Jo spent several years working in the family business as a bookkeeper. But at the age of 49 she found herself feeling lost and depressed and suffering from panic attacks. She experienced insomnia, forgetfulness, noise sensitivity and sensitivity to her clothes.
Feeling like she was losing the plot, she sunk into an even deeper depression, struggling to even get out of bed in the morning. She spent months feeling like she was going mad. Eventually she realised she was suffering from peri-menopausal symptoms.
She started penning a blog, Project 50, as a way to release her thoughts and emotions. The blog was a revelation. People from all over the UK and even further afield started contacting her telling her how much they identified with what she was writing. She sought out alternative treatments to treat her physical symptoms, but it was the online connections through her blog - the emails and messages - that eventually pulled her out of her depression.
At the age of 50 she finally found herself with a new zest for life. She decided to take a photography course, and a new career as a Portrait Photographer was born.
More recently she decided to turn the blog into a book, which has received rave reviews online, and since then she has launched The Midlife Movement, as an online hub of information and support for midlife women.
Jo finally feels like she is thriving - she is a successful business owner, feels better than ever, and is inspiring a community of midlife women to realise that there is life after 50 with her message that midlife is an opportunity, not a crisis!
I think it's crazy that we have the (cultural?) expectation that we should "wind down" as we get older. Yes, our joints might start to creak, our eyes might need a little help, our skin might begin to "sprinkle" (as my grandson describes it), but what is that, really, when set against what we have to offer? Heaven knows, the world needs our time, experience, love and - dare I say it - wisdom.
Having gone through this journey of transformation, I want to turn back and hold out my hand to the women who are a few years behind me and say, "It's ok. You're ok. You might feel that there are doors closing, but, I promise, there are so many more opening ahead of you. You might be feeling a little lost right now, but you are not alone."
I hope you’ll join me as I hurtle towards my next big birthday. Though I am less fearful than I was, I only manage fabulous every now and then. I’m a work in progress, just like you, let’s enjoy the ride together!
Love Jo x