Life & Style | General

Real women talk ageing

Still not convinced about embracing your age? We’ve spoken to a few of our favourite women – who have all featured in Aquarius over the past year – and asked them a few poignant questions...

  • Compiled by: Louisa Wilkins, Editor, Aquarius magazine
  • Published: 15:31 April 9, 2013
  • Aquarius

birthday
  • Image Credit: Shutterstock
  • Older, stronger, wiser.

Louisa Coates, 52, is a career coach and director of Davos Consulting Group
(davosconsult.com)

“I like being my age now because I can be much more choosy about how I spend my time and who I spend it with. But I think the best years for a woman are 35 to 45, because by then you know who you are, you’re established in a career or life track, your features have depth from laughter and experience, but you can still turn a few heads. The best year of my life so far was when I was 39 – I got married to my lovely hubby and a completely new work opportunity started.”

Katie Pattison-Hart, 33, rowed across the atlantic to raise awareness about
human trafficking

“As I grow older, I am enjoying establishing my sense of purpose in life. I’m loving every minute of my 30s – last year was pretty awesome. The sense of achievement of successfully rowing the Atlantic, being a part of a team of people who were all very passionate about the task at hand, and doing it for such a worthy cause made me feel very fulfilled. That said, each year seems to keep presenting itself with exciting opportunities, so the best decade could be 40s or
50s... I’ll have to reassess that in a few years.”

Sandi Saksena, 60, is a financial adviser at Nexus (nexusadvice.com)

“The best thing about being my age is I get to do what I want – life is all about me. I love talking back. I love not being liked by people I don’t like. It’s exhilarating to be able to say, ‘No, I won’t do that.’ Or, ‘No, I’m too busy, come back later.’ Or even, ‘No, I don’t like that person!’ As cosmetics giant Mary Kay Ash said, from 14 to 40, a woman needs good looks. From 40 to 60, she needs personality. After 60, she needs cash. So each phase has its own charm.”

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Maria Chatila, 39, runs her own coaching company (bpacoach.com)

“Being in your 30s is great. I am at a stage in my life where I’ve had my children, I’ve supported my husband’s career growth and now it’s my time to shine. It’s my time to do all those things that took a back seat while I was building everyone else up. I am at a stage where it’s now or never. Realising that if I don’t do it now, I may never have the chance again puts a lot of things into perspective. I know what my values are, I know who supports me, and I most definitely know  who I want to be sharing the next decade of my life with. I’m having a picnic of emotions this year, but with every emotion comes great learning. I love the journey I’m on right now because, for the first time in my life, I am driving  myself in the direction that I want to be going.”

Janelle Malone, 34, blogs about finance and women’s wealth (womenmoneyandstyle.com)

“The great thing about getting older is the wisdom you gain about life – you start
putting it into practice, and life gets easier and more enjoyable by the day. The most wonderful women in my life are in their 50s today. They don’t know the impact they have on me... Their wisdom. The beauty that wisdom brings. The love they radiate constantly... It leaves me in awe.”

Celine Bouas, 35, sales director at Airbus

“Confidence is clearly the best thing that comes with age – both professionally and personally. I’m really enjoying my 30s because I feel young, energetic and courageous. I’m building my career and progressing in my personal life, and I feel a lot more self-assured than in my 20s. But I hope that the best decade has yet to come.”

Samantha Dobson, 45 this month, is a freelance writer who does our real-life interviews every issue

“The best things about being my age are watching my children grow into incredible human beings, having the maturity to enjoy where I am in my life and being comfortable in my own skin. If I summed up my 20s in one word, it would be ‘freedom’. I was a student in New Zealand then left to backpack and explore the world. I had no money but I had my best friend, my idealism and a one-way ticket to the other side of the world.

I met my husband in Africa where I worked as a journalist promoting women’s rights and covering the atrocities of war and famine. In the process of that experience, I lost my idealism but discovered how far hard work and a good moral compass can get me. The word to sum up my 30s would be ‘motherhood’. Happily married, I marvelled as my body changed and nature took over – it was a decade of nurturing and selflessness; virtues that continue to make me feel complete. I’m only halfway through my 40s so I can’t yet sum them up.

But I can certainly appreciate everything I have, surround myself with positive energy and continue to live life to the full. My favourite age so far? Now. I’ve contributed to a wellbeing magazine long enough to know it’s the now that’s important.”

Julie Lewis, 50, is an explorer who arranges exciting adventures for groups of women (mountainhighme.com)

“At the milestone age of 40, I decided to climb a mountain to celebrate. Little did I know that it would be a major turning point in my life. Last year, I reached 50 and led a team of breast cancer survivors from the UAE on a trek through Antarctica. So, life continues to share many adventures with me. I wish to keep sharing them until I am 60, 70 and beyond. My advice to other women would be to follow your bliss, be true to yourself and have fun making a difference. May your heart take you where your soul longs to go – the only limit is your imagination, not your age.”

Katy Tynan, 40, career coach and author

“Being 34 was a great year for me – I was guiding several non-profits through developing strategic technology plans, so I felt like my work was really valuable and valued. I was working largely from home and making my own schedule, so I had complete flexibility to be present at every important moment in my son’s life, and I had achieved the huge goal of operating my own business and truly feeling like I had ‘made it’.

What made it my favourite age is that I feel like I learned how to achieve work-life balance and each year since I’ve become better at it. I’m really looking forward to this particular decade. I feel like I’m in the driver’s seat and it’s fantastic. I have lots of experience under my belt and have built some wonderful relationships – both personally and professionally. I know what I want and I have all the tools to go after it. I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished so far, but I know that there’s lots more ahead. It’s a nice balance point to look at my whole life.”

Liz Fenwick, 50 this month, is a novelist (lizfenwick.com)

“The best thing about getting older is learning to accept yourself and not worrying about what other people think. I believe the 40s is the best decade for women... you’ve passed that dreaded mark and, quite frankly, it’s fabulous. You are free from the pressure of youth and you know who you are. You can stop trying to please others and just please yourself. If you had asked me five years ago what had been my favourite age, I would have said 28, which was the year I got married. But now I would say 48 – the year my first book came out, which was something I had dreamt about

Marta Yanci, 32, is a chef who runs her own catering company (martaskitchen.com).

“As you get older, you tend to become more realistic and you learn to prioritise
things that really matter. Even though I haven’t experienced them yet, I would say the 40s are the best years of a woman’s life – your kids are at an age where you can interact with them in a different way (mine will be 13 and nine when I get to 40!) and you (hopefully) have consolidated your career so you have more time to enjoy life with your loved ones. My 30s are rather busy with toddlers and a business!”

Gulshan Kavarana, 49, is an artist at Mawaheb From Beautiful People (mawaheb-dubai.com)

“I can truly say I love my age. For me it’s about letting my hair go grey without the fear of what people are going to say… not being afraid of being judged any more. 2013 is the year I started getting recognition for the work I have been doing for the past 13 years. Somehow people take me more seriously now. Plus it’s a year of personal and spiritual growth as I recently celebrated 25 years of marriage with my very first love, who continues to bring joy, love and laughter to my life.”

Carmen Benton, 42, is a parenting and educational consultant at LifeWorks (lifeworksdubai.com)

“For me, growing older means being much more confident to speak out and to live my own truth.”

Becky Hart, 34, is a Flywheel manager, Budokon instructor and a personal trainer at The Hundred

“The best thing about growing older is learning about myself and others, and developing long-standing relationships with friends and family. At this stage, I would say the 30s are the best decade for women – you are confident about who you are and what your values are, and life takes on more meaning.”

Tori Leckie, 36, is a fitness enthusiast, blogger and writer who regularly contributes to Aquarius

“I think as you grow older you gradually become comfortable with yourself – you
love your best bits, accept your bad bits and worry less about the small things, or what others think of you. ‘Being comfortable in your own skin’ is how the French would describe it. My favourite age so far was 33. Although it started off very, very sadly with my marriage ending, big break-ups force you to take a long hard look at yourself, your life and what you really want out of it. I did exactly that and it started a long and wonderful journey of serendipitous situations, wonderful opportunities and lots of great doors opening.”

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