Amazing Over 50’s – Donna Connolly

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 Donna Connolly as my next guest on the Amazing Over 50’s’ series.  Donna writes a blog, Retirement Reflections, which I love to follow as she is always busy doing something fabulous!

Welcome Donna, to Loving The Fifty Something and the ‘Amazing over 50’s’ series

Do you remember what turning 50 meant to you and how you feel now in relation?


Absolutely. My husband and I were living in Beijing, China, at the time. He arranged a large party at a local Mexican Restaurant. It was an awesome night. (I still have the banner from that evening.) As I lived and worked in Beijing from my early forties until my mid-fifties, I viewed my 50th as just another birthday (with a really great party). The most significant age for me was 57 when my husband and I retired and moved to Vancouver Island. That took a huge leap of faith. Although I loved my work life, and our time overseas, I am incredibly grateful for this chapter.

How do you stay fit and healthy?   


I am far from being an athlete, but I love being active. My husband and I live in a relatively small town, surrounded by stunning hiking trails. This gives us the opportunity to walk daily both for transportation and for pleasure. We have also completed four Camino Trails — three in Spain and our most recent one in Italy.  It is so true that once the Camino gets into your blood, it does not easily let go. You can read about our Camino adventures here and here.

In addition to the above, my husband and I try to eat a healthy diet, maintain a balanced lifestyle, surround ourselves with positive people, and explore new things.  Currently, I am taking a course on Natural Medicine at Elder College, (part of Vancouver Island University).  It’s a great reminder to:

– Stay Active,
– Be Social,
– Contribute,
– Have a sense of wonder,
– Eat fresh, unprocessed food.
It also emphasises that you can’t outrun your fork!!

I loved reading about you and your husband walking the 400 km on the Camino trail in Italy, you described it all so well, and the photo’s are stunning.

What are the things that you feel most proud of after turning 50?


I am grateful that I had a fulfilling career that I loved, a family who I adore and a husband who makes me smile every single day. I am thankful for being able to retire young, to live on an island that is often (correctly) referred to as paradise, and to be able to fill my days with people whom I admire and passions that inspire me.

Are there other messages and advice that you would like to give others who are considering retirement?


So often, I have heard people struggling with the concept of retirement because of fears of boredom. Then when they do retire, they wonder how they ever had time to work! I have been retired for four years and cannot imagine being bored. Instead, I constantly find myself trying to juggle my calendar to fit in everything that I want to do. Retirement today offers so many incredible opportunities. The choices can be endless.

You and your husband certainly seem to be living the ‘Retirement Dream’.  

Thank you so much for being another inspiring ‘Amazing over 50’s’ guest.

More about Donna


Donna lived in Beijing, China for fourteen years, where she worked as a Middle School Principal/Deputy Director at The Western Academy of Beijing.  Leaving international life behind, she and her husband retired to Vancouver Island, Canada, in June 2015. To document this transition, I initiated ‘Retirement Reflections.’

Comments are one of her favourite aspects of blogging.  You can connect with her there, or on any of the social media links below.



Linked In

Donna’s Blog: Retirement Reflections


Are there any ‘Mid-lifers’ out there who are enjoying life over 50?  Are you happy to shout out about great health, fitness, lifestyles, work or any achievements since turning 50?  Do you embrace this time of your life with pride and open arms?

If so, then please contact me Here and maybe you’ll be featured in this series of

❤️ ‘Amazing Over 50’s’ ❤️


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Have a great day! 😍





94 thoughts on “Amazing Over 50’s – Donna Connolly

    1. Thanks Jon for reading. I’d love to go to Vancouver island. I’ve fallen in love with Canada, would love to travel more there

  1. Hi Donna, lovely to read more about you. I believe that as we age contributing to our communities is still very important perhaps even more so the older we get. Like April mentioned above I love the comment “You can’t outrun your fork”. By the way, early retirement certainly did not mean boredom for us.

    Thanks Sam for another inspiring interview.

    1. Thank you Suzanne. I’ve never understood anyone who says they’re bored. It’s alien to me, because there’s so much to do in life 😊

    2. Hi, Suzanne – Thank you for stopping by! I wholeheartedly agree that giving back to our communities is important. Most often, we gain more than we give!

  2. You know how to retire and do it well, Donna. Vancouver Island is such an amazing place to call home and it sounds like you are seeing the world as well. I loved your interview.

    1. Thanks, Darlene – It was a fun interview to do. I am honoured to be included alongside so many inspirational people (like you)!

  3. Embarrassed to say I live in Spain, have even had guests doing the Camino, and haven’t tried it myself – yet. 🙂 Never say never. What a leap, Beijing to Vancouver Island! ¡Salud!

    1. Thank you for reading 😊 hey don’t feel bad, I’m here in the UK & there’s so much I haven’t seen here yet 😊

    2. How lucky to live in Spain! The Sangria alone is enough to make me jealous — and I have always found the people to be incredibly warm and friendly. If you do get the chance to walk even a small section of the Camino, I highly recommend it!

    1. Thank you Janis, yes it’s a pleasure to feature Donna, as many have said, the two of them make retirement so exciting 🙂

    2. Hi, Janis – Your comments always make me smile. I’m sure that Richard’s and my retirement lifestyle is not for everyone, but it definitely works for us. I wake up grateful every single morning. I am incredibly honoured to call you a friend, as well. I look forward to our next get-together!

  4. Donna has made retirement look easy, as if she has it all together. Always fun to read an interview with her. I learn something new each time. Apparently the woman has some *fork* issues. 🤨

  5. Hi Sam and Donna! Yes, I agree that it is wonderful to Donna featured here on your blog. Donna and her husband are inspiring to everyone who know her/them…even those of us who aren’t retired. I think that is because not only do them live a very inspiring life, they are both really, really wonderful people. Like Janis I am happy to call them friends and look forward to the next time we get together…although wow Donna! I hadn’t heard about the new course you are taking…sounds fascinating! ~Kathy

    1. Thanks, Kathy – I’m actually taking a few different courses right now — Natural Medicine, Travel Writing, and Mahjong! In addition, I have signed up for two one-session workshops, one of meditation, and one on philosophy. Overkill, I know! I’m delighted to call you a friend. I look forward to our next adventure together!

    2. Thank you Kathy for visiting. Although I don’t personally know Donna, her wonderful personality and outlook on life certainly shines through her blog 😊

  6. Donna is a great spokeswomen for those of us who refuse to “act our age.” Age means nothing – it’s all attitude and activity. I’m in my 60s and still working – but working for MYSELF these days as a writer and a writing teacher, and find life more exciting and busy than ever. I love Donna’s attitude and the choices she and her husband have made to live life to the fullest.

      1. Growing up I NEVER knew my mom’s age. She would never tell my brother and me (nor any of her friends), and I didn’t understand why when I was a kid. Now I understand perfectly. 🙂

        1. Wow you never knew your mum’s age? That’s amazing, she was able to keep that secret for so long 😊 thank you for visiting

          1. Not until I was in my 30s and my dad suggested that I sneak a peek at my mom’s driver’s license (he knew better than to tell me – he’d get in BIG trouble). 😉

    1. Thank you for visiting and your great comment. It sounds like you’re loving your midlife years too! Age certainly does ‘mean nothing’ 👏

  7. I love reading Donna’s blog and happy to see her featured here. Those Camino Trails walks have been so inspiring! Turning 50 or 60 are huge positive milestones in our lives!

    1. Thanks for visiting Tracey 😊 I loved following Donna on their Camino trails, I’d love to walk them one day too. Great to hear you’re Midlife milestones are so positive 👏 I’ll be popping over to your blog!

    1. Thank you Terri 😊 yes I love Donna’s blog, because she’s always doing something different. I also loved following the Camino trail walks.

  8. Hi Donna – lovely to see you over here on Sam’s blog and sharing some more bits of your life that I didn’t know about. You are such a great example of how to do retirement well (and I just realized we both retired at 57!) I’ll be using you as my role model for how great retiring early is!

    1. Thank you Leanne for visiting 😊 I totally agree with you about how Donna does early retirement so well, but I have to say, you’re also a great example of a fabulous & positive midlife role model too! 😍

  9. Sweet Donna, always uplifted by your view on life and retirement. I haven’t been the most graceful retiree but I am learning to enjoy this season. And certainly never find myself with too many hours in a day or too few activities to enjoy!!

  10. Hi Sam & Donna, what a great post to read on my return to blogging! I loved finding out new things and I really admire Donna for her enjoyment of retirement and her ability to remain positive. Thanks for sharing Sam 🙂

    1. Great to see you back in the blogging world! Thank you for visiting. I love doing this series because it’s so fabulous to see so many inspirational and positive over 50’s, all with such great advice and experiences. You included! Wishing your daughter & new little one best wishes ❤️

      1. Thanks Donna, I’m trying to be kind but I’ve just had a broken tooth and am waiting to see a dentist so I’m not feeling very happy or rested at all. Very down in the dumps actually!

  11. Your 50th was a Mexican restaurant in Beijing, China. Now that’s giving a whole new meaning to multiculturalism! I consider Donna to be the spiritual guru of all the retirement bloggers. Her posts are inspiring when you’re a newbie to retirement or already a veteran.

    1. Hi, Marty – I’ve been called many things over the years…but ‘Spiritual Guru’ is definitely a first! 😀
      Beijing is a very food-centric city that offers hungry locals, expats, and travelers an opportunity to indulge in an endless array of different cuisines. The Mexican Bar-Restaurant referred to in this post was truly awesome (sadly, I don’t believe that it exists anymore). 🙁

    1. Thanks, Dee – Interviews about other bloggers can really help us to get to know them better….even bloggers whom we regularly follow. I greatly enjoyed your interview with Erica today. Even though I know her personally, I still learned many new things!

  12. Hi Sam and Donna – great post … yes Donna and Richard have the most wonderful life together – and seem to have made just the right decision to move across to Vancouver Island. Again achieving a balance in life … that many of us can enjoy and get inspiration from.

    That surprise birthday – looks to be amazing … what fun memories … I love the idea of taking the Natural Medicine course at the Elder College – wish I could have done that … so much to learn – cheers for now – Hilary

    1. Thank you Hilary for stopping by. Vancouver Island sounds so beautiful, I’d love to visit sometime, I’ve fallen in love with Canada after the few times I’ve been 😊

    2. Hi, Hilary – I do kick myself that we never met when you were living on Vancouver Island…a short driving distance away from me, I must add! Hopefully, fate will offer us another chance to meet. I would definitely jump at it! 😀

  13. I had a year there … but under difficult circumstances … but loved that part of the world … but I miss ‘my England’ and particularly ‘my Cornwall’ … so am happy being back in Eastbourne – but would love to see more of Canada – and then meet the Canadian bloggers – cheers Hilary

    1. Oh you live in Cornwall?! How lovely. We go to Cornwall a lot because my partner, Jon has family there. We love that part of the world 😊 lovely to meet you Hilary

  14. My mother’s family come from St Ives and she lived in Penzance for about 50 years … so we were always down that part of the world … my brother, who lived down there for a while, married a Cornish lass – and that’s why I’m up here … it’s where they’ve ended up – lovely part of the world too … but I’m nostalgic for Penwith … in fact I got married in Pz and then had the reception at the Count House out at St Just … the marriage: we forget! Good to know there’s another Cornwall lover here – cheers Hilary

    1. It is lovely. I especially love walking the coastal paths, we’ve done quite a lot of it now. So much more to see of Cornwall though 😊 definitely a Cornwall lover here 👍

  15. Thank you Sam, for featuring Donna in this Amazing series. Donna is an Amazing, multi-layered, generous woman. I appreciate her pearls of wisdom. I especially liked her answer on someone who makes her smile every day. I strongly suspect Donna would always find something to smile about. I also like your words, Donna, “opportunities” and “choices.” Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you for visiting Erica & your lovely comments about Donna 😊 that certainly has made her smile, I’m sure 🌸

  16. Donna, you are an inspiration for retirees. (…and to think I was dreading retirement!). Of course, living in “paradise” makes every day pretty wonderful. I love Vancouver Island even on the rainy days.


    1. Thank you for visiting, Jude 😊 Vancouver Island is a place I’d love to visit after reading Donna’s blog posts, it looks a beautiful 😊

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