• Now that I am older and no longer working full-time, I often have people ask me questions like, “What in the world do you do with your time? My answer is that I finally have time to do all the things I never had time for.

    As younger women many of us juggled handling careers, children and often spouses. Looking back can sometimes be a blur as we wonder how we accomplished so much. Interests and hobbies were usually put on a back burner and trying new things was something we would do “some day.”

    Family and job obligations are often less demanding as we enter our fifties. I think this is particularly true for women. Sometimes financial burdens are not as great either. So time often coupled with more money to spend open up exciting new opportunities for women over fifty.

    Trying New Things

    I am amazed at how many women I meet that are trying new things. One friend always wanted to learn how to quilt but never had the time. Now she is taking a quilting class.

    Another friend is learning to crochet at our local library, which offers many free things of interest. Most communities have senior centers that are open to anyone over fifty-five and most let slightly younger folks participate in the activities they host.

    Dancing

    The senior center in my town offers everything from oil painting and exercise classes to safe driving courses and sing-alongs. Most often these classes are free or just include a small fee for supplies. On Friday nights, there is a dance at our senior center.

    Many of the women who attend never danced in their younger years and one gentlemanwho comes to the Friday night dances is ninety-five. He didn’t dance a step until he was seventy-five.

    Everyone gets into the spirit of the “theme” dances. We often hit the dollar stores to buy leis for the Hawaiian dances and masks for the Mardi Gras dances. We find we have more time to be creative and enjoy preparing for upcoming special events instead of dreading them. For many of us the days of rushing around trying to fit everything in are thankfully in the past.

    I recently began taking line dancing lessons. A woman who stands next to me was kind enough to help me my first day as I stumbled through the routines. I was surprised to learn that she took up line dancing at sixty. Now she is so good at it that she helps the teacher. In fact the teacher never danced at all until she was fifty.

    Writing

    Many mature women decide to start new careers. I am one of those women. I have a degree in journalism and have always loved to write. But writing as much as I wanted to was always a “some day” project.

    I have stories in several books, including some of the Chicken Soup books. I have written three books on my own and I’m a regular contributor to various websites. In addition, I enjoy speaking to many different community clubs, groups and schools.

    Now I have time to pursue my dream of writing. When I see successful women authors continuing to write in their seventies and eighties, I feel like it is never too late to do what You didn’t have time to do before.

    Volunteering

    Volunteering is something many women my age also enjoy. It is a wonderful way to “give back” our experience and knowledge. It makes us feel useful and productive as well.

    I find as a volunteer at our local library I am greatly appreciated. And I can miss any time I need or want to do something else, unlike a regular job.

    Volunteering can be so satisfying and just plain fun. My husband and I are part of a volunteer dance group that puts on little shows at nursing homes and retirement centers. Each couple that participates dresses in costume depending on the dance we perform. The residents love it when I come out in my poodle skirt and my husband dons his rolled up jeans and white t-shirt for a rousing rock and roll number.

    Whether it is trying new interests, pursuing a long cherished dream or finally having time to volunteer, women over fifty are afforded many opportunities to do all the things they never had time for.

    Melinda Richarz Lyons

    credit main image: Alex Liggett/Flickr 

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    Article by: Melinda Richarz Lyons

    Melinda Richarz Lyons earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of North Texas and has been a free lance writer for over forty years. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including Nashville Parent, Cats Magazine, True West, Chicken Soup for the Soul: True Love, Kids, Etc., Frontier Times, Reminisce, Cincinnati Family Magazine and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grandmothers. An award winning songwriter, she has also authored several books including Women Only Over Fifty and the young readers novel, Murder at the Oaklands Mansion. Her non-fiction grief book, Crossing the Minefield, garnered a Royal Palm Literary Award and is recommended by support groups across the country. It is also included in many bereavement library collections, such as the Patient/Family Library at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. In addition, Ms. Lyons is a regular columnist for several grief websites including www.opentohope.com. Her most recent work is the romance mystery, Heir to a Secret. She lives in Tyler, Texas and invites you to visit her website: www.melindalyons.com.

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