everything. I wasn’t prepared for this part of my life. I didn’t expect it. I’ve had to learn to cope.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Sustaining a 44-year relationship with my husband. So many ups and downs, twists and turns. Finding that one person to share it all with and be happy each day. After all these years it is still so exciting to be together. I cherish the deep love we have nurtured throughout our many years. I’m hoping there are many more to come.

What is your most treasured possession?

My health. Definitely happy to be where I am with no known health issues. Feeling blessed.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Perfect happiness for me would be for all of my children to be healthy, happy, and secure. Then I would have no worries... Oh! And...a house on the beach where it’s always warm and I can walk for miles. A beautiful garden full of flowers and fruits to nourish my soul.

What is a trait you are most proud of?

Being resilient.

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

I wish I was less insecure.

what is your greatest extravagance?

I love blown glass. I have a collection of Lundberg vases and other artists' glass work. I would say that’s probably my biggest extravagance and I absolutely love my glass.

What do you most value in your friends?

I feel that you can meet a lot of people in your life and have many friends. However, for me, you only end up with a handful of real true friends. What I love best about my friends is no matter how much time goes between seeing (20+ years) or talking to my dearest friends it’s like there was no time in between. We just pick up where we left off. That to me is the test of a true friend.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I think I would tell my younger self to follow my dreams. Ask lots of questions of my elders to help guide important decisions.

What is your motto or favorite quote?

"Selfless women make for an efficient society but not a beautiful, true, or just one. When women lose themselves, the world loses its way. We do not need more selfless women. What we need right now is more women who have detoxed themselves so completely from the world’s expectations that they are full of nothing but themselves. What we need are women who are full of themselves. A woman who is full of herself knows and trusts herself enough to say and do what must be done. She lets the rest burn!" – Glennon Doyle, Untamed

Words of wisdom for younger women

Enjoy yourselves. Do what your dreams tell you to do. Respect your body and take excellent care of it (you’ll need it later as you reminisce). Make lots of friends along the way...you’ll need each other’s laughter to keep you going. Know that life truly is a gift and don’t leave planet earth with anything left in you. Give life your all and take all that life wants to give you.

Make yourself proud! Every time you’re given the chance between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself your duty is to disappoint that someone else! Your job throughout your entire life is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself.

Give more than you take. Leave every situation better than you found it.

Be kind. Be respectful. Be patient. Be accepting.

Additional thoughts...

Reflection seems to be a consoling pastime for us gray hairs. I heard it once said that the kindest thing a young person can do is to sit with an older person and listen to them reminisce. That’s becoming truer and truer every day. Come sit with me and I’ll tell you things...lots of things and there’s a good chance that I’ve made up a fair amount of what I’d tell you.

Barbara Chatfield
Barbara Chatfield