The Hats of Life

I love hats – I’ve been told I look good in them – not baseball caps – real hats – the ones with brims. Because I love costumes and as my favorite holiday is Halloween, it’s no surprise that I have quite the collection.

Often I have to cycle through my assortment to find the one that feels right. Sometimes, it takes a while to find the right look and feel. Especially when it comes to my Professional Hats.

This year I found the perfect one. It’s one I’ve worn before but it is updated, fresh and fashionable. This is my Publisher’s Hat. I wore this hat for 14 years while building up the Family Publishing Group, a group of regional parenting magazines in New York, Westchester and Connecticut. That Hat came off 12 years ago when my partner and I sold the group to a multinational.

I next put on my Yoga Hat – well more bandanna than hat. This Hat has stayed on since I became certified as a yoga teacher 12 years ago and helped me to figure out what I wanted next.

I tugged on a Professors Hat when I was hired to teach Entrepreneurship at Tufts University in 2008. It is well worn now and fits comfortably when I put it on each Wednesday as I teach my students about launching businesses.

It took some courage but this Fall, I put on the virtual 10-gallon Hat – this one helps me reach for the stars. It’s my Better After 50 Hat, a new online magazine I developed for women entering the second stage of their lives.

We all wear so many Hats throughout the various chapters of our lives that BA50 – as we like to call our site – offers a backdrop for us to share our experiences. Case in point: I met a woman the other day who was totally fed-up with her life as a lawyer and quit after 20 years. She has become a full time writer and has more energy and excitement in her life than ever. And though she hasn’t quite figured out the revenue model yet, poor and happy beats the drain of wearing a hat that no longer fits. And yes, she now writes for us.

My childhood friend left a huge job in the corporate world and enrolled in a full time photography program in NYC — a big change that only felt scarier as the oldest person in the classroom by 30 years. But after just one year she felt transformed, and has now reframed her story by wearing the artist’s hat. The new fit suits her perfectly.

I love hearing these stories and never tire of the dialogue around what’s next. The kids may have left, the hubby may have left (or the other way around), and these are all fodder for new stories – and new hats to try on. When I think of the fuel that gets us to take that next step I know it comes from each other’s support. When we hear that someone in our lives has made bold strides in a new direction, it makes us look at our own lives and creates new energy and excitement.

So as I sit here in my very tall ten-gallon BA50 hat typing away, I am hoping that revealing these stories motivates you to share yours, and I am certain that our whole BA50 community wants to hear them too. I know this because in just three short month’s betterafter50.com is fast becoming our landing page – a safe home to just be and become.

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