50 Over 50 Project for 2021
"Don’t hang onto things that cannot stay; allow yourself to let go and keep moving forward. Everything can be transformed."
What is the best thing about being your age?
A financial stability that allows me to finally exhale. I have no regrets over pursuing my dreams earlier in my life, in fact without those experiences I don’t think I could have achieved the confidence or happiness I have today. But it required sacrifice, and at this age it feels good to be achieving my financial goals and experiencing a sense of freedom from want.
What hardships have you endured that you feel have made you stronger?
As a kid, I went to three different elementary schools. Being a highly introverted and shy child, such upheaval was a complete nightmare for me. But I think unconsciously those experiences taught me that I can do hard things, which has helped me push through fears toward growth. Stepping on stage in my early performing days was terrifying. Stepping up as a mentor for a US State Department women’s program sparked fears that I wouldn’t measure up. I’ve said yes to all sorts of opportunities despite some pretty massive fears. I climbed Venezuela’s Mount Roraima, started a new career at 40, and came out of the closet in the 80’s. I try not to let fear stop me because many times the only way to the better person I want to be is through it.
What's your favorite thing you have checked off your bucket list?
Years ago I performed at the Ryman Auditorium (the original Grand Ole Opry) and it was an amazing feeling to sing on the same stage as Hank, Elvis and Patsy, and to take it all in. I’ve also traveled to many different and wonderful countries with friends and family on trips I wouldn’t trade for anything. And now I own a home near the beach with my love of 26 years, something neither one of us ever thought we’d be able to achieve when we were younger.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’ve written and self-released five records, working on my sixth. I also reinvented myself at age 40 and built a successful career in solar energy. Another thing I’m proud of is my 26 year relationship with my partner through many ups and downs, and the fact that we still make each other laugh.
What is your most treasured possession?
My health by far. I’d also add my sister and her kids, but I don’t possess them.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Friday night game night with a few friends over cocktails and nosh. And most definitely my annual family camping trip, a tradition my grandmother established 63 years ago and is still going strong.
What is a trait you are most proud of?
My adaptability. Change is the only constant in life, and the times I’ve held onto something too tight are the times I’ve been hurt the most.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d be less of an introvert, although I wouldn’t sacrifice the gifts that have come with it.
what is your greatest extravagance?
Top shelf wines!
What do you most value in your friends?
Humor, empathy, and brains.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t hang onto things that cannot stay; allow yourself to let go and keep moving forward. Everything can be transformed.
What is your motto or favorite quote?
Goddess grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Words of wisdom for younger women
Take care of your body, feed your mind with diverse perspectives, and read.