My name is Maria.
Never loved that name. Everyone would always sing a song like “Take a letter Maria” or “I just met a girl named Maria”, when they met me. As a very shy young girl you can imagine how painful that could be. Nowadays whether I like the name or not it is who I am so I’ve accepted it.
Thankfully, no one sings anymore.
There are a lot of things I have accepted in my life that I was less than crazy about. One of those things is getting older. I always felt like that it wasn’t going to happen to me. I was always the youngest in the group so it seemed like something that happened to other people. But, moi? No way.
So here I am a 63-year-old woman.
I have enjoyed a rich and happy life. I was married for 17 years and while we had lots of fun ultimately it ran it’s course and we divorced. I had 2 children, a boy and a girl. They were young when my ex and I split up, so I ended up raising my children myself. My ex-husband was much better at playing with them than being a responsible adult.
While raising my kids I worked in the fashion industry. I managed several businesses and enjoyed a successful career. My life revolved around my family and job so my social life was limited and I didn’t care. I was happy just the way things were.
Fast-forward to my 50’s and things began to change dramatically.
At the age of 56 I was laid off from my executive position. At the same time my mother was in hospice living in my home; she unfortunately died a few days after I left my job.
There I was, grieving and unemployed.
These were two of the most stressful events I could ever imagine going through in my life. There weren’t any jobs to be had, and I was burnt out from working in very negative situations for highly difficult people. My children were grown, and while they hadn’t left home yet, they still had their own lives.
To compound things I started having real health issues. I had developed such bad arthritis in my knee I could not walk even a few steps without excruciating pain. I could barely move which caused me to gain so much weight I topped out at 211 lbs. Which of course made walking even more impossible. I remember being at a mall shopping with my daughter and she suggested that we get a scooter so I wouldn’t have to walk. Which to me was the ultimate humiliation.
Then to add insult to injury I was diagnosed with Parkinson disease.
Let me tell you, I was really feeling my years.
It felt like my body had failed me.
Since then I have been depressed about getting older. I wondered whether my best years were behind me. It seemed like the future was bleak. What did I have to look forward to, except a life of deteriorating health and loneliness? I definitely hit bottom. I am a high achiever by nature, but I felt that I would no longer grow.
This felt like death to me.
To top it off as a woman growing older I felt even more irrelevant.
Ashton Applewhite, ageism activist, states, “One thing we can all agree on, though. Aging is harder for women. We bear the brunt of the equation of beauty with youth and youth with power — the double-whammy of ageism and sexism. How do we cope? We splurge on anti-aging products. We fudge or lie about our age. We diet, we exercise, we get plumped and lifted and tucked.”
It seems ageism is the one prejudice that people feel justified in having. Comedians make fun of us; young people don’t value us, and the world ignores us.
I was at a crossroads. Should I just give up and let my body fail me and no longer try or should I make the decision to turn things around?
Instead, I decided to change the question. What if the next 30 years could be even better than the last 30 years? Wouldn’t that be great?
So that is what I am doing. And I have made progress.
First, I decided I wasn’t going to work for anyone else again. It was time to go into business for myself. I started a consulting business over six years ago working with fashion entrepreneurs who want to launch and build a successful brand. From the first month I began my business it was successful and surprisingly profitable. I have loved the business and have totally enjoyed working with my clients.
Next, I received a partial knee replacement and have been dieting and exercising in a way that is gentle for my body. So far I’ve lost 33 lbs. So I have made great movement. My goal is to get to my comfortable weight of 125 lbs. With my plan I have lost about 4 lbs. a month.
I have been expanding my social life (at least until the quarantine). Spending more time with friends and family.
This year I have decided to kick it into high gear. I am going to go for it in an even bigger way. I have added to my goals. Dating again is something I have added. From now on I am going to have the life I dreamed of. No more excuses and no more regrets.
I started this website to share my adventure and hopefully to inspire you too.
I invite you to join me on my journey.
What do you say?
My Manifesto, Sixty Years in the Making
Mindset, Productivity, Stories