Life Gets Better (and more interesting) With Age.
I come from a family of women who had an entrepreneurial spirit. My grandmother and mother both had several small businesses. Thus, when I became a single parent with five of my seven children still home, no child support, and no family to help, I not only worked a day job but started micro businesses of my own.
Over the years, a couple of my micro-ventures succeeded and others did not, so I closed the non-performing businesses and focused on what worked. By my sixties, I still worked full time and had two businesses on the side. Were my businesses huge cash generators? Not by most standards, but they brought me satisfaction and extra income to help my single parent children and grandchildren who needed the support to survive.
When my lovely second husband had a new job opportunity, we moved out of state and far from my daughters with whom I was closest. Moving was emotionally hard, and I knew I needed to take action to keep growing and moving forward, so I returned to college for a graduate degree at 63. By 65, I had a degree in psychology specializing in executive coaching, which is my profession. I then entered a doctoral program in the same field, and by 70, I was awarded my PsyD – the first woman in my family to complete college, let alone a doctorate.
Next, I enrolled in a graduate certificate program in domestic violence prevention and finished at 71, then re-enrolled in a second master’s program in instructional design to develop my own training programs. This degree was completed at 72. Now, I started another new venture—my own coaching business focused on executive and life coaching, my areas of expertise with years of experience and continuing my writing business in an online venue. Today, I am doing what I love—coaching and writing. To give back, I also tutor graduate students in study and organizational skills, research, research writing, and APA formatting to help them successfully complete their master’s and doctoral degrees.
What I have learned is I am never too old to learn new things, explore new options, and focus on doing something I find satisfying. There is still so much to contribute to others struggling down the path of life. While aging does not always provide wisdom, it absolutely provides perspective, and perspective allows me to see the bigger picture and avoid tunnel vision. Perspective helps to discard the drama so often plaguing youth—miscommunication, trying to change others instead of ourselves, and focusing on the petty stuff that ultimately means little. Instead, age allows me to focus on what life is about—love, empathy, kindness, family, and making a difference.
Your own aging, especially for lifetime caregivers, can finally open the door to you devoting more time to self-care like exercise, healthier living, reaching out to others and finding happiness in who you are. I can finally be myself, and it is freeing and brings tremendous contentment.
Barbara Lassiter, PsyD, has proven she can juggle a lot. You can learn more about her at succeedwithdrbarb.com.