Once again I am excited to introduce another guest to my series:
Amazing over 50’s
I am 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 Elizabeth Lamprey as my eleventh guest and first of 2019.
Elizabeth is a published author and business woman. Elizabeth is also an inspiration when it comes to picking herself up from a difficult time in her life, to creating positive life changes.
A Guest Post – The Amazing over 50’s
Welcome to Loving The Fifty Something, Elizabeth. Can I start by asking you to tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in South Africa and in 2000 a series of events (mainly selling my small catering business) combined to take me to the UK for an intended three years. Seventeen years later the winds started blowing in all directions again and whirled me from Scotland to Spain.
My working life was in finance and admin, but my hobby, leisure, and pleasure, was always in writing and eventually, in my fifties, writing took over. My characters in my series of whodunits were around my own age but as the series developed they got their own voices and started dictating their own stories – keeping up with them changed my life completely. I was constantly taken aback by how much more they got out of life than I did – the subconscious is a very strange thing! They found life over fifty interesting and adventurous and I finally got the message and caught up.
Do you remember what turning 50 meant to you and how you feel now in relation?
“Life begins at fifty” was the biggest crock I ever heard, but I think I was a late bloomer. I started into my fifties overweight, on anti-depressants to cope with stress, and plodding through life with a vague intention of reaching a nebulous finish line with as little upheaval as possible along the way.
Instead I was made redundant in my mid-fifties, with a generous package, and it was life-changing. My colleagues banked their payments and found new jobs – I decided to take my first ever gap year – well, six months – and see if I could tick off some items on my neglected wish-list. The timing was definitely key, because my ties had, one by one, fallen away. My daughter had grown and flown, my parents were gone, and my mortgage was almost paid off, so my overheads were low.
I’ve never been one of the tiny percentage of writers lucky enough to live on their book sales, although I have lovely readers who buy every book I publish, and say nice things about them. As the six months became a year, then two, I was also offered copy-edit work, commercial blogging, checking press releases, and eventually a permanent part-time job to keep the emergency fund topped up. I’d taken in a rescue dog and between walking her, and regularly forgetting to eat, I ended up losing most of the excess weight, especially once I bought a Zumba exercise DVD to whittle away the threats of bingo wings and writer’s butt.
In Five Six Pick Up Sticks my characters involved themselves in the world of mature singles and I briefly joined a paid online dating agency to do some research – I even went on a couple of dates, slightly aghast at my own daring. In Nine Ten Begin Again, they were once again outstripping my experience and this time I joined a free online dating agency. I’d been single a long time, I was really out of touch, and I made it clear in my profile that I was there only to talk the talk and ask questions. Nobody could have been more surprised than I was to find myself walking the walk, having a year-long intense relationship, and enjoying myself more than I had ever believed possible. Menopause hadn’t been riotous fun but there are astonishing compensations on the far side.
So in answer to the original question – I was completely underwhelmed at the prospect of turning fifty. In retrospect I wasted some time because I simply didn’t realize that it is not the end of the play, just the end of part two. In a classic play, part one sets the scene and the characters, part two sets the plot – it is part three which develops the story and one day, part four will sum it up.
I love your analogy! Do you like to stay fit and healthy? If so, how do you prefer to do this?
Dog-walking is great – fresh air, and a dog forces you out in all weathers – but the best was a Zumba exercise video bought in a charity shop. It included a twenty minute routine and I absolutely hated it at first. I had to stop several times to strip off clothes while I got redder and heaved for breath, but after years of insomnia I slept like a log from the very beginning and a fairly chronic backache vanished with the stretches at the end, so I stuck with it. Any regular exercise routine will firm you up and give you energy, that just happened to be the one I picked. Within a year I was doing it at maximum impact level at least four times a week without breaking a sweat, a little taken aback at how quickly the twenty minutes flew by.
I’ve tried Zumba, it’s hard! I love your determination to stick at it. What are the things you are most proud of achieving after turning 50?
Oh, becoming brave! The most alarming thing about turning fifty is that you are forced to realize that some doors have closed, never to re-open. The braver I got, the more new doors were offered.
The biggest achievement – so far – has been turning a large dilapidated townhouse in a small Spanish town into home and guesthouse, and so far so good, I’ve had an erratic trickle of guests who have all embraced its oddities and loved it. The original inspiration, when I saw it in all its crumbling glory, was to have a place for people like me – writers on tight budgets, perhaps daunted by travelling alone, yet wanting a complete change. Perfect world, the house will support itself and earn enough to cover its overheads and maintenance. A bonus has been meeting some fascinating people already! It was very hard work (aren’t renovations always more work than expected?) so I am immensely proud of how very nice (albeit eccentric) it has turned out to be. It’s the Casa Excéntrico, with its own Facebook page, and is listed on Airbnb and HomeAway.
It was never intended to be my sole income, I needed to earn a living in Spain, and the answer turned out to be a TEFL qualification. Studying again in your fifties is initially a shock, but I took a job with a Chinese online language school and learned that I not only enjoy teaching, I’m not bad at it – I’m ridiculously proud of the fact that I have pupils in China, Korea and Japan who book my lessons for weeks in advance, and actually look forward to their English classes. 2019 is my year to apply for Spanish residency and start tutoring locally, not just online.
I’m proud of my books, too. I write under several names but I like the EJ Lamprey books the best: I re-read the first one, One Two Buckle My Shoe, not long ago for the first time in several years. I read a lot, and it was incredibly warming to find myself genuinely enjoying my own book!
Are there any messages or advice you’d like to give to people who are about to turn 50?
Every decade is a milestone and fifty does say ‘you’re no longer young’. It isn’t stressed enough that the slow end of summer is the start of autumn, the nicest season, a time of harvest and beauty and colour and, if you look for it, Indian summer. Turning 50 for me certainly wasn’t a celebration. I had no idea that life would, year on year, get better and better. Friends, old and new, male and female, matter more than they ever did, priorities sort themselves into what really counts. I don’t now think of age, it’s almost a shock to realize I’m into 60. Enjoy every day, every year, and seriously consider every opportunity that comes up, because this can be the best time of your life.
The message? Become brave!
Links for Elizabeth are as follows:
Email address – firstname.lastname@example.org
To website and blog – https://elegsabiff.com/
To the Amazon nearest you – http://author.to/EJLamprey
Thank you Elizabeth, for being another wonderful guest on my series – ‘Amazing Over 50’s’ It’s been a pleasure to ‘virtually’ meet you and your books are certainly on my ever growing ‘To Read’ list!
If you’ve enjoyed reading about Elizabeth, then you may want to catch up with my previous ‘Inspirational Over 50’s’ guests in this series by clicking Here
If you’re loving your ‘Mid Life’ and would like to be a guest on my ‘Amazing over 50’s’ series please contact me Here and help me ‘Shout Out for the over 50’s’ 🙂
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