Turning 50 – Ageing, living life large and faith

by Marcia Dixon MBE

Whilst we live in a society that reveres youth, there is something to be said for growing older.  Increasingly, age is no longer seen as a barrier and older people are pursuing new goals, embarking on exciting new initiatives and enjoying new things.  Marcia Dixon spoke to Christian women to get their views on ageing, living life large and faith.

Yvonne Brooks, aged 64, serves as a co-pastor of New Jerusalem Apostolic Church in Birmingham alongside her husband. She is founder of ‘Women of Purpose’ and originator of Esther’s Academy – a personal development course for women.  She is also a speaker, teacher, mother of three and has two grandchildren. She shares her experience of life in her 60s.

You are 50+, how does the reality of reaching this age bracket differ from what you thought it would be like?
I never thought I would reach the age of 64 as I thought it was so old. Now it’s a mixture of fear, anticipation and believe it or not – excitement. I am happy to be this age, it fits nicely like a pair of shoes that have molded to the shape of your feet and don’t hurt anymore. I noticed increased confidence, inner strength and I trust myself and my judgement a little bit more. Getting older can equate to losing things, but at the same time you gain peace and balance.

What do you enjoy most about reaching this stage of life?
I enjoy the acceptance that I feel for myself and the knowledge that I have a little experience. When I was younger I never used to look in a mirror but now I can stare at myself and smile. I have learnt a little wisdom and have something of value to bring to the table of life. I also think I look better now than I ever did when I was younger, and I wear my grey hair as a badge of honour and not something to be covered under hair dye.

These days people aged 50+ are starting new careers, or embarking on exciting initiatives.  What new things have you embarked on in your mature years?
I have written three books and started the Esther’s Academy as part of Women of Purpose. This has led to extensive travel around the world, meeting new people and establishing Esther’s Academies[Office1] . I would love to write additional books on varying subjects. I have found great enjoyment in gardening, learning about plants and deriving spiritual lessons from nature. One of the best things was becoming a grandmother, I didn’t know my heart was capable of holding so much love. 

You have been on this journey called life for a while.  What are the three key life lessons you’ve learnt?
(i) I need Jesus. (ii) Don’t rush things in your life, be present and enjoy the moment, be patient, develop good relationships especially with your spouse and children. Make new friends and cultivate relationships on an ongoing basis. (iii) Support and work in collaboration with others – you will achieve much more. Discovering and pursuing your purpose is important. We were born on purpose with purpose, for purpose.

How has your faith in God helped you over the years?
My faith has been my anchor. When I felt I couldn’t go on, when I thought things were too much and I wasn’t good enough, I remembered His love and thoughts towards me. I really believed that He cared for me and that I mattered to him. I have felt like giving up, felt depressed etc, but my faith kept me moving towards Him.

What advice do you have for someone who is 50+ who desires to do something new but is fearful because they think they are too old?
I would say if you really want to do something, identify what it is you want do, do your research, find out who can help you and then begin. Take a step at a time. Don’t let fear or doubt stop you – leave no room for regrets. You are older, wiser and you have some experience under your belt. I also discovered that when you begin God will meet you. Last but not least, when you are seventy, sixty will look youthful. Do it now.

What are your hopes/plans for 2021?  
In 2021 there are some things I would like to stop doing in order to make room for the new things that God wants me to be involved in.

My prayer for 2021 is that my life will be congruent with the word of God and the words that I speak. That my life will be authentic and my ability to love others will grow.

Visit www.yvonneelizabethbrooks.com for more information.

On social media Pearl Jarrett is known by the hashtag #ReinventingMyselfInMy50s. Pearl, a Pastor’s Kid (PK), wife and mother of three is also CEO of the Jarrett Foundation; a charity that aims to improve the lives of disadvantaged children across the world.  At the age of 50+ Pearl started acting lessons and has appeared in numerous commercials and is in talks to appear in a Hollywood movie.

You are 50+, how does the reality of reaching this age bracket differ from what you thought it would be like?
When my parents were in their 50s, I just remember them being really, really old. Everything about them was old.  The way they acted, the way they dressed and the way they thought. They didn’t do anything other than go to church and work, they didn’t have any particular ambitions that I can recall, so I thought when I get to 50 I’m probably going to be just like that.  I couldn’t have been more wrong; my life is the complete opposite.

What do you enjoy most about reaching this stage of life?
I enjoy the freedom of just being ME. I have finally got to the stage where I feel I have been delivered from people.  I used to be terrified of what people would say, and that fear really was a ball and chain around my ankle. Now I feel as if I am an eagle soaring through the air.  It’s truly liberating just being ME, without apology.

These days people aged 50+ are starting new careers or embarking on exciting initiatives.  What new things have you done since hitting your 50s?
I am known on social media as the lady who says I am ReinventingMyselfInMy50s.  Since turning 50 I have become an Actor, Playwright, Musical Theatre Producer, Author, Conference Speaker, Mentor, obtained a Doctorate, and I feel as if I’m just getting started.  As the eagle in me continues to soar, the more I see, the more I can perceive, the more audacious my vision becomes.

You have been on this journey called life for a while.  What are the three key life lessons you’ve learnt? 
(i) Be yourself – you are unique. Spend your life being the best YOU, you can be. The travesty is if you copy others, you will just become a caricature of your original yourself. (ii) Don’t allow others to dictate who you are – you can listen and be respectful of other people’s opinions, but at the end of the day, you must have the strength of character to just be who you believe God has designed you to be.  (iii) Absolutely go for it and don’t stop at closed doors. When you find that thing, go for it with all your heart. Have the resolve that you are going to be the person you were designed to be.

One thing we gain as we age is wisdom.  What three pieces of life would you give your younger self?
(i) Don’t get flustered and stop believing in yourself if other people don’t see your vision. (ii) Don’t get into debt. Invest more.  (iii) Don’t sell your flat or the family house – rent them.

How has your faith in God helped you over the years?
My faith is everything. It’s brought me through major disasters like when both me and my son had Cancer. I really got to grips with my faith, where the rubber meets the road, where I was completely convinced that God is God.  This type of faith is not dependent on your church, your praise team, the Hammond organ, someone’s teaching on faith, or even the God that my mum spoke about; it’s a knowing and a personal relationship with God that is solid and real.  This kind of faith helps me to stand when things are crumbling around me.

What advice do you have for someone who is 50+ who desires to do something new but is fearful because they think they are too old?
Everyone is born with a purpose, and just because you’re 50+, it doesn’t mean that you should just take up knitting.  Ask yourself, have I fulfilled my purpose? Have I fulfilled the reason I was put on this earth?  We really start to LIVE when we are in our purpose. If you’re 50+ and you’ve not discovered the REAL YOU yet, as long as you’re breathing it’s never too late.

What are your hopes/plans for 2021?   
I am currently in talks with a US Production company for a part in an upcoming Hollywood movie. This would be my third movie, the largest and most prestigious role to date.  Regarding my other passion which is The Jarrett Foundation, we aim to make some pretty audacious moves in Jamaica.

Visit www.facebook.com/pearl.jarrett to connect.

Roselyn Blackman-Brereton is enjoying her fabulous 50s.  A Christian for 30 years, Roselyn got married for the first time at 50+ and achieved a long-held goal to fit back into a bikini! She now participates in body building competitions.  Roselyn currently lives in Barbados and runs an estate planning business.

You are now 50+, how does the reality of reaching this age differ from what you thought it would be like?
Surprisingly, my current reality doesn’t differ very much to what I dreamed it would be when I was in my 20s. Had I been asked this question just 5 years ago, my answer would definitely have been different.  I had decided to pursue a different dream when God gave my pastor a message for me.  That message gave me life to resurrect EVERY ONE of my dreams/aspirations that I thought were dead, to give me the reality I have now with added hopes and dreams (Proverbs 13 v 12).

What do you enjoy most about reaching this stage of life?
Having the courage to push all boundaries; those I hold for myself and those held for me, by my family and friends.  Someone once said “dream LOUD and IN COLOUR”.  Whenever I dreamt, it was always in colour, it was always in the sun, so I recently moved to Barbados to live that dream I’d always had.  

These days people aged 50+ are starting new careers, or embarking on exciting initiatives.  What new things happened for you since becoming 50?
I started with simply wanting to be fit again and get back into a bikini.  I did not foresee it leading me to compete in a European fitness competition and be invited to the Worlds.

After achieving my bikini goal, I continued training with my Personal Trainer and a fitness buddy who kept pushing my limitations. Then, one day, I could see the realisation of another dream I had in my 20s – the dream to compete in a fitness competition. But I was not going to take to the stage without the real possibility of being counted with the winners. And, I walked away with Bronze!

You have been on this journey called life for a while.  What are the three key life lessons you’ve learnt?
(i) Start and the journey will reveal itself.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.  (ii) God gives you the desire of your heart, not your mouth! 

(iii)You want it? Discipline and consistency will get it for you as they are the fuel of achievement!

How has your faith in God helped you over the years?
Thank God a mustard seed faith is all we need to make impressions and move mountains, because I’ve not always had strong faith over the years.  Sometimes, my prayers were “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief” but faith in God has always been central to my life.  ALWAYS!

What advice do you have for someone who is 50+ who desires to do something new but is fearful because they think they are too old?
Too old? All things are possible to those who believe!

Surround yourself with people who have similar dreams, believes in you and can push your boundaries.  Lean into your small circle of friends that are highly supportive and drown out the cynics.  Go for it! Your wider circle will adjust to the new you.

What are your hopes/plans for 2021?   
Given the current pandemic, I plan and pray to continue to be holistically healthy, fit and strong to compete at the Worlds.

I’m working on releasing my ‘Train Like a Winner Fitness Journal’ that focusses on winning at our fitness goals. I have a few other plans under my belt so, all in all, pushing for another full and successful year.

Visit www.facebook.com/roselyn.blackman to connect.


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