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It is never too late to do it different, even extraordinary

How old do you feel?

Yesterday I talked to a Russian client who is now living in Norway, via video chat. At the end of the conversation, she suddenly burst into tears. “What should I do next? I am almost done. I'm already an old woman, I feel like a grandmother!”

“What? You are only 52 years old!” I exclaimed, looking at her lovely face. “You look good; your son is only 12 years old. How can you even think of yourself that way?”

There is such a strong, unofficial public opinion in Russia that a woman after 45, and especially older than 50, is considered to be elderly. It is very difficult for them to find a new job, to go on dates, to be fit, even to try educating themselves in a new interest. Most do not even know where to begin, and many quietly give up.

“It's time to cook borscht and babysit with your grandchildren,” is the consensus of society. I was surprised that having lived in another country for 15 years, Natalya still retained the same mentality that has prevailed in Russia for centuries.

I believe I have to keep my soul young. If I think I am young, I will try to keep my body in good shape. I tell myself to never consider, not even for a moment, that my time has already passed.

I refuse to believe it's too late to do something extraordinary, or to start a new and exciting adventure. I don't want to live in memories and past victories, I want to have new ones.

My attitude is that it is never too late to go somewhere you have dreamt of, to start a new business, to learn to play an instrument, take a new course, paint a picture, write a book or learn how to fly a drone.

My brother-in-law, Rob, just started a beginners' sailing programme at age 67!

I remembered a funny incident related to my age. When I applied for work on a cruise ship in the on-board art gallery, I filled out various forms with my personal information and went through several face-to-face video interviews.

I was accepted to the position, and the HR department sent me my work documents for signature. I looked at the paper and could not believe my eyes!

They had printed the year of my birth as 1985, not 1965! They were convinced that I was 20 years younger! “I'll take it!” I laughed.

At first, I could not understand why they made this mistake, and then it dawned on me. The numbers 6 and 8 could look very similar when handwritten.

The HR people didn't even consider that at age 47, I would be applying for this job. Since the work on a ship is very demanding and there are no days off during the six straight months at sea, it takes a lot of energy. The employees are all young people.

As for myself, I didn't think that it was too late for me to apply, or that I couldn't do the job; I only dreamt of changing my life. I was the oldest person working on the cruise ship — even older than the captain — but perhaps the happiest one because I was sailing to new and incredible opportunities.

I imagine my age as a mile marker on an exciting road. I look back and recall how much has passed, but I face forward to a horizon shimmering with possibilities.

The journey has been full of surprises. There were many abrupt turns and fascinating detours. I consider the experience I gained my personal treasure, and the special people I met as jewels in my collection. I now look forward with joy and hope. I do not know what is waiting for me, but I know the road I choose will depend only on me.

Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com

Nina London's life has been a journey full of surprises (Photograph by Nina London)

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Published November 08, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated November 08, 2018 at 7:33 am)

It is never too late to do it different, even extraordinary

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