Tag Archives: womenwritersover50

Oops50 Gets a Makeover

Annice

Annice

Oops50 is getting a makeover.  And, why not?  She’s almost five years old and we’d like to give her a lift.  So, if you’ve noticed the blog looking odd, things out of place, colors not yet perfect, it’s because we’re at the back end making changes. The changes are thanks to my brother, Max.

Max

Max

His company in DC (well, one of his companies) is giving us the makeover.  His creative team at Bravery Corporation is helping us re-energize our brand by designing a new logo and giving us a cleaner site.  It’s not that we didn’t like our old one, we loved it, (thank you Diane), it’s just that when we created our blog we didn’t know what the hell we were doing despite the fact that the WordPress founder claimed he designed his template with his mother in mind.  Well, he should’ve talked to us baby boomer women because we didn’t find it so simple.  We forced too many balloons in the template, and couldn’t take them out because we paid someone too much $$$ to put them in and had no more money $$$ to get them out.  So, that screwed us up every time we wanted to load images, videos, etc.  I’ll just end there as that story is way too boring to explain further.

Bravery Corp.Superteam

Bravery Corp.Superteam

Now we have Bravery’s super team, and specifically Marcus (from the prestigious Savannah College of Art & Design), who truly embodies their corporate identity in a way that was probably never intended.  Bravely and patiently, Marcus answers our tech questions about what we want our blog to look like and what functions we want which seem to change by the hour.  We have to keep reminding him we are older than his mother and not yet as old as his grandmother– subtext — somewhere between menopause and post-menopause so we don’t make decisions quickly.  So to you Marcus, we’d like to say, “Be brave, young man.  It’s almost over.”

Marcus

Marcus

We’re aiming for April 1st to officially launch our new site, so be on the lookout for a new Oops50 logo, a cleaner and easier site to navigate, and an Pops50 store showcasing some of the favorite products you’ve shared with us over the years as well as some of our own. In our store you’ll find books, garden supplies, pet supplies, cooking supplies, shoes, bras, and anything else you bring to our attention or we think you’ll want to know about.

Finally, and most importantly, thank you Bravery Corporation for taking us on – and thank you to our readers for almost five years of reading, sharing, commentating, and sticking with us.

Slow Down Your Life: Letting Go of Technology’s Grasp

Barbara Brady

Barbara Brady

Is it just us?  Women over fifty who feel like our life is speeding up each day, and it’s all we can do to keep our  head above water? Jogging in the woods this January, I felt that way, and thought if I could pretend it was 1970 something instead of 2014, then maybe I could slow my life down again to a pace more in keeping with my natural biorhythm. If it was 1970 something now, what would I still do, and what would be different? I would do what I did this morning – make coffee, meditate, say prayers/affirmations, and go running. I would be focused internally, connecting with and filling myself up first, before focusing on the expectations and demands of the external world. Then I may talk to people on mypushbutton phone landline or meet them in person. I certainly wouldn’t turn my cell phone and computer on first thing in the morning or leave them on until bedtime to check voicemails, texts and emails. When I have done that before, I’ve felt pulled from my center. Depletion and disconnection followed, along with the feeling of treading water to keep my head above it. What can you do to slow down and release technology’s hold on you?

  1. Claim one day a week to be completely unplugged from the internet or email.turnoffpcoops50
  2. Set boundaries around technology each day. Create a self-connection routine first thing in the morning and at the end of your day. This could include prayer, meditation, walking in the woods or on the beach, exercising, journaling, painting, etc. It’s very empowering to do this, because you’re telling yourself and the universe that you value yourself and your time, choosing to be proactive and creative vs. reactive and  programmed.
  3. Turn your computer off by 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. and don’t check email after this. Spend your evening connecting with friends in person or by phone. Read, create, play.
  4. Put your cell phone away when with other people and mute it. Honor who you’re with.
  5. Pay attention to your time spent on social media. Is it really adding to or subtracting from your life?“A 2013 study published by the Public Library of Science showed that more use of Facebook meant less sense of well-being and more feelings of envy.”

Yogaoops50Finally if you were to die tomorrow, would you wish you’d spent more time on email or the web? Or would you wish you’d spent more face to face time with loved ones or seeing the world?     Barbara Brady, Coach & Trainer Global Leadership / Intercultural / Transformation through Transition www.mycoachbarbara.com

Martin Luther King Day, My Memories

Annice, 1967

Annice, 1967

As I sat down to my computer this morning, I was going to write about a disturbing film I saw the other night but then, I realized it was MLK Day, and the film idea seemed trivial.  So, instead, I sat back and tried to remember where I was on that Thursday, April 4th, 1968 when I heard the news Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  So, when it happened, I saw it all, sitting in my living room with my family watching it on the evening news, in black and white, as reported by Walter Cronkite on CBS.  LBJ was our President and he came on TV to tell us how sad it all was for America.  My parents agreed, and so did I.

Even though I was only 15 years old, I remember a lot about what happened that day, and even that decade.  After all, I was ten years old when my President, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in 1963, and I would never forget that.  And who could ever forget MLK when he delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in front of hundreds of MLKdreamthousands of people in 1963 at the March on Washington?  And, there was music, amazing performances that day with Josephine Baker, Mahalia Jackson, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan.  My father was a huge fan of Mahalia Jackson.

Needless to say, growing up in Cleveland, I was aware of all the turmoil and violence of the 60’s.  In between the March on Washington, and the assassination of MLK, we had race riots in the inner city during the summer of 1966, and once again, I remember watching it all on the evening news.  And it was violent. The Governor called out the National Guard, and it looked like the city was burning down and people were getting killed and many more injured.  The violence seemed so close, yet so wrong according to everything I heard MLK preach.

And then, more violence, and I’m not even talking about all the disturbing images I saw on TV of people getting killed in Viet Nam.  I’m talking about what happened three months after MLK was gunned down, another assassin shot and killed Bobby Kennedy, (we all called him, Bobby) and once again, we sat around in our living room witnessing that murder.

As the 60s ended, and I began thinking about college, I informed my parents I wanted to go where all the action was – UCLA or Berkeley. “Are you crazy?” They absolutely refused to contribute a dime to either of those schools.  We have fine schools in Ohio, and Kent State is so close.  Seriously, I thought? It’s practically in my backyard.  I rejected it.  And then, on a warm spring day in May, I remember my friend, Terry, who was at Kent State, came running into our school telling everyone they were shooting students on campus.  He was agitated.  Our teacher yelled at him and told him to leave but he wouldn’t.  He couldn’t be telling the truth.  After all, why would anyone want to kill students?  Terry’s account of what happened was confirmed that night on the evening news.  Four Dead in Ohio.  The National Guard fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others.  And so began a new decade.

Today, when I think about MLK and all he stood for, I am grateful for his legacy of non-violence.  Progress has been made in civil rights and in human rights, but we are not finished yet.

Pursuing an Adventuresome Passion at Any Age

Katherine Esty

Katharine Esty

For those open to breaking out of stereotypes, life beyond 50 holds many decades worth of surprises and adventure.  I was 75 when one of my own greatest adventures began.

That year, I had an epiphany: more than anything, what I wanted to do at that point in my life was to write a book about Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, founder of the micro-credit movement that is now more than 100 million people strong worldwide.  Yunus, whom I’d learned about and met while working as a consultant to UNICEF in the 1990s, was my hero.  The micro-credit movement he founded provided loans to poor people around the world, helping them start small businesses and climb out of poverty.  I wanted everyone everywhere to hear his story.

unicef2

But no sooner had I hatched the idea, I felt foolish.  “That’s ridiculous,” I heard a voice in my head say.  “You are way too old.  Writing a book like that takes years of hard work.  Be more sensible.”

A few weeks later I managed to silence the voice.  “Be quiet,” I told it.  Then I joined a writing group of women serious about writing and publishing their work that lent well-needed encouragement and momentum.

For the book to have fresh material and new insights, I realized, I’d need to interview people.  In Bangladesh.  Again that negative voice chimed in, saying “That’s impossible.  Nobody sets off for a solo trip to a chaotic place like Bangladesh at the age of 76.  What if I get sick?  What if my husband gets sick?”  Everyone I mentioned the idea to agreed.  They said it was far too dangerous, that I couldn’t go alone.  That I couldn’t leave my husband home alone for two weeks.

But I’d been to Bangladesh a number of times before while consulting for UNICEF, so it was not altogether unfamiliar territory.  It may be a country that’s difficult to negotiate, filled with choking smog, and lacking street maps, guide books and telephone books, but I knew how to take care of myself there.  I could stay at a hotel I had been to before.  With a driver, I knew, I could get around the city despite it’s endless, relentless traffic jams.  I began making my plans.

The next obstacle to surmount came not from a voice in my head, but from the practical question of how to line up some interviews with Muhammad Yunus.  I knew that he got over 1,000 emails a day — and had seen first-hand that he didn’t answer mine.  I felt stymied.  Then, in what seemed like a small miracle, I discovered that a man I know from my own hometown was working closely with Yunus through his Grameen America foundation, helping him in Bangladesh and around the world.  He agreed to meet with me, and as we sipped coffee he promised to connect me to Yunus’ assistant.  He was sure I could get some time with Yunus too.

Esty and Yunus

Esty and Yunus

So in January of 2010 I headed for Bangladesh with 4 interviews lined up with Yunus, and many others lined up with his family, bank employees and media staff.  It wasn’t easy.  The phone system had completely changed since I’d updated my address book, and I had trouble reaching many of the people on my list.  I also had no cell phone.  On top of that, Yunus was unable to make our first several appointments and I was left waiting, uncertain of whether I’d get to meet him at all.  At one point a friend from my UNICEF days invited me to have dinner with his family. He picked me up in a rickshaw pedaled by a scrawny Bangladeshi, and we lurched out precariously into the black night dodging taxis, beggars and potholes.  I felt unsafe. Luckily, it was the only time I did.

Upon returning home, I was faced with the enormous task of sifting through the tapes of my interviews and transcribing them.  Next came the even bigger job of writing the book.  But having written a couple of books in the past, it was a natural and familiar project for me, providing structure and goals that I thrive on and enjoy.  The support of my writing group was invaluable.

Finally, having decided to self-publish, I was introduced to this entirely new and also potentially daunting world.  There, too, I sought support — this time from a professional who walked me through the self-publishing process.

Twenty-Seven-Dollars-and-a-Dream-Katharine-Esty

The resulting book, Twenty-Seven Dollars and a Dream: How Muhammad Yunus Changed the World and what It Cost Him was published in November of 2013 and has been named of the “100 Best Indie Books of 2013” by Kirkus.

As I reflect on my experience – here’s what I’ve learned about following your passion at any age:

1. Challenge all the stereotypes about what older people can and cannot do.  They are only stereotypes and may not apply to you.

2. Don’t listen to the naysayers who can make you feel uncomfortable about your passion.

3.  Listen to that inner voice that tells you not to give up, and talk back to the one that tries to discourage you.

4. Finally, if you move forward, you will find it isn’t all about obstacles.  Small miracles will surprise you and help you reach your goals.

Katharine Esty, Ph.D., is a social psychologist and founder of Ibis Consulting Group, a leading international diversity and organizational development firm.  A former consultant to the United Nations Development Program and UNICEF, Katharine has spent extended periods of time in developing nations, including Bangladesh, where she conducted a series of one-on-one interviews with Muhammad Yunus while writing her new book, Twenty-Seven Dollars and a Dream: How Muhammad Yunus Changed the World and What it Cost Him.

 

Coming Out: How to Heed Our Soul Callings

 

Barbara Brady

Barbara Brady

In 2009 I was ordained as a minister.  I was afraid to tell my dad, who’s a staunch Irish Catholic, fearing I’d lose his love by “coming out” and stating what I was – an Interfaith minister who honored all paths to the divine that are grounded in love.  However, there came a point when the need to be authentic and express my true self outweighed the fear of disharmony and potential loss of love. When we finally had the conversation, I was pleasantly surprised and greatly relieved to find he could respect my calling and still love me.

Staying in the closet isn’t just about sexual orientation, gender identification or vocation; it includes other aspects of our lives: staying in that relationship when you’re being called to leave; staying in a location when you’re called to relocate; working for an organization where you can’t express your full self.

We’re in the closet anytime we’re not fully disclosing or living the truth of who we are.  It seems easier to justify staying in the closet: “It would upset so and so too much”, “I would have to change my whole life”, “What will people think?” “I’m too old to start over.”

closet

These are excuses masking fears that come from the ego.  The soul knows what it’s called to.  Hopefully, at some point, the voice of your soul will trump that of your ego.

There’s a price for not heeding your soul’s callings: restlessness, resentment, depression, even illness.  When you follow your soul’s call, while you may go through a period of conflict, anxiety, and judgment from others, ultimately, you’ll experience true happiness, freedom, more aliveness and peace. It’s so worth it.

How do you come out?  Ask yourself: Where in my life am I not being or expressing my true self?  What is the payoff from staying in the closet?  What am I losing by staying here?  What’s the worst that could happen if I came out, and how would I deal with that?  What could be the best that would happen?  Imagine you’ve come out of the closet and it’s 5 years from now.  What does your life look like?  Imagine it. See it, hear it, feel it.  What’s the next step you can to come out now?

I know all you women over 50 will appreciate this song, so just click and sing along.      I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross   

Come on Out

Come on Out

Warmly,

Barbara

Barbara Brady
Coach & Trainer
Global Leadership / Intercultural / Transformation through Transition
barbara@mycoachbarbara.com
www.mycoachbarbara.com
828-350-9300