J-Bird’s Story: Second Act at Seventy

First Act, Scene I: How it All Started

I grew up in a small town on the Gulf coast of Texas, saturated with oil and chemical refineries. When we were kids returning home from family vacations we always knew when we were getting close to home by the noxious, chemical fumes enveloping the inside of our car. We would breathe in those smells of home like some would identify home by the smell of fresh baked bread or apple pie. With our lungs filled daily by these deadly chemical smells it’s surprising my siblings and I don’’t have two heads or glow in the dark! Our evening skies were filled with twinkling lights from the cat crackers and flare torches at the refineries. As a child I wondered if these lights were what a big city looked like.

Not my forever home.

I’m pretty sure I knew early on this happy growing-up place was not going to be my forever home. I wanted to know much more about a world outside of salt air, sand, oil, and chemicals. I yearned for adventure, romance, big city lights, sophisticated, beautiful people. So after my first year of college, also in a small Texas town, I coerced my very skeptical father to let me go to a renown two year fashion school in New York City!

Off to New York.

I had done a bit of modeling in high school, worked at a fancy department store during summers and had been voted Best Dressed Coed at college. Of course I was sophisticated enough to tackle New York!

Scene II: In Search of Sophistication

Someday I’m going to write a book titled “Industrial Debutante Meets the Big Apple”. In New York I was assaulted daily by the many things I did NOT know about being a city slicker and the fast-paced world of high fashion! Subways and buses, street crossing lights that say WALK and DON’T WALK, and mean it, were all a new world to me. I’m laughing right now remembering the first visit I made to my dentist’s office on Park Avenue.

We didn’t lock our doors.

The concept of “buzzing” someone into a locked building was a little known practice in my small hometown. Clearly I had never experienced it. Most of us didn’t even lock our doors. After pushing the button on the door I kept wondering what the heck that annoying buzzing noise was all about. Finally a woman opened the door to let me in. Assuming she was the receptionist, in my most sophisticated tone, I told her I was there to see Dr. Gotsagen. She said, “Well, that’s wonderful, dear”, as she assured me I would like him since she too was one of his patients waiting for her appointment! I became adept at not appearing to be humiliated since it happened to me so frequently.

On my way.

I did manage to graduate from my chic, highly respected fashion school and for 20 years worked in various capacities in this field, as buyer, district merchandiser, and fashion coordinator, to name a few of my positions. Also during this time I did professional modeling in runway, print work, fit modeling, and TV in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, and Greensboro. Eventually I got married; more than once, but that’s another book.

I raised a beautiful, smart daughter who is a successful lawyer and I helped raise a couple of wonderful step-children. It seems before I knew it I turned 50 and my attention moved in another direction.

Scene III: The Quest for Smokin‘ Hot Again

In spite of being a life-long runner, I became aware that some parts of my body were not looking quite like they used to. The millennial reared it’s ugly head and made all of us fearful the world was coming to an end or that we would be “taken”. Well for sure if that happened I didn’t want to meet my maker looking like an out-of-shape, middle-aged woman.

Unacceptable!

Off to the gym I went with a personal trainer who did such a great job of whipping me into meet-your-maker shape that I became fascinated with how this physical conditioning thing worked. I saw other trainers in the gym and thought “Hey, I want to do this!”. I want to help people look and feel better like I do.

I was consumed with the many approaches and levels of fitness.

J-Brid, Chevron Houston MarathonI wanted to know more. Career number two now loomed on my horizon. I enrolled in a killer sports medicine program in Houston which necessitated hiring a tutor to learn muscles and bones and gym equipment. I graduated from this rigorous program as a Certified Personal Trainer. For the next 15 happy years I helped all kinds of people with many different goals of how they wanted to feel and look, many of them with health issues. I trained special needs individuals and coached my clients on healthy eating. I also had a goal for myself to run a full marathon. So I trained, ran, and completed the 2010 Chevron Houston Marathon, a highlight of my life.

I was 63 years old.

I was also recently divorced. To say I was rethinking my finances would be a huge understatement. Personal training is a wonderful career challenged by the size and dependability of your client base.

It was becoming clear to me that I needed a more consistent income.

Scene IV: Facing Realities and Suitable Solutions

Yes, you guessed it! Career number three, brought about by personal need and my changing interests. As I mentioned, I was now in my sixties and people were not beating my door down begging me to come to work for them but I had an idea. Now that I had gotten my body in great shape, sadly I realized, all my working out had done nothing for what was happening to my face. Mind you I had been vigilant about taking
care of my skin.

Drooping skin, wrinkles, and age spots.

As a former model, I knew about keeping current with make-up and hair and clothing. Remember, I came of age in the fashion industry. Those accolades, however, were doing nothing to remedy drooping skin, wrinkles, and age spots. I was becoming acutely aware of a field called medical aesthetics. You know; Botox, HA fillers, various non-surgical skin tightening technology, lasers, IPL treatments, and medical grade skincare products. I embarked on educating myself on all of it. I first ventured into the Obagi Nu Derm system and Retin-A, then Botox, and then tried injectable fillers done at a very reputable anti-aging practice.

I became a regular.

I was becoming a regular there and agreed to do an on-camera promotional film on the local news about Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement treatments which I was also having there. I became their show pony and they would trot me out for Open Houses to show their clients what was possible. ( “Bring out the old gal who looks so good because of all the treatments and procedures available here.” )

Ok, Ok…

I was at peace with it but after scratching their backs for a while, it was their turn to scratch mine. I wanted a job! So they hired me and, for the six years I worked there, I learned everything I could. My position was a jack-of-all-trades but mostly focused on business development.

Meanwhile,

I attended every training session, took every course I could, and attended every seminar available to me. I left that practice only because I was offered a really well-paying, medical consultant position at a highly respected medical spa in Houston. I was recommended for that position by a nurse I had worked with previously.

I helped hundreds of women.

For two very challenging years I helped hundreds of women address their aging issues and develop treatment plans that would fit in their budgets and help them restore their looks and confidence. I loved helping them! I was one of them, and could so keenly relate to what they were going through.

They were all ages from 20 to 80! The common thread they shared was their desire to look their best and feel confident and empowered. Some of the younger ones had weddings coming up, some of the middle-aged were competing in the working world, some were divorcing and entering the on-line dating world (another book I’m going to write) and some just wanted to spend their golden years staying vital and engaged in life and looking their best. I loved observing their smiling faces looking in the mirror as the changes began to take place.

Intermission

Now that brings us to the present and my Second Act at 70. I guess some would say at this age it is my third act. There is truth to that but, with all the advancements in the science of expanding life expectancy, we may be living to a much older age as time goes on.

Given the many careers I’ve had and the many places I’ve lived I view these evolutions as scenes in the play that is my life. I retired 2 years ago and did little else but restore myself and bring balance back to my life. I consider that time my intermission.

Second Act, Scene I: Seventy

The curtain now rises on my second act. I have so much knowledge in my head it just might explode if I don’t start sharing it, not to mention the hoarding, selfish aspect of doing so. I am a passionate self-learner and self-improvement junkie. I feel I have not wasted a moment of my life.

I’ve searched relentlessly to learn everything I can about being better today than I was yesterday. I want that for everyone and I believe it’s possible for everyone. That’s why I started this blog. I want to help you.

I want to give you all I know about being a woman and living to the best of your ability for all the days you are blessed to occupy this planet. Take what information you need and leave what you don’t. I share with you the residuals of my life’s journey so far and whatever is to come in the future.

Stay tuned for Scene II.

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