WHOLEHEARTED LIVING - CULTIVATING NEW DIRECTIONS

How lockdown brought about a change of career, a new book, and a new direction.

INTRO

Today on the blog I have a guest who many of you won't have met previously. Angelique from Hags with Attitude, contacted me after finding me through Pinterest (I do love to Pin!) She has recently had a new book published and has a really interesting story about lockdown igniting her creative side again and sending her on a new path to help other Midlife women with their wardrobes and with adjusting to this new phase of life.

So without further chatter from me, here is Angelique to tell you about her journey...

MY LOCKDOWN STORY

We all have our own lockdown story to tell with both its positive aspects as well as a fair share of challenges as companions during the last year. As an eternal optimist I was determined to make the most of what it had to offer. So, I decided to write a book and reinvent myself in the process.

WHAT WENT BEFORE

Over the years my career has meandered through valleys, over hills, lush terrains and scorching deserts. It has included climbing the corporate ladder, executive coaching, life as an academic and researcher and many other things in between.

However, I have always had a passion for fashion, clothes and colour. My father didn’t consider any artistic endeavours as an appropriate career option and pushed me towards a more academic route. I managed to pursue my dream later on and studied fashion designing in my early 20s.

I was a square peg in a round hole in the corporate jungle. My saving grace was a further love of supporting others to be the best version of themselves. This has been a thread throughout my career and probably led to my life in academia and coaching.

HOW LOCKDOWN CHANGED THINGS

During lockdown, I decided to share my ideas and experiences as part of my own ageing journey by writing a philosophy for ageing in a book which was published by Austin Macauley a few weeks ago. Furthermore, I decided I might as well go the whole hog and at the start of lockdown I put into practice what I preached in my book and once again returned to my first love, namely fashion and colour.

I now work with older women drawing on my skills as coach, fashion designer and stylist. I support them in designing a wardrobe that is relevant to them, their lifestyle and identity at this stage of their lives.

fabric colour chart

Not only do we lose colour in our skin tone and hair as we age, but we often lose confidence. Drawing on my passion to help others be the best version of themselves, I endeavour to support older women in reclaiming their lost confidence and rediscovering their identity by creating a wardrobe that provides them with the visual means to express and communicate who they are.

The lockdown has offered another gift in the form of technology as I am able to work with women around the world virtually through Zoom, providing added benefits not possible face-to-face.

H.A.G.S.

Both my book and my styling business has H.A.G.S. with Attitude as its title. This is very deliberate. The book challenges the anti-aging rhetoric and attitude that seeps into every aspect of life, especially the beauty industry. The name is also a challenge to us all not to take ourselves too seriously and maintain a sense of humour.

H.A.G.S. with attitude book

Hags are powerful characters, often dominating fairy tales and fantasies, feared for their magical abilities. It reflects the many stories we and society tell ourselves about our identities, as older women. Finally, it is also a mnemonic that captures the key themes of the book, namely Healthy living, Attitude, Get up and go and Social connections.

The question my book explores is how we break the negative power of the spells these fantasies cast over our lives after we reach the magical age of 50. They are woven into the fabric of our cultures and have come to represent a truth that shapes our beliefs and behaviours. Instead, I encourage women to replace these stories with ones that give them the permission and encouragement to live life to the full as older women.

Furthermore, I wanted to restore the true meaning of hags and crones. In ancient times hags were the holy ones and crones the crowned ones. These women were the sages of their communities with knowledge of herbal remedies and often consulted for their wisdom.

EMBRACING THE SECOND HALF OF LIFE

The book provides a set of guiding principles to encourage women to be bold and embrace this new phase of life with vigour and without apology. As a significant and influential group of women around the globe the world needs our wisdom and voices of reason more than ever before.

making bold fashion choices in midlife

Nurturing and putting the needs of others before our own is ingrained in our psyche. Women often lose a sense of themselves once their nurturing responsibilities are no longer required. The question that then arises is who am I and what is my purpose?

We all have secret passions and interests that have been stowed away for many years. They have probably not featured in our lives for a very long time, often all of our adult years. Now is the time to reclaim long lost dreams and pursue adventures, small or large, that we have put on the back burner for most of our adult lives.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

This is what I did during the lockdown and it is not easy and will no doubt take time to build momentum. However, I know I am on the right track and it is all about enjoying the journey rather than the destination. Hopefully you feel equally inspired to once again get acquainted with your lost dreams and aspirations.

RELATED POSTS

Meet Angelique

Blog: H.A.G.S. with Attitude
H.A.G.S. with Attitude: A philosophy for ageing, available from:
Amazon UK
Amazon USA
Amazon Australia

How lockdown brought about a change of career, a new book, and a new direction.

How lockdown brought about a change of career, a new book, and a new direction.
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Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive

37 comments

  1. This is a great project to have Angelique! Thanks for the post Leanne, I'm off to explore HAGS with Attitude - I could just be one of them! Have pinned :)

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    1. It's certainly a great concept isn't it Deb? I think a bit of colour and flair is something we can carry off with a flourish!

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  2. Wow! What a way to cope with lockdown - write a book and reinvent yourself. I love it! How bold! Embracing the changes that occur as we move through the second half of life is my philosophy too. I don't want to be a granny sitting in a rocking chair watching life passing me by. I am going to check out the blog. Thanks for introducing us, to Angelique, Leanne.

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    1. She inspired me too Laurie - so many changes and all of them bringing her closer to who she really is and what she loves to do. I love how people have used that period of lockdown to reinvent themselves and to pick and choose what they want in their lives.

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    2. I think it is only in hindsight that we look back and think, did I do that?! Maybe it is best that way otherwise we may feel paralysed by what needs to be done to achieve it. My late brother always said "one step at a time". Wise words!

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  3. I love your story Angelique and for me my COVID story was finally gaining my Group Fitness Instructor Certificate at 63. I had been told I was too old but that didn't stop me and neither did lockdown. I did my last few assignments via Zoom classes. I'd love to chat to you on my podcast Women Living Well After 50 and share your story.

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    1. Hi Sue - yes, you were another great example of not letting a pandemic put you off your goals. Angelique would be a great guest for your podcast so I hope she agrees and dives in x

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  4. Well done Sue! You certainly embody my mantra of attitude and despite the assumptions associated with your age, you proved them wrong. I would love to chat with you on your podcast and very much look forward to it. It's great to meet likeminded women in different parts of the world. It makes you realise there are others who feel exactly the way we do.

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  5. I love a good acronym! I've always struggled with the terms for older women - crone being a key one for me. It's wonderful to see you embracing one. Congrats on getting your book published! I personally know the challenges in writing and publishing. And yes, finding a new "style" post working has been an ongoing work-in-progress for me. There's the on-going tension between "ohh that looks so nice" on someone else and the reality of what I reach for everyday that feels comfortable!

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    1. Hi Pat - I've wondered why so many female terms leave so much to be desired - hag, crone, spinster, haridan etc. There are much nicer terms for men in the same age range. And yes, your retirement transition and many others like Angelique's inspire me to make the most of this next phase of life. Acceptance and contentment are my biggest goals atm.

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    2. Hi Pat
      Thank you for your kind thoughts and as Leanne also points out, the terms associated with older women are often challenging and emotive. I dedicate a chapter to fairytales and the power of stories to address some of the terms associated with older women. I also attempt to put the record straight in terms of their ancient meaning. For example crowns are the crowned ones and hags, the holy ones. In ancient times older women were often the healers and wise ones of their communities. As older women we continue to have wisdom and healing to offer our communities.

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  6. Hi Angelique, it is nice to meet you here on Leanne's blog. It seems your pandemic months were well spent and I will be checking out your blog later today. I am a basic black, navy, sometimes jewel tones kind of gal, with absolutely NO STYLE so yes, I can benefit from your expertise! I love your cover photo and have a feeling it perfectly reflects your personality.

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    1. Hi Suzanne - I love women who make bolder fashion choices as they get older. I'm still waiting to be able to wear red without red "wearing me"! Reading about others who have fashion and style confidence is always motivating and gives me a little push in the right direction.

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    2. Hi Suzanne
      How lovely to hear from you and the secret is to find your own style and colours that suit you and then wear it without apology. I hope you find some inspiration on my blog. Have fun!

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  7. I used to be really interested in fashion and colour & makeup & over the years have fallen into a don't really care type of fug - mainly because I've felt invisible (and not necessarily because of my age) so I might as well make myself so. It's only in the last few months that I've begun adding colour back into my wardrobe. At first it felt weird but I've refreshed my makeup too. I still slob around the house but I'm taking just a tad more care when I'm dressing to go out. Stories like this one are an added push.

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    1. Hi Jo - I'm glad Angelique gave you a bit of added incentive to keep up the colours. I find that I slob around the house too, but getting out to meet with friends, or to go to church makes me lift my game a little. Putting on makeup is fairly rare these days - but it does brighten my face when I put in the effort.

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    2. Hi Jo, it can sometimes feel like a long road back, but worth it. As you suggest, small steps adding colour back into your life and in time it will grow and you can be a bit more brave. Colour has such a significant psychological impact on our wellbeing and joie de vivre. Keep exploring!

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  8. This is a very good reminded to us all that there is no such thing as stopping ...to care about ourselves or our welfare. However, as we age, and have usually been putting everyone else first for years...family, work etc, then how do we re-generate and rejuvenate? With a plan. To start. Because that is the hardest part. I did post my first cancer surgery and continue it today. Great story. I must add though, I am, it seems the oldest blogger in my blogging space and I am proud of that but there is so much more to ageing after 70 that has been for me a bit of a physical shock. Thanks Leanne and Angelique. Thank you so much for being a kind-hearted and generous sharer of your blog post each week for Life This Week. It makes such a difference to each Monday for me, opening up the blog and ...there you are! Thanks for linking up and next week, the optional prompt is joyful. See you then, all being well as they say! Denyse.

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    1. Hi Denyse - I found that my 'dressing up' and putting on makeup dropped significantly once I wasn't going in to work anymore. I've never been one of those people who feels the need to dress up for around the house, but I still try to make an effort for church and for socialising - it boosts my confidence and reminds me that I'm not fading into the wallpaper just yet - and neither are you!

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  9. Hi Denyse - self care is not self indulgence, but vital for our survival. We need to care for ourselves so that we are able to care for others. I always think of a well. If it is dry there will be no water for others to draw on. The same with us. We need to start with self. It is difficult for women as caring and looking after others are in our DNA. A ritual of caring for ourselves, whatever that might be, helps to start the day on a positive note. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

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  10. Thank you for introducing us to Angelique, Leanne. What a wonderful idea to combine all those skills and talents into a much-needed service, as well as living your own personal passion. Well done Angelique and good luck with your new business.

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    1. Hi Christie - I love that it's a 180 degree turn from where Angelique has spent her life previously - it takes a lot of courage to do that and then to put it into a book to inspire others. I loved sharing her story here.

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  11. Thank you for your best wishes Christie, much appreciated.

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  12. That's great! I love it! I think age shouldn't stop you doing what you love and wearing what takes your fancy!

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    1. I think I'm getting braver with what I wear as I've gotten older Lydia - I dress for me now - especially without having to worry about suitable "work wear" anymore.

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  13. Hi Lydia, what we wear is an expression of who we are and I have always believed in dressing for me, not others. It's also liberating and creative!

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    1. It's so great when people find their passion and run with it isn't it Antoinette?

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  15. Hi Angelique, It is nice to meet you here on Leanne's blog. I love how you've used the lockdown time to turn your interests and passions into concrete achievements. All the best with your new book and business! Thank you, Leanne, for introducing Angelique to us. #WeekendCoffeeShare

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    1. Hi Natalie, thanks so much for your best wishes, much appreciated. The key theme of my book is that of attitude. I firmly believe we have the choice to look at the gifts circumstances beyond our control may bring. Not always easy, but they are there if we dig deep enough.

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    2. Hi Natalie - I love being able to share posts from guests who haven't met some of the lovely bloggers I interact with - having Angelique tell her story here was so inspiring. I love when people turn a negative into a positive.

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  16. Hi Angelique and Leanne, what a great project for encouraging us midlifers to embrace this time of our lives. The pandemic has forced a lot of people to change direction but you have taken the opportunity to make something great out of it. Well done, regards Christina

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    1. Hi Christina - I saw your new direction with the BRAC gene info and it's completely different to what Angelique has chosen to do, but both are passions that were callling out to be pursued and shared with a wider audience - congrats to both of you x

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  17. Thanks so much Christina for your comments. I firmly belief that as midlifers we have so much to offer the world as well as the opportunity for ourselves to dust off the cobwebs from our dreams and pursue activities we have always wanted to do. Now is our time!

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  18. What a fun read...and way to embrace it Angelique. I'm 52, decided about 3 years ago to stop coloring my hair and when everyone was going "gray" during quarantine, I was willingly well ahead of them all. I've never been one that has dressed very "colorfully", BUT I have been determined to enjoy whatever style I decide to enjoy. I worked all throughout our "lockdown" in the states so it didn't really feel like much changed for me in many ways. I've been enjoying Leannes posts immensely .

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    1. Hi Kirstin - lucky you to have been able to continue working when so many were unable to. I felt fortunate because I'd finished work in the year beforehand, so lockdown didn't feel that different to what I was adjusting to outside work life. I tend to dress for comfort these days - dressing up for church or a social event is quite an occasion for me now! And thanks for the lovely comment about my blog - I've enjoyed yours too. x

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