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.

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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!

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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’ 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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