Thursday, September 3, 2015

My #50in15 Story

How to Find Love After 50
by Jorene Richards

First be honest with yourself, what kind of life do you want? There is unfortunately, a lot of pressure to be married, to have kids. The way I was raised, it was expected that I’d marry and have kids, I didn’t think about it – it was something that was supposed to happen as naturally as breathing.  It’s been hard, to deal with the expectations of others, and the occasional self- doubt, why am I not married? Is there something wrong with me? Why can’t I find someone to love?

I believe God’s plan is perfect, maybe I’m meant to be a role model. I am not married I don’t have kids and I’m HAPPY.  You can be attractive, successful, fulfilled and not married or a mother.  Who are you? Want kind of life do you want? What’s your legacy?  How are you impacting the Earth? Can it be said that the world was a better place because you were in it? Those are life’s important questions, much more important than “are you married?”

Next, what’s important to you in a relationship?  I think we’ve all made “that list” of qualities/attributes of our dream partner.  Nothing wrong with preferences but don’t let that list keep you from seeing a great love.  In my 30’s my list contained attributes like tall, handsome, income amount, no kids, no divorcees, etc.  A few years ago, my list was revised to: kind, able to love and give love, interesting and interested in life (no couch potatoes!), fit (able to hike and bike) attractive to me.  Big difference,  right?

After you’ve focused on creating the life you want, becoming the best person you can be, and gaining clarity of what’s important in a partner, relax and be open to love.  Remember loving you first is most important!  What inspires you and gives you joy?  Art? Dance? Finance?  Take a class, volunteer, create an investing club, and join a MeetUp group. 

Photography’s one of my passions and I met my fiancĂ© at a camera club. Meeting someone while exploring your passion means that you’re having fun instead of focusing on “finding Mr. Right” and you got the added benefit of knowing you have common interests. 

Here’s where that loving yourself really pays off – men are attracted to confident, happy women.  Women that have their own interests, work and networks of friends.  The more you love yourself the more irresistible you become to others.  I remember being on dates where the man put his arm around my waist.  I immediately recoiled thinking, “ugh he can feel my muffin top!” and moved his arm or tried to find a reason to scoot out of reach. 

Jorene and her fiance Duane live in
 Chicago and are set to get married
in June 2016.

When I started dating my fiancĂ© I thought, you know let’s try something new Jorene.  If you really love yourself, you’ll love ALL of your imperfections, even   your muffin top!  You’ll let this man hug you without moving his arms from around your flabby bits.  I did – he said, “all this is mine?  I love a woman with curves to hug”.  I think I knew then that he was “the one”. 


Celebrating Sunsets and Sunrises
by Thryeris Mason

For 48 years my mother and I shadowed each other. She had a southern belle heart, a been here before soul, and a California smile. As a single mother of three, she worked diligently to create multiple streams of income before that was a buzz phrase. We were far from rich in the material sense but, if love were bankable, the vaults would not be large enough. The fabric of my childhood is woven with threads of festive birthday celebrations; extraordinary surprises on ordinary days and weekend field trips zig-zagging our way across Southern California. My wanderlust is definitely part of her legacy to me. She made sure that I knew my southern roots and together we would learn of our African roots. It was important that I understand the incredible victories of my ancestors. But it was also to make sure that I didn't marry my cousin. She was having none of that!

In 2012, we reached that inevitable fork in the road where journeys around the sun change course towards heaven and the flesh becomes spirit. Her voice became a saved voicemail on a phone that I refuse to update for want of being able to summons her lilt at will. I was left to navigate my new normal with no instruction manual. I spent the first year reading Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21 searching for proof that I would lay eyes on her again.
Thryeris and her mother, Edna. 

The second year of mourning was so unexpected. It was supposed to be better, but instead I found myself crying myself to sleep night after night. I missed her wishing me a nice day. I missed her calls to remind me to run this errand or that, or just see how my day was going. I missed holding her hands to pray. I wanted, yearned for, more time with her that I knew was not to be granted. So, I grieved. And, I wondered why no one bothered to tell me how difficult this change would be in terms that I could understand.

I no longer nestle tear stained pillows. I now look forward to my dreams. She is there, laughing, smiling, and dancing. Our conversations are lively and interactions prank laden. My sleep is a film reel of days gone by, although I must admit I never saw my mother do the splits when she was alive. I'm still trying to figure out where that came from.

I have learned that I am everything that she poured into me and some things that she wanted to snatch out of me. She insisted that I graduate college. She made the whole section stand up and cheer for me when I took it one step further and earned my MBA. She had an amazing sense of style. I look back on some of her black and white photos, and being from an era where fashion was dresses, gloves, and high heels, she took things to another level. I've spent a lot of money chasing her panache. Being a true head of household has slowed the chase, but I haven't given up. My Pinterest is full of ideas!
Thryeris lives in Los Angeles and
will be celebrating her 50th birthday
 in Puerto Rico in October

As I approach #50in2015 I find myself once again letting go. After sixteen years with one employer, a first in longevity for me, I am once again on the job market. The last days in the office were trying, watching people go through the ritual of putting on their professional game face while wondering what tomorrow will bring. Since our office closed I've heard rumors that have led me to thank God for perfect timing.

My mother's most important gift to me, besides her love, was faith. Faith is the beautiful vessel named Grace that has erased me over still waters and across stormy seas. Faith keeps my head held high when my chin wants to scrap the ground. Faith moves me to believe in transitions filled with supernatural blessings instead of meaningless and cryptic endings. So for me, #50in2015 won't be the end of a decade, but the beginning of something amazing.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Reflections on the Road to 50

Love, peace, God, joy, Mom, wife, family, excellence, pride, humility, friendship, sisters, health, faith, future, happy, sadness, laughter, travel, Mario, CJ, Nannie, encouragement, mentor, marriage, lifetime, spiritual, friend, boss, blessed, legacy.

These are the first words that come to mind when I think of my journey to 50.  WOW, what a ride!   I described myself once to a friend as a “whirlwind”…  the everlasting movement of wind and spirit.  Allowing the wind to take me wherever my spirit wanted to travel.  And travel it did!

My sweet, sweet Mommy
My journey started in the south, Jackson Mississippi, one of the poorest states in the country.  The south molded me with charm, grace, family and good eating.  But I knew early in life I would not stay.  There was a big world out there and this small southern town was only the beginning for me. 

My early years were simple and as a child I remember fun times with my siblings, quiet talks on the porch with my grandmother and crickets at night.  I also remember always being bossy and in charge, I guess you are just born with it.  I know that now that I see it in my daughter, Kylie Dakota, who is seven.  I think starting my life in Mississippi has and will continue to prepare me for the rest of my life.  The things that I learned, saw and experienced in the first decade of my life prepared me to be able to truly withstand anything!

My 2nd job at 15, Super D Drug Store
I think from age 10-20 were my hardest years.  I was popular but not well liked, or so I thought. I started working at 13, bought my first car at 15, went to college and had my own apartment by 18 and by 20 I was in love.  No time for actually “living life” just living.   My 20’s were amazing!  I was determined and headstrong.  Success was not an option but a way of life.  Now I was living life.  I went up the corporate ladder very fast, traveled the world and began to set sites on my future.  I found love a few times, but nothing stuck.  But I found something better, God.  I began to understand and love the need for church.  My Catholic upbringing was confusing, so now I was able to see His light and warmth of true love.  This period in life was the foundation for the undying and deep relationship that I share now with my husband Dwight.

My soulmate who brought me
closer to my faith!
I was growing as a woman, but still naive from my southern roots. I was fearless and tough.  Some may say too tough.  I was on my own and boy did I think I knew it all.  I didn’t need anyone and no one could tell me any different.  I didn’t listen and made a lot of mistakes. 

By 30 I was ready, or so I thought I was.  I wanted marriage.  The white picket fence, 2 babies and a Cadillac (not the station wagon).  But my real true journey had just begun.  This was my season of heartache.  From lost love to the deaths of my dearest grandmother (Nannie), my youngest brother Mario and father, Carlyle, this stormy season would not appear to let up. 

I reflect back and realize that finding yourself, your purpose, your truth is hard. It’s a journey that never stops. The winding roads of hurts and pains, the freeways of happiness, the bridges of disappointments.The red lights of frustration to the green lights of passion.  Always living in the yellow lane.  My 30’s were my quest period and one of both personal and professional growth. I stepped out on faith, leaving a great corporate job at Coca Cola to start my own event production firm The Baker Group.  Who new 15 years later that I would work with countless celebrities and have produced more than 200 events that have included several US Presidents and international dignitaries.

Select snapshots from The Baker Group events that include
AOL, Stevie Wonder, Magic Johnson, Kathy Ireland, NAWBO, USC
and the Milken Institute Global Conference. (click to enlarge image)

By the time I celebrated 40 I was finally happy. I was now blessed with a husband and a good life.  My climb up the corporate ladder had taken a different turn to entrepreneurship.  Working harder than I ever had in my life, I again, was determined to build an empire!  Life had taken me to California, the sunshine state.  A new horizon and opportunities were bountiful.  I could now truly embrace who I was becoming.  My eyes are open larger than ever before. I truly embraced who I was becoming. My eyes were open larger than ever before, I was like a vessel with my arms stretched wide yearning for all that life had to offer.

40 and Fabulous!
My life with God was solid and I finally saw the light.  I understood his power and glory.  I experienced his love and grace as he blessed me with a beautiful, healthy baby girl at 42.  When the doctors said it was impossible, I experienced his miracle after 28 hours in labor!  Kylie Dakota, my new love, my Angel.
Mommy & Pookie

I thought I knew all I had to know by 25, but by 45, I could not believe what the world was still teaching me.  What I still wanted to learn.  What I wanted to teach. My 40’s have been like being in college again.Taking classes on love and acceptance. Meeting new professors like mentors and prayer sisters.  Studying all night on the newest baby formula and sleep training. Cramming and preparing for those big presentations for the next big project. The joy of passing the exam called life. But like college, I feel like my 40’s was just one step to furthering my education. I feel like my 50's will be like grad school or better yet medical or law school! Preparing to enter this new decade in my life has been the most fulfilling and the most purposeful.   

I like who I am, who I am becoming, who I want to be.  I am working more on being a model to others and less on making people happy with superficial things.  I am working on less “things” and more time, love, peace and serenity. So now that I am turning 50 in a few months, it is truly a “New Beginning”.  I am taking time to look back at the first half of my life, reflect, learn and now really live.  I feel like I have more tools, more power, more love and more strength to truly do the things I want in my life.  I don’t care as much about what people think or who I should make happy.

Tammy, Dwight & Kylie
I care more about my family, my life and my purpose on this earth.  What has God called me to do?  Where am I to go? What am I to do?  I openly embrace 50 with wide arms and an open heart and mind.  I am excited about being the very best me I can be, in mind, body and spirit.  I feel like this stop on my journey called life is a critical one.  This is a crossroads, one in which will set the tone for my existence and legacy.

I want to live, love, and learn bigger than I ever have before.  I am eager to get started, so let’s do this thing!  Here I come “Ms. 50” in 15.

Tammy Dickerson

P.S. I want to hear from you! 

Post your testimonials, photos, videos, etc. to Instagram and Twitter using #50in15. Let me know what you are celebrating in your life at 50+. Email me at Follow us @fiftyin15 @TBakerGrp and tag #50in15. Also, visit the #50in15 on Pinterest and Tumblr.