In ‘Wifty World’ gaan we op zoek naar 50+ vrouwen wereldwijd. Hoe vergaat het Wifties internationaal? Wat is hun verhaal? Hoe ervaren zij ouder worden?
Linda (59), getrouwd en moeder van drie, woont in Aberfoyle, Schotland, een landelijk dorp zo’n 40 km van Glasgow. Ze vertelt hoe ze na een hectisch leven in Londen, dat helemaal gericht was op het verzorgen van haar twee autistische zonen, terug tijd vond voor zichzelf. Ze verhuisde naar een rustige omgeving, besloot om terug aan het werk te gaan, en koos voor meer avontuur in haar leven. Welcome Linda!
LINDA: “Last weekend was simply fabulous! I celebrated my 59th birthday in an amazing city with my husband (married 28 years ago) and a great mixture of old and new friends.
There was plenty of good food, wine, sport and non- stop conversation -perfect. It was also the first time in nine years that I had celebrated my actual birthday as I have always been at work – coaching youngsters over a weekend – but more of that later!
Rewinding the clock those nine years to when I turned 50 proved to be a significant turning point in my life. Up until then I had been a stay at home raising our three children but with the added challenge that our identical twin boys had been diagnosed with profound autism when they were three years old.
Our lives were consumed with researching the latest developments in this debilitating condition- from new diets, to the latest bio- medical protocols, to effective interactive play programmes. We set up and ran an intensive one to one therapy programme from our home whilst fighting the local authorities to secure the right support for our sons. Somewhere in all of this organised chaos we tried to find quality time to maintain a normal healthy life for each other and our daughter.
After twelve years we were exhausted but had successfully managed to secure a fantastic weekly residential placement for our boys and our daughter was thriving in her new school environment. For the first time in a very long time it was time to reflect on our own lives. My husband and I agreed that it was time to start living again and rediscover our own identities – we had become lost in the world of autism.
Whilst this was exciting, I was also very apprehensive – in fact – scared! What was I going to do? I was 50 years of age. The last time I looked in the mirror I was 37 years of age. I had just given up my amazingly glamorous but stressful job in London as I was about to have the children. There was no way I could go back to that working life – especially as we had moved to rural Scotland and our children still needed full time support at weekends and all holidays. I had also lost contact with so many dear friends and work colleagues.
And then a miracle of sorts happened! An old friend got in touch to say a mutual friend of ours was having a leaving party in London and I just had to come. I hasitated but something told me to go. Best decision ever!
I met with old friends from my College (I had trained to be a PE teacher before my business career) and after 25 years away from my original profession I found that I loved talking about it and wanting to get involved again – but was I too old?
Absolutely not was my friends reaction and I was offered an opportunity to start coaching again. My husband and friends made me believe I could ‘start again’. The following weekend I was running around a sports field, in the rain, shouting instructions, blowing my whistle and having the time of my life. I returned to Scotland a ‘new’ me – eager for another opportunity.
In the meantime my husband asked what I wanted to do for my actual birthday – I knew I was going to coach on the actual weekend but I was happy to do that! However, he wanted me to think about doing something to mark this occasion of turning 50 – something outside my comfort zone – climb a mountain!
I was petrified but thought why not? Before I knew it I was booked to climb Kilimanjaro in Africa with a group of people I had never met. Climbing a hill in Scotland was nothing compared to proper climbing – but I did it. What an experience!
I came back – 50 years of age believing I could do ANYTHING! Within days of arriving home I was booked on my next trip – a month in Nepal climbing Mera Peak – the biggest trekking mountain in Nepal. Wow!
I met up with 4 other women – all at least 25 years younger but that didn’t matter in the mountains – we were sisters, comrades, confidantes, best friends – and remain so to this day.
What a special time – I came home with a new belief, oh and a nose piercing and had another tattoo. Happy new me, happy Wifty! “
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