permission to reinvent ourselves

by Sharon Santoni

path through forest

In a few weeks time this blog will be celebrating it’s sixth year of existence ….. very surprising in so many ways.

I first heard about the world of blogging in November 2009 (yes, I know,  I was a late starter) when a good friend in the States invited me to look at her website.  I was intrigued , then mystified, and then fascinated and finally lured in.  I felt as if the doors had been opened on to some huge and very fun party and if I wanted to,  I was allowed to join in.

When my friend wrote me that email she didn’t know that I was struggling to work out the next step in my life.   My children were growing fast, and from being a hands-on mum for the past twenty years, I could see that I was about to become redundant.

On New Years Eve, at the end of 2009 I raised my glass and pronounced to anyone who was  listening that the year ahead would be the year when I would reinvent myself.  I had no idea where I was heading.

Two months later I published my first blogpost, without having a clue if anyone would ever read me.   To begin with  I fumbled around  finding my voice, but thanks to the generosity  and guidance of my readers I worked out the what I should be talking about here on the blog.

Today My French Country Home is not the biggest blog out there, but it has opened doors for me and I know that I am blessed to have a remarkable bunch of wise and generous readers who stop by to read me and who are always ready to share their own experience

So why am I talking about this now?   Because of course the beginning of a new year is always a time for reflection and resolution.  And because I want 2016 to be the year of renewal and reinvention here at MFCH.  It is a theme that will be recurrent during the year here.

Our mothers’ generation never had the opportunities that we have today.   As women today, we are blessed to have more time, to have the technology, to have the ‘permission’ to take our lives in the direction that we choose … to truly re-invent ourselves.   This doesn’t mean we have to abandon a former life, but it does mean we can dare to become the next version of ourselves, whatever that may be.

On the 23rd January, when this blog blows out its sixth candle, I would like to celebrate by highlighting one of my readers.   I would love to talk about a woman who has reinvented her life in a surprising and inspiring manner, who has dared to step outside her comfort zone and reaped the benefit, who has a story to tell that we all need to hear.

So today, I am inviting you to write to me by email HERE, (not in the comment box!) , and tell me about yourself or your girlfriend or your sister or aunt or grandmother … I would love to portray a woman who has reinvented her life, broken new ground and dared to go the extra mile.

If you email me with a subject for this ‘reinvent your self post’ please be sure to include links and references for me to check the story and read more about the amazing women you are sure to introduce me to.

I am excited about this new year, about a new start and about the way we can share our experiences and inspire each other.  Let the new year begin, let’s open  the next chapter in our lives, may we never be tempted to lean back on to our laurels, but always strive to innovate, progress and strive for our dreams!

path through forest


Deanne January 2, 2016 - 12:48 pm

Thank you, Sharon. I’m in much the same place you were – I’ve been a hands-on, homeschooling mom for 20 years, and I feel redundant. I’ve started a job search, and am dealing with the expected rejection emails, and am at a point where I don’t quite know what to do next.

Your idea of reinvention is what I needed to hear. What’s most uplifting about your message is the fact that it taught me that I need to give myself permission to reinvent – it’s not something that’s going to happen on its own. And as supportive as my family is, they’re moving on with their own lives (which is good) and don’t always “get” the fact that mom is at a crossroads, unsure of what’s next.

Thank you very much. I’ll be working with the notion of reinvention as 2016 unfolds, and looking forward to stories of other women who have done the same. Let’s inspire each other!

MARLA PATTERSON January 2, 2016 - 8:36 pm

Thank you Sharon and Deanne.
Today’s blog post and D’s response feel validating to me. Our children are adults and I still haven’t reinvented myself! I love entertaining, I love traveling to Paris, my mom was French, I’m a former musical comedy actress and coach, I love reading memoirs of travels in France and input on intrinsic French style. I have no idea where these passions take me on a path toward reinvention but I’m enjoying the journey! Loved the Girlfriend book, Sharon, and will keep reading your blog.
I shall continue seeking reinvention through inspiration. Merci.

Lyn January 2, 2016 - 1:07 pm

Thanks, I love reading your blog, I love your photos, your arrangements, your table settings, your garden; they are all always gorgeous. Thanks for the inspiration.

Julie January 2, 2016 - 1:29 pm

Your blog was just what I needed to read, Sharon, so thank you. I am ready to take the plunge and reinvent myself. A few years ago I discovered pastel painting, and have done animal portraits for family and friends. Last year I also discovered digital art, and am amazed at the world that it opens up. So for 2016 I am determined to progress in this media. I am not sure where it will lead me, but thanks to the enthusiasm of said family and friends, it is a journey I am looking forward to! Your blog is inspirational for that reason. You took that all important first step, and that is the hardest step of all, the one we are all nervous of. Congratulations for your sixth anniversary!

Bev January 2, 2016 - 1:46 pm

Hi Sharon:

I second what you and your other readers have commented on. Many of us out here are at that crossroad in life, and I’m one of them. Your blog is a true inspiration, and I look forward to hearing other people’s stories. I did reinvent myself at age 50 by marrying after 26 years of being single, moving to a different part of the country in the states, leaving my fast-paced city life behind and am now living in the country. I worked in healthcare for 26 years and when I moved, I joined my husband in his business in manufacturing, and we now run our own business. I went from high-heels, pantyhose and beautiful clothes to jeans, boots, and getting dirty every day, and I love it. That’s not to say it was without some hurdles along the way, but I have never looked back and have never been happier. It will soon be time to retire in a few years and time to reinvent again. I highly recommend reinvention for anyone who is considering it. It’s so liberating to let go of the old ways and welcome new and different ways of living.

Susan (une femme) January 2, 2016 - 3:26 pm

Wonderful idea, Sharon! I look forward to reading the profile and to seeing where you take MFCH.

Linda Mahkovec January 2, 2016 - 3:43 pm

Dear Sharon –
Your post comes at the just the right time for me. And, reading the other readers’ responses, I find that I am in good company. 2016 will be a time of reinvention for me, too. I’ve made the decision to start publishing under my real name, Linda Mahkovec, and to give up my beloved pen name (Agnes Irene) that allowed me the protective “curtain” to begin my publishing career almost six years ago. Seven books later, I’m at a different point in my career and am eager to fully step into my writing life. A host of technical challenges await: new website, new book covers, new domain names, etc., but I am eager to begin the journey. Thank you for this wonderful, timely post.
Reinvention – a beautiful word!
Cheers to all –
Linda (Agnes Irene)

Colleen Taylor January 2, 2016 - 3:48 pm

Sharon, you must be thrilled and so proud of your reinvention and this blog. My goodness, this has taken you places that I’m certain you wouldn’t even imagine back in 2009. I’m reinventing myself once again & I am seriously considering writing about myself. I can’t promise I will because I do keep a great deal of my life to myself. I am thinking about it, really I am.

Madeline in Texas January 2, 2016 - 3:55 pm

Happy New Year dear Sharon…….
Reading your blog and meeting you has opened up a world for me that otherwise would have been closed. Thank you for being you.

Carol January 2, 2016 - 4:03 pm

At 64, turning 65 this year, I am reevaluating those things, thoughts and life choices I make and have made, and asking myself alot of questions. The answers are not always nice. Sometimes I have no answrs. Still, with pending retirement, some of those big choices are already made.

I have enjoyed reading your blog over these last few years and look forward to the coming year with much anticipation; as I take very real action to reinvent myself and find my place in this sometimes scary world.

Judy January 2, 2016 - 4:17 pm

This is interesting to me because I’m just treading water- trying not to go under- in this the 76 year of my Life. With a Husband with Alzheimer’s-somehow taking care of a granddog-130 lb Rottweiler-our own large Lab-Pit Mix and too much House and too much stuff…..when did I morph from a person who found stuff bothersome to an old Lady who got caught up in buying every “bargain” I could find in all the dusty “Antique Shops” within 50 miles of home? Weird? AnyHoo from this stage( far past all of you) in my little boat rowing down this stream of Life I would say..take a comfortable seat in a quiet place and close your eyes and imagine yourself as an old Lady. Then see how the plans you make today will determine the whole future experiences for that Elderly Lady and see if she is pleased with your/her decisions. I found it to be a very useful experience when I was younger.

Barbara January 2, 2016 - 5:11 pm

I love this – thank you Judy! I’m 58 and pondering a few different directions – like Robert Frost in a yellow wood – not able to take them all – and appreciate your suggestion for imagining myself as an ” old lady”as you say. See how you’re still helping others?

Valorie January 2, 2016 - 5:33 pm

Judy I wanted to lend my support to you! You are doing great! My mother and father are both 82. My mother has Alzheimer’s disease too. I know what it’s like! You are carrying the world on your shoulders and you are doing a great job. Good for you for loving and caring for two wonderful dogs! Dogs are the highlight of my life and considered my children. Little baby steps with tackling the too much stuff always worked well for me. When you need a break and need to dream of France as many of us do, you have this lovely blog. Loving and caring people are not a given in this life, but you are both. I wish you well! Happy New Year! xx

Jackie January 2, 2016 - 11:17 pm

Hi Judy,

I too would like to reply to you. I had a mother with Alzheimers when I was in my teens. She was an older mum. Great fun tall and elegant ( unlike me). It was not too bad then in that she kept copious notes and diaries to assist her. However after some years as a lawyer I noticed it was increasingly difficult for her to manage. I had her in a nursing home and it was horrible. So I gave up my career in a top law firm and worked from home on some work and brought my mum home and cared for her. For the last 5 years of her life she did not speak, but did speak just prior to her death. Clear as a bell and my point is here that we never really know how much they understand. My mum found other ways to communicate. I feel for you and other carers and applaud you. I have another professional life now and my professional training has assisted me greatly. It is all about choices and priorities and I wish you and your family ( including the animals) in this difficult but rewarding journey.

Andi January 4, 2016 - 6:14 pm

What a lovely woman you are and you have inspired me to do just what you suggested. I will find that quiet place and hope my decisions will be pleasing to my older self. Thank you for your wisdom.

Ann January 2, 2016 - 5:09 pm

Ooh, I’m looking forward to reading this exciting new phase of your blog which I already enjoy so much. I don’t see myself radically reinventing myself at 71 but still have adapted over the years to many, many changes. Life zips by and in a blink of an eye you find yourself retired and able to do whatever you want to each day. I still need to make good choices each day.

AFN January 2, 2016 - 5:18 pm

Inspirational. Causes one to stop and reflect. That is what I like about your blog, Sharon.
So many other blogs start out in a direction and drift. You stay on point, in my opinion,
and deal with more important issues, as it grows and changes. At 73, I am still working in retail, like the opportunity to design and work in display and have the energy. I find
the more active I am, the heavier the work load, the better. Sounds simple. I look forward to the energy you bring to your readers and hope it will nudge me into bringing some of my ideas to fruition. As an add on, if you have children, and a close
family relationship, I have found that once your children are established in their 20’s
and 30’s they return in 40’s more open for sharing ideas with you. Keep up the good work Sharon. Can’t wait to see what is next, thank you.

Karena January 2, 2016 - 5:24 pm

Dear Sharon, Always an inspiration to me!! You may have already heard that in addition to my writing and blogging I am now a Style Ambassador with India Hicks. What an amazing adventure!! Here is my link and it is never too late to Live an Extraordinary Life!!

Happy New Year and All the Best in 2016

LA CONTESSA January 2, 2016 - 5:48 pm

WONDERFUL…………JUST WONDERFUL………….I’m still trying to come up with a plan!
MAYBE reading about the person YOU pick will HELP ME!!!
Fingers crossed.
My 90 year old Mother fell on the 31st about 11:30 pm and now she is in the hospital…….
I think the next step will be a convalescent hospital which I am dreading!Because she will HATE IT………..her CAT will not be allowed.WHAT TO DO……………..
THATS how my year has started……..and Today is the ITALIAN’s BIRTHDAY!I have 12 for dinner tonight.I have to tell you I bought TEA lights and used them on the 30th for another dinner party and it was MAGICAL!YOU inspired me with just that bit from your table setting!!!!!IT MADE MY NIGHT…………….XX

Gayle Callahan January 2, 2016 - 6:00 pm

At 80 years of age I still think and dream about ” What If”. I have some done traveling but never made it to France but thru your blog I feel as if I have been a part of France and visited many parts of the country and met some of the wonderful French women. One of the things I enjoy most of your blog are the wonderful pictures that you share with me. I now have a daughter that is planning in the future to spend a year living in France. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could spend a few weeks there ? Its on my bucket list!

Renee January 2, 2016 - 6:23 pm

Gayle, GO!!! So many small towns in France are so beautiful that I just sit in an outdoor cafe sipping coffee or having a drink admiring the scenery.

I’ve done 3 trips to France in the last three years, each time a different area, each area special. I love it! And reading Sharon’s blog and seeing her photographs just inspires me to dream about seeing and experiencing more.

I regret that my mom is too old and too fragile to make the trips with me. I wish that I had done this thirty years ago.

Libby Wilkie January 4, 2016 - 1:51 am

Gayle: I have two friends who, in their 50’s, upped and moved to France and have been there for years! But, if you want to be in touch with other women, let me know and I can give you their names. They are out there, for sure!

Karen January 2, 2016 - 7:15 pm

2016 will indeed be a year of reinvention as I contemplate bridging the old world with the new. My grandmother was born in a small farming community in Sweden in 1889. As a young woman, she left her home, family and friends to come to the United States. She married and had several children, two of whom died in infancy. Just before the Great Depression her husband and the love of her life passed away. Alone, away from family and close friends, she raised two children through the depression working in a bakery. I admire my grandmother for her adventurous spirit and how she reinvented herself coming alone to this country and making a life for herself. You are so very correct in stating that our mothers (and grandmothers) did not have the opportunities and resources that we do. Despite the challenges she faced she maintained that adventurous spirit, a positive attitude and was always of good cheer. She visited her homeland only once 60 years ago and died at the age of 92 in 1981. Click forward 60 years later, I visited my cousins for the first time where they live in the small beautiful town where my grandmother grew up. My grandmother’s journey to the United States has gone full circle as I have deepened my relationships with my only remaining family members in Sweden. Contemplating my personal journey to licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I look forward to adventures in my new “homeland” of Sweden, where my roots lie. It is a journey that is both healing and revealing. And I know my grandmother would be pleased. She paved the way.

Suzana Rose Borlovan January 2, 2016 - 7:24 pm

What an exciting year 2016 will be for us your readers. Thank you Sharon. xxx

Our French Oasis January 2, 2016 - 7:45 pm

It is really hard to step outside of our own personal comfort zones. I frequently berate myself for playing it safe, even though it’s so much easier. But we are a fortunate generation, we can do pretty much whatever we want, we just have to take that first step as you did. I have to thank my husband and my children for helping, every baby step I take with the blog they are right behind me, encouraging and supporting, and that gives me the courage to continue. I plan to be really courageous this year and I fully intend to go way out of my comfort zone for I know that once I get there I will be so grateful I did so. We only live once and we have to try and seize any opportunity we can, or at least that’s what I tell myself every day! Your blog is inspirational thank you and a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2016 to you x

Judith January 2, 2016 - 9:12 pm

La Contessa, I know how you feel, but you may be surprised. When my Mom was 94 she had to have surgery, then on to a skilled nursing facility. I thought, OMG, I’ll never stop hearing about this. But, she did fine, I think she felt safe. She could take her time recuperating and with help. The staff was very loving and she adored the male physical therapist. You can sneak the cat in for visits. People also brought in dogs, sat them on the patients’ laps for petting. It might just be okay, I hope so. Let us know.

Eniko January 2, 2016 - 10:17 pm

Dear Sharon
2016 sees me starting a new life in a new country… I left the country of my birth, May, last year after 50s something years and moved to the country of my ancestors, where both my parents were born. I am Hungarian, and I was born in South Africa after my parents fled Hungary in the Uprising of ’56. I had for nearly 10 years wanted to leave for many reasons, but primarily because I yearned very much to return to my roots, to Europe. My late mother was still alive, and after she developed dementia and thereafter Alzheimer’s I was unwilling to leave. When she passed, I had a lot of research to do in order to bring her home to Budapest, and I finally managed to do so in September 2014. When I said good bye to her , prior to my return to Africa, something mysterious and magical happened to me, and I realized in my heart I did not want to leave. If I did, it would be to put plans in motion to return permanently. I got on that plane and upon my arrival phoned the estate agent, and put my townhouse on the market. I had no idea what to do really, but I knew that I had to start there, see if the Universe supported me. I have always lived by the maxim that the Universe supports action not thought. I knew I was in this alone, it was about me and my future life. Every day thereafter was a challenge and led to another decision I had to make for me. Somehow I knew this was my chance, and I needed to not hesitate. That that was it. I had a myriad of firsts, and once I made the decision in the plane thousands of feet in the air, in hindsight looking back now, it was not so hard, ha ha . . . I managed it all, taking it one step at a time – selling my house, moving out and placing my belongings in storage ready to be shipped, I had worked in Finance and March was my last year-end, and in April I resigned after 15 years,, and on 4 May my four legged companion, a Westie girl called, Skye, and I left on that jet plane Out of Africa for good. We landed in Budapest on 6 May, and the rest is history. As I write now, I am amazed at our path, frankly, I will always be amazed, it was miraculous, a truly brave thing, an adventure of note, I replanted myself, I had no idea what to expect and how to handle matters once I arrived, with limited resources to boot . . . I just knew in my heart, it will work out, all will be good and fine, I will do it… and I did. Over December, which is my birth month, I reminisced and took stock of the previous seven months leading up to the now in my life. All I have with Skye. I enjoyed my first European summer, autumn and start of winter, and I gave thanks to ALL my blessings on Thanksgiving, and over the cold December days leading up to Christmas and New Year …. Support has come in many disguises, in unexpected times and ways, and I shall always be keenly aware of the mystery of my journey leading me to live in beautiful Budapest, the Paris of the East. All that I managed to achieve, singularly, for me, and for my dog child, for our happiness, and for our future life. I am in Budapest where my parents were born and rest now. I celebrated my first birthday here, and turned another year older, and I am surviving my first European winter. I found work, and I have a petit pied-a-terre that I managed to buy near a beautiful park, and where Skye and I can walk along the Danube near the beautiful Margaret Island. We feel safe and we feel free, we are happier than we have ever been. I also think we will stay forever young. I speak more and more Hungarian every day, and merci le Dieu I have not totally forgotten my mother tongue, and I can continue with my love of all things French too. Ma douce France is now very near; we are sleeping under the same full moon and stars. My French friends who cheered me on await us, and I so look forward in seeing them this year when I go to Paris with Skye. Imagine! Another adventure. Budapest is pet friendly but Paris, oh my! I am convinced my mother was instrumental in bringing me here, because I brought her home too. I feel younger and more content than I have ever been, and I know I am still not at my journey’s end. I will keep on re-inventing myself, the act of … kept me going for many years, during which time I chiselled and chipped away at me and who I am and want to be and where I see myself. I thank you, and your lovely Blog, which I have been reading and enjoying for a while now. Truth be told, after all is said and done, I think the most important is how much we listen to our inner voice, and how much we want change, that je ne sais quoi, which we recognise when it occurs, because I did not really envisage all of this so clearly in the beginning, all I know… I am in Europe, it is so right for now, and I am good, it is wonderful to be here, and I did it. I am my mother’s child, she left Bp for an adventure too, which took that major courage and resolve. I learned if I want something badly enough, I need to move from my comfort zone, and DO!, make the sacrifices, to achieve, realize and live my dream. I will keep on, bless you and your gorgeous Blog, and have a wonderful year, too.
Eniko Del Greco

Heather in Arles January 3, 2016 - 11:40 am

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story, Eniko. I was very moved and inspired by it! And yes, I understand about your literally feeling younger – as I see it in my Mom. Unfortunately, she had no choice but to reinvent her life entirely after my Dad’s passing after 43 years of marriage. And she did! She also listened to her instincts and left beautiful California for the snowy winters of Michigan to be near my Sister. Things fell quickly into place and life had a wonderful surprise for her in that several years later she met a fantastic man and now they are happily married. Not too long ago, I came across some older photos of her and I see so clearly that she looks ten years now than she did then!

Wishing my Best to you as you continue to move forward with Skye and raising my mug of tea your way from Provence!!

Sharon, well, I think that I don’t need to say that this theme for the blog has a struck a chord now do I? 😉 But that is what you do so well, so seamlessly, all while being completely true to you. I can’t wait to see what adventures you will take us on. Happy New Year!!
Et Gros Bisous,

judy January 2, 2016 - 10:28 pm

This is a riveting description of logical thinking and wonderful results. I salute you and visualize a standing Ovation and hurrahs from Midlothian Virginia.

Sandra January 3, 2016 - 12:39 am

Oh do I support your comment 100%. From a Va. Beach, transplant to WV.

More from me later.

Lorrie January 3, 2016 - 12:36 am

Reinventing oneself – ah, yes. It has to do with finding purpose in life, doesn’t it? I’ve had to do the same when we moved back to Canada from Ecuador and my children grew up. Nothing dramatic or noteworthy, other than a degree in French in my 50s. I live in the same house, with the same husband, and have the same children (not living with me), and 3 new grandchildren. But I’m different, more intentional about life. Your blog is one of my very favorites!

I’m looking forward to reading about other women who have reinvented themselves.

Alison Fenske January 3, 2016 - 12:51 am

Eniko…..I am in awe. I will think of your courage with all of the baby steps that I take in the future.


Emm January 3, 2016 - 1:19 am

What a wonderful post.

I am still mumbling along, trying to figure out the next step — and am simply staggered by the strength and bravery in the comments others have posted. Wowser. We are women, hear us roar.

Eniko, La Contessa, Karen, everyone, thank you. And thank you especially to Sharon for this forum and such a beautiful blog.

Katherine January 3, 2016 - 2:06 am

Sharon, I’m looking forward to reading this feature. People who reinvent themselves are dreamers with the courage to take a different step.

…. and read the line – email me HERE.

Peta Morgan January 3, 2016 - 5:23 am

Wow….the comments I have read are so inspirational….I have just retired as a deputy principal in a small country school in Western Australia with quite challenging students…..however, at the age of 66, I have called it my Renaissance (rebirth) rather than my retirement….at the moment, I am slightly over whelmed, no, incredibly overwhelmed as to where to start this time of my life but I am working on it!!!

Marian from England January 4, 2016 - 10:26 am

Peta – I understand the overwhelmed feeling! Our ‘formal’ stuctured life ends and – what? Well, my thoughts to you are, take it slowly. Enjoy and absorb your days and your surroundings for a while. Breathe. Then slowly things will start happening, or falling into place – a new friend here, a new skill there perhaps. A book that sparks an idea, a blog….. I too at 65 am trying to work out my way forward and I’ve had to say to myself, in the face of wonderful people like Sharon, that my journey doesn’t have to be as ‘big’. It may turn out that way, but it may just be something that fulfils me but doesn’t change the world – and that’s ok. Enjoy your Ranaissance but don’t rush it. As the saying goes -“What is this life, if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”. Best wishes from England!

Peta January 3, 2016 - 6:49 am

Also very happy to further inspired!!!

Marilyn January 3, 2016 - 10:20 am

Another one just rumbling along with no idea where to go. At nearly 69 with an 83 year old husband who has Parkinson’s Disease the future at times looks pretty dismal but then I think of those much worse off than us. PD is a peculiar condition as we have to take each day as it comes. Some days are good, some are anything but. Also I cannot be sure what has gone on in the past as OH handles our finances and as our consultant told me ‘Don’t be surprised at what may come crawling out of the woodwork as PD sufferers can be very secretive’ and he didn’t mean it in a good way!! But life goes on and I fully intend this year to shake myself up and try not to worry about things until they happen. Your blog brightens my week and being a Francophile I love reading about your life and feel I have made new friends. Reading back on this post it sounds one long moan and for that I apologise. I really do need to reinvent myself. Onward and hopefully upward. I look forward to being inspired.

Marian from England January 4, 2016 - 10:35 am

Marilyn, I feel for you. In my work as a Foot Health Practitioner I came across many patients with Parkinsons and saw the effect it can have not only on the person suffering but the spouse and family too. You are doing your best, it’s all any of us can do – ‘you can only do what you can do and no more’. We all are given a life, one life, and it’s never a straight and smooth road, but one thing I know, we absolutely have to make the most of it in whatever way we can. Never feel guilty. Make time for you and maybe start making plans for your life now and for the future. Nothing stays the same. There is a saying – This too shall pass – which is so true. You could perhaps write down your feelings in a book as things happen on a daily basis – it can help to remove them from your shoulders and put them in a safe place. They may also be helpful in the future for someone else – a small book or article, you never know. But you are not a moaner, you are a human being. It’s sad for your husband, but you still deserve your life as well. Enjoy it as you can, it WILL get better. Love and good wishes from England.

Marilyn January 6, 2016 - 2:37 pm

Thank you, Marian. Sometime if feels as if I need permission to have my own life. But this year I intend to make more time for me. My husband doesn’t stop me doing things on my own and at present is still very mobile and some days no-one would know he had a problem except for the ever present tremor. It is the permanent nag of what might be lurking in the background especially as it may be financial. I know I should insist that he tells me but he won’t so heyho what will be will be. I like the idea of writing things down and will give that some thought.
I had a little giggle at the ‘from England’ as that is where I live as well. So from England to England many thanks.

Darina January 3, 2016 - 11:09 am

I love your blog and the inspiration what I get. Thank you for that! Looking forward to your posts!

Sharon Santoni January 3, 2016 - 7:23 pm

Oh boy! You ladies are truly amazing! Please excuse me for not replying to each comment because I am travelling right now, with only occasional access to the net.
Thank you for being such wonderful and generous readers of this blog, I am proud to be seen in your company 🙂


Stacy January 4, 2016 - 12:00 am

Reinvention! Yes! So nice to knoow that someone is thinking along the same wavelength as myself. For me it is natural progression as we move along the journey we call life to reevaluate, redesign, renew and refresh our goals and perogatives. For me I went from juggling the high profile world of a marketing executive in the motion picture industry with motherhood to a calling in the culinary arts world. I found that I was just as excited about executing the perfet souffle and pairing it with the perfect wine as the premiere of a new movie. My vacations invariaby include trips to vineyards and wineries, as well as farmers markets and gourmet shops. Always discovering, expoloring and then teaching and demonstrating to other like minded individuals. Has opened a new and exciting world for me at this stage of my life and brought my husband and I closer together as we embark on these new adventures together. My job as a cooking show hostess will continue this year and a book, a food column and a local tv show are all being considered and it is so good to go into a new year with hope, excitement and all the butterflies in my stomach of an anxious schoolgirl. To be at the beginning again of a new leg of the journey. The best is yet to come.

Lorraine January 4, 2016 - 1:30 am

Amazing what you just stirred up …..Love reading all of this ….now I sit and ponder at it all….
thank you lorraine

Libby Wilkie January 4, 2016 - 2:01 am

This has certainly made so many of us sit up and think, and reconsider, and then comment! What has really amazed me, in reading through almost all the comments, is the age of so many of your readers. I am just loving seeing so many women in their 70’s and 80’s who are responding. Very refreshing.

JUDY January 4, 2016 - 3:02 am

You deserve to be so proud of yourself,you have a painful burden to bear and you are obviously bearing it with grace ,tenacity and perseverance. My Husband has Alzheimers and the hardest thing about it is giving the same answer or explanation for the zillionth time and saying it patiently and with all the Love you have for that guy that used to be.

I think dealing with these maladies with a loved one is like the guy that accidentally falls off a skyscraper and is asked by a man he passes “how’s it going”? and the falling man replies…Oh pretty good…so far.. That’s my Life ignore the coming” Splat” and just enjoy the now. The now isn’t perfect but it’s pretty good …so far.

Marilyn January 4, 2016 - 9:53 am

Judy. I must remember to ignore the coming splat. Hard at times but a timely reminder to live for the day.

Marian from England January 4, 2016 - 10:47 am

Wow! Sharon, you lit the touch paper! I just had to reply to two of the ladies, but each comment makes me proud to be a woman in this day and age. You are right, we are so lucky to have choices. After all, that’s what it’s all about, choice. I was made redundant after 13 years with the same company and at the age of 54. I was so worried, as I knew I’d never earn what I had been earning again. But serendipity/fate/chance/the universe, something, helped me and I discovered a college where I could re train to become a Foot Health Practitioner. It meant studying anatomy & physiology (gulp!) and a residential course to work in a clinic, but finally I qualified and for the next 7 years I had my own private practice and helped people, many elderly, care for their feet. Upon retirement last year, I was overwhelmed at the reactions of my patients, their kindness and generosity and how much they said they will miss me. Now, at 65, I need to start a new chapter and your lovely blog has inspired me and given me pleasure for the last few year. This year is the end of the ‘must do’s’ I’ve had to do in our new home and time to start doing the ‘want to’s’! One of them is a visit this year to Giverny, a long held wish! Congratulations Sharon on your success and here’s wishing you a bright, happy, healthy & sucessful 2016 and I look forward to reading you blog and seeing what fun and inspiration it brings.

Iris January 4, 2016 - 11:05 pm

Reinventing oneself whether through necessity or desire to do so can be both exiting and terrifying at the same time. Speaking from experience sit back and embrace the ride. We are never too old to learn and experience new things.

Marilyn January 4, 2016 - 11:06 pm

Congratulations on your blogging adventure and reinvention~

Sue McCarney January 5, 2016 - 11:10 pm

Well Sharon I feel like I have just been reading a beautifully written novel as I sit eating my breakfast!! What a wonderfully inspiring, moving and intelligent conversation you have started with your post!!
To all of you wonderful women who have commented so far, congratulations on where your journeys have taken you to this point, or where they will take you in your mimagination for another future.
As I contemplate my year ahead, I know there are so many changes to come, but I will embrace them all as I always have….trusting in the universe, and all that it brings.
Sharon, may your year bring you everything you hope for. Thankyou for opening your beautiful French door to us all, welcoming us all in, and with that, giving us all an opportunity to get acquainted, to know ourselves a little better, and best of all, realise we are not alone in this journey we call life. X

Pamela January 9, 2016 - 3:17 am

Your post was very good and has made me really consider my direction and at the moment I still in school and working part time., and until school is over I’m not sure which direction I’m going so far I will have a AA in graphic design and I should have that by end of summer. And I’m 57 and I’m not sure where that will take me. But I have read most of all the post and they are all so encouraging.

Patricia Wilson January 11, 2016 - 4:10 am

What a sheer delight reading all of these responses to your latest post, Sharon. I found I couldn’t stop until I’d read every last one. Trials, tribulations, and fear abound, but most of all there is the feeling of hope and success for the future in “New Beginnings,” no matter the age of the woman responding. I, myself, am 71, happily retired because I now have the time to focus on those things in my life that had been, heretofore, just avocations of mine. Now I find myself able to make a choice as to which one, or many, paths to follow. Nothing holding me back now except me, if I don’t take advantage of the blessing with which I’ve been bestowed. Whether I succeed in the manner I imagine, the journey will be more than worth the price of admission…just doing, finally, what I love, which makes me happy everyday.


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