Judy - 51
"I decided to participate in this project because it seemed fun and interesting to show who you are, as you are. It’s very empowering to be a woman over 50. I am so thankful for where I am today.
My favorite thing about myself is how far I’ve come in the last three years. I spent 23 years in a very unhealthy marriage. I was extremely overweight. I just kept getting bigger during my marriage. I did everything for everyone else and tried to avoid conflict with my husband. When my daughter got married, I had to special order a dress to fit. I thought I looked good in it, but when I saw the pictures, I realized I had to do something about my weight.
I had weight loss surgery followed later by skin removal surgery. I have my scars major ones on my arms where I had sugery , but I'm fine with them, they remind me where I came from and how fast I've come. Once I started losing weight, people - including my husband - started to treat me differently. Things were going well for us, but an event finally opened my eyes and I realized I had to get out of my marriage.
On the day of my divorce, I joined the gym and started working out. My past experience with exercise was in middle school – running and crying while the coach yelled at me because I wasn’t running fast enough. This time, though, I became obsessed with working out. When the pandemic started the gym closed, but I kept working out all of the time at home. The pandemic was hard for a lot of people, but I enjoyed that time being able to be at home, on my own, reflecting, and healing. When everything opened back up, I kept working out and started running. On my 1 year surgiversary I ran my first 5K. My mom walked it with me and won for her age group.
I have a word for every year. For 2020, it was “peace”. For 2021, “believe”, and for 2022 it’s “thrive”. I found peace. I believed I could accomplish all these things and I did. Now I want to just continue to improve and thrive. I’ve always wanted to travel so I decided to just do it on my own. I joined a Facebook group for solo women travelers. I went to Yellow Stone and hiked many miles. I went to Yosemite and did a 12 mile straight up hike. I went to California and drove the Big Sur. I spent a lot of nights sleeping in my car. My family and friends follow me on Facebook where I share my adventures. I've been told I inspire them to start exercising, or start running, or travel by themselves, or go for a hike. That’s why I wanted to become a personal trainer – to help people my age step out of their comfort zone.
I became a personal trainer, certified nutrition coach, and registered yoga teacher. I started running 5ks. Also, I started my own business Good JuJu Yoga & Fitness – JuJu is my grandma name. I also moved up into administration after teaching for 25 years. I travel solo and hike great hikes! I still have a lot of work to do to meet my goals, but I’m happy with where I am. My passions are completely different than they were 3-4 years ago. I’ll take being in my 50's a hundred times over where I was in 40s or even my 30s. I love my life now. I’m proud of where I am.
If I could give advice to my younger self, it would be to believe in yourself, set goals, and work to meet them, whether they are big or small."