50 Over 50 Project for 2020


Paula Alder

Age: 70


"Have a sense of proportion and humor about what really matters in life."

Age: 70
Profession: Psychotherapist
I'm in the midst of restarting a small psychotherapy practice. Before I opened my wearable art business, I had been a social worker and psychotherapist for many years. I'm missing seeing clients. It's a collaboration that I always learn from.

What is the best thing about being your age?
Having a sense of proportion (and humor) about what really matters in life.

What hardships have you endured that you feel have made you stronger?
My hardships mostly have to deal with the loss of far too many people whom I have loved and lost and will always cherish. I have learned to live with grief and to keep on appreciating the Little Miracles – like the sunflower that popped up in my front yard in the middle of the pandemic, reminding me of life's surprises and exquisite mystery and beauty.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is that I figured out how to do the things I truly love to do, from being a mom and a grandma to being creative in every way I can possibly be.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
My idea of perfect happiness is a day of playing and being goofy with people I love.

What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possession is a pin that belonged to my mother and was stolen shortly after she died. I no longer have it but every time I think of it, I remember her.

What's your favorite thing you have checked off your bucket list?
My bucket list is a work in progress. So far, my greatest delights have been motherhood and now grandmotherhood. I've also written a novel, recorded a jazz CD, and painted a series of nudes inspired by Edward Weston's photographs.

What is your greatest extravagance?
My greatest extravagance was at one time gorgeous jewelry. I sold some of it and have kept my favorite pieces. It's fun to wear but not all that important in the scheme of things.

What is a trait you are most proud of?
I'm most proud of my willingness to just go for it, whatever IT is.

what is your greatest fear?
I guess my greatest fear would be dying alone. I'd really like my friends and family around me when I go down that river.

What do you most value in your friends?
What I value most in my friends is honest and loving communication.

What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self, "Relax, babe. All is well. And if it isn't, you'll deal with it then."

what is your favorite motto or quote?
I have many quotes that I love, but this is a fun one from Irene Zahava:
"My mother taught me many lessons:
Nothing is as it appears.
There are no calories in a broken cookie.
When in doubt, throw it out.
A stuffed animal is easier to care for than a baby.
You can never own too many pairs of shoes."

I have tried to pass this wisdom down to my own daughter. ☺️

Additional thoughts...
Aging? Humph. I don't know about you, but I am YOUTHING.