Being a Bit Naïve – Not Always Funny!

I am not a “been there/done that” sort of woman. Things have and still seem to surprise me. When young, naïve was an understatement to describe my lack of sophistication and savvy. My all time “who knew” story was being asked by a guy at 22 to meet him at the Harvard Club. Yes, I did manage to find it, and yes, I asked for “John Smith” who promptly appeared in the lobby area.

Unfortunately the idea of Harvard as a private club somehow eluded me — I commented to him and a few of his friends that it was interesting that the “Harvard Club” – a public place in my mind – looked and felt like everyone on the walls in those rather grim portraits, and right now standing in the lobby could have ACTUALLY GONE TO HARVARD. Looking at me now as a sophisticated woman of a certain age it seems impossible I could have uttered this HUGE faux pas — but yes sister fabulous women, I did.

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Harvard Club

Needless to say John sneered and sent me packing. I tell the story to remind myself and others in my life that I was not born at Saks Fifth Avenue nor raised on the main line of Philadelphia. But interestingly, though much more “seasoned” and exposed to all sorts of people, places and things, I remain more or less a trifle naïve. Not necessarily about which fork to use, or knowing Peter Michael is a great chardonnay not just a guy’s name, I mean naïve in the sense of wondering what in the world is going on here — how could this be happening?

Here are some recent shocks to my system. Am curious if you share my shock or just want to shout to me Patty, snap out of it – don’t be so naïve! More pointedly: when is it OK to be naïve and when does it literally become dangerous?

Shock One: Ben Bernanke was turned down for a mortgage. Yes, it seems the bank he applied to used an algorithm to block new loans to those just changing jobs — even if he is in the one percent and the former head of the Federal Reserve Bank.

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This article makes the point that common sense needs to come back into the mortgage system. Can you blame me for having missed the fact that human factors are no longer used in giving people mortgages? That amazed me — sure you can get a line of credit or a mortgage online, but when did your ability to demonstrate your reliability and financial responsibility lose out to a formula that excludes any personal judgment? This knowledge allows for a great deal more empathy to those who are still being told they can’t have a mortgage. Just laughing at the stupidity of the bankers who rejected Bernanke is not the point.

Shock Two: A long ago corporate client called me out of the blue this weekend. The call came 10 years or so after he had a personal crisis and retired from corporate life to get his life back in order. He indicated his wife was scheduled for surgery this week that is extremely serious — and he wanted me to know that even though we hadn’t seen each other in forever he was using the “wisdom” (his word) I had imparted to him years ago about corporate change and transformation and was using it to help he and his family deal with this stunning negative turn of events in their lives.

I was hugely flattered but amazed. I certainly never thought my corporate consulting work would help someone deal with the possible death of a spouse. Or, maybe I did or at least hoped whatever good I was doing went beyond just good things for the institution. And, it reminded me that what we say – and what we have said – really does matter always.

I was wrong to underestimate the impact I had on people I worked with and naïve to think that my words and actions at work did not have enormous impact.

Shock three: The Canadian capital of Ottawa is the scene of violence today and the story continues to unfold. Terrorism seems to be at issue here. Watching the historic Ottawa Parliament building in lockdown is unnerving. While ISIS did seem far away it is getting unnervingly close. The whole idea of people being “radicalized” and traveling to join various terror spots makes me uneasy. How could the story of freedom and democracy we grew up with fail to connect with a troubling number of people here, in Canada and Europe? What part have we all played in alienating some people so much that they want to join in a crusade against what we see as decency?

While being naïve can be very funny, it can also be dangerous. It can leave us unconcerned with issues that we seriously need to reflect upon and take action upon. As fabulous women we have to know when to laugh, but also when to stop laughing at women wanting to marry ISIS soldiers – and rather contribute to creating bridges of understanding in our own communities so even the thought of this is impossible. Fabulous women know when to be serious and take responsibility for modeling important interest and passion. Or we should.

Patty

50th Reunions: To Go or Not to Go? That is the Question!

Two weeks ago, I attended a 50th grade school reunion. Our Lady of Lourdes was part of a Catholic parish in a small Cincinnati, Ohio neighborhood. About 100 of us – boys and girls – spent Grades 1 through 8 together and about half of us attended the reunion.

The last time I saw most of these classmates was at a 20th reunion when we were in our early 30’s. Now, thirty years later, we were all 64 years old.

Despite the fact that I told everyone I was “coerced” into attending by a girlfriend on the planning committee who I’ve stayed close to over the years, I was actually looking forward to it … and ended up having a good time.

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Here are a few snapshots: The party was held in the school cafeteria where it felt weird to be drinking wine and beer; familiar late 50’s and early 60’s music played in the background; I told one of the guys that I had had a crush on him in 8th grade (it made his night, he said); another guy told me I was “hot” back then (who knew?); a girl I sang with in a quartet reminded me about a road trip with our choir director and his wife to a boy’s college when we were in the 8th grade; another one told me a funny story about my dad; one of the twin brothers who drove the teachers crazy with their pranks told us about a nun “clocking” him while he was running in the hallway; a life-size poster of the pastor of our church at the time – a much-disliked curmudgeon – was dressed up in hats and boas throughout the evening; and our favorite nun, Sister Mary Myra, now nearly 80 years old, shocked us by admitting that the nuns didn’t like him either! We also walked up two flights of marble steps (slowly, to accommodate arthritic knees) and toured a tiny 1st grade classroom, marveling at how we could have been so young and small.

In retrospect, there are several things I decided about 50th reunions:

  1. A 50th reunion is different. If you’re going to go to any reunion, this is probably the one to attend. By this time of our lives, posturing about jobs, financial success and our wonderful children is pretty much over. Instead, we’ve all made it this far in life, we know what we’ve become, it is what it is, we feel OK about it, and we’re at the reunion for reasons other than showing off or bragging. (Well, except for the grandkids.)
  2. We are at a more reflective and nostalgic time of our lives. Those of us who attend a 50th reunion either have stories to share or want to revisit some of the stories we’ve forgotten. Most of us have lost our parents – some many, many years ago – and no longer have the connection to the past that they provided. We’re curious about what went on in our lives in those early days and have an interest – unlike in our younger years – in remembering what we did and how we felt back then.
  3. We share a connection with these classmates that is different from the one we share with later-life friends. We are all the same age (how weird is that?), we spent many years together in a small space, we dealt with the same authority figures, we all learned to get under our desks in case of a nuclear war, we shared the same childhood insecurities … and in the case of our class, we ate the same delicious jellyrolls from the bakery across the street. (The bakery is long gone, but someone found a source and brought jellyrolls to the reunion. How great is that?)
  4. Everyone thinks they look 10 years younger than everyone else. 50th reunion attendees are grateful to be healthy enough to attend an evening reunion, although most of us want to be in bed by 11:30pm. And, we feel that we’ve done OK in the aging department. In fact, better than most, if we have to say so ourselves! Actually, we don’t see 64 year olds anyway when we look at other attendees — we see the kids we used to be!
  5. It’s all about the good memories. Yes, we had things happen to us in school that we’d rather forget. But, those things aren’t what anyone wants to talk about at this age. 50th reunion attendees are more interested in remembering fun stuff and sharing a laugh or two or three.

So, go ahead and attend your 50th reunion – grade school or high school. And, if you do, here are some suggestions based on my recent experience:

  • Look at the eyes! You’ll be more likely to “see” the kid you knew.
  • Don’t say “Do you know who I am?” while hiding your name tag. Introduce yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised if people remember you before your self-introduction, but if not, at least you won’t get blank stares. (Ladies … Use your maiden name. It’s the only one your classmates will know or care about!)

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  • Spend some time in advance of the reunion coming up with a story you can share. If you have photos or school albums, they’ll jog your memory.
  • Use the time you spend with classmates asking them to share stories and memories. You could find a few gems among them.
  • Don’t talk about your health problems. We all have them and we don’t want to talk about them. (And … if someone isn’t there, don’t speculate about whether they died. Assume they had another commitment or, better yet, that they are on a luxury cruise to Tahiti!)
  • Tell everyone they look great … why the hell not!
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Cathy (center) with two grade school friends at our 50th reunion

My 50th reunion didn’t change my life – and it probably won’t change yours either. But with the right attitude and approach, it can be a pleasant way to take a little stroll back in time and uncover some of the things that made you the person you are today.

And … you might even get to savor some jellyrolls or other goodies from the past!

Cathy

Yosemite’s Beauty Reminds Us Of Our Own

As some of you may know, there was a forest fire on Tuesday at Yosemite National Park. Our sincerest condolences go out to the family of the pilot who went down while trying to provide aid, as well as anyone else who may be affected.

Have just been at Yosemite National Park. There are few signs there, only modest markings in the park, no trash anywhere not specifically noted for recycle/reuse, no video arcades or much action of any kind beyond being and experiencing the quiet, beauty and vastness of nature. We saw majestic mountains and miles of elegant trees rising high and deep on twisting, relatively empty roads. Because of the many gifted photographers of this site we both felt we knew it well — but were truly virgins in this place — open to the newness of actually being in the park and not seeing it second hand.

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Yosemite (like all national parks) feels a bit like our 50s childhood: barely commercial, all about being outside, low key and old-fashioned. While multiple languages were spoken everywhere in our hotel and in the park, aside from photos being taken from smartphones, it was essentially low key/low tech. While no setting is immune from the constant site of people more engrossed with their phones than real life happening around them, there was much less of that in Yosemite. The scenery just begged to be looked at and admired – even if you can get every perfect photo Ansel Adams ever took on the web anywhere and anytime you want.

The days are long and soft with a feeling that “this is just someplace everyone should see”. There seems no other reason to be at Yosemite but to soak up the magic and serenity of wilderness. It is a truly spiritual place — a place that exists to help us experience deep peace, calm and remind us to tap down the relentless striving inherent in our culture. Places that remind us that we are unique and beautiful in ourselves — when we recognize and accept who we really are at core with unique gifts and life stories. It struck me as I visited Grace Cathedral in San Francisco soon after we left Yosemite – that this beautiful cathedral and the vistas of Yosemite have much in common as centering places. It also became clear how important it is especially in our 60s to visit these sacred spaces.

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Yosemite is a perfect place to think, reconsider what you are doing in your life and with your life, and a spot to recommit to doing the right things — from exercising, to keeping everything and ourselves as beautiful and unspoiled as possible and to keep our own life focused on just those few things and people that matter. We remember and can reconsider recommitting to the respect for institutions we grew up with in the 50s. It is comforting to see people of every stripe and age respecting a place as they still do in Yosemite – there are few shouting tourists or obnoxious children — everyone is calmer for being in awe of something clearly bigger than any visitor.

It has been 150 years since President Lincoln in 1864, consumed by the war then ripping the USA apart, took time to give a gift so enlightened – it is hard to believe it came from Washington, D.C. Come visit or visit again sometime and gain or regain any perspective you may have lost. You can’t be here without knowing where you fit in to this world of ours – not at its center, but in a perfectly fabulous place where you are exactly meant to be.

yose 150

Patty

What Not To Say

One of our readers sent us a great piece about what not to say to another over 60 woman if she is involved in a change in her relationship status. We loved it and have it here. If you have comments and ideas to share with Sue about her story feel free to comment on this post or send us a message and we’ll get it to Sue.

The story got us thinking about what else not to say in difficult and often changing situations.   And, as we age, there are more “awkward” situations that test our ability to show support and sympathy but without offense. Even changes in weight or looks can cause an otherwise fabulous woman to say something inappropriate.

My favorite story of saying the wrong thing was back in 1977 at my 10 year high school reunion: “So Mary — when is the baby due?” You got it — I will never forget her face and comment “I am just fat Patty.” Alas less than a year ago – some 30 plus years later, I slipped again. Sure enough – Gloria wasn’t pregnant either. Now unless the woman is in the process of delivering I am not mentioning her having a baby.

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Here’s a few more tips — essentially here’s what NOT TO SAY when people are grieving.

Skip comparisons and bringing in your similar experience. Here are some examples I know you have heard or said. I too admit to a few slips.

  • “You know my Dad had the same cancer and they got it in time.”
  • “I was so distraught when Jan left me – I feel your pain.”

Skip assuming how other people feel — I have definitely made this mistake.

  • “You must be relieved after all the time you have been caring for h/h”
  • “It was her time – she was ready.” Having said this once and gotten my head bit off let me suggest extra caution on variations on this theme.

Forget references to the afterlife unless you are absolutely 100% positive they are believers. Even if they are believers — the timing could be off.

  • “You’ll see Harry in paradise some day soon”. A variation on this for my mother in law got a book thrown at my head.
  • “They are in a better place.”

Don’t downplay or make the person feel they were a fool ever to have gotten involved with the person, job, house or whatever it is that is now gone. And remember, just because something is absolutely TRUE, doesn’t mean you should say it!

  • “She was a bitch and everyone knew it – except you obviously. You’re well rid of her.”
  • “You won’t miss that corporate job — sure it paid the bills, but it ate your soul.”
  • “You couldn’t save him — he had to save himself.”

The older I get the more I believe in the point: less is more. Here’s a suggestion of what to say that could work in literally dozens of situations. It conveys concern and sympathy/empathy, but avoids remarks that while well-meaning, could potentially backfire.

Look the person in the eye, put your arm out to touch them in a light way — unless of course you already know they are one of those few folks who never want to be touched. Pause, and then starting with their name, speak softly and directly to the person.

“Bob/Carol I am so sorry about what you are going through (likely they are still suffering in some way). I am here to listen and help in the way that would be best for you.” Wait and determine if they do or do not want to talk, share or ask for help. Some people welcome a chance to share, others are more private, or in many cases too upset or tired to keep repeating the same “tale” multiple times.

You likely feel much better now that you have read this wonderful therapeutic blog — or, maybe not. Let me just say – be well, be happy and enjoy the day — and if the blog helps you, great — if not, just delete it.

Patty

Women in the Workplace Still Need Role Models and Mentors

When Deeanne Colwell wrote to us about her experience in the aviation industry where she worked as a pilot for 30 years, Patty and I thought it could be a good time to suggest to fabulous women over 60 that we might be in a great position – even if we are retired or about to retire – to encourage, support and advise younger women as they face continuing career challenges.

Many of us have built expertise in a career or other endeavor while learning important (and often difficult) lessons along the way. We’ve faced glass ceilings, lack of respect, gender assumptions and more. Sharing ways we’ve dealt with these issues – whether successfully or not – could be very valuable to those who are coming up behind us. Maybe we should even think about this as an obligation – something we owe to other women as Deeanne suggests in this inspirational story.

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Welcome to Reality!

By Deeanne Colwell

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Deeanne Colwell.  I have just retired from an incredible job.  Yes, for 30 years I was a pilot at a major United States airline.  My dream shot that came true after giving up a career in medicine to pursue my life’s passion.  Although we are a minority in the aviation community, I never felt as though I was a role model, a trail blazer or any other feel good term.  I was a woman airline captain just doing what I loved.

Due to federal mandates I had to retire at age 65, give all this up.  It wasn’t the money or any prestige, it was my passion.  After the retirement process I thought to myself, time for a new adventure, a new challenge, a new life. But every time I thought of returning to graduate school or becoming a bartender my love of aviation would keep creeping into my thoughts.

I am saying, OK girl, if you cannot fly go teach, you just might have something to offer to the aviation community.  What the heck, you might even inspire another woman to take on this challenge. OK, let’s not push it yet.

As luck would have it, I found an international flight training company that trained corporate pilots from all over the world to fly.  I applied and was given an interview.  My first thought was I have nothing to wear to an interview – I went out to an upscale women’s shop, bought a nice suit and now I am ready.

I go to the interview, was greeted very professionally by the staff, this was so comforting to me since I had not been to an interview since the mid-80’s.  All was well until the interview room started filling with men. Men asking me very mundane questions, actually they were very easy to answer. Then the subtle attacks and flanking maneuvers began.  I began to see where this was going. I was asked very condescending questions, questions that a student pilot could answer.  It was almost like they were saying to me, “OK sweetie why are you really here?”  But what they didn’t realize is I love a challenge, I love a confrontation. I held my ground.  Finally one man asked me, what do you really have to bring to this organization?  I looked at him square and said, EXPERIENCE.

The interview ended very cordially, with the standard “we have many other candidates to go, we’ll be in touch”.

After leaving, on my drive home, many thoughts were going through me. Thoughts like where did I go wrong, could it have gone better.  Then I said to myself, woman you did great, if they don’t hire you it’s their loss.

The reality of all this hit me after 30 years, the reality of the “glass ceiling”.  The reality of this still “macho” business.  I’ve been sheltered all these years and the “glass ceiling” was just a term for me.  What this interview has awakened me to do is to become active in being a role model, a motivator for some young girl who wants what I had, to even become a fighter pilot or maybe an astronaut.

I suppose we all owe something to someone, some time.   Dee.

 

YES, Dee, we do. It is what makes us fabulous at any age!

Cathy

P.S. Patty recently found an organization called Take the Lead whose mission is to do what it takes to achieve leadership parity for women across all sectors by 2025. Thought you might like to check it out.

This piece was submitted by a guest blogger. Send us your story or short article and we’ll contact you if it works as a guest blog. Click here to share.

Fighting People, Boredom and Burnout

Went to a cocktail/dinner party about a month ago – we knew the hosts but no one else. Twenty or so people were in attendance – ages varying from 40-70ish. The house, food, setting was superb — but on the way home we found ourselves, while not exactly complaining, at least wondering why we found the people nice but boring – except for our host friends whom we adore.

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My husband and several of our/his friends have a group called the “I hate people club” because at this point they are exhausted by “@ss#oles“ they keep meeting. The women in the couples cringe when we hear this – but at some level we get it.

When younger, much of what we found interesting and really fun was sharing and learning about what we were interested in at those points in time:

  • How to meet that great looking woman/man to date, become friends with or have a potential business exchange with.
  • What can I learn from others also juggling family, work, and working at XYZ?
  • Am I keeping up professionally, personally, in any way and every way with “what’s happening now”?
  • Can I get some tips on makeup, hair, traveling, new restaurants — even politics — because we really did used to have conversations about candidates without anyone getting crazy.

Two big changes have happened. Nowadays, the “answer” or information about anything is available online. You don’t need as many other people’s advice because you can get tons of advice on any and all subjects whenever you want it. And secondly, perhaps more importantly, we don’t care as much about others’ views, or feel quite the pressure to be better, different, or more open.

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Actually, I think the problem is in the questions — or the lack of questions we want to ask, think to ask, or know how to ask. Maybe we are really curious why Jim is still with Mary after all these years, or how Tom is coping with his illness or Carol with the loss of her mate. With new folks we wonder how to break the ice without stumbling in the killer conversations about Washington DC, money, fears or inability to retire and so forth.

Maybe we just need to stop analyzing and just get back in the habit of being interested in others, and interested in things that are new, different and maybe pushing us a bit out of our comfort zone. That and maybe accept that some forms of socializing don’t work anymore – and do more of what does work: more time with friends who challenge us but love us unconditionally. Being fabulous is turning out to be more about depth and insight. Because, really, who cares that boots are in or that Spirit is the hottest restaurant in town?

Patty Gill Webber

Photo credit here, here

You Only Leave Once

I was out visiting my sister having some very fun alone sister time. While sitting having coffee on her back porch, paging through The Kansas City Star, this ad “appeared”. Actually, I hadn’t thought much at all that I will “only leave once”, as my life is rather focused figuring out how to live, love, learn and leave a legacy – or at least be more fabulous and a better life coach.

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Maggie Newcomer (no you cannot make this up) is the Licensed Funeral Director who will help you at AraCremation to plan ahead for that one special exit — they have actually trademarked the saying “You only leave once”. Somehow I started laughing and couldn’t stop.

People are geniuses at marketing aren’t they? Any and all troubles, thought about or imagined issues, seem to have great ready-made solutions. Except when you reach your 60s, you know it isn’t so. New comfortable but glamorous shoes, lip wrinkle eraser, the new clutter catcher for between your car seats, an additional grandchild, or tickets to your favorite band from the 70s, (see Cathy’s piece on this one) may ease some disappointments in life — but life still hurts and does so in some fresh new ways as you age.

Actually I do find that my friends and other fabulousover60 women are more than realistic about what is ahead and what is before us. We are a generation of planners, doers, and organizers. We were the first generation who went from hiding it all from the neighbors to shouting we are WHATEVER and PROUD OF IT. We relish reality and are shocked by the unevolved among us still not taking personal responsibility for their life.

We are all a little bit of Oprah, Dr. Phil, Martha Beck, Justice Sotomayor, the Pope, and Abraham Lincoln — many of us have read more self help/self love books and articles than any sane person should. We are not going to go out like our folks – in denial. We emptied their houses held on to too long, and swore we weren’t doing that to our family/friends when we pass away. We are not denying reality. We are on top of it.

But the thing is this: while we are better psychologically prepared for aging, many are still sad it is happening. We are doing it differently, but it is still happening — which is conversely funny and absolutely terrifying. I think the best thing we can do for each other is to “be real” as we started to say back in the 1970s. We need to step up and recognize, support and listen to each others freak-out stories about aging. Recognize how upsetting our friend found visiting her fast fading cousin in hospice and agree it was a nightmare. Recognize and admit to being ambivalent and understanding about what life will be like for a friend, without a spouse, a best friend, or beloved pet. Recognize that more “little falls and accidents” go with the territory as do going to more funerals than weddings.

Being present and supportive to/for each other is the bandage and ointment we need to get back to laughing, enjoying the great things about aging (wisdom and acceptance) – and if we work at it – serenity. Fabulous women know how be totally realistic and yet believe in the magic of life. After all, we have always known from our parents’ generation “we only live once,” but we now know from today’s marketing geniuses and The Kansas City Star “we only leave once” too!!

Patty Gill Webber

 

Meet Debbie Wemyss

Note: We receive no compensation or commission from any women we introduce to you through Fabulous. These posts are based on one to one interviews with the individual woman, shaped into a blog post by Patty and/or Cathy, and fact checked by the woman being interviewed.

Cathy and I keep meeting fabulousover60 women. We have decided to start a new blog topic — meeting peers, friends, new contacts, family members, school mates — anyone who strikes us as having things to say to our readers and ourselves. We are hopeful this new feature will inspire and inform you. Contact us if you or someone you know would be a great candidate for a “meet blog”. Click here to contact us about suggested person.

Describe your passion and share why it is so important to you right now in your life?

Debbie’s current successful and growing business is just over 3 years old. Her focus? Helping people use LinkedIn successfully. She sees her business as a continuation of who she was and still is — a person who loves to help others. Raised by non-profit executives, and a non-profit executive herself, Debbie’s business sprung from necessity and has flourished because she has found a need in the changing world, and is filling it. With the force of her strong, straight forward personality, her tight, strategic focus on a genuine need people will pay for, and with professionalism honed from years of working and striving, Debbie is Fabulous.

Finding herself “downsized” at 57 — at the height of the great recession–for the first time ever from her highly successful non-profit career with two children to put through college, Debbie’s first steps were to keep trying to re-enter her own field. With glowing work reviews, wonderful references and a “contact list” the envy of many non-profit executives, and over 300 resumes to every possible connection/option, Debbie realized the workplace had dramatically changed and she had to change with it to survive.

Debbie decided to use her great learning skills and dive into understanding social media. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube – the big four – became her passion. Carefully studying, self educating herself and keeping her positive focus she soon realized that although all four were intriguing and important, she chose the number one business site in the world – LinkedIn – and began to focus.

Always a proficient networker Debbie went back to her involvement with Career Source where she was part of an ongoing monthly support group of senior executives trying to find work. While she couldn’t get permission to conduct a workshop on LinkedIn, she started, with the encouragement of others, to help people with their LinkedIn job search efforts. She soon began to see many had a real interest in the skills she had acquired. Her business began there — with job seekers and helping them use LinkedIn effectively to land interviews.

In the 3 years since founding DW Consulting Solutions she has serviced over 450 people in 7 countries — and is busier than ever. As a startup coaching job seekers, Debbie now works with corporations and thriving enterprises as well as individuals. She has recently added some people to help support her growing business. Seeing LinkedIn as the “yellow pages of the times”, she has an excitement, passion and desire to help others use the site to their advantage professionally. With over 5.3 billion searches done on LinkedIn in 2013, she sees no stopping the juggernaut that now has over 300 million users.

What lessons have you learned and want to share with other fabuloussover60 women?

Organized as I have come to expect, Debbie had her sharp answer ready.

She ticked them off:

1. Decide. While it might seem it would get easier to make decisions as we age, for many of us it is harder than ever. But deciding is the factor that starts the whole process moving forward. Deciding to do something — anything, is critically important to moving forward in your 60s. Debbie decided to skip listening to any naysayers, to not worry about being over 60 and just keep moving forward.

2. Be focused. You have to take risks that matter — and do it with caution but faith. Stay the course you have selected for yourself and don’t allow distractions to get you off track.

3. Be persistent. Believe in yourself and the path you have chosen. Whatever that path is, stick with it.

What has been your biggest/best or worse surprise since turning 60?

Turning philosophical Debbie shared her “ah ha” moments of looking at photos of herself and her friends and thinking: “yes, we are aging” and “yes, life is short”. And, having the realization we all seem to be having of learning about one or another friend with one or another illnesses or sudden passing drives home the fact that we’re not getting any younger.

Taking these “newly sensed” insights, she began to feel that there was “no time to waste” and if she wanted to do, to see, or to be something the time was and is now.

What makes you feel fabulousover60?

Loving my life right now. Living in the present and moving forward knowing time is short so I better be enjoying it. Debbie also cited the freedom of doing what she wants, when she wants taking full accountability for the results but knowing corrections can be made swiftly because she is at the helm.

Favorite movie, book or other suggestions to share?

Debbie sees her new work and passion bringing all sorts of personal as well as professional opportunities to her life. She hasn’t seen it but looks forward to getting a laugh from “new/old” love with the Diane Keaton/Michael Douglas romance ‘And So It Goes’ in theaters this summer.

Debbie didn’t hesitate for a moment when making a book recommendation: Reid Hoffman’s (co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn) The Start-up of YOU.  She has read it multiple times. It’s now on my list.

Final thoughts.

I met Debbie through an online seminar she gave for a business partner of mine. Blown away by her enormous drive, precise information and on-target help with LinkedIn I hired her shortly after to help with my own LinkedIn presence. Impressive, warm, sharp and determined, I am thrilled to have met Debbie Wemyss and to have added her to my professional and personal contacts. Not many people can start a successful business near 60 — but Debbie shows it can be done — by being true to herself and working like crazy.

Contact info:
Debbie Wemyss (weemz)
Independent LinkedIn Specialist
DW Consulting Solutions
debbie@dwconsultingsolutions.com

 

 

The 70’s Rock Concert That Didn’t Rock

By Cathy Green (With contributions from guest blogger and concert attendee, Ginny Callaway)

Here’s the scene:

Two couples. All four of us in our 60’s. Feeling good. Going to a Three Dog Night concert under the stars at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC. Reserved seats, only 6 rows from the stage.

Here’s what we expected:

We’ll have dinner at a nearby restaurant at 5:30pm, park close to the concert venue, get a glass of wine and find our great up-front and personal seats.

The concert will start at 8:00pm sharp.  We’ll hear our favorite TDN songs from the 70’s … Celebrate, Joy to the World, Easy to be Hard and many, many more. We’ll feel like young 20-something’s again. We’ll stand up, we’ll clap and, with other members of our peace, love and rock and roll generation, cheer until we bring the guys back for an encore. We’ll have smiles on our faces as we exit the concert, we’ll catch the bus to the parking lot talking about the great music we just heard, and we’ll all be home no later than 11:00pm.  A perfect night!

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Here’s what really happened:

Dinner was great, but we made the mistake of telling our young waitress that we were on our way to a Three Dog Night concert.  “Oh, I’ve never heard of them” she said sweetly. Our first feeling old moment.

Although we were “sure” that we had timed our entrance to the concert perfectly, we were directed to the furthest lot where we parked and got on a bus to take us to the stage area. During the 20 minute ride, we began to discuss skipping the encore so that we could get out of there more quickly. Our second feeling old moment.

Walking to the concert from the bus, we all had to go to the bathroom even though we had recently used the facilities at the restaurant. Of course, the restrooms were about a mile away in the opposite direction from our seats. Nothing closer, we asked?  Our third feeling old moment.

The weather forecast called for a chilly night. Although the temperature never dropped below 75, we were prepared with long pants, jackets, scarves and gloves packed in shoulder bags. All around us, younger women wore cute sleeveless tops and long flowing skirts and young guys wore shorts. Our fourth feeling old moment.

Although there were many people in long lines buying drinks, we had had our drink at the restaurant so it was bottled water for us. Yes, bottled water at a rock concert. Our fifth feeling old moment.

And… then it happened.  There was an opening act, a southern rock and roll band. They began playing. Actually, they began screaming. In the sixth row, the sound was overpowering.  Three of us quickly stuffed plugs in our ears (Ray refused to look quite that old). The music was still loud, and now totally distorted.

We lasted in our seats about 30 minutes and then walked to the back of the venue, behind all of the reserved seats, to stand with people who had paid less than half what we paid for our tickets and who seemed to be there primarily to drink beer and talk.

We knew only one of the songs these opening act guys sang … but they sang for a full hour and a half. We impatiently waited for them to stop (three encores) and when they did the roadies began a 30 minute stage re-set.  We realized that the earliest that Three Dog Night would begin to play was 10:45. We quickly calculated that we wouldn’t be home until well after midnight. And, we all had to go to the bathroom again.

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That’s when we looked at each other and had our final, ultimate feeling old moment. Want to leave?

That’s right, we left BEFORE THREE DOG NIGHT PERFORMED!

We were the only ones on the bus riding back to the parking lot, which was a good thing since our ears were ringing. Once in the car, we found a fast route to the exit and were home by 10:45 … about the time Three Dog Night was beginning its set.

We learned some lessons that night:

1.) Two rock bands means a very long concert night for older music fans.

2.) Sitting up front at a rock concert is for younger people.

3.) Mentioning a 70’s band to a young waitress is not something you should do if you want to feel good about yourself.

And….

4.) Getting a good night’s sleep is at least some consolation for missing a concert.

 

Cathy Green

 

I Hate Bras

This piece was submitted by guest blogger Ginny Callaway. Send us your story or short article and we’ll contact you if it works as a guest blog. Click here to share.

Let me get that out of the way first thing.

I hate bras.

The first thing I do every day when I get home is take my bra off.

When I was in fifth grade, I was tall and very thin. Although I had already become a woman, I had no signs of physical maturity. All the places that would eventually become hairy were still smooth and my chest looked the same as it did when I was six.

Classmates were blossoming and budding, adding a rounded shape to our tailored shirtwaist uniforms. My uniform hung straight down from my wide shoulders to my small waist. No protrusions whatsoever.

Helen was in the same shape. We decided we’d do something about it, even if we got busted.

One Saturday, Helen and I walked from her house to a small shop specializing in clothes for young girls. We casually wandered through the dresses, blouses, sweaters, not wanting to seem too obvious in our mission. Slowly, indifferently, we made our way to the area where the bras were. We looked at them for a minute or two before actually touching one. Our eyes fell on what was called a “training bra.” Perfect. That’s just what we needed. Something to bring the reluctant dark pink circles on our chest to life. A bra to train our breasts how to behave. Now we’re talking.

We did have one problem. We only had enough money for one bra and there were two of us. But we didn’t see that as a problem. Helen would wear it for one week and I would wear it for the next week. It might take a little longer to train our buds to blossom, but we had time. A deal was struck and a bra was bought.

And it worked! By the end of fifth grade, little bumps were forming.

Then the unspeakable happened. My mother wanted to take me shopping for bras. As she said, “To cover your little marbles.”  Oh God, spare me. What could be more embarrassing? Marbles, Mom? Of all the words to choose…geez.

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Off we went to Robinson’s department store in Pasadena. After a tête-à-tête with the sales lady, a sampling of bras appeared in a dressing room. I tried them on. Guess which one fit? The training bra. My marbles needed more training. Fine by me, just get me out of there.

By fifteen, my tatas did grow and I was able to fill an A cup and the top of a tiny bikini.

By twenty, I was a long-haired, tie-dyed hippie. I abandoned wearing a bra. I didn’t burn them, just shoved them to the back of my top dresser drawer.

It wasn’t until I became pregnant that bras re-entered the picture. These were not training bras or petite A cup lingerie items with delicate pink flowers. These were honking garments complete with three rows of hooks in the back, inch-wide straps and drop down front doors. I don’t remember if those bras had cups sizes. Let’s just size I was now wearing size huge.

As I grew older, bras came and went in my life. As I aged, my body went from lithe to luscious, or more accurately, post-menopausal fat.

My boobs grew with me. These days, at 65, I go to the gym three times a week and horseback ride twice a week. I need a bra. But finding one with straps that don’t end up three inches off my shoulders in five minutes or squeeze my chest with military-grade wire is impossible.

So, Ladies, let me hear from you. Do you have THE bra that meets the above demands? I need your support.

- Ginny Callaway, Fabulous Over 60 Reader/Guest Blogger

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