I recently attended a conference at SUNY Sullivan and was surrounded by women of all ages. I loved mixing and mingling with the crowd throughout the day and asking them what their favorite part of the event was and enjoyed learning more about their lives. As a coordinator of the event it was good to see that the dedicated planning done by the committee and presenters was effective at promoting the Fabric of Women during the 21st century. Many of the women were repeat attendees who keep bringing friends and neighbors in my local community.
Whether it was learning about social media, doing bollywood dance, painting while sipping some wine, making cheese, a piece of modern art, creating better writing or getting a make-over, to just name a few options, women were collaborating and seeing the greatness in one another. It was an honor to be a part of the event. Everyone's creative juices were really flowing but what puzzled me was how often I would hear a woman say she was retired.
Now, I may not be a spring chicken but I know that after a certain career or a certain age, even if eggs expire... we don't die. Retirement is not a death sentence and it isn't a way to define yourself. As we age, our minds do not get less active unless we settle on sitting on a porch singing ourselves to sleep. Humans need engagement, something to keep us active and community support. So often we define ourselves by titles to try and convey our worth. I even did it at the beginning of this post, but the title is not what makes you. Rather it is the actions that you do that defines you and that is the impression that resonates with people.
I no longer collect trash but I was in the midst of a community of women that I had collected trash for at one time. Most however did not recall my job as the trash lady with the purple truck until I reminded them by talking about it at the end of the day. Rather, they remembered me as a presenter the year prior who had kept them engaged, entertained and taught them how to get out of their shell, own a room with confidence because they are worth it and network. Many women were dismayed that they could not sign-up for a class of mine this year.But thankfully, I got to expand on last years lessons at the end of the conference and continued to catch other women up on how to tell their story without focusing on the past. Instead make bold new steps towards a future of actions and not titles.
Here is A tidbit of greatness from the talk at SUNY SUllivan...
It is OK to forget someone, don't lie, don't get upset, just be you. Hear me breakdown the struggle of having a past and being OK with it.
Shirley Ann Felder
As a mother, mentor, landlord, business owner, recycling fanatic who owned a garbage company that did over 60 million in sales, an international motivational speaker, and certified life coach with The Healthy Wealthy and Wise Organization, Shirley mastered the art of modern multitasking and diversification while helping people realize the Greatness in Ordinary! “You will never fail you, as long as you’re real.” As Shirley provides her audience with a candid perspective, blunt honesty and a dose of reality, whether talking about maximizing the potential of raw materials or nurturing the ordinary, she knows the benefits of authenticity when faced with adversity!