Reaching 50 & Discovering A Brand New Digital World by Susanna Lewis
Susanna is a freelance writer and blogger with a passion for changing the perception that women over the age of 50 are ‘invisible’. By telling her story, she hopes to inspire women to embrace their age and live their lives to the full. Susanna discovered blogging when she turned 50 transforming her life and career in the process.
In her popular lifestyle blog, A Yorkshire Girl, Susanna writes about varied topics including menopause, empty nest syndrome, fitness and fashion.
She has recently worked with Sport England as part of their ‘This Girl Can’ campaign to encourage women to get involved in sport and fitness, whatever their age.
Her motto in life is ‘Forget your age, live your life’
It’s wonderful to not only call Susanna a friend but to host her guest post on my blog.
Over to Susanna.
Five years ago, I reached the age of fifty. Like a hidden monster stalking in the dark shadows, it leapt out on me suddenly and without warning. I remember feeling shocked and surprised that I’d reached my half century, when, in fact, I still felt and acted like a thirty year old.
Social media informs us we must embrace middle age and welcome it with open arms. But I didn’t and couldn’t. Reaching the age of fifty sent me into a downward spiral of self doubt, bewilderment and low self esteem. Coupled with the fact that my beloved father died shortly after my milestone birthday and with the onset of menopause, on reflection, it was the worst year of my life.
I suffered anxiety, agoraphobia, panic attacks, depression and insomnia and I struggled to get through each day. I ate poorly, stopped exercising and withdrew into my shell, away from the world that hurt too much to be part of. I started surfing the internet and reading blogs during a sustained period of insomnia. Online bloggers became my virtual friends, a place where I felt safe and protected from the outside world as it caved in around me. One of these bloggers was Vicki from Honest Mum. After a few months, I started to feel more human again, albeit still living in a virtual world.
A few years later, after a light bulb flash of inspiration, I decided to start my own blog. This would be my very own little world I could wrap myself in during times of struggle. And so in 2016 my blog was born. It was difficult at first as I wasn’t technical but I ploughed through and got my blog up and running. What happened from there on, was quite amazing. As my blog progressed so did my health. I started to take an interest in the world again and the fog began to lift from my muddled mind.
Fast forward two years on to the present day, and I now have a successful lifestyle blog aimed at the over 50’s. Yes! The very age group I’d shied away from are now my audience and the people who have enabled me to make my blog my full time job. livelihood, full time job. My blog has become the love of my life. I’m embracing blogging and my age and my goal now, is to inspire others to believe in themselves when they reach their 50s too. My blog focuses on trans-formative topics such as fitness, health, travel and age related subjects such as menopause.
I hope that my blog encourages women to talk about these emotive periods in life, with family and friends. Hopefully this candidness will help women blossom and find the strength and courage they might have been missing.
It is often said that women over the age of fifty are viewed as ‘invisible’. Fifty is the age which falls between active motherhood and retirement. Rather like a no man’s land. No wonder women in that age category feel lost and struggle with mental health issues. I’m dedicated to changing this perception of ‘middle aged’ women.
We DO still have a LOTS to offer the world thanks to our experience, knowledge and wisdom. We ARE still mothers who worry about our children, whether they’re two or twenty two. We DO still care about how we look, and we love rocking the latest fashion, and make up.
Many women over the age of fifty are starting up new businesses, excelling in the corporate world, publishing their first novel and taking up new sports and fitness regimes. Free from family commitments, women of this age often discover a new found freedom and zest for life.
My greatest passion is fitness so is it’s something I write a lot about on the blog. Exercise makes the biggest impact on both my physical and emotional wellbeing. I visit the gym frequently and love seeing women in their 70s enjoying Zumba, and I’m a keen tennis player. Age is not a barrier to exercise and is vital for body and mind.
It’s baffling to see fitness organisations targeting the young, slim jims of this world as if older people don’t have an interest in keeping fit and healthy. Do they honestly think that we reach the age of fifty and suddenly spend all of our time rocking fluffy slippers, watching daytime TV and eating choccy biscuits?
Society and social media need to change the discourse around people over 50 and beyond. Blogs like mine are a huge step in the right direction, helping to change the tired conversation. My site provides the realism so often lacking in mainstream media about women just like me, FOR women just like me.
Energetic, fit and healthy women bursting with ambition.
Instead of promoting youth as the epitome of life, we should all collectively look towards our neighbours in the Mediterranean whom value and respect the older generation. You see us as three dimensional, diverse people who don’t plan to sit at home slurping soup and watching soap operas.
We’re now living longer and fuller lives than ever before, and thanks to the democratic internet, I can share my interesting, varied life, and loves, inspiring others to do the same.