Fiona Clark is a "midlife energiser" and I am very pleased that she has joined The Midlife Movement Membership as a contributor. Her course (which is available to you as part of your membership) covers techniques for dealing with hot flushes, sleep problems and stress to name but a few.
I caught up with Fiona just before she embarks on a really interesting personal challenge. In this 17 minute interview we talk about her upcoming adventures in Malawi, plus her love of cycling - loooong distances!
If you would like to support Fiona and follow her adventure, her Just Giving Crowdfunding page is still open and, as she is self-funding, I know she would be very grateful for any help you might feel able to offer.
(My apologies for the poor sound quality at my end at the beginning of this interview!)
This week was my wedding anniversary. 37 years of wedded. I’d say bliss, but seriously, who is blissful for 37 years straight? In honour of our mutual persistence, and mindful of the fact that September – the prime month for chicks to leave home – is fast approaching, I thought I’d share some thoughts about the upside once the nest is empty!
The sadness some of us feel when our nests empty is real, but it has to be said, once you get past the shock of facing each other across the breakfast table and realising that yes, you actually have to talk to each other unless you want to eat in silence, there are upsides to the children leaving home. So, if the nest is empty at your place, here are a few reasons to celebrate:
There’s no one around to catch you having a cuddle in the kitchen, ergo no one will make vomiting noises
When you return home after both going out, everything will be exactly as you left it
There is food in the fridge
For the August Book Club, (and our very first at The Midlife Movement!) I’ve selected an inspiring summer read from Tricia Cusden, Founder of the British make up brand, Look Fabulous Forever.
I felt this was apt after featuring Cindy Joseph as our first Inspirational Woman, as, like Cindy, Tricia has developed a line of pro-age make up and is a vocal advocate for embracing age rather than fighting it.
“Living the Life More Fabulous – Beauty, Style & Empowerment for Older Women” is part manual, part manifesto, with plenty of food for thought about the way we view ageing in the Western world and, consequently, the way we view ourselves. The author is visible throughout the book in a series of gorgeous portraits (which, as a Portrait and Personal Branding Photographer, I obviously absolutely love!).
Whilst she asserts from the start that:
There has never been a better time to be an older woman,
Tricia also notes:
Our society seems to value older women only...
The first subject of our “Inspirational Women” posts, Cindy Joseph has been nominated by Group member, Joy, who says:
“Another inspirational lady dies too young. We can never have enough of these women who blaze a trail to say age is not a barrier. We do not have to become the stereotypical grandmother beyond the age of 60 but can reinvent ourselves and still make a contribution to the world of work, business and society in general.”
Ms Joseph died on 12th July at just 67. Having been a make up artist for most of her working life, at 49 her long, grey hair caught the eye of a model scout and she started a second career as a model, appearing in campaigns for major brands such as Dolce and Gabbana and Olay well into her 60s.
Having been asked constantly by other women to reveal what “anti-ageing” products she used, she decided to merge her careers as make up artist and model and took the leap into business. “Boom!” by Cindy Joseph claims...
A year before I turned 50, I went to see an orthopaedic consultant. My left knee had started playing up a year or so before, buckling without warning and generally keeping me awake at night with constant, nagging pain. Both knees were permanently swollen and I was having days where it was difficult to get around.
I love my husband. No, really, I do. But after 30 years of marriage we do get on each other’s nerves at times! Take Sunday morning.
Him: My knee hurts.
Me: Oh dear. Why?
Him: (becoming animated) we were playing on hard ground yesterday so the ball was quick-
Me: (interrupting in a desperate attempt to get him to stop) Did you get hit on the knee by a cricket ball?
Him: (ignoring me) I was batting sticky-leg-before-wicket-straight-on (this is just a rough translation, you understand) and I’d just clipped the ball on the outside of my bat-
Me: So you got hit on the knee by a cricket ball?
Him: Smithy was running the crease on the left hand side of the leg-over googlie and the Umpire was biased because he’s only got one eye. Jonesy was giving their team a bit of rag which was a bit out of order when I was 99 for 56 in the fifth division league of gentlemen
Me: (desperately) My ears are bleeding…
Him: (oblivious) yaddah yaddah yaddah cricket…blah blah...
Do you ever get so engrossed in what you’re doing that every part of you, mentally, physically and probably spiritually, is engaged and time ceases to have any meaning? Everything is falling into place, your ideas are coming together seamlessly and your productivity, (though you’re probably barely aware of this until later) soars. The house could start to burn down around you and you’d still “just finish this bit”. If you do, you know the true meaning of “flow”.
If this doesn’t resonate with you, watch a child play by himself. Immersed in his imagination, his whole body will be involved in what he is doing. We tend to lose such intense focus as we move out of childhood. So the child who could spend days at a time in a fantasy world of her own making will gradually lose the ability to escape the mundane, and the necessary skill of being in the here and now subjugates the need to dream.
One day in the Spring, I was “in flow”....
How do you Nourish Yourself?
Or do you Nourish yourself at all? I’m currently by the beach, coming to the end of 10 days of self imposed solitude. Apart from a lunch and a visit to the cinema with new friends, I have spent my time walking along the beach, sleeping, doing a little yoga, meditating, preparing a compilation of blog posts called Oh Crap – I’m 50! A Journey from Fearful to Fabulous (Sometimes) for publication next month, and writing.
The last is, ostensibly, my reason for being here. There’s been a story in my head for the
longest time and I knew it had to be written – if only to make space for something else! I used to make a reasonable living as a fiction writer, but it’s been the longest time. I’m rusty and it took several nail biting days to ease myself into the flow. I also don’t have a publisher – my former agent has retired and I no longer have any contacts – but re-establishing those is a separate story!...
Watching the Royal Wedding, I was struck by how alone the Bride’s mother appeared. I was reminded of the day my daughter was married and how many mixed emotions there were swirling through my mind, and I wanted to give the new Duchess’ mother, Doria, a huge hug! I wonder what she said to her daughter as they travelled to the chapel?
This is the letter I wrote to my daughter:
So here we are on the eve of your wedding – your last day as a Blackwell. Tomorrow you will make the biggest commitment of your life so far and all your family and friends will gather together to witness the vows that you – and Frank – are about to make.
The day is yours, but your marriage belongs also to family and society at large, for a wedding is not just about the joining together of two people, but the beginning of a family unit. Whether that remains the two of you, or whether you are blessed with children, I know that you both will take that responsibility...
Whose hands are these?
I could write reams about the sadness I feel at the slow, but relentless degradation of my body. I shall skim over the details lest it put you off your skinny latte, suffice to say that I now have more curves than angles and about as much spring-back-ability in my skin as a piece of broken knicker elastic.
I’ve changed my mind – have a few details: I now have what I like to call “silver highlights”, though who I think would actually sit in the hairdresser’s with foils on their head to achieve this effect I have no idea. Over time, my foundation wear (what a lovely, old-fashioned phrase!) has become more about containment and less about boasting and I sometimes find myself hunting for “comfortable” knickers. You know, ladies, the kind that...