You have recently published Target Funding: A Proven System to Get the Money and Resources You Need to Start or Grow Your Business. What need were you seeing in the marketplace that prompted you to write this book?
There were three needs I was seeing that prompted the book.
The first need was to target the necessary funds (including grants) and resources to a particular situation, product, service, or business model. For example, targeting funds and resources to a women-owned business in Boise, Idaho that has a social media platform geared at stay-at-home moms is quite different than targeting funds and resources to a women-owned technology start-up in NYC that is focused on a gaming platform geared at improving communication for children with Autism.
You have spent over a decade supporting caregivers and elders through your writing. How did you come to find this purpose?
I spent nearly twenty years caring for a total of seven elders. This was during a time when family caregivers were hardly acknowledged at all and there was little support. In the last of my elder care years, I felt the need to write about my experiences and that of other caregivers I had met during my 15 years of daily visits to a local nursing home, where various loved ones had gradually moved.
You are a Dietitian and Diabetes Educator with a focus on Mindful Eating. What drew you to the intersection of mindfulness and diabetes?
Prior to meditating on a consistent basis, I worked as a diabetes educator. I think most people imagine having diabetes means that they can't eat certain foods or that they must radically change everything about their life. These thoughts are fueled by society and companies selling products targeting people with diabetes, but it's not true. Having diabetes is a condition that requires you to listen to your body and to learn how to balance what you want to eat and need to eat. Mindfulness can help a person hear the story of “can and can't” and let it go, providing a healing experience that you deeply crave.
You teach at Boston College School of Social Work and do research with the Center on Aging & Work. What fueled your passion for engagement as we age?
There was a confluence of experiences that led to my interest in engagement in later life, but my personal experience played a large role. I remember being home from college the summer after my grandfather had died. I would come to visit my grandmother on my lunch break at least once a week. Being without my grandfather, who was a large source of her daily social engagement and sense of identity, it was as if she had given her body permission to give out, and I watched as she became increasingly sedentary and insular, month by month. Less than a year later she passed herself. There had to be a better way!
After 35 years in the healthcare industry, Maren decided it was time for her to quit the rat race and reinvent in some way. She eventually pursued her passion for writing, has recently published her first novel, and is hard at work on her second.
After 25 years as a psychotherapist, you recently founded the nonprofit Before I Go Solutions. What prompted this decision?
After my husband died of cancer in 2011, and everything changed, I always knew I would write about what had been the most devastating experience in my life yet. I had been a blogger as a small business coach and writing was a way of processing things for myself. Sure enough, about 2 1/2 years later, I literally woke up one morning knowing now was the time to start writing a book about our last year together, the first year of grieving, and what happened thereafter.