50 OVER 50 PROJECT FOR 2021

45

Donna LaValley

Age: 75

Retired teacher of 40 years, having taught locally for middle school, high school, Cabrillo College, and adult education, and also in Brazil. Currently a writer.

"At any hour, at any age, you may see something glorious, meet someone fabulous, or discover a needed truth; be ready to experience joy every day."

Donna LaValley

What is the best thing about being your age?

There is great perspective from this distance.

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

My mother had cancer. She suffered bravely for 3 years and died at age 35, when I was 13. My father died 5 years later, and I learned that I could rely on myself as a teenager.

When my first baby died, a girl, I handled it, but the grief was compounding. Then, when my marriage was obviously over, and not in a pretty way, I learned that I needed others to help me deal with ALL of my losses, because now they ran together like a watercolor gone wrong. I strive to be a good friend because good friends got me through my darkest time.

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

I went to Lake Tahoe with my son on a weekend in October, where everything: the weather, the golden colors, the sail to Emerald Bay, even the food, was perfect.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

For me it would be having my family close by and to spend time with them as well as with my wonderful friends, enjoying beautiful scenery, good food, and conversation. Laughing is my favorite thing. But let’s be honest: to be able to walk without pain, to not be impaired so you can travel and enjoy simple things like a hike would also be nice. Music, books, and animals contribute to perfect happiness too.

What is your most treasured possession? My house. I'm so grateful for it.

what do you consider your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is having two sons who are wonderful people, who are healthy and successful, and who love each other, and love me.

What is a trait you are most proud of?

Optimism.

what is your greatest extravagance?

Books.

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

To not have the disfiguring, debilitating disease of Lipedema.

What do you most value in your friends?

Discretion! But mostly humor and shared values.

What is your motto or favorite quote?

"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand."

– Mother Teresa What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be as timid, take the offer, take the chance, don't procrastinate.

Words of wisdom for anyone...

At any hour, at any age, you may see something glorious, meet someone fabulous, or discover a needed truth; be ready to experience joy every day.

additional thoughts...

Trust your body, your whole body and not just your brain. The brain is is only one organ and your intuition and life force come from everywhere.

Donna LaValley
Donna LaValley