So many of the fabulous women on this blog inspire me through their fearless growth. Today, I catch up with four of these women and ask them what’s new since I featured them four years ago. From launching a podcast about love to developing their crafts, these midlife women are rocking it!
Launching a Podcast About Later-in-Life Love: Treva’s Update
When I was featured back in April 2015, I was still a newlywed and knew absolutely nothing about marriage (P.S. I still don’t, but I’m learning). My husband Robby (also a marriage first-timer) is on the learning curve with me. We’re like two kids starting out, except he’s over 60 and I’m menopausal.
When I got married for the first time at 51, I had never had a relationship last more than two years, nor had I even lived with a boyfriend. I was a total rookie. Partnership, cohabitation, and marriage were all new and weird. Even getting engaged was weird.
I thought there was a story in it, so I turned my first-time midlife wife journey into a blog called The Late Blooming Bride. The blog took off and suddenly I became a go-to midlife dating expert. In the last few years, I’ve done tons of interviews, conferences and summits, podcasts and YouTube shows, and written online articles for other publications. I’ve shared my wisdom alongside some of the biggest relationship thought leaders and personal growth influencers in the world.
Then in December 2017, the VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network called and asked if I’d like to turn my blog into a podcast. I accepted the invitation, but only if my husband Robby could join me. We created Done Being Single, a podcast that covers all aspects of dating, being single, and finding love later in life.
We use our story to inspire, motivate, and help singles become couples, couples become happier partners, and people become better human beings. We use every tool in our toolbox, including test-driven dating advice and guidance, self-improvement tips, personal development hacks, and fodder from our marriage. Everything’s on the table, nothing’s off-limits. We make you think and laugh all at the same time. I like to think of us as dating interventionists.
Our guests have included acclaimed relationship experts, dating coaches, best-selling authors, doctors, therapists, Oprah favorites, and other heavyweights in the personal growth space. I’ve gleaned from these experts (and from my own life), that dating is really just an exercise in self-worth. Once you discover your worth, you can date better, date smarter, and love with confidence.
As the show continues to grow (now over 200K active listeners), so do I. I recently got my life coaching credentials, and I just finished my first book: a self-help memoir called Confessions of a Late Blooming Bride. It’s based on my blog, but it goes much deeper, with never-before-published stories, anecdotes, and life lessons. It’s one-part memoir, one-part operating manual, and one-part how-to survival guide for conquering single life in midlife. At this moment, I’m shopping it around to agents and publishers.
As for my journey as a first-time midlife wife, here’s what I can tell you: Getting together later in life has its challenges, but the joys are greater. It’s true, the older you are, the more you’re set in your ways. Creature of habit, dug in, old habits die hard, everything you heard is true, but not insurmountable.
I have my way, he has his; I have a certain system, he has his. I’m the boss, but I let him think he is. See? I told you I was learning. The key is gracefully meshing it together and staying open to the possibility of growth and change, even at this age. Contrary to popular belief, you can teach an old dog new tricks, but the dog must want to learn.
Here are the joys: I now have a partner, a teammate, and a playdate every day. I have a champion, a supporter, someone who has my back and helps me deal with my aging parents. Thank you, God! Plus, all those relationship experts we’ve had on our show have taught us a lot.
The bottom line is, midlife marriage might have its challenges, but compared to hot flashes and night sweats? It’s a breeze. Oh, to have some breeze right now….
Connect with Treva Brandon Scharf:
Social Media links:
@trevabme is IG and Twitter
@DoneBeingSingle is IG and Twitter
Developing Her Freelance Writing: Sharon’s Update
Since my interview with Helene in 2015, my career and my life have evolved and changed—in lots of good ways! My website is now sharongreenthal.com, which includes much of my blog content from my former site, Empty House Full Mind. After our very successful second BAM (Bloggers At Midlife) conference in Las Vegas, my partners and I realized it was an overwhelming amount of work to put on events like BAM, and decided to amicably go our separate ways. I sold my share of Midlife Boulevard to my former partner, Anne Parris, who has continued to develop as a publisher and affiliate marketer.
I have developed my freelance career, including 2 1/2 years as the Parenting Young Adults Expert on Verywell.com. I have been published on a variety of websites, including Purple Clover and AARP Disrupt Aging. I have worked in the senior adult space, writing about Medicare and senior living facilities for various websites.
I am not working nearly as hard as I was in 2015, and that’s fine with me. I am considering writing a book about empty nesting after founding The Empty Nesters Community on Facebook, which in just two years has grown to 6,200 plus members. I am very proud to have an essay included in the new book Grown & Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults.
My husband and I have moved to our empty nest home near the beach in Southern California, and my two kids—now 27 and 29—are thriving in their careers and lives.
I continue to be connected to the midlife writing community, where I have made wonderful friends and have found great support and camaraderie.
Expanding Her Photo Organizing Business: Rita’s Update
Since I was featured in January of 2016, a lot has happened both personally and professionally. We completed our move to the east coast, both of my kids are in college (on the west coast), and my business partner and I have launched a membership site for photo organizers.
Living on the east coast 3,000 miles away from my family and friends has been challenging. When we moved, I was much more concerned with my daughter’s adjustment to a new high school (as a junior) then I was about myself. However, she adjusted quite well, and I discovered that finding new friends (at fifty) was difficult. It took a while, but I have found a couple gals to play tennis with and continue to meet new people via my photo organizing business, Photovation.
I continue to work with my clients in Portland, Oregon and have had additional success here in Boston. People everywhere take too many photos so my services of helping busy professionals enjoy their precious family photos and share their story is needed worldwide.
2019 has been a big year of change for my business partnership. We did a lot of research and decided it was time to rebrand our photo organizing training site from My Workflow Studio to PPO Studio. Sherra, my business partner, equated it to getting a new hairstyle: “It took a lot of guts to start over but now that it is done, we are feeling kind of sassy”!
What we learned from both our small group trainings and our research, in addition to working with over 350 photo organizers, is that there was a need for a community that focuses on soft skills in business. It is so easy to get distracted with all the hard skills (tech tools, website management, admin work, etc…) that we neglect the basics of connecting and engaging, listening (versus selling), and mastering our language choices so that we can attract and nurture our ideal clients.
And this prompted our launch of PPO Insider. PPO Insider is a membership site for women who are ready for their “second act” or “reinvention” opportunity to be their own boss; passionate women who love organizing photos and want to learn how to make money doing it for others; and entrepreneurial women in the photo industry who know this service would complement other services they offer.
Launching PPO Insider was/is a massive amount of work. We outsourced some of our launch but our heads were buried in work 24/7 for 3 to 4 weeks straight. We got a lot of support from our community of followers and some surprising reactions from others. At the end of the day, our goal is to help women build profitable photo organizing businesses while making a difference. We are just getting started in this industry and we look forward to a future update where we can share that thousands more photo organizers are helping people tell their precious family stories.
Connect with Rita Norton:
at Photovation or email@example.com
If you are looking for photo organizing tips, tune into our podcast: Photos With Sherita
Visit PPO Studio for your free guide on Photo Organizing Business Fundamentals
Working On and Off Stage: Lauren’s Update
Four years ago,,as I wrote in my feature on Next Act for Women, I ran away from home – husband, 83-year-old mom, (grown) children, sister, friends, dogs, car – to go to musical theatre writing grad school at NYU Tisch, and I changed my life. My life wasn’t bad. But I wanted to keep doing what I was doing, which was writing musicals, and I’d hit a wall in Chicago, so I went.
I was in a class of 35 writers. All but two – a guy in his 40s and a guy in his 50s who were already New York based – were the same age as my kids, and most of them self-identified as composer- lyricists who were also musicians and performers. I don’t compose. I’m not a musician. I don’t perform. I’m old. I didn’t feel like I belonged in the room.
My entire first year, running on loop in the back of my mind was: “What the fuck am I doing here?” It was isolating and surreal and exhausting, but there were also these transcendent moments, mostly on my way to or from the subway late at night, like listening to a guy play Mozart on a grand piano under the arch in Washington Square Park, or walking past the Met on a warm September night while an opera was being broadcast on a giant screen on the plaza out front, that filled me with overwhelming joy and gratitude.
By the end of my first year, William Finn (of Falsettos and Spelling Bee fame), who taught a lyric writing seminar, decided I was talented, and I give him credit for virtually every good thing that has happened to me since. I’ve had my work performed at Mr. Finn’s cabaret at Barrington Stage. I’ve been on the stage at Feinstein’s/54 Below – and I hate being on stage. I am working on a commission for the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle and have an upcoming concert at Lincoln Center.
Also, finally, after four years of working hard, I know I belong in the room precisely because everyone else is the same age as my children. I may not be a composer or performer. I may not hold a candle to any of them when it comes to God-given talent. But, because I’ve got three adult kids, and have had a partner for 30+ years, I know stuff they don’t know and bring a necessary and valuable perspective.
I am not famous. I haven’t had a long run of a full-length show. I hope with every fiber of my being that I am headed in that direction, but should it turn out that I’m not, I still consider myself successful. Because I wake up every morning and get to write with Danny Ursetti or Emily Chiu or Jacob Fjeldheim or Carmel Dean, terrifically talented young composers who choose to write with me. I get to be in the room with young people who give their preferred pronouns when they introduce themselves as a matter of course. And I love it.