Bridging the Gap with Cathy of My Side of 50

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Growing up, I’ve continued to struggle with the labels that get placed on not only teenage girls, but EVERYONE. As a girl who is plus size, I’ve always been used to belonging to a label of some sort and then cue rolling my eyes at it. Now, it’s so refreshing to see not only labels of “plus size,” “too big for fashion, “nerdy” (I wear glasses in school and at work) etc SHATTERED. With the exciting shattering of these labels, I’m also excited to share that we women are shattering other standards and Bridging The Gap!

Today, 200 Influencers are coming together to “Bridge the Gap” with one another. 100 Midlife Influencers and 100 Millennial Influencers (this Millennial says hello!) are uniting as one to send a powerful message while blurring boundaries amongst the demographics.

What I want to know: why was there even a gap in the first place? As a 23-year old Millennial, my best friends and dearest mentors are are in their 30’s and 40’s+. I adore them for their wise wisdom and continuous support in all areas of my life.Catherine Grace (a South Bay local!) started this amazing campaign and I’m so humbled to be a part of something here 200 blog posts are now live connecting women across multiple demographics with a mission to let go of perceptions around aging. In a time where we are challenged every day not only by our gender but also AGE, we’re proving ya’ll wrong. This is a wake-up call to those brands that insist on separating us into unrelated groups with an isolated marketing strategy. I may be a millennial now--but everyone age’s and at a point I’ll be entering midlife and helping others the way that my lovely partner Cathy of My Side of 50 has helped me!

It’s been a complete pleasure getting to know Cathy and I’m so thankful for all of her graciousness and support with my blog. She’s given me countless tips on how to improve my own blog but also kindness through our communication that has helped us connect! I asked her to write a post giving advice on what she would tell her 20-something self.

I’ve found that wisdom and advice from my fellow women peers has been the most rewarding. Knowing that they’ve made countless mistakes and learned from them makes me feel a new sense of confidence in women as a whole. I’ve learned that most advice is to sincerely go for it don’t care what others think and don’t hold back! Now here’s what Cathy has to tell the rest of us who are still figuring it out… ;)

1.What 3 pieces of advice would you give to your 20-something self (and us growing girls now)?

Know Your Worth Don’t know what your worth? I do. You were created by God, who is perfect, in His image. You have been given a beautiful heart, soul, and spirit. You have been given gifts and talents that are uniquely yours for the plan He has for you. You have a purpose for being here. The world would not be the same without you.

Your worth is not determined by your age, size, race, family of origin, education, health, intellectual ability, athletic ability, economic status or your past Own Your Worth It’s one thing to know your worth. It’s quite another to own it. Owning your worth means requiring everyone around you to treat you like a person of great value deserving of respect on every level.

  • Your feelings
  • Your time
  • Your body
  • Your possessions
  • Your emotions
  • Your health

It means getting paid what you’re worth. And unfortunately, you will probably always have to ask to be paid for what you are worth. Very few people will pay you what you’re worth on their own. You have to know your value as an employee and team member and ask for it.

  • It means requiring everyone you come in contact with to treat you with dignity and respect.
  • Not putting up with demeaning comments.
  • Calling out people who get in your personal space or touch you inappropriately. Which may mean reporting them to people in authority in the workplace or law enforcement.
  • Not allowing others to dehumanize you by calling you names (and no, – oh he was just mad that one time is not an excuse).
  • Not standing you up.
  • Or taking advantage of your financially.
  • Or using you for personal gain.

Always Have Your Own Money If you marry, you will likely pool all your money into one household account. And that’s not a bad thing. But always have a little set aside for yourself. Money is power. And if someone else has total control over all your finances, you have given away some of your power.

Hopefully, you will marry someone who loves you, is totally trustworthy and would never abandon you. Or get sick. Or die. But we don’t live in a perfect world, so having a little money set aside for you and your children is very empowering. If the worst happens, you’ll be prepared.

  1. What was one of your biggest mistakes that you learned the most from?

I made lots of mistakes and I know I learned some hard lessons from them, but I just can’t seem to recall them all now.  (We call this the selective memory loss that comes with age). But what I do know is that it was usually one or more of these things that led to those mistakes:

Caring too much about pleasing people and wanting to be liked led to not standing up for myself and demanding to be valued – by a man, an employer or group of “friends”. Or engaging in behavior that wasn’t good for me or went against my own moral compass to go along with the crowd.

Drinking too much Yes, it’s fun and relaxing to have a drink or two. But whenever I drank past a little buzz, I opened myself up to a world of trouble. Best case scenario – I had a headache the next day. Worst case – I embarrassed myself and my judgment was impaired. I look back at those instances now and see how I was putting myself at risk for so many things. Nothing good ever good ever happened when I drank too much.

Not nurturing my relationship with God This goes along with that whole moral compass thing. When I neglected my faith by not being around people who shared those same values, it was way too easy to stray from the timeless principles I had been taught. And those moments never ended well.

  1. What is your favorite memory from your 20’s?

I just remember my senior year in college. I was ready to graduate. Get a job. Be a grownup. But I cherish that last year with my college girlfriends. There is something special about the friends you make in college. The friends from those pivotal years where you are growing up and learning who you are. We had some fun times (that we can only remember bits and pieces of when we get together these days) and they were the best.

  1. What was the most difficult “adulting” moment you had in your 20’s?For me, it was putting my big girl pants on and figuring out taxes for a freelance job. (Numbers + me… not great.) When my Dad gave me new tires for my car for my birthday. A very generous and much-needed gift, but certainly not the fun gifts I was accustomed to receiving!
  2. I feel like I’ve lost and gained SO many friends at this stage in my life– what’s your biggest piece of advice on friendship?

There are some friends that are lifelong friends. And there are some friends that are in your life for a season. Don’t be too bothered about those that come and go at different times in your life. It’s not personal. It’s not weird. It’s just what happens as you move, change & grow.

And as Oprah says, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them”.

  1. Any advice on careers and trying to figure out where we belong in the workforce?

I graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education Degree. When I got my first job teaching elementary music, I liked it well enough. But I have a vivid memory of driving home from work one day thinking to myself, “I cannot do this for the rest of my life”. But the thing is, you don’t HAVE to stay in ANY job for the rest of your life.

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I’ve done lots of different paid and non-paid jobs. Stay-at-home mom, volunteer, piano teacher, tutor, non-profit executive and now a blogger/influencer. The one common thread is that I have learned something at every job that prepared me for the next one.

Love, love love hearing from Cathy and I’m so humbled we were able to be partnered together! I also wanted to share a little about her, because I think her life should be celebrated ;)She’s 59, have been married for 33 years and have 2 grown daughters and 3 grandchildren. (#GOALS) She’s a Native Houstonian and has been a teacher, stay-at-home mom, volunteer and spent the last 25 years of her career as a non-profit executive. She started her blog in 2015 after both of her parents died within 7 months of each other. After her mom died, she quit her job to take care of her dad. I also learned that starting this blog was a part of her bravery. I definitely applaud and admire her bravery. Tt is really hard to open yourself up to the internet and have the world be your critique. She blog about how families change at this  stage of life, relating to adult children & spouses, the joys of grandchildren, and changing bodies and health.One of my favorite things I’ve learned from Cathy is that she mentioned a lot of midlife women say

“we don’t care what anyone thinks anymore! Being free of other’s expectations is so awesome!”

I LOVE that and am excited to see how they can teach us millennials a thing or two about really sticking to that motto and way of life.

SO grateful to be a part of this campaign and meet new people! With all of this craziness happening in the world, I hope you take the time out of your day to meet someone new, listen and just soak up the kindness still found in humanity. XO, S