Today I am hosting an excerpt from Bolder and Wiser by Sarah Dale
|Published 2nd March|
Hit 50 yet? Sarah Dale is about to. This impending event set her wondering about successful ageing, what life looks like for women who have been there and done that, and what adventures are to be had on the other side of 50.
In this fascinating and celebratory book, Sarah talks to 20 inspiring women who have not only made it past 50, but are happy to be there.
These open and honest conversations, punctuated by Sarah’s observations about her own journey, reflect on friendship, work, health, creativity, marriage, motherhood, money – and whether you should stop dyeing your hair.
Sarah Dale is a chartered psychologist and accredited coach. She devised the Creating Focus programme and is the author of Keeping Your Spirits Up. She was born in 1964...
When I turned forty, I went to Cuba. It was a sponsored trek, raising money for the mental health charity, Mind. I didn’t know anyone else who was going. Perhaps unsurprisingly, several other people had gone in milestone years. I fondly remember spending one evening with three other women: one turning thirty, one fifty and one, Pam, was just sixty. She had two grown daughters, and was a widow. I had two young daughters and was divorced. We didn’t have a lot else in common. Our lifestyles and backgrounds were very different. We had grown up at opposite ends of the country. Our paths were unlikely to have crossed were it not for this trip. We got on like a house on fire.
Coming home, we met up two or three times over the following couple of years. Our lives didn’t naturally overlap. I never met any of her family. So I was all the more saddened when her daughter rang me unexpectedly to tell me that Pam had died after a short but brutal illness. She was only 63.
I think my short friendship with Pam planted the seeds for this book. My time in Cuba was a strange bubble of intense experience, not connected with any other part of my life. I have not stayed in touch with anyone else from the trip. Without her, I don’t share any memories of it with anyone. I wasn’t in contact with home for the ten days I was there. The days were filled with strenuous walking, beautiful scenery, music and laughter as well as oddly deep conversation with strangers. Pam and I discussed everything that mattered to us: relationships, friends, independence, home, children, finance, curiosity, age and health. We howled with hysterical laughter like teenagers. We shared experiences which formed jewel-like memories for savouring later: the sunrise over the sea; startlingly bright star light; the sounds of a makeshift band floating across a hot and sunny farmyard; the taste of tropical fruit ripened on the tree.
Rolling forward a few years, with fifty lurking just beyond the horizon, I can feel the stirring of another stage of life. This isn’t necessarily unpleasant although it is not exactly comfortable. It is a time of restlessness, curiosity, some shifting sands (and waistlines). I began to reflect that our lifestyles today don’t always build in the opportunity to hear from women who have been there first. I spend a lot of time with my own generation, but not as much with others. My conversations with my mother and aunt are not quite the same as they are with other women of their generation. And I also realise how much I have benefited over the years from conversations with women (and men) half a generation ahead of me. They were not my parents and not my contemporaries. It gave them an interesting perspective.
I found I kept thinking about it. I set out to find twenty women, all at least ten years older than me, who were willing to chat to me about what matters and what doesn’t, as they look back.
About the Author
Sarah is a practising occupational psychologist and accredited coach. She designed the structured coaching programme, Creating Focus®, and is the author of Keeping Your Spirits Up, a guide to facing the challenges of modern life. She lives in Nottingham with her husband, two daughters and step-son. Her moments of leisure are spent Nordic walking, reading fiction and frequenting coffee shops, the more independent the better. She secretly loves a good jigsaw.
You can find out more about Sarah Dale on her website, www.creatingfocus.org or by following her on twitter (@creatingfocus) or on Facebook (Sarah Dale – author).
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