When we began this journey of producing a print magazine to bust a few myths around ageing I wasn’t thinking about the hurdles. I was chomping at the bit, ready to take on a new challenge. The reality, of course, is a tad different to the fantasy in one’s head. Life throws up blocks and boulders. Jeanie is having major plumbing issues this week, – real ones with burst pipes I’m not being euphemistic – I am still dealing with selling my elderly mother’s flat; we are both attempting to carry on with organising a home life, and seeing friends; doing non-Goldie stuff, is not easy when we have become passionate to the point of obsessive. So far we are keeping our head above the water; there is a fine line between excitement and stress. I can’t speak for Jeanie but, personally, I am aware that finding solutions to the editing, production and marketing of a full-blown real-life magazine is tough at times. There are days when I wonder why we started this, when I need to recall that this was a choice I took because I believe that what we are doing is of value to others.
Jeanie and I have had conversations, emails and feedback about Goldie which reminds us that what we are attempting with Goldie is relevant and appreciated. People share stories with us that tell of daily resilience in the face of difficulty, of finding ways to creatively live life to the full after physical and emotional hitches, of discovering aspects about themselves that only came to light as they have aged, of rising to challenges and finding themselves invigorated and renewed. The practical issues of publishing a magazine pale into insignificance when Brenda, bubbly and full of energy, tells me of overcoming a hip replacement and breast cancer; about to go on a girls’ trip to Ibiza to celebrate her 80th birthday Brenda is making herself some new holiday dresses, she has to fit sewing for herself into the time she has after work – she is still working as an alteration seamstress for a local dry-cleaners and has no intention of retiring. I have also been motivated this week by an email from a contributor who thanked us for making her feel relevant again, who said we had given her hope. Her feelings of invisibility – Jeanie is really on to something with this – have diminished; that we thought she was worth listening to, her feeling of being seen and heard, has given her back some self-esteem.
As we get older it is all too easy to allow life’s troubles to knock us down; perhaps we are tired from the effort of getting up and dusting ourselves of yet again, perhaps we need a nudge, a hand from a friend or the support of a culture that encourages us to see the possibilities that life still has to offer whatever our age. We can’t avoid adversity; we can make a choice to view those encounters as an opening to try our hand at something different.
When Jeanie and I met we weren’t looking to find someone to publish a magazine with. We may not have joined forces if we had realised that it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and roses – it isn’t. It has been a very quick course in overcoming fear, acknowledging imposter syndrome, tackling self-doubt, learning printer speak, and dealing with the everyday mundane crap that life chucks at us. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
These challenges are making me reassess the skills that I have, the restrictions I place on myself, and I am learning that, no matter what age I am, there is room for growth. I haven’t been through any major life trauma (not lately anyway), the minor stresses involved in putting Goldie together aren’t comparable to many of the stories I am discovering in my quest for copy. However there is a common thread; resilience, an attitude that we can rise to the challenge and come out stronger better and wiser, a sense that whatever life puts on our path we will turn to our advantage: an approach to adversity that defies the limitations of ageing.
So yes, in order to get Goldie onto the streets in a printed form is requiring us a team to dig deep into our strength bank, and yes, we are leaping over those hurdles with fortitude, and we can see the finish line…but we couldn’t do it without the encouragement from the Goldie community egging us on. Thank you for getting behind us. At any age we are only as good as our gang.