Paulette Dowdie

Age 54

I spent my 20s and 30s figuring out life: how to balance my career and my family, how to be everything for everyone…but myself.  When I got to my 40s, I had it all figured out and was ready to embrace life. My favorite thing about being a woman over 40 is being unapologetically me, showing up as my authentic self, and celebrating me every day! I am proud of the woman who looks back at me in the mirror. I am proud of her for not letting her circumstances define who she became. I am proud of her resilience, perseverance, commitment, and dedication to achieving her goals. I am proud of all her accomplishments!! I celebrate being her every day.  I am the most comfortable being me now than I have ever been in my life and I love it!! 

I am living life without inhibitions, venturing outside of my comfort zone and trying new experiences. I am not only setting audacious goals but accomplishing these goals with flying colors. I have seen three World Wonders and I’ve actually hiked my way through all three: The Great Wall of China, The Grand Canyon and Machu Picchu!  I was never an athletic person, never paid much attention to exercising or eating healthy, but turning 40 awakened a new zeal for life in me. I am doing all the things I dreamed of as a young girl, things I thought were out of my reach, things other priorities pushed to the background. Now, I am taking those exotic vacations and I am crossing items off my bucket list, one by one. Most importantly, I am doing life my way and on my time, and being true to me! And that to me is living an extraordinary life!

In the next decade, I would love to scratch off a few more countries off my travel bucket list. I already have Dubai and Kenya slated for next year so I am well on my way. The other aspiration I have for the next decade is really focusing on building a legacy I want to leave behind. I want to ensure I have done things that will change the trajectory of life for folks who have been marginalized. I am who I am and where I am in life, as folks believed in me and took actions that changed the trajectory of life for me. They fostered my development and provided opportunities for me to grow and realize my potential.  That is the legacy I want to leave behind…so I’ve got work to do!

WOW! When I saw my portraits for the first time, I felt fabulous!!! I did that! This is what being over 50 is all about – loving the woman I have become, embracing myself, and living life doing what brings me great joy! I wasted so many years not being happy with myself and comparing myself to others and falling short. Looking at my portraits made me realize that I AM beautiful and amazing, and I have certainly accomplished a lot of great things which are all worthy of celebrating.  I mean, who makes four outfits for their birthday photoshoot? I did!! And I couldn’t be any prouder of myself for doing so! Here’s to me – the best is yet to come!!