— Life —

WOMEN OVER 50 AND MAKING LIFE CHANGES

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I’ve never been big on making New Year’s resolutions, but I believe the beginning of each new year is an opportunity to think about the things in our lives that work for us and those that aren’t in our best interest. It takes courage to make big changes, but if we continue to hang on to bad relationships and the questionable ways we handle some of the things in our lives, it’s the very definition of insanity:

Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

One of my favorite movies is Working Girl. It’s one of those films I can watch again and again. It’s a snapshot of the ‘80s when women wore power suits, had serious hair, and fought for their place at the corporate table. Working Girl is as relevant today as it was then. Women are still fighting for our place at the table, but there is one big difference: Women are helping one another create their own tables.

My favorite line from Working Girl is when Melanie Griffiths’ character says to her girlfriend, played by the brilliant actress, Joan Cusack, “Who makes it happen? We make it happen!” Both statements are ones every woman should print out and put on her desk or her refrigerator. The ability to make things happen is the result of knowing what you want and having the courage to go after it. 

For many of us, the hard part is figuring out what we want.

I could give you the usual advice like “Start with something you’re good at,” but I’m going to suggest you ALLOW YOURSELF TO DREAM BIG! That’s another one for the fridge.

Early in my career, I wanted to try my hand at being a sports photographer. While I could have gained experience shooting pictures at the local Little League games, I approached the sports editor of the biggest newspaper in San Antonio and asked if he’d give me press credentials for a Dallas Cowboys home game. Not only did he say, “Yes,” but after he saw my photographs of the game, he gave me a press pass for the entire season. 

Did that take courage on my part? You bet, but if I hadn’t asked, I would have been my own glass ceiling. One thing I know for sure is most people just talk about what they’re going to do “someday,” but few follow through.

By having the courage to dream big, and ask for what you want, you’ve eliminated most of your competition.

Something else I know for sure is that “no” is just a word, and no doesn’t hurt. If the sports editor had told me, “No,” it wouldn’t have been a reflection of me or my abilities, plus no today doesn’t mean no tomorrow. In other words, don’t let no keep you from moving forward. 

And finally, be relentless. Nothing is easy, but if you don’t like where you are in life, do something about it. Don’t wake up one day and regret the “what ifs” and “if only I had.”

As you think about the things you want to change this year and the new chapter you want to write, believe in yourself. Respect how you talk to yourself, and believe the best parts are yet to come. Then seize them with both hands and make them happen. 

Who makes them happen? We make them happen!

Love, Brenda

43 Comments

  • Wilma Kempinas January 6, 2024 at 6:10 am

    Hi Brenda
    What you said is just great! A good way to start the New Year.
    Feliz Ano Novo from an admirer from Brazil.
    Xoxo

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 10:59 am

      Brazil!! Happy to hear from you, Wilma! Thanks for letting me know you’re reading my blogs. I hope to hear from you again, Brenda

  • Teresa Ann Applegate January 6, 2024 at 8:44 am

    Thanks Brenda – I actually needed that today! Trying to recreate myself and have been feeling stuck – a great push!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 11:01 am

      I’m glad it was the push you needed, Teresa. Thanks for telling me. Recreating or reinventing ourselves can be difficult, even just making tiny tweaks can leave us wondering if we’ve made the right move. Happy New Year! xoxox, Brenda

  • Carla January 6, 2024 at 8:54 am

    I envy people who know what they want to do. I’ve always drifted into different jobs, some better than others but none that light me up and make me glad I’m there. So yes. That’s the hard part but I’ll think about the rest of what you’ve said because it’s good advice.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 11:06 am

      Carla, You’ve it upon the hardest part: Finding that thing that lights us up! Great way of describing it, and I understand the drifting into different things because that’s easy to do when we’re not sure where we’re going. That said, try thinking about what you’d do with your time if you could do anything in the world. Dream big, and then think about how you could manifest that, or something similar and see where it takes you. xoxox, Brenda

    • Gray January 18, 2024 at 9:22 am

      Carla – your comment resonates with me. I seem to accomplish what I want and in the end, it never “lit me up”. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. I also seem to get pulled along into what “lights other people up.” I end up helping them create their vision. What is my purpose? It’s getting late in the game, but I need to figure it out. Having had to reinvent myself after much loss, I am at the threshold of a last chapter. What is that chapter and how do I write it? Is it my stalled blog (having had to care for parents for the last 9 months)? Is it another shop? Is it teaching others how to do things? I don’t know. Thanks for letting me know that others out there are also trying to figure this out. And thanks Brenda for the great food for thought. ❤️

      • Brenda Coffee January 19, 2024 at 1:58 pm

        Gray, I think many women identify with being pulled along in the wake of someone else’s success. I did that when I was married to my first husband. I would have done anything to help him, and did, and after he died, I was faced with “So now what do I do?” It was difficult to answer, and when I did, being female stood in the way. When I started a company, investors told me “The only thing wrong with your deal is you don’t have any testosterone.” Grrrr…. The good news about where you are now is that you have choices. What if you start there and really dig deep. Be brutally honest with yourself. Which of these things I could do will light me up? And if the answer is none of them, then continue with that same level of honesty and think outside the box. If you could do ANYTHING with this chapter of your life, what would it be? There’s an answer there, I promise you. After my husband died, a high school friend I didn’t see except at reunions called to check on me, and he asked me the same question. And I had an instant answer. I wanted to talk to women of a certain age about all the things we’re facing and low and behold… Here I am. Deliberately. xoxox, Brenda

  • Shirley Carr January 6, 2024 at 9:01 am

    You have guts my dear. Something a lot of us don’t have. When I was young I never would have found the nerve to walk into somebody’s office like that and ask for that! You’re right that no doesn’t hurt but it can be embarrassing. Who knew I needed a role model at my age but Brenda, you’re it!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 11:09 am

      Thank you for the kind words, Shirley. Regardless of our age, I think we all need role models who make us take note of whether we’re on the right track and perhaps how we can do better and be more self-fulfilled and feel like we have a sense of purpose. Blessings to you, Brenda

  • patti January 6, 2024 at 9:08 am

    This piece is SO timely in my life. Last end of winter I brought up a larger-than-life idea to the President of our congregation. It was to bring back a “Sisterhood” which had been dismantled during the past several years. His answer was “JUST DO IT”…. and through trial and error.. which is still happening… WE have a SISTERHOOD. it is NOWHERE where our initial vision was/is. We still have to educate so many people from the top down (and most especially men) to what it means to us and to the congregation to empower us.. because everything you wrote and highlighted in RED is exactly our elevator speech. Thank you for this piece

    • Yvonne January 6, 2024 at 10:16 am

      All the best, Sister. YOU CAN DO IT!

      • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 11:16 am

        Yes, she can, Yvonne! xoxox, Brenda

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 11:15 am

      Patti, So many women of a certain age are on the same path toward finding what we need to feel fulfilled. Brava for speaking to the president of your congregation and for spearheading the steps to empower you and the other women. When you’re educating everyone, make sure you tell them how this sisterhood will benefit them: make happier wives, mothers, and fellow members of the congregation, which in turn, will enable the rest of the church to be the best they can be. It’s a domino effect. Wishing you the very best of luck, but it sounds like you’ve got this!! xoxox, Brenda

  • Martha January 6, 2024 at 10:03 am

    Did you write this just for me? I sometimes wonder about that because your subjects are ones that apply to me. There’s someone in my life who is not as you put it “in my best interest” and yet I’ve done nothing about it. Thank you Brenda because that stops today! Wishing you the best year possible.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 11:18 am

      Yes!! Way to go, Martha! Our inner circle shouldn’t include people who bring us down or are not on our team, plus we don’t need to be on anyone else’s team that doesn’t nourish our spirits. Brava! xoxox, Brenda

  • Ricky Saenz January 6, 2024 at 10:12 am

    I love your blogs Brenda because you always inspire me to stand taller and believe in myself. Don’t ever stop writing!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 11:46 am

      Thank you, Ricky, because your sweet note inspires me as well to keep writing. Blessings and Happy New Year, Brenda

  • Arlo January 6, 2024 at 10:52 am

    As always you’re so inspiring! There aren’t that many women our age who are talking to us so I appreciate that and you Brenda.

    • Stacia January 6, 2024 at 3:39 pm

      What Arlo said! I love your “voice” and it is a much needed voice in my personal life. And you can see from all of your responses that we are all here for what you have to share with us. You’re like my virtual big-sister/friend and I always look forward to your informative and inspiring posts.

      I did take a risk last year just by asking the question, “would you consider…” and they said “yes!”. And now I am doing the thing I never thought I’d get a chance to do. I hope that anyone else who is looking for a change in their life can take our collective, “go for it, what do you have to lose?” Encouragement here today and just try… and if it doesn’t work out, take a moment, lick your wounds, and put it behind you (easier said than done, I know…). Thank you Brenda for creating this forum.

      • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 11:58 am

        Thank you, Stacia, and brava to you for stepping out and doing something that might have been difficult for you. And they said “Yes!” You’re living this blog!! You’re making your dreams come true. You’ve made it happen! I’m so impressed and happy for you. And yes, what have we got to lose? That’s what I mean by “no” doesn’t hurt. When I filmed a pilot for a talk show for PBS, everyone was excited about it, but then Obama cut funding to the Arts that year, and PBS couldn’t afford to bring on more new programming. I poured everything into that project, starting with the business proposal I wrote, the set I had built, inviting my guests, the late Dr. Susan Love and Alaina Hamilton Stewart, and shooting in front of a live audience. When all was said and done, I was disappointed, but I decided to focus my desire to talk to women over 50 on 1010ParkPlace, and here we are. Yes, it hurts for a while, but the experience and all the things we learn in the process are so very precious. I’m thrilled for you! Again, brava, Stacia! xoxox, Brenda

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 11:47 am

      Thank you, Arlo, and it’s a two-way street: I appreciate that you read and leave me notes. You’ve made my day! xoxox, Brenda

  • Katherine January 6, 2024 at 11:22 am

    Hi Brenda,
    I do relate to what you shared. Asking for something in the business world or in a higher authority than you to get to where you need to be is not easy for some. I feel if you see yourself at the TOP and a place of achieving success you will achieve where you want to be.
    No. gives you the opportunity to change maybe the course of your direction , but you never give up. Believing in yourself is everything .
    I think we are cut from the same cloth.
    I think Oprah got the “You Go Girl” pearl going.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 12:06 pm

      Hi Katherine, Happy New Year! I love seeing you here. Thank you for reading and supporting me by leaving me comments. They’re always so affirming. I agree with everything you said, although “seeing” ourselves “there” needs to be accompanied by our actions to get ourselves there. And yes, “You Go Girl,” as well. xoxox, Brenda

  • Regina Coles January 6, 2024 at 12:05 pm

    Brenda I see you have readers from all over the world. I’m in South Africa. Good for you for bringing us all together!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 12:07 pm

      Thank you for reading, Regina, and letting me know! It’s together that we encourage one another to make changes that are in our best interest, don’t you agree? Brenda

  • Orinda January 6, 2024 at 12:19 pm

    Loved this blog! I also always read the comments. You can tell this truly hit home with so many women. Yes, keep writing girlfriend.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 12:08 pm

      Love you, Orinda! Thank you! xoxox, Brenda

  • JosephineFFloyd January 6, 2024 at 2:56 pm

    I totally agree, I learnt early on it was up to me to make things happen in life. No use sitting on your butt waiting .
    Always a great blog Thankyou Brenda X

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 12:24 pm

      Even though we’ve never met, I know you’re a “make it happen” kind of woman. I love that about you. Thank you, Jo! xoxox, Brenda

  • La Contessa January 6, 2024 at 6:29 pm

    Of Course We make it happen!
    We have empathy,compassion and can think clearly!
    On any given DAY!
    I’m talking about the 1980’s on my blog TODAY TOO!
    What a HOOT!
    Xoxo

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 12:26 pm

      We women are exceptional if I do say so myself! I left you a comment on your blog. Love the photos!! xoxox, B

  • Rosemarie January 7, 2024 at 1:09 pm

    Happy New Year Brenda
    A thought provoking blog!
    Yes it is up to us to do things – make things happen in our lives. Others have done that so why can’t we?
    Decades ago I wanted to work at the 1st Film Festival in the city I was living in. I applied for a position – no response – phoned – messages not returned. Starting date was getting near and I knew no one had been hired. So what did I do? I went to the office and asked to see X – not in – fine I’ll wait. We have no idea when she will be in. No problem I will wait. Which I did. She eventually arrived. I said I’m R the person who has phoned and left you messages. I know no one has been hired for the position and I would like the job. I was hired!
    Now at 75 I am thinking what else do I want to do? What should I do? What can I do?

    • 1010ParkPlace January 8, 2024 at 12:35 pm

      Rosemarie, That’s the way to take charge and make it happen! I’m so impressed. As another reader said about me, “You’ve got guts!” So do you! As far as what to do now, for starters, let’s take the age factor out of it. Is there anything you’d like to do? Think about things that interest you, or where you think you could contribute and make a difference. If you could do anything, what would it be? Then take “should” out of the equation as well. You’ve already got “can” going for you because you can, and have done, more than you think you could. Start there. I hope this gives you some things to think about. xoxox, Brenda

      • Rosemarie January 9, 2024 at 4:02 pm

        Hi there – speaking of “can”. I have been collecting CANS – this past year – yes on my walks and donations from neighbours. The majority is for my cousin’s farm animal rescue but others are for my trip to California to connect with Elizabeth – the CONTESSA! I will be writing up an article re “can” as in can collecting.

        • 1010ParkPlace January 10, 2024 at 12:22 pm

          Rosemarie, That’s so terrific! Have you met the Contessa? Like you, I went to California and spent the day with her. She didn’t have all the health problems she has now, but hopefully, she’ll have plenty of energy when you meet. If you didn’t read the blog I wrote about our meeting, here’s the link. https://1010parkplace.com/lunch-with-the-contessa/

          • Rosemarie January 10, 2024 at 4:52 pm

            Hi again
            Thanks for sharing. I’ve never met the CONTESSA – we’ve exchanged e-mails for a number of years and she called me recently.
            Will be a fun time. My main concern is what am I going to wear!

        • 1010ParkPlace January 12, 2024 at 9:53 pm

          Rosemarie, There were four of us who had lunch at Elizabeth’s and none of us were really dressed up. Everything from cropped pants and a white top to a sundress. Wear something that makes you feel good and don’t worry about it because it’s the time you spend together that’s important. Not what you wear. Can’t wait to hear about it! xoxox, Brenda

  • Susan January 8, 2024 at 8:44 am

    This is the best advice! We can do hard things! Loved reading this.

    • 1010ParkPlacee January 8, 2024 at 12:39 pm

      Hi Susan, You’re right! We CAN do hard things! If we can grow, give birth, and raise another human being, we can do ANYTHING! Men don’t want to see this, but we can run circles around them. Happy New Year sweet lady. xoxox, Brenda

  • Yvonne January 12, 2024 at 4:13 pm

    Happy New Year formidable lady! I faced many challenges in my life and still do at the moment with the grieving process but I have to keep reminding myself that I will overcome. You’re the light at the end of the tunnel. I appreciate you and your wonderful blog. All the best to you in 2024!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 12, 2024 at 9:50 pm

      Oh, Yvonne! I understand right where you are, and I’ve told you it will get better, but right now it may be hard to believe. Challenges… That’s what life is whether they’re good ones or challenges that bring us to our knees and we think they will break us, but they won’t. Perhaps you can plan to do something for yourself every week and as you feel like it, several times a week. That may mean a good dinner… when I was grieving, I lost a lot of weight and that’s not good… or maybe watching a good movie with a friend. Something that’s good for you and lifts your spirit. I wish you all good things this year, Yvonne, and I send my love. Brenda

  • Yvonne January 14, 2024 at 4:50 pm

    Brenda, thank you so much for your understanding and encouragement. It means a lot to me because you understand what I am going through. I try to do things (however small) every day to make me feel better . I meditate, read, go for walks when I am able, listen to music, watch movies etc. I understand that grieving is a process. I just lost my two best friends also without a chance to say good-bye so it’s compounded grief. Yvonne xox

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