Amazing Over 50’s – Nancy Dobbins

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 Nancy Dobbins as my next guest on the Amazing Over 50’s’ series. Nancy writes a wonderful blog called Defining Third Age where she shares stories, anecdotes, and information about transitioning into retirement, “third age”.

Welcome Nancy to Loving The Fifty Something and the ‘Amazing over 50’s’ series.

Can I ask you to tell us a little about yourself?

Some of my “facts and figures”…I am currently 61 years old and in my second year of retirement from a career in teaching and education leadership.  I grew up and lived most of my life in the suburbs between Boston, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island but now am a “snowbird”. My husband Dan (also a retired teacher) and I bought a cottage on a pond in New Hampshire 12 years ago which we have converted to our retirement home.  But it gets pretty cold in the woods of New Hampshire in the winter, so we decided to get a second little place somewhere warm. Last year we purchased a small home in Lake Placid, Florida in a 55+ community and are loving this lifestyle. Tropical Harbor Home of the Month

We also have a 26 foot trailerable sailboat which we have used to cruise New England and parts of Canada including the Bras d’Or Lake and the North Channel of Lake Huron.  Now the sailboat is in Florida and last winter we sailed in the Everglades and the Florida Keys. This year we think we will cruise the Caloosahatchee waterway and also return and explore the lower Keys.  We have just bought a travel trailer and are beginning the transition from cruising the water to cruising on land. The great part about this retirement lifestyle is that we are in control of our time and can come and go as we please with no regard for the academic calendar that ruled our lives for so many years.

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

CPond paddleboatMy 50s were very busy and very stressful.  Dan and I created a blended family and this often creates complications.  In many ways we were lucky as his boys and mine became very close, but there are invariably issues with ex-spouses and parenting as step-parents.  As the boys began to venture out on their own Dan and I were able to focus much more on being a couple and this helped a lot.

I changed jobs and school districts when I was 52 and this career situation was much more rewarding for me.  I loved my new position as math department head and teacher leader. But even here where I was in relative “control”, the changes in society and families and ever-increasing academic performance demands made education an increasingly stressful place to work.  Dan started to have stress-related health issues – I insisted that he retire as early as possible which he did at age 57. I followed the next year.

I remember my 50s as starting out crazily busy and this gradually moderated as the boys moved on.  But our jobs and our responsibilities for aging parents kept us hopping..right up until Dan’s mom and my mom and dad passed away in quick succession and we finally retired.Costa Rica Nan hottub coffee (2)

I’m relating all of this to give a context to how we are feeling NOW.  The daily pressures of jobs, children, and extended family were more or less resolved by the end of our 50s.  We were free to focus on our health and our own interests and pursuits on our own agenda. It’s freeing, really.  We have found a “happy place” and it feels good. There is light at the end of that 50s tunnel!

Is staying fit and healthy important to you?  If so how do you stay fit and healthy?

About the same time as we realized that we needed to reduce our stress as much as possible by leaving education, we also began to be more and more aware of the impact our nutrition and diet play for health and longevity.  After much research, we decided to change from our Standard American Diet to a healthier Whole Food Plant Based way of eating. Our goal is to eat this way 90% of the time which we are pretty successful at doing. As a result, health issues that were beginning to rear their heads such as high cholesterol and hypertension were resolved by our diet and stress-reduction alone.  I am so enthusiastic about this way of eating that a portion of my website is devoted to the whys and hows of this diet and roadtrip Letchworth Nan and Dan

We stay active physically as well.  I like to walk and hike, Dan fishes, and we both enjoy sailing and boating – which are more strenuous pursuits than you might realize.

Staying mentally active is just as important.  This is one of the reasons that I began blogging.  I was accustomed to a daily schedule and wanted to build in a flexible routine and blogging/writing provides this for me.  I am also an avid reader. I’ve joined a book club here in Florida and love reading the writings of other midlife and retirement bloggers whom I follow.Dobbins at the wheel of YNot

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

The best and most productive (although most stressful!) part of my professional life occurred between 50 and 60.  I hired and trained some fabulous teachers who are making a difference in the lives of kids. I am VERY proud of that!  I delivered some of my best, most impactful professional development to my peers during this time and helped steer the direction of our school district for years to come.  That is something that you cannot really do in your 20s and 30s…that sort of impact comes with age and experience. I left feeling that I, personally, had made a difference.  Age and experience DO matter.

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

The 50s are a powerful time in your life.  Your career and influence is at its peak. Your children are probably leaving the home and making you empty nesters, so you can finally begin to refocus on what you consider important and do a better job at taking care of yourselves.  This might not be apparent in your early 50s but will become more obvious as you head towards 60. I’m past my 50s now and into my 60s. I feel better now than I have for many years…and I am starting to truly believe that age is only a number and happiness is a choice.  Just be the best version of you.

Costa Rica Dan and Nancy

Thank you Nancy for being yet another inspiring guest on my ‘Amazing Over 50’s’ series.  It’s a pleasure to ‘virtually’ meet you and I’ll certainly be reading your blog posts on the benefits of a plant based diet as I’m very interested in this subject and I love that last sentence, ‘Just be the best version of you’. 

I hope you’ll pop on over to Nancy’s blog, Defining Third Age

Catch up with Nancy on FaceBook Here

And on Pinterest Here


🤩 Would you like to be featured in this series? 🤩


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?

You don’t have to be a blogger to be featured!

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

❤️ ‘Amazing Over 50’s’ ❤️


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