Today I would like to share the story of a woman I met in Nairobi, Nikki.
After knowing me for three days Nikki said, “You are ageless.” I was taken aback for two reasons: I was never able to articulate who I am; even though I knew. How was this stranger able to articulate my inner feelings! I pondered on the how.
Firstly, let me make this clear. She was not referring to my outer looks. She was referring to how I think, how I look at life. What makes me tick.
Alone with my newest friends, ‘Silence and Nikki’ and therefore without the roar of the crowds, I concluded Nikki lives her life seeking meaning.
You see my sweet reader, Nikki, like the elephant, is an ardent listener who ‘hears’ others’ vibrations. She has the uncanny ability to reach layers down into the feelings of those around her in a most exquisite manner. Nikki does not ask questions. She is perceptive like the animals in the kingdom in East Africa.
I surely would enjoy having more women in my life like Nikki. I thirst for that type of woman.
A Woman I Would Choose Out of a Sea of 100
Nikki was raised in London, lost her mother at age 14, and moved to Nairobi when she married Ted, a superior African guide. She lost Ted two years ago. If I had to guess I would say she is around my age, though appears older. Plain looking. No make-up or nail polish. No Botox. Plainly dressed. No hairstyle. Her adornment is minimal. And yet in a room of 100 women, she would be the woman I would seek out. Why? She is surrounded by a distinctive and natural aura that radiates.
“Continue growing and blooming; adding to the recipe you have been creating for over 50 years.” — Honey Good
Her life is simple but does not lack enthusiasm. I assume she knows how to avoid chaos yet realizes too much order can create boredom. She spreads joy to others with her logic while gathering research for an author writing a book on the Flying Doctors, an African organization set up in East Africa to spread medical outreach across the continent. She has worked at the organization for years.
I feel certain the African people, the African landscape, and animal kingdom played an immense role in shaping Nikki into the woman she is. Life in London would see Nikki ‘racing’ home to plant her garden for the season. In Africa, Nikki would ‘quietly’ plant her garden and marvel at it change throughout the season.
Cultivating the You in You
And, that brings me back to you; a woman well past 50 years old. This is your time to marvel at yourself, to harvest the you in you, not reinvent the woman you have spent years creating.
Reinvention seems to be the ‘in’ word written for women over 50. I read as well as listen to experts telling us that if we reinvent ourselves, we will find a new meaning of happiness that will lead to a fulfilling life for women after 50. Nikki would find that depressing and unrealistic.
The definition of reinvent: “Change yourself so much that it appears you are entirely new!”
First of all, that is an impossibility for a woman over 50, and hopefully, by the time you are over 50 you have positive feelings about yourself. My God, you have spent over 50+ years becoming the woman you are. Rejoice!
A far better thought… Continue growing and blooming; adding to the recipe you have been creating for over 50 years. Your opportunity to reopen your possibilities is vast. You have time and wisdom in your corner.
If you are stuck, work at getting unstuck. I know many of you are empty nesters, divorcees, widows, retired, or living with a retired or ill husband, and those things change your lifestyle. I know it is hard because I have experienced some of your issues. Work on what you got! Look inward, not outward.
Reopen Your Mind to All Possibilities That Bring You Joy
I am of the mindset that you are constantly growing intellectually and emotionally. Your wealth of experiences is already vast. You marry, give birth, raise children, own a home, learn about people, move, have careers, have serious difficulties, become grandmothers, care for your elderly parents, are divorcees, widows, remarry, have blended families and a million other life experiences.
Each experience adds layer upon layer of self-growth and by the time you are over the age of 50, you don’t need a book to tell you that you earned your phD in life!
You know who you are. You know what you like. And ou know what you don’t like. You know your flaws and weaknesses and your strengths. You know what brings you joy and personal contentment; you are finally a grounded woman. So, why in the world would you want to reinvent yourself when you worked for years, becoming a marvelous woman over 50, 60, 70, 80, and 90?
Don’t Become Invisible
I think the major crisis women face in later life, aside from the horrific loss of a spouse, financial insecurity, or illness, is the loss of a youthful look. This can lead to a dangerous time for a woman over 50 who begins to feel she is invisible to others. Depression and total withdrawal or shutdown can easily happen.
But it does not have to happen if you shift your intentions away from your outer looks to your inner self. Oh! The possibilities that await you.
Grow your mind. Seek out others who can broaden your lifestyle. Travel. OMG, there are so many things you can do that will make you feel ageless and in control of your destiny.
You want to have firm arms and thighs, thick hair and eyebrows, and the agility to continue with prowess. Well, it is out of the question. This is your time to focus on your inner thoughts and your list of wants. This is your time to shine; to do what you want. And, reinventing yourself will not work.
The Story of How I Manifested My Dream
For over three years, I dreamt of spending time with the silverback gorillas. The virus took my dream away for two years and then my Ultimate Concierge and I spent one year ‘fixing him up medically!’ During this time I made plans ‘in my head; never giving up on my dream of traveling to East Africa. I talked about Africa to friends, I wrote about Africa in stories, I read about Africa, I watched documentaries, I talked to our travel agent, I talked about the silverback gorillas, I crossed every T and dotted every I.
Truthfully, I did not know if I would ever realize my dream of visiting East Africa because of my Ultimate Concierge’s age and medical issues. Nevertheless, I never gave up. I lived on hope.
And, so must you. Climb your inner stairs. Realize your inner potential. Don’t reinvent yourself. Instead, grow your abilities into a more fruitful garden.
Everyone knew of my dream. I don’t think anyone thought we would go on this wild adventure because of my husband’s age and problems.
Planning is Everything!
I honestly spent 365 days making my husband well! For his part, he never, and I mean never, complained. I never let up on doctors, appointments, etc. I made sure we had the best medical insurance, the best lodges to stay at without a lot of climbing, the best guides to educate us. We had the right meds in our luggage, exciting adventures, and three grandsons to make our trip even more loving and multigenerational in style.
The day before we left I received phone calls from my husband’s doctors who knew of my dream, wishing us safe travels and the best time. I know they were smiling and so happy for us.
On our way home, 19 hours of travel, my Ultimate Concierge said, “This was our best trip. Where do you want to go next?” I was over the top happy!
We went hot air ballooning over the Serengeti, went on educational safaris with gifted guides, visited the Kigali Genocide Museum in Rwanda, traveled by private plane from camp to camp, visited and stayed with the primitive tribes who had proof they are part of the lost tribe of Israel, spent two days visiting the silverbacks.
We spent time in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya.
In Tanzania, I learned from the animals the value of Silence.
In Rwanda, I spent time with the silverbacks and experienced no fear.
In Kenya, I met Nikki and the tribes in the Samburu National Reserve. I had the honor and experience of spending time with the beautiful Nikki who made me more aware of the importance of a woman’s inner beauty… her true visibility.
I can see her walking toward me; a most regal woman.
Have Your Ah-ha Moment
I like the word, open. Open your mind, darling. I call it an Ah-Ha moment.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Move to an area of the world where the average age is 55+. That is what my close friend, Joyce, did when she realized she felt invisible in New York. She had an ah-ha moment and the courage to move from New York to Palm Springs, where she lived happily for 20+ years.
2. Hire a computer teacher. Learn to text and Skype so you can communicate with your grandchildren, so you can shop online, so you can Google all kinds of information, so you can read magazines online; so you can email, read books and watch movies and use FaceBook.
3. Go back to college for your degree; enroll in an art class at a museum.
4. Learn to play card games so you can socialize with women.
5. Travel and be curious.
6. Join groups. I have two private Facebook groups: Celebrate Life after 50 and Sisters in Widowhood.
7. Adopt a pet.
8. Start a group of 8 to 10 women and meet monthly or bi-monthly to discuss issues you face after the age of 50. I did this for 4 years.
9. Remodel your home or downsize.
10. Try pickleball!
11. Plant an inside or outside garden.
12. Spend time with interesting women like Nikki.
13. Visit Africa.
14. Accept the outer you and value your precious inner you.
I urge you to replace my word of “ah-ha” with one of your own. Open, then forge ahead. Tap into your desires and grow.