10 Reasons Why It’s Not Over At Fifty

10 Reasons Why It’s Not Over At Fifty
Sadly, the down economy has put a lot of workers over age 50 in the unenviable position of needing to find a new profession. Don’t believe that old cliché about middle-aged dogs and new tricks, though; lots of wildly successful people found big success in careers they began after their fiftieth birthdays. Here are just a few examples.
  1. Carole Gardner – Zelda Wisdom products.
  2. Grandma Moses- Artist
  3. Col. Saunders – Kentucky Fried  Chicken
  4. Frank McCourt – Angela’s Ashes
  5. Martha Stewart – Lifestyle
  6. Laura Ingles Wilder – Little House On The  Prairie
  7. Tim and Nina Zagat – Zagat 
  8. Takichiro Mori – Architect
  9. Ray Kroc  – McDonalds
10.  Rodney Dangerfield – Comedian

Although Rodney Dangerfield suffered from getting ‘no respect’ he had self-compassion in common with the many late bloomers who opened another chapter in their lives in their 40s, 50s and beyond. 

Late bloomers. I love that title and have been wearing it since I was 21. I wear it proudly knowing that I can bloom again and again and again. I never thought I had to wait until I was 40 or 50.  Some of us are annual bloomers,  or else have so many creative arms that we are perennial and can open new chapters in our lives continuously. We all are only limited by how many years we have on this earth. 
I think it’s getting better, but there still is a stigma associated with aging. We still live in a closed- minded culture, but there is nothing more fulfilling than taking a negative event in your life and turning it into a positive life-changing situation.
For instance let’s take Carol Gardner.  Carol is the creator of Zelda Wisdoms. At The age of 52 Carol was facing divorce that left her with huge debt, a bleak future with no income, and depression. 
It was suggested that she get a dog to keep her company. She did. A bulldog that she named Zelda and she entered a local contest that was giving away 40 pounds of dog food a month free for the winner. So Carol took pictures of Zelda in the bathtub, with hats on and designed a card with a message that said, “For Christmas I got a dog for my husband….Good Trade, huh?”  She won the contest, Zelda had plenty of food and starting with 24 Zelda Greeting Cards, Carol has now created a multi-million dollar worldwide Zelda Wisdom empire. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons! 
Personally, in my 20’s I started a career in television working for others, then in my 30’s overcame the loss of my husband by taking my television skills into marketing while raising my small children. I sent resumes out for a full year before anyone would hire an anchorwoman with small children in a private sector job. But I never gave up. In my 40’s I remarried and became a television producer and entrepreneur. I woke up one morning just before my 50th birthday and realized how fast life was moving for me and I had yet to do what I always had dreamed as a child – to act on the stage. So at 50 I embarked on one of the most exciting journeys in my life doing  theater,  television and film in New York City. 
Nothing was ever handed to me and I had to work very hard opening new doors for each of these chapters in my life,  but I persevered and I had self-compassion and I believed in the impossible dream – just the same as the 10 above ‘second chapter’ successes.   
When I was 61 I opened yet another chapter in my life by writing my memoir,  Behind The Magic Mirror.  I discovered the process so fulfilling that I  continue  to write my thoughts in books, articles, and on a weekly basis through this blog. 
In the end, I hope that I will be open to other journeys in my life. It is not over until it’s over.  As I wrote earlier, only time here on this planet can limit us. Nothing else. It is never too late to rediscover and reinvent your life. It is never to late to make lemonade!
Copyright Sandra Hart 2015. All rights reserved.

Where To Begin When Writing

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Except for my children’s books, all of my previous published works have been non-fiction. Giving myself a challenge this year, my daughter suggested that I should try my hand at fiction.

“Write a novel,” she said. “Do something different.”

That thought kind of frightens me, because it is really out of the box in which I have been living, out of my comfort zone. There are so many great novelists out there, I am somewhat intimidated to jump into their pool.

Recently, for my SAG (Screen Actors Guild) voting duties, I watched Frances McDormand in the series, Olive Kitteridge.” I enjoyed the series so much, I ordered the book the series was based upon.

Elizabeth Strout, the author, has such a way with words. From the very first paragraph I was drawn in and couldn’t put it down. It is this kind of writing that really makes it challenging for me to think I could be as talented to paint pictures with words as she does in Olive Kitteridge.

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Copyright Sandra Hart 2015. All rights reserved.

When Love and Life Matter

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The need for love lies at the very foundation of human existence. … However capable and skillful an individual may be, left alone, he or she will not survive. … and the healthy development of its self-confidence all depends directly upon love. Dalai Lama

Faces of Miami

She is an angel of mercy. Formerly a traveling RN from Ohio she came here after working several years in Dubai, fell in love with Miami and stayed making permanent roots under the beautiful palms and banyan-lined streets.

“I work in the ICU for new born babies at a hospital in Miami. It’s a good feeling when the babies survive and eventually go home with their parents, but it doesn’t always turn out that way, unfortunately. Sometimes I rock and cradle them in my arms in their last moments of life. I want them to at least have that comfort. It’s difficult. It never gets easier. We lost three babies last week within hours. A lot of these babies are from poor, or single mother situations. I felt they deserved a better ending, so, my mother and her friends started making baby layettes out of donated wedding dresses. We dress the babies who have passed in these beautiful outfits to give them a final meaning that their lives counted. Even if just hours. To their parents and to us, their lives mattered.”

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Copyright Sandra Hart 2015. All rights reserved.

FROM HURRICANE TO BEST FRIENDS

When my daughters were teenagers and shared the same room they fought so much that I had to move my young son out of his room and give it to one of the girls to keep them from killing one another. The problem? One was extremely neat and the other lived in chaos.

One daughter loved John Denver, Glen Campbell, Mac Davis and horses. The other Billy Idol, the Eagles, Buffalo Springfield and fashion. Two peas of mine living together but definitely not in the same pod. And as a young widowed mother, the last thing I needed was refereeing two teenagers drawing lines in the sand.
 

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Thankfully, we survived those hormonal years…..well….kind of. They got more beautiful and tolerant of their differences, my son moved to Los Angeles and became a rock star and my hair turned white.

My Chaos Aquarian daughter is the same today as she was way back then. She has so many things going on in her life with the children, her job, horse farm and charitable social causes. Her big heart and life is always like a whirling dervish. She thrives with energy and a schedule that would drive me into a straight jacket. When I visit her I am always folding and cleaning and straightening up. Just hearing about her day makes me want to take a nap. Okay. It’s my mishigas, not hers.

The other half of the dueling teenage duo is my creative and very Neat Virgo child. A hard-working flight attendant, she moved from New Jersey to Chicago two years ago and lives in a lovely apartment in the suburbs, not far from the airport.

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She also has remained the same with an astute eye for fashion and decorating. She always has her apartment fixed up beautifully. She is, like her mother, a ‘Rearranger’. What on earth is a ‘Rearranger’ you ask?

(Wikipedia: Rearranger. Inconvenient habit certain females acquire. i.e, constantly moving furniture around.)

More than once my daughters have reminded me, "Mother, when we were kids, don't you remember? We'd walk into the house after school and the furniture would be completely rearranged."

Laughing on the outside, but crying on the inside, because, you know what, they are right. I don't know why, but somehow when I had a lot on my mind, I rearranged the furniture. In the worst of times* I was rearranging the furniture probably about every two months or so, as though that task was going to help me clear out the mishigas in my head. But, it did. It really made me feel good…therapy, at least for awhile.

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Whenever I am starting to write, I rarely begin my day at my desk to write without the beds made, the laundry going, or the dishwasher running. I have to have all those tasks at least started and working before I can actually sit down and concentrate on my real day job.

Watching my daughters grow up into accomplished and compassionate mothers and career women has been well worth those fractious teen years. And it is so true that we all have our own ‘craziness’ going on. All three of us have grown up to become more accepting women. My son has benefited by a successful career trying to explain it all!

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*BEHIND THE MAGIC MIRROR by Sandra Hart

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

Faces Of Miami

I love the series Humans of New York where the photographer takes a candid photo and then interviews the person behind the image. Their stores are absolutely fascinating. How many of our own stories with humans have we missed on a daily basis by having our faces stuck in our iPhones.)

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My Humans Of Miami Story

I was alone except for the tired restaurant worker still dressed in his work clothes sitting at the end of the bench with his head in his hands.

I pulled my straw hat down a little further to keep the hot noonday sun burning through the waving palm fronds off my face. I was waiting for the South Beach jitney to take me up to Lincoln Road where I planned to do some last minute Christmas shopping.

Suddenly this tiny little woman who had hurriedly crossed the street stood looking as though she wasn’t too sure where she wanted to sit, but then quickly plopped down beside me.

“Have you been waiting long?” she asked.

“No, but you know the jitney. It sometimes takes awhile for it to get here,” I replied.

She seemed very sweet, casually dressed, beyond middle-aged with her graying dark hair pulled back in a bun and small frizzy curls in front of her ears were let loose to fly a bit in the air. She looked like she could be someone’s sweet grandmother, I thought she probably was and was taking the bus back to Miami.

“Are you visiting?” I asked.

“No. I live here. My parents immigrated from Cuba when I was three years old. They were trying to escape the Castro regime. So I have lived in the states most of my life. Not always in Florida, because I went to New York to go to college. Then after college I moved to an apartment with some friends in the village and started working in the music business. Then after that we moved to Williamsburg and until I retired, I was involved with a large company that did a lot of the organizing for shows on Broadway. When I retired I moved back down here to Florida to be next to my son. Now I’m a chef for one of the private yachts in the marina here. The owner has a gluten sensitivity so it’s a challenge for me to try to create recipes without any ingredients that have gluten. But I’ve become pretty good at being able to do Cuban dishes and other dishes by substituting gluten-free products into those menus.”

We continued our conversation on the bus until she arrived at her stop. We exchanged business cards and she went on her way. She was such a fascinating woman. I was so wrong and have to claim stupidity in my initial narrow first judgement and impression of her. What I would have missed, not speaking with her! She was a well-educated, smart entrepreneurial woman.

The moral of my encounter is two pronged. Never judge a book by it’s cover and never miss a fascinating encounter by connecting with a fellow human, even if it is at the bus stop. What an interesting human story I would have missed had I not kept my iPhone in my purse.

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

Nocturnal Wool Gathering

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Dear Children,

I had a dream about you last night. I could hear your little voices, symphonies of laughter over sounds of powerful splashing waves hitting the sand. The sounds. The smell of salt air. My nocturnal wool gathering was so real. Everything in my senses was taking me back to a time and place of youth and happiness.

I could see the glistening Atlantic that had come to create safe little pools for you to splash and laugh and build sand castles in, lasting only until the next wave filled the sandy pocket with new beginnings. Come and go, swish, swish. Come and go to the sea again. I was living it so clearly…..

Until the light of morning came and washed away the happiness of when little wet hands caressed my face, peanut butter smiles and little toes filled with sticky sand filled my days at the beach. Life beyond my slumber cracked open the door to let those sunshine moments of our past, those butterfly moments; let them fly away into the sunrise.

I know they say good mothering is letting go – teaching our birds to spread their wings and fly away from the nest, strong and independent enough to build nests of their own. But I miss life with you, I do.

I miss the clutter of clothes in all the wrong places, rock music at decibels that shook windows, Tonka cars turned into hammers and music makers creating new scars and dents on anything and everything that meant something to me, stepping over teen bodies with new faces and sleeping forms. Strangers in our house on Saturday mornings. I miss it all. I just want you to know that.

My journey began before you came.

I didn’t know part of the way you were to walk with me.

I traveled unknowingly seeking roads along the way looking for that perfect life an Eden where we could stay.

Sometimes the way was unclear.

We often journeyed in darkness misguided by my ignorance complicated by my innocence.

I have taken you places you may have never been had destiny not chosen you to travel along with me.

Your journey will take its own course, and as was meant to be

I will continue along my paths guided by my choices yet unknown to me.

Take my hand and bid farewell our paths to cross now and then.

Each journey’s day I feel blessed it was meant to be, part of the way you were to walk with me.

Love,

Mother



Copyright Sandra Hart 2014. All rights reserved.

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WOMEN LIVING IN A TOXIC WASTELAND

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Photo by Rena Effendi/Institute

This morning, I read a powerful article from the London Tribune written by Holly Morris in 2012 about a group of women over fifty who took charge of their lives. It left me thinking about my life and the choices that I’ve made and how relatively easy those choices have been. None of them have involved life or death decisions.

In spite of the danger warnings by the government these women from Chernobyl in the Ukraine decided that living in government housing in the cities was depressing and more stressful than going back home to probably the most toxic place on earth to be surrounded by their friends and things that make them happy.

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They came home to the land they love and have banded together ever since in a community that shares food, fellowship, joys and sorrows.

Unlike these brave women, it has taken a lot of living for me to let go of the fear that used to control my life when I was younger.

Fear of failure, fear of change, and fear of making mistakes is quite paralyzing and inhibiting. The quicker we are able to drain the power from that word the better off we will be.

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Please take a minute to click on the following link and read the story of these very courageous women of Chernobyl

I hope you will be inspired, whether or not you agree with their decision. http://bit.ly/1wa9hT7

Copyright Sandra Hart 2014