Careers

In Our 60s, It Is Time To Recreate Ourselves!

After a rocky start to the year, my head is getting straightened out.  Am realizing that changes need to be made to continue my journey of being more fully my fabulous self.  Finally letting go of “Dr. Pat, Inc.” the company that has been my safety blanket identity since I finished my doctorate.  No matter how little or how much it succeeded, it existed.  And that existence took energy – writing a blog, doing paperwork, talking to potential clients, working with clients and otherwise catering to its multiple small business demands.  Like children, friends, and pets, owning a small business takes more time and effort than one expects.  With my constantly shrinking and limited energy, and the serious belief that my separate online coaching business’s time has FINALLY come, I am in the process of dismantling the world of Dr. Pat and welcoming the new Dr. Patty.

It is going fairly well.  As I tell my existing coaching clients, they are taking the news well.  They understand I will always remain there for them, but won’t be handling new clients.  My wonderful accountant for Dr. Pat and I have decided to talk once a year, even though our business relationship is ending with my 2016 final return.  My social media/marketing wizard is OK with new work opportunities including doing something in our online coaching business and its upcoming new launch.  In reality, the disappearance of Dr. Pat isn’t having much of any impact at all.  My sister – whom everyone knows who reads this blog understands I am close to, didn’t even know my Dr. Pat business was separate from E-Coach Associates (ECA), the owner of QwikCoach, our online coaching tool.  Obviously my professional identity wasn’t clear, strong or differentiated.

When we identify with a definition of ourselves that is not current with where we are now, we limit our ability to reshape our identity to new realities.  By holding onto Dr. Pat Inc., I was limiting my ability to be “all in” with our online coaching business.  I had to divide my professional self when in reality I have barely enough energy to do one business well.  Since ECA is having a new launch soon, I need now to focus my energies there introducing myself to new clients as the Chief Content Officer of this enterprise.  That new title speaks differently to people who now will know that my most important professional role is making sure our QwikCoach product has the best content possible.  And that is what I want them to know.  My LinkedIn profile will definitely be reframed.

By re-naming ourselves, we re-create ourselves and hold ourselves accountable as well as “explain” who we are.  And this is happening personally as well.  Until now I had a business card/personal card that had my Dr. Pat business on one side and FabulousOver60 on the other.  The Fabulous side of the card listed me as Patty Gill Webber, Co-Creator of FabulousOver60.  That card is no more – and I am thinking when I do have a new card, my fabulous identity will be left out.  No one will know me in my fabulous incarnation except those reading our blog on Facebook or on our site directly – which is fine – we have been promoting FabulousOver60 for years and have a following we are happy with.  No need to keep pushing this identity.  And, as Cathy and I have stated before, we are not sure if we are going to float on from this blog when our 60s are behind us.  That is getting closer since we both will be 68 on our next birthdays.

I’m calling myself Patty now professionally – at my Church, in my neighborhood and in nearly every new situation I find myself in.  When we first joined 10 plus years ago, I was Pat and Dr. Pat and did some work for the Church under that identity.  Now, I don’t want to be more than a helper at Church – wanting my newly selected volunteer work to have me meet and mingle as just an individual person – so Patty it is.  Patty is my childhood name, my most casual name, and a name that says: she is perky and nice and maybe smart and maybe sophisticated and maybe fabulous (but not necessarily style conscious).  But Patty is someone to get to know – the name doesn’t say much except born in the 1950s. It is a humble name, and I am ready more than ever to be humble.  Running a business didn’t feel quite right as Patty, while volunteering and focusing on others’ needs it seems perfect.  I am even ‘Grandma Patty’ – so much softer than ‘Grandma Pat’ – don’t you think?

Identity is a powerful thing.  I have spent most of my adult life trying to be seen as equal to men, a professional heavyweight, independent, capable, kind but tough when I need to be, woman.  Other than being the Chief Content Officer of our online tool, I just want to be someone who lights up other people’s lives, and in doing that lights up my own.  When not working part-time for ECA, I want to love and be loved as a friend, sister, aunt, mom/grandmother, neighbor, a member – not necessarily leader of any band.  I want to be accepted and judged by how human and humane I am and how much I give away emotionally and spiritually.  Only thing I want to keep from that earlier self is my fun side – my slightly wacky personality that has served me well over the years both professionally and personally.  I, Patty, will try to keep people relaxed and laughing, for no other reason than it makes me happy.

I have to ask – who are you now??  Yes, time to rethink about that.

Patty

On Second Thought

Long story short, the part-time work I am doing turned into “full time” work for a time.  It is happening now, as I write this. In fact, I am beginning day 2 of the second set of days – did 10 days earlier in the month, then had a 5 day break. Now back “on the job”.

Working “part-time” as you know can mean anything from staffing the volunteer booth at the hospital 6 hours a week, to working 4 days a week as a litigation attorney in New York City.  My part-time work has gone on for years.  It consists of coaching a few clients at all times, and working anywhere from 8-24 hours a week writing.  All work for years has been “from home” or at my convenience, except for scheduled coaching sessions and very occasional meetings with my partners or clients in my online coaching business.

Already, on day two of working in LA, I am getting déjà vu – all over again!

Up early, hit the gym, small breakfast, read/reply to emails and changes in issues for the day-long video creation work.  Already my partner is delayed in LA traffic.

At the gym this morning, a 25 year old guy put the treadmill next to mine on the highest setting and pounded for 35 minutes – while I strained to hear a little morning news going 3.5 on my own treadmill.  This didn’t bother me when I was 55 – now I was dreaming of getting to go workout outside of when working people do.  It’s busy in there at 7 AM!

Last night after work was done, I was pretty beat.  Bill is with me on this trip – that’s my retired husband for those new to the blog.  Naturally, we needed to go out to dinner – which we did, nearby, casual place. But I did have a glass of wine and we tried to keep to our commitment not to discuss the President and also chatted about the pace and issues of the workday.  In my consulting days, I could work alone for a time when the formal workday ended, order room service and not drink or talk or do anything till dawn the next day.  That was sort of a drag in one sense, but it helped me keep stay in shape and stay focused.  I remember one of my clients once sharing: “you know Pat I thought my life was boring until I met you”. OUCH!

We are starting shortly, so we have already been reviewing scripts – 60 pages of which we hope to film today – and I am already getting that full-time work feeling I haven’t had in a long time: Is it Friday yet??

On second thought, doing lots of full-time work may not be as great as I thought it would be.  Although I have to admit there is a certain charge and adrenaline rush when you are up, with a full face of makeup, in a grown-up person’s clothes that are not gym clothes and people are counting on you to actually ACCOMPLISH something on a timeline.  If there was a way to do this once a month for 3 days it would be ideal – any ideas for a job where that could work?

Got to go – I am being called to the set! ACTION!

Patty

Never Stop Having Fun, It’s Seriously Underrated

New Year traditions have been overhauled for 2017.

For 99% of my adult life, the end of the year coincided with buying a blank book labeled with The New Year. It was used to write an analysis of the current year just ending (versus the goals and objectives I set out with) and then begin planning and big-picture thinking about the year ahead.  I would create several versions of my goals and often did this for each of what I thought of as “key areas”: health/fitness, business, friends, relationships, family, community, and often a new area like write book, graduate school, new office, move, or some category that related to a particular big area that was going to happen in the coming year.

By the first week of January, I was set to go.  Many items and specific strategies were already in the book and most goals were already memorized and I was set to take action.

I bought a lovely blue blank 2017 book at the end of 2016. It still sits idle and empty.  If you want to give it a home let me know.  Just never got focused on the big end-of- year analysis and next-year planning thing.  Maybe 2016 stressed me out too much, or I just lost interest in over-evaluating myself.

I have informally evaluated the year in my head – more than once. Many down arrows around plans – I had to jump start a work project that has been in fits and starts for nearly 15 years, one quite odd and one very tough health issue happened along, a plan I kept pushing never jelled, a different and very successful 45th college reunion was special. But then lots of up arrows around all I learned and all the fun and experiences from the first year of traveling all over for half the year.  I don’t seem to want to put it all down on paper much less get my goals out from the start of 2016, and check off the ones done and those undone.

What’s going on?

 

As I soon approach my 67th birthday on the 20th, I seem definitely less inclined to elaborately plan and set multiple goals in multiple areas anymore.  I am not feeling bad about what I used to do – just don’t feel in my heart it is what I need to do now.  Complexity doesn’t thrill me anymore.

It appears that I am now “getting” the big (but unoriginal) insights most people get when they are aging – even fabulously as my partner Cathy Green and I do.  Here’s a few: we all are going to die, and likely it won’t be a blast and it will be decades from now; everyone we know is in that same boat; we absolutely positively cannot and will not change anyone but ourselves. Changing ourselves can still happen – but we must get very strong, disciplined and focused. The standards we have for how our nieces, nephews, children, grandchildren, and people in general, should handle things is not just a complete fantasy and waste of time thinking about. It can take too much bandwidth, as my one friend says, and make you lose focus on what you can control: your own life.

Yes, the BIG insight has come through – success in life means staying on your own yoga mat.  Or, as our mothers’ used to say: mind your own business.  It wasn’t exactly the same point, but it worked for them. The yoga mat is more in keeping with being fabulous, since it implies we have to stay focused on ourselves and have to do it with discipline – our long-suit anyway. We would not be fabulous now if we hadn’t been super-disciplined then.

Here’s my new plan and goals for 2017.  Short, sweet, and I hope, freshly fabulous. My hope is it gets you thinking about your 2017 – in a new, light and happy way.

  1. Make money on the product I (and my partners) have focused on for 15 plus years. Get leverage from years of work already finished. Continue to make it better as it takes off. New technology will allow us to sell it quickly (January and February launches are set) see what works, what doesn’t and what maybe never will.  Dump it or celebrate it.
  1. Feel as good as I can every day. Exercise, meditate, pray, give time and attention to those in need who are present on my road. On the days I can’t do these things, take a longer nap.
  1. Use some new inputs for spiritually, reflection, growth – mix it up a bit. Get off old lists, or emails and get on newer ones. Constantly curate my world.
  1. Continue to write. Continue to read good books. Watch more Netflix. When in doubt or any distress, listen to classical or spa music.
  1. Have as much fun, find reasons to laugh and do as many new things as possible – both alone and with those I love. Travel frequently but lightly.
  1. Coach people I love and know I can influence – keep that group very small. Let my tribe thrive (those who matter) and keep those close who care, and detach from those who don’t, without any thought. If something needs a great deal of analyzing, skip it.

Guess I am set – I feel a little naked with this short a list.  But as I continue to be challenged by aging and its numerous losses and surprises, I recommit to the less is more approach. Focus on what matters. Forget everything else. Never stop changing as the situation demands, and absolutely never stop having fun.  It’s seriously underrated.

Patty

Blogging For Fun or Blogging For Money?

Last week, my blogging partner Patty and I decided that we aren’t interested in making a million dollars from this blog site. In fact, we aren’t even going to shoot for a few thousand or a few hundred dollars. Why?

Well, to be perfectly honest, a million dollars would turn our heads. But when we checked into the “blogging for money” issue, we realized that making money is a lot of work! More importantly, it doesn’t match our reasons for having the site.

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If you’ve read “Creating Fabulous over 60” you know that the idea came from a discussion we had on an annual spa trip a few years ago about the good, bad and ugly of being over 60. We thought – and still do – that the 60’s are a very interesting time for women and that sharing some of our thoughts, stories, ideas and complaints would be fun for us and might be interesting and maybe even helpful to some other over-60’s.

We started Fabulous Over 60 as “…a place online to share and discuss being in our 60s and wanting to create and maintain terrific lives…. We welcome all women who see themselves as fabulous, or who just want to dish with other smart, strong women who have a sense of proportion and humor.”

Our first blog was in September of 2012. For a couple of years, we posted pieces whenever we felt like it and sent them out to relatives and friends, some of whom sent them to their friends. Some women even found us on their own as they searched for sites like ours. Then a year or so ago, we began posting them – and occasionally other information or links – on our own Facebook page. More people found us there and our number of readers every week has gone up. We now post something every week.

Do we have thousands of readers? No. But we do seem to have a growing number of “likes” on Facebook and more regular followers on our site.

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As we began to post on Facebook, however, we received a couple of inquiries about whether we would be willing to endorse products. Then, we started to get more.

Most recently, a body lotion company sent us samples of their product and suggested that we might want to mention it in a blog. They were also willing, they said, to provide giveaways to our readers.

Patty and I did some research. If we wanted to make money with our site, it would first require that we get many, many more followers. We’d have to work the site like a real business – investing lots of time in reading and commenting on other blogs/websites while also investing even more time in our own site’s content.

Then, we could pay Google to find advertisers, and pay Facebook to advertise our blogs more widely. And, when we built a huge follower base, we’d need to negotiate directly with advertisers or develop our own products –the two most lucrative options.

This is what we decided:

  • We don’t want to endorse things we don’t believe in, whether in exchange for samples, giveaways or money.
  • We are doing this for fun and enjoy having some “likes” every week and hearing from some of our friends.
  • We enjoy sharing our over-60 journey with others, both friends and strangers, and reading their interesting comments and personal stories
  • We like learning about each other. The site has brought us closer together.
  • We both like to write and the site provides us with the discipline to do it.
  • We don’t want the site to be a “job”, so when we don’t want to do it anymore, we won’t.
  • We will continue to mention products, places and services in our blogs when we really like them and want to share them with our readers. But, when we do, we won’t be taking any money for those mentions.

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And, if we ever do decide we want to make money, we’ll come up with our own product(s). Fabulous Over 60 Age-Defying Body Lotion, anyone?

Cathy Green

 

50 Is Fabulous Too

As many of you know Cathy and I just got back from celebrating our 65th birthdays in the Napa Valley.

Home for less than a week Bill and I went out by ourselves to dinner at Hamilton’s Grill Room, one of our local favorites.

Hamilton’s Grill Room – on the PA/NJ border in Lambertville, NJ

Hamilton’s Grill Room – on the PA/NJ border in Lambertville, NJ

Walking in I noticed the front table by the window was filled with 6 great looking young (a relative term as you know) women and one chair completely filled with presents and balloons labeled 50! Naturally (to Bill’s discomfort) I had to stop and tell the “birthday girl” how great it is to be 50!!

On cue, they asked my age and appropriately gasped in surprise when I said 65.

It was sweet and just good manners for them to say how good I looked. But in reality, my bet is these kind, sophisticated women were thinking about themselves in the sense of wondering how great (or not) they looked, felt and were doing for 50. At milestone times all sensible and sensitive people long to have some confirmation that they are “doing OK” or “more than OK” and “going in the right direction.” Since I asked their permission to write about them in a blog, let me tell you what I hope I communicated to these women from Hamilton’s. Am sending it to them as well – so here’s to each and all of them.

1.) Yes, they each looked great. BUT NO, you did not look 40. You do not and will not look and/or feel as young and healthy at 50 as you did at 40. We age – slowly if we are smart, blessed with health and discipline to keep exercising and eating right, and paying for all those lotions and procedures/surgery our budgets will allow. Trust that you will look as good at 60/70 or 80 as you can – but only if you work on it in your 50s. The work in your 50s is the foundation for your looks and health for the remainder of your life.

Harpers Bazaar - 3 of the Fabulous At Every Age finalists

Harpers Bazaar – 3 of the Fabulous At Every Age finalists

2.) While 50 is not the new 40, it is closer to 40 than to being 60 in terms of work-life. At 50 one is still essentially in the game – still the protagonist of the story (a shocker for many of us at 60 is that we are, with some exceptions, no longer the protagonist of the story at 60 and beyond) – this is true at home, at an office, in a school, or a hospital. One’s 50s are about work, achievement and helping raise a family or live comfortably alone or with others. It is not generally a good time to stop contributing and become a taker or semi retired. 50 year old women have it all: experience, savvy, and if still healthy, some genuine stamina. It is the time to figure out your strengths and play to them professionally and personally. Dreams can no longer wait: write the book, launch the business, run for office, go for the promotion, or get back to work, and use the entire decade to focus tightly on what you really want to achieve financially and professionally. Some women keep going into their 80s – but not all – or even most. Surely one’s 50s is too young not to be focused on accomplishment.

3.) Set personal and professional goals for yourself – new ones every year or every 5 – but have goals. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t achieve them all – the goal police will not arrest you (the women said they absolutely LOVED this line – so enjoy it too). But without goals, focus, and some strategy to get somewhere your life can too easily become mediocre, boring, safe but stale. Take some smart risks both personally and professionally. It is your time – you know what you want or MUST find out, so execute and make it happen. Though it can be said “it is never too late” my experience says at some point it really is too late to achieve what you want to achieve – don’t let yourself off the hook now.

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4.) Rather than resent the losses and inevitable changes of life, encourage and accept changes/losses – with grace, charm (underrated now but a great skill) and strength of character. Yes, Jason is off to school, or Ali is in love with someone you don’t like, or your husband is losing his job, or you have to move out from your current situation or your father is dying – WHATEVER. Things are going to happen – remember this – you are not a victim because all your dreams did not come true — use the changes around you to keep reinventing yourself into a better person. And please, act in ways that model adulthood – that is, self-awareness, self-responsibility and self-control. Trying to fight against, stop or control everything in your life is simply impossible and will age and exhaust you faster than some appropriate acceptance. Accept change as part of life – as part of your particular journey. Not easy but essential for mental and physical health.

5.) Choose a great life coach. Only kidding (for those of you who know that I am one). Of course a life coach can be a great help if you are the type of person who likes that kind of support – but my final message is not to sell you something, but to remind you to trust yourself. At 50, you know you. You love you. You know what you want and need — or are going to do what it takes to find out. Now go make it happen. Your girlfriends are right there beside you! And if you have no friends at 50 probably a life coach isn’t going to be able to help you figure out what you should know by 50 – love and good healthy relationships shape the quality of your life at every stage and age of your life.

Happy Birthday to all 50 and 50-something women out there – fifty can be fabulous too. Cathy and I certainly were – but way too busy to write a blog about it.

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Patty







More Great Things About Being 65

Last week Cathy started talking about what is great about being 65 — think she was trying to make me feel better turning the big 65. But the more I was thinking about what I liked about 65, the happier I got.

1.) Many of the “big calls” (go/stay/choose/reject) have been made and when new choices come up as they inevitably do, I feel I can handle them with serenity and acceptance. Most importantly, I now know what is best for me. Making major life choices as a young woman was daunting. I knew that choices of faith, values, lifestyle, education, mates, commitments, career, and health would have a great impact on my life — essentially define it. But my trust in myself was weak. Often I second-guessed myself and RE second-guessed myself, unsure if I was worth trusting. It took a long time, much introspection, and ultimately recovery from insecurities to feel confident that my choices were and are the right ones for me. tumblr_m41r62T4ZM1rvcjd7o1_500 2.)  I am no longer horrified, shocked and incredulous about bad things happening. There are some surprises, but they are happy, mysterious or silly. It seems like anything “bad”, terrifying, or threatening that could have happened has and we know about it. I am not happy but resigned to evil in the world and won’t let any evil person or event prevent me, and those I love, from moving forward and inward toward peace. viet.911 3.)  Our daughter survived 9/11. My wonderful brother in law died in 2003. I have been assaulted, fired, dumped, lost family and friends, been in accidents, had some health scares, gotten lost, trusted bad people, worked for some bad bosses, chosen poor investments and some questionable friends/partners. I have been alone for long periods of time, hung in for ages to accomplish things I have really wanted and seen people I love terribly hurt (which to me has been the worst). Believing “This too shall pass” is the best advice ever.

4.)  There is a constant wonderful stream of scientific and technical discoveries, ideas, and insights into life, eternity and all its mystery that is endlessly fascinating. AND, I get to choose whether or not to “get on board” or work to adjust. In earlier decades, external changes had to be seriously considered and dealt with – new technology? Had to learn it. Changes in business approaches or new family members? Had to get on board. A wonderful new restaurant or style? Well it seemed important to at least try it. Now, what interests me I get engaged with, otherwise I can happily sit on the sidelines because with very few exceptions my engagement is unimportant if not irrelevant. shutterstock_research-e1381241294977 5.)  My friends and family — especially those my age or older have more time for me – and I, for them. I can talk to a friend midday, shop leisurely for my grandnieces or daughters, write a longer note or letter, or just think about people and life at a deeper level. Work is not the central driver of my life nor in many people’s lives I know. Everyone in my life still works at things (a criteria for being in my life – you have to DO something – even if that is being Zen). Some for needed or ‘luxury” money, some not. But the old hardcore drive and focus on work, career, making this or that financial goal is nearly gone — and with it an openness and relaxed pace more often than not makes life much more peaceful and calm.love-suite 6.)  I am not delighted about thoughts of inevitably dying mainly because I want to have drinks with my granddaughters when they are 40 something and that isn’t likely meant to be. The other biggies – perhaps having to live without Bill, or getting really old and frail and/or losing my mind have stopped being fears. Maybe meditation, prayer or reading 1,000,000 books and thinking about it has just calmed me down. While I am not ready or willing to share all my plans, let me just say I am at reasonable levels of peace and plan to continue to work on this part of my life — mainly, by living in the present moment. That just keeps coming up doesn’t it? If you have no idea what I am talking about google “being present”.

7.)  While millenials are a bigger cohort that is reshaping the world in their own image – as we did – I enjoy sharing aging with boomer stars, celebrities, my friends and other boomers I don’t know but who write, blog, or otherwise contribute — a motley and pretty funny cohort. I can see other boomers, even the stars we thought never would, are aging, or struggling with one or another similar issue, or reinventing themselves again in some way professionally or personally. There are lots of models – good and bad. We never have to feel alone on any issue — some boomer out there is already dealing with it and ready to share. Or some boomer is doing it so badly we can easily see what bad or stupid choices to avoid.

Clockwise: Debbie Allen, Richard Branson, Cybil Shepard, Ed Harris, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Phil

Clockwise: Debbie Allen, Richard Branson, Cybil Shepard, Ed Harris, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Phil

I like myself. No, more than that, I love myself. That just wasn’t the experience of most of my earlier life — I drove myself to impossible standards and I frequently suffered from feelings of inadequacy and doubt. While I look worse than ever, make less money by far and am certainly less hot and sexy, and to top it off – often “out of it” in one or another ways, I am OK with it all. Because somehow, with the help of the universal good, critical thinking, smart people and my fabulous women and men friends, I am finally convinced, I am more than enough just the way I am — yes, at 65. Patty

Nurse Patty 1969 and 2015

When we fabulousover60 women graduated high school and college (mid-sixties to mid-seventies) the major careers for women beyond homemaker were three: secretary, nurse and teacher. It struck me as I have attempted to “nurse” my husband post his knee surgery on January 7th that so much has changed and will continue to change since I made a decision to definitively NOT be a nurse.

Wearing my white stockings, shoes and shift dress of cheap polyester with a “Peace Now” button I entered the hospital as a would-be nurse’s aide with some trepidation back in 1969. My peace button was quickly removed by my supervisor in the first hour of my shift, and my “career view” of nursing was formed in just a little more time. “The drill” was taking orders from male doctors who you stood up for when they came to the nursing station, and doing tasks of compassion that made you feel central to the patients care, but also isolated from doing much about the overall medical outcomes or the obvious inefficiencies of some hospital routines. This was when nursing joined being a homemaker and/or a grade school teacher as definitely OUT as career choices. Business looked all shiny and new then didn’t it?real1604[1]

What this recent blip in the road of our lives (Bill’s surgery and recovery) has reminded me, is that the most mundane things I undervalued as a nurse’s aide are what is most helping Bill’s comfort and recovery. True, the surgery performed required skills beyond mine, but caretaking and support for the day to day activities of life matter more than I imaged. Making a cup of tea, straightening the sheets, helping him to the bathroom, listening to his complaints about the pain, and drying unreachable places post a shower are very good uses of my time and energy. While certainly not often stimulating, these “chores” are giving me informative reinforcement for my earlier life decisions and helping me make better decisions going forward.

My decision not to do anything for a living that was connected to serving others who were young (school teaching), dirty (everyone – cleaning is not my thing and yet I love cleanliness), ill or disabled (nursing), hungry (cooking) or disorganized (secretarial/clerical work) was absolutely the right one. I live most happily in my mind — and I love to listen to and analyze the quandaries of people’s lives and/or work—and then support efforts to improve the situation. Another good result of not choosing nursing or other direct care/support work was that now, at 65 (January 20, 2015), I am not worn out from years working in these support fields and can experience these roles freshly — rather than as an extension of an earlier career.

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Clearly, whether we did or did not choose nursing, teaching, administrative work professionally — we are going through more of just those things as we age. Our lives, and the people in them dictate that. From spouses, friends and partners needing care, younger family members needing help with young children or teens, or our inevitable downsizing/re-invention efforts requiring more organizational skills and planning we need to be close to the ground executing what we may have thought of as “mundane” or “beneath us” activities rather than working in the relatively detached vacuum of executive and professional work.

This means as fabulous women we need to think a great deal more deeply and realistically about our own abilities and our limits for caring for others, being in an educational role for younger generations or organizing and supporting downsizing strategies (rather than just deciding on them) for our lives. Few of our moms worked outside the home and for many of this “greatest generation” care-giving was natural—or at least extremely familiar. As for being an organizer and downsizing wizard, many of our parents didn’t quite handle these tasks well — some of course did, but not a few of us cleaned out our parents home after one or another crisis, and in some cases made decisions for them on next steps since they obviously, in denial, did not plan to age and/or die doing anything other than what they were doing 20 years before the crisis.

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We know we want to do better dealing with aging – but I wonder if being fabulous is going to help us actually do that or just push us into a different form of denial and inevitably messy if not dangerous situations of being ill-prepared to care for and plan with those we love; and/or become too cheap or poor to pay others to do it well. We all know boomers who are convinced becoming a 24/7 exercise fanatic will eliminate aging for them — or are still holding on to a lifestyle that was getting outdated in 1990 — along with their furniture.

I do not envy those of you who chose careers of care and are now faced with caring for those in your own life. Can’t decide if you are more at peace with knowing that your life’s work inevitably becomes everyone’s job at some point or if now in hindsight wish you too had let others do it professionally. As our mothers often said “time will tell”. But along with other decisions, we have to hurry up and make some decisions on new roles and efforts. It is easy to criticize our parents’ lack of “appropriate” planning, but I wonder if fabulous or not we are sliding into similar tracks of denial and side stepping the realities of being older and having to play nurse.

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.

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

 

 

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