August 05, 2011

Aging Gracefully with Reinvention

This week's beauty is environmentalist and author Ronnie Citron-Fink who is 56 years old ( I know, can you believe it?). Ronnie has written hundreds of articles about green living, design, and the environment for websites, books and magazines. She currently works for the Environmental Defense Fund and blogs at Econesting, Moms Clean Air Force, Care2, and Planet Green. Her posts can also be found on Inhabitat, Yahoo!Green, Huffington Post, and Treehugger- just to name a few. Before Ronnie turned 50 she was an English teacher who became a head administrator but she soon felt like she was just going through the motions, losing patience, and fizzling out. Her long commute didn't help. She was cooked. Today she shares her story with us about starting over:

“Who says I can’t start a new career at 50?” That was the all-consuming question tugging at my core a few years ago. I knew instinctively that if I could find the answer, it would be the key to rekindling my creativity. At the time, the question seemed insurmountable. Why? Because amongst my “people,” I had serious doubters. It was my turn to define this new dimension of life. I knew what I didn’t want to do. I was not interested in a job that dragged me away from home, fed my car endless amounts of fuel, or required me to react rather than create. It was time to dig deep into passions that were lying dormant — writing, design, DIY, and saving the environment. OK, the last one is a tad lofty, but who said a middle-aged woman can’t change the world?

Blogging for me comes out of a passion to share information. It’s like a chat between friends. For almost three years, I’ve been cranking out blog posts and getting paid. I’ve had deeply moving conversations with people from all over the world. Daily, my creativity is sparked as I source how to live a simpler, more sustainable life. Sharing what I learn about new products, eco-designers, and artists feeds my belief that style, sustainability, and social-consciousness are at the heart of what I want to write about.

It has been my experience that women come to the midpoint of their lives with layers and layers of meaningful life experiences. Those life layers have the capacity to guide us towards a new, creative life. I couldn’t have done at 25 what I’m doing now. Years of balancing a family and work have made my life simply full of life. Instead of a classroom, now I share ideas with the world.

How about that finish line? I’m just hitting my stride, and the line is not even on my radar.

Ronnie I love hearing stories like yours. Thank you for being this week's beauty.

Photos by Jen Kiaba
More photos by Jen Kiaba of Ronnie's Hudson Valley home here.