Amazing over 50’s – Debbie Harris

Once again I am excited to introduce another guest to my series:

Amazing over 50’s

I’m inviting and featuring ‘Mid-lifers’ who are enjoying life over 50 and who are happy to shout out about great health, fitness, lifestyles, work or their achievements etc, but more importantly who are embracing this time of their lives with pride.

This month I introduce Debbie Harris as my ninth guest to this series.

Debbie is the author of one of my favourite blogs ‘Debs World’ and describes herself as an Australian midlife, travel, adventure and lifestyle blogger.  I had the pleasure of meeting Debbie in May of this year at the Annual Bloggers Bash where she won Runner Up in the ‘Hidden Gem’ Award!  I have to say the main thing you notice about Debbie when you meet her, is her amazing and contagious happy smile!

A Guest Post – The Amazing over 50’s

Welcome to Loving The Fifty Something, Debbie.  Can I start by asking you to tell us a little about yourself?

I’m 57 years old, turning 58 in just a few months’ time on 12 December.  I’m the eldest child with a younger sister and brother.  I was married when I was 19 and 1 month old and we’re still happily married all these years later.  We have three daughters, all in loving relationships, and a brand new granddaughter born in September. Our first grandchild!image_6483441

I live in a small rural town in NSW Australia and have done so for the past 27 years.  We love our easy lifestyle which allows us to travel the world when we’re not enjoying our 18 acre property.

Back in 1992 we did a Teacher Exchange with a family in Cheddar Somerset in UK, and swapped houses, cars and lives with them for a year.  We thoroughly enjoyed this year and travelled extensively.  Our eldest daughter is now living in this very same village all these years later. 

I have had a few different careers, starting out as a Bank Teller and raising my children. I studied to become a teacher when I was 40 years old and was working in a Correctional Centre for Men (a minimum security prison).  I worked in Adult Education roles for over 20 years and was made redundant in December 2016, aged 56.  I was really worried about this stage as it wasn’t what I had planned but it has worked out for the best and I couldn’t be happier now!

The Teacher Exchange must have been really interesting Debbie.  Do you remember what turning 50 meant to you and how you feel now in relation?

Yes I can certainly remember what turning 50 was like – it meant so much to me that I celebrated for the whole year! It started with a weekend away at an island resort with my family for my actual birthday in December and two of my daughters surprised me by coming home from the UK for the celebrations. I also had a combined cocktail/dinner party in our local Café/Cinema, with a friend who is 10 years older (nearly to the day) with many friends and family. We called it the 110 party as I turned 50 and she turned 60.  It was a fabulous evening with stories, photos and games.  Our husbands provided the entertainment with fun presentations on the big screen.

IMG_0715Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I had planned a 2 week bicycle and barge tour from Paris to Bruges, while we were holidaying in Europe the following year.  We started with visiting each of our three daughters who all just happened to be working in the UK, then met my sister and my parents in Paris for a week before tackling the cycling tour with my parents. By the time the year ended I was nearly birthdayed out!

I’m now closer to 60 than 50, but I don’t feel all that different to how I did back then.  I can’t believe the time has passed by so quickly but the last few years have been some of the most traumatic in my life so I’m glad they’re behind me.

Oh wow you really partied!! I love the idea of the bicycle and barge holiday. How do you stay fit and healthy?

I walk, ride my bike, run and enjoy being physically active.  As I’m now retired I have the time to do things I’ve always wanted to do.  I’m lucky to have forest behind our house and walk the various tracks every day while listening to podcasts or music.  It’s a great stress reliever.  I’m going to try Tai Chi and maybe get back into the gym for some strength work as I’ve heard that is ideal for women my age.

Mother’s Day Classic 5km in Canberra for Breast Cancer Awareness


To keep mentally active I read voraciously and love my blogging routines.  Some people do puzzles and games as they age but I find blogging provides me with lots of puzzles and brain stimulation.  I also enjoy my book club, movie club and a discussion group with like-minded ladies of all ages. I love nothing more than catching up with friends and family and now that I have a new granddaughter, well life is starting all over again!

I totally agree with you that blogging has enough  puzzles to keep the brain stimulated!  What are the things you are most proud of achieving after turning 50?

That’s a hard question! In the past 8 years I’ve suffered the sudden deaths of my brother-in-law and father-in-law and the longer drawn out decline and inevitable death of my own father. I was also made redundant at age 56, from a 20+ year career of teaching in a prison – so it’s been quite a heavy time of loss.  

But I’ve also enjoyed the surprise of the joy that retirement has brought me.  The freedom, the happiness, the travelling, the new beauty in having time to just be – has all been amazing and quite unexpected. My husband retired at about the same time as me (his choice though) and we have been able to do some trips in Australia and Europe.  Our huge 3 month Odyssey ended just a few short months ago where we visited Iceland and did a cycling tour in Amsterdam for the first time, among visits to many other places!

The banner is in Mazamet in France when the Tour de France went through in July 2018 – it was such an exciting time to be there so I made up a special banner hoping to get on TYV back at home, but alas it didn’t work!

I’ve ziplined for the first time this year and if you knew how scared of heights I am, then you’d realise how proud that makes me. I’m still the same adventurous and fun loving spirit I was before I turned 50!

After 40 years of not writing about a tragic bus accident while on a school excursion in another country as a 16 yr old, I finally managed to write the story down and published a post about it.  I’m proud of my actions and the fact that I received a Bravery Award from the Queen way back then.

My blogging has improved and I love the community and interaction that I have. I won the Runner Up award in the Hidden Gem category at the Annual Bloggers Bash Award in London in May this year and was thrilled to be able to attend the award ceremony, all the way from Australia! It’s where I met Sam in person for the first time – what fun she is and we have so much in common.

I also enjoy giving back to the community, both local and international through Rotary.  It’s not all about me just having fun, I actually do lots of volunteer community work too and particularly enjoy helping out with Rotary Youth Exchange Students.

In other words I am coping very well and loving my life.  I’m doing my best to be proud of everything I do.

Are there any messages or advice you’d like to give to people who are about to turn 50?

I think it’s vital that we become more resilient and more accepting of ourselves as we age; I know I have become stronger since turning 50.

I’m reading a great book at the moment called Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales, about what happens when ordinary people, on ordinary days, are forced to suddenly find the resilience most of us don’t know we have. One quote that stuck with me is this: Somehow we need to be aware that we’re mortal, that this time is finite….It’s knowing this is all going to end, so let’s make it matter. 

I hope that doesn’t sound too morbid but it’s very important and something I’ve learnt over the past few years of grieving.IMG_8814

I’m doing my best to enjoy everything I do. 

Thanks for having me Sam!



Thank you Debbie for being another great guest on my series – ‘Amazing Over 50’s’ It’s been great to learn a little more about you 🙂

You can read more about Debbie on her blog  – Debs World Blog

If you’d like to connect with Debbie, then here are her links below:

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about yet another

Amazing over 50′.  

If you’re loving your ‘Mid Life’ and would like to be a guest in my ‘Amazing over 50’s’ series please contact me Here and help me ‘Shout Out for the over 50’s’ 🙂








39 thoughts on “Amazing over 50’s – Debbie Harris

  1. This has made me realise how much I missed out on last May. I met Debbie briefly, but didn’t really have time to chat. Then again, I might have been exhausted by the time we finished… Great post, Sam and Debbie

    1. Thanks Graeme, There were many people there that day who I’d have liked to chat more to, the day seemed to go so fast 🙂

  2. Lovely to see Deb featuring here today. She’s such a bright light and it’s been one of the blessings of having a blog to meet so many wonderful midlife women who have great hearts and who are flourishing in their 50s and beyond. I’m really enjoying this series Sam x

    1. Thank you Leanne, I’m loving featuring all these inspiring over 50’s, showing that Midlife is a great time of life 🙂 Thanks for reading x

    2. Lovely of you to comment Leanne. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Sam’s series too, it seems our over 50 group is growing and we’re a fabulous group with great hearts. It was fun being a guest here with Sam 🙂

  3. Hi, Sam – I was excited when this post began to open. I recognized Debbie’s photo even before it had fully downloaded. It is lovely to see her here. I greatly enjoyed learning more details about her thoughts and her life. I am enjoying this Guest Series and look forward to reading more!

    1. That’s so great to hear, thank you. I love finding amazing over 50’s and I have to say it has been incredibly easy so far. Debbie is a breath of fresh air 🙂

    2. I always love your comments Donna, we have so much in common despite living on opposite sides of the world. I had fun being Sam’s guest here and I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it too. It’s a great series!

  4. Great post and I loved the read. Love the idea of celebrating for a year!

    It’s interesting as soon as you hit 50 and then nearing 60, people around you start treating you as ‘old’ although you don’t feel any different. And, apart from a few more inevitable wrinkles and sags, we are still the same. 🙂

    I had a huge surprise for my 50th, my partner treated me with 2 weeks in Beijing. I had no idea where in the world we were flying to from Australia until we actually checked in and he handed over a Lonely Planet Beijing guide – it was fantastic! I am very spoilt, but worth it!! 😉

    1. Thanks so much Nilla, I had a great year of celebrating and can highly recommend it 🙂 You’re right we are still the same person despite the years getting away on us. Your 50th surprise sounds amazing!!

  5. I hadn’t realised just how much you’ve done and achieved in your life so far, Debbie. I can remember the uncertainty you faced when you knew you were being made redundant from the job you had held for over 20 years. I think I added a comment to that post in the hope of reassuring you. Just look at what you have done since leaving that job for the last time. As the saying goes, ‘life goes on.’
    It was lovely to meet both Sam and you at this year’s Bloggers Bash. Alas, as others have said, I only wish we had had more time to chat. I’m glad you both volunteered to appear on the video I took on the day, though (or was it a case of me forcing you? 😀).
    Wishing you continued success with everything you do.

    1. Thank you Hugh for reading 🙂 I’ll hopefully see at next years Bloggers Bash, as I’ve already bought a ticket 🙂

      1. Thanks so much for your comment Hugh! I believe everyone has a story to tell but we rarely get to hear it, so it’s fun to share on these types of guest posts. I remember you offering advice and as you say It’s all worked out for the best….now! I can finally say that 🙂 It was so good to meet others like you and Sam at the Bash, I’m so thankful I got the opportunity to go this year. The video was fun to do and gave us all a chance to put into words what we were thinking about being there (although I cringe at watching and listening to myself). Thanks again Sam, it’s been great to join you in this series.

  6. Sam it is so wonderful to see Debbie here! We have become fast blogger friends! Debbie, I felt like I got to know you lately, but I was happy to learn much more about you in this post! I’m a little jealous both you and hubby are retired (mine still has a few years), but my part-time teaching keeps me busy with some time on my hands. It was interesting to read about your career as an adult ed teacher in a prison…my daughter is a recreation therapist now in a men’s state prison near San Diego, and she is very interested in going for a credential to teach adults. They utilize teachers (like you) to round out the corrections programs. You are so inspiring!

    1. Thanks for reading Terri and I agree, Debbie’s career does sound so interesting, good luck to your daughter in progressing in her career

      1. So glad you enjoyed reading Sam’s post Terri. It’s always so good when you ‘connect’ with other bloggers and i feel this is the case with both you and Sam. Best wishes to your daughter, it’s not an easy place to work but it is very rewarding.

  7. Deb sure is a powerhouse!! I feel very proud to call her my sister – not only because she is my big sister 🙂 – but because she’s so lovely and great to be around. Great interview Sam.

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