50 OVER 50 PROJECT FOR 2021

26

Heidi Winner Odom

Age: 52

Senior Director of Human Resources for the Live Oak School, Santa Cruz, Ca. Professional by day, dancer by night!

"Don't waste time beating yourself up or feeling less than, you are enough! You deserve love and to love yourself. Don't waste time looking elsewhere for love, it's inside of you."

Heidi Winner Odom

What is the best thing about being your age?

The best thing about my age is finally learning to love myself and embrace my flaws. Doing things I'm passionate about such as dancing and doing art projects and just realizing how damn grateful I am for the blessed life I live. I take nothing and no one for granted and I fiercely love my family and friends. I feel a confidence that I didn't have when I was younger, skinnier, etc. I am proud of the life I’ve built.

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

I have overcome years of childhood sexual abuse. I refused to become a victim, I have done the work to survive and thrive. I can even embrace my sexuality and have a healthy marriage. My baby sister, Alexa, committed suicide two years ago... it hurts...I carry her everywhere I go in one way or another.

What is your favorite thing you have checked off your bucket list?

I have gotten to dance all over, I have performed for over 15 years! I got married in Jamaica to my best friend who I have known for almost four decades! I have the kindest, most amazing sons that I love with my entire heart. My dog, Lucky, is my soulmate.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Relaxing in my backyard and floating in the pool, just chilling. It's my happy place, as is Maui where my parents live!

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

I wish I could stop wishing to be something other than what I am: younger, less wrinkles, skinnier, prettier, less of a worrier, and most of all I would change being a night owl and be able to sleep!

what is your greatest extravagance?

I love to shop! I love good things...I love my emerald ring, I love good wine, I love vacations, rock concerts, rock cruises, massages...I love the good life!

What is your most treasured possession?

My family, my animals – they aren't possessions though!

what do you consider your greatest achievement?

My amazing sons! My marriage, after tumultuous years and now that my husband is sober. Winning the "Bonus Choreography" two years in a row for Shimmy Mob, a worldwide flash mob that raises awareness against domestic abuse. My job – I pour my entire soul into my work but I am proud of what I do and grateful to live and work in my hometown.

What is a trait you are most proud of?

I would say I am proud of my authenticity and my heart.

What do you most value in your friends?

I value the fact that my true friends and I can go months without speaking and pick right up where we left off and no love is lost. I value my honest, real and genuine friends and I am loyal and forever grateful for them!

What is your motto or favorite quote?

Do unto others as you would have done to you...it's my religion. What advice would you give your younger self?

Don't sweat about all the small stuff! You are not fat, you are not too much, you are enough! Forgive yourself, love yourself, you deserve love. Most importantly I promise that someday you will be happy, you will be ok.

Words of wisdom for younger women

Don't waste time beating yourself up or feeling less than – you are enough! You deserve love and to love yourself. Don't waste time looking elsewhere for love, it's inside of you.

Additional Thoughts on aging...

It's not a picnic, I struggle with the idea of aging gracefully... but I'm grateful to be aging and every single day is a blessing and a gift that I do not take for granted.

Heidi Winner Odom
Heidi Winner Odom