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 and open arms.
This month I’m happy to introduce Cara Achterberg as my sixteenth guest. Cara is an author and blogger, but she is also a heroine when it comes to fostering dogs in need.
Welcome to Loving The Fifty Something, Cara
Can I ask you to tell us a little about yourself?
I am an author, blogger and rescue dog foster mom who lives on a hillside farm in Pennsylvania with my husband and my youngest son who graduates high school next year and will likely abandon the nest for higher education and a more exciting life just like his two siblings before him. Which means that I’m in the process of reimagining my life somewhere beyond this hollow where we’ve lived for nearly twenty years.
I am an irrepressible optimist, a lifelong student and teacher, and happiest hiking in the woods with a dog or sitting on the back of a horse. I believe, just like Tim McGraw sings, “most people are good,” and love the blogging community for the opportunities to connect with people all over the world. So, Sam, thanks so much for this chance to meet your readers!
My pleasure, Cara! Do you remember what turning 50 meant to you and how you feel now in relation?
Actually, I can’t remember turning fifty on the day I turned fifty because I was determined it would be just another day. I looked up the date in my journal thinking I must have written something profound and soul-searching, but there was no entry. The day after, I wrote, “I thought turning fifty would feel different. It doesn’t,” and then moved on to my frustration with the near constant rain that spring and how it was stifling my running efforts.
I’m fifty-three now, and honestly, it still comes as a surprise. I don’t feel fifty-three. Okay, that’s not completely true. Sometimes when I crawl around on my knees playing with the dogs, the getting-up is ugly and every now and again I stand up too quickly and get light-headed. But both of those complaints likely have more to do with how much wine I had with dinner and my eating habits, than my age.
Is fifty old? That’s certainly relative. I know that life has only gotten better with age and somewhere around that fifty line, I stopped being so annoyed by people and became more curious. I’m softer now, not physically (okay maybe a little), but emotionally; I’m more forgiving. Issues and incidents that used to fire up my fury, now instead cause me to wonder about the motives and origins and just how small a life might be to unleash that much anger towards another human being, particularly one you don’t know.
I can totally relate to that, Cara. Do you like to stay fit and healthy? If so how?
I’m a firm believer in move-it-or-lose-it so my days are very physical. I walk the dogs and haul hay and spend hours in my gardens, and even when I’m chained to my laptop by a deadline, I spend some of that time sitting on my yoga ball (occasionally bouncing across the room and back if I’m stuck) or standing at the counter. I may even take the laptop outside for a bit. I look for excuses to move and having two of my own dogs and usually at least two (but often more) foster dogs in the house at a time gives me plenty of them.
I’ve only recently realized that I’m an adult and can eat what I want. Having spent the last few decades obsessing over what I ate and what my children ate, I’ve begun trying to listen to my body and feeding it what it asks for. Bananas with peanut butter for lunch instead of my regular salad? Maybe I’m short on potassium. I’ve always abhorred processed or fast food, still do, but often now I have my own form of ‘fast food’ dinner—cheese and crackers, fruit and wine. I’m not cooking as much and have come to believe that cereal or popcorn makes a perfectly fine meal.
The one real effort and concession I’ve made to age is trying to drink more water. I’m startled by the wrinkles that look back at me in the mirror and know that consuming more water will make the biggest difference, so I challenge myself to drink more and carry water with me everywhere in a reusable cup/straw. (I’ve a terrible habit of leaving them everywhere, but they usually find their way back to me.)
What are the things you are most proud of achieving after turning 50?
I think I’m most proud of laying down my need to control my life. Somehow years spent with horses and children didn’t teach me I’m not in charge, but fostering dogs has. In the last few years I’ve fostered over one hundred dogs for an all-breed rescue. It has provided great purpose and joy, but plenty of heartache and many, many tears. I’ve learned that all you can do is the best you can do and after that you have to practice acceptance and learn from the experience.
I’m proud of my most recent book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. It’s a memoir (my other books are novels), so it required more than a little baring of the soul for all to see. I am humbled that it has touched hearts and inspired people to join in our quest to rescue.
I do admire you, Cara. I love to follow you and am blown away by the work you do for rescue dogs and emotionally, what it must take out of you. Are there any messages or advice you’d like to give to people who are about to turn 50?
Life only gets better. It truly does. Yes, there are trade offs, you have to accept the reality of wrinkles and tired feet, but you will experience more freedom and more peace in your fifties than you have in your lifetime. Revel in that and don’t get hung up on a number. It’s only that—a number.
You’re so right Cara!! Thank you again, for being another great guest on my ‘Amazing over 50’s’ series. And a rescue dog heroine! 😊
Here are Cara’s links if you’d like to read more about her books and follow her dog fostering journey;
If you’ve enjoyed reading about Cara, then you may want to catch up with my previous fifteen ‘Inspirational Over 50’s’ guests in this series by clicking Here.
If you’re loving your ‘Mid Life’ and feel you’d like to share your ‘over 50’s’ enthusiasm then why not get in touch 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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