Alana is a fitness coach for mid-life adults and author of ‘Strength Training Over 40’.
I did everything late. I still do everything on my own schedule.
Giving birth to my first biological child, starting my first business, taking sole responsibility for myself, loving myself because of my imperfections rather than in spite of them, allowing myself to see other women as teammates rather than competition, finding a career I adore at 63, and writing a published book last year!
However, I did learn early on to never criticize another woman to a man in order to appear superior. It only serves to elevate the other woman and to diminish yourself. He will always see through that, and you will come off as insecure and small-minded. I find it refreshingly liberating to sit with a man while people watching and engaging in pointing out the woman’s positive attributes. Even more significant is to speak glowingly of women you know, regardless of who you’re speaking to.
If I were to give a young woman today (and I do this all the time in my work) some sage advice, it would be this. Support other women and only allow those who truly want you to win in your life! It is the strong, confident, self-assured women of this world who will be there for you no matter what. If I could speak to my teenage self, I would tell her, “Always be conscious of the quality of the people with whom you choose to surround yourself. It’s a matter of quality, not quantity when it comes to friends. And never, ever compromise your values in order to be accepted. Those will not be your people anyway”.
I have no tattoos, but if I were to have one word imprinted forever upon my body, it would be “Integrity”. I have little patience for wishy-washy people who bend with whichever way the wind is blowing at that moment. I simply do not have that particular wiring. While it’s important to ‘read the room’ and act appropriately, it is never necessary to compromise your values. I would repeat that lesson to my younger self ad-nauseam. But knowing her, she’d tell me to bug off, but also knowing her, she’d hold the lesson close to her heart and implement it in her own time.
As a good friend told me a few years ago (after I’d run a little off the rails but had gotten back on track), “I couldn’t tell you what to do, Alana, because you were gonna do what you were gonna do!” I smile when I think of that. I’m still that same woman my dad referred to as defiant all those years ago. It’s hard to squelch a fighting spirit! I’m grateful for that and for the fact I’ve been able to maintain a gentle heart in light of some pretty tough times.
Opening a fitness studio amid a pandemic is proving to be one of the most character-building things I’ve ever done. Perhaps it’s right up there with the adoption of my two Romanian children, but as we know, the best things happen outside of our comfort zone. That’s where I am now!
One thing I knew going into my new business is that I can only trade so many hours for dollars. There are only so many hours in the working day, so I’m currently a research machine, hell-bent on absorbing everything I can find regarding online course implementation.
I’m currently engrossed in email lists and advertising and course platforms, and all of the technology that goes along with them. Some days it’s completely overwhelming and other days I feel that I see the light. So, expect to see a strength training course geared to women and men over 40!
It’s truly wonderful to wake up every day excited about what’s to come! That biological child I had at almost 45 is now in University and I am now free to explore another aspect of the woman I was born to be. But what makes this time of my life even sweeter is the support I receive from my kids, my clients, and my friends, male and female alike. Even my ex-husband has been wonderfully supportive!
All of this would be meaningless if I didn’t have my physical and mental health, a strong, fit, pain-free body, and the willingness to step way outside of my comfort zone. And more importantly, is my gratitude for the genuine peace I sense in my soul and my deep concern for others.
I often tell my boys, “We’re all just God’s little vessels doing the best we can. Be kind because we just don’t know that person’s story”. My greatest accomplishment is the fact that they believe me.