A WILD WOMAN ON TOP
Sometimes I wake up giggling and wonder if my life really is as fantastic as I think it is. Buddha says “we are what we think”. I think I’ve unleashed myself.
I’ve done my share of crying. Known the heartache of ending my 25-year marriage. I’ve wondered if I would ever find true happiness again; hated myself for being obsessed with food; spent days sobbing in the foetal position over lost love.
When I was at my lowest, agonising over the best way to protect my children from the emotional turmoil of separation, my sister said “Tough times pass”. So simple, so true and ever so helpful.
I thought I’d die climbing the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere.
And then, two years later, just before the birth of my surprise third baby at 41, I decided my life was pretty much over. I was about to be shackled again. Then I discovered Secret Women’s Business.
I don’t think I’ll ever be offered a Playboy centrefold again, but I do plan to climb Mt Everest when my kids give the OK.
Now I’m 51 and life has just begun. I’ve chosen NOT to be invisible.
To that end, I survived half my life married to a delightful man, whose struggle with alcohol led me to divorce. And I sacrificed my career for his. I survived taking up rock climbing at 45. I worked as a radio producer for John Laws – yes, I was a “Handmaiden” in the obligatory skirt. OMG! (I chose to see the humorous side.)
Then I started a business. Fitness training women into wild places, trekking world class trek and putting ‘wild women on top’.
So, apparently now I’m an entrepreneur. Some also call me an Adventure Philanthropist (I like that one the best). And there are other hats too – a women’s health expert, an author and a Managing Director.
My life is just buzzing. I’ve got three amazing kids because as mums know, giving birth is an unmistakable “I wish I was dead now” primitive pain, but the bond is a timeless and enduring love. Definitely my raison d’etre.
I think they’re awesome.
And the business is successful – one that empowers women. We – me and the girls – run an event called Sydney Coastrek that has raised nearly a million dollars for The Fred Hollows Foundation to restore sight in developing nations.
But wait, there’s more.
Today a friend told me I look better at 51 than I did when I was 25, and I’m far more sexy. (Never believe a gorgeous red head PR consultant!)
I have the new hot man with a washboard stomach, perfect lips and chiseled features. And no, he’s not married, divorced, rich, a workaholic or a toy boy.
Most importantly he’s honest, reliable, does his own sewing and washing, sharpens my knives and cooks me dinner in bed. Sadly, he doesn’t live in Sydney, which is a serious issue when my 51-year-old hormones are racing (sorry kids!) But remember: healthy body, healthy hormones.
According to scientists at Stony Brook University, New York, when people reach 50, their stress, anger and worry fade gradually and feelings of happiness start to surge. Dr Arthur Stone said: “You would think as chronic illness threatens life would get worse”, but instead he found we “focus on the good things in life like family and friends”.
That’s not to say that I don’t have bad hair days. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed.
But I believe in CYA: Choose Your Attitude. Every day I have a choice: I can choose to be positive or negative, happy or sad, chirpy or grumpy. Once you realise you have a choice, there’s no going back.
I also believe in turning “Obstacles into Opportunities”. When I went to Tibet for my 50th birthday, I had a valuable lesson. After 10 years of training to climb Mt Everest, I got altitude sickness and failed in my bid to climb the North Col, a 7000 meter ice face leading to the summit.
I then spent five days imprisoned at Base Camp, chasing an elusive ABC radio interview with Adam Spencer, 702 Breakfast. He finally agreed to chat. This interview turned the heartbreak of failure on the mountain into the success of the Wild Women On Top Sydney Coastrek. I love playing with teams of women who are passionate about Big Hairy Audacious Goals.
I don’t believe in menopause (for me that is).
I’ve chosen to eat and exercise my way out of hot flushes and extreme mood swings. I choose extreme adventures instead. And, I no longer need contraception. HIP HIP HOORAY!
I believe that exercise is THE wonder drug for everything. Governments agree. The American Council on Exercise says: “regular physical activity can help manage many of the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause as well as the related health concerns, such as heart disease and osteoporosis”.
Other benefits of exercise include: reduced stress; weight loss; reduction of hot flushes; increased bone mass; reduced risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
The North American Menopause Society says: “Exercise may cause the same magnitude of change as that induced by estrogen therapy”.
So get moving, sisters. With food and exercise, you can balance your hormones.
Then, life can begin at any age.