I first met Jeanette years ago, when I was invited to attend a Photography workshop for Mom bloggers that she was hosting and since then we’ve often crossed paths, at various races and events and now we belong to the same Run Walk For Life branch so we get to catch up regularly. What has always struck me about Jeanette is her calmness, but she inspires me regularly, between her running and her photography, I find myself inspired and wanting to learn and stretch myself more.
When I grow up, I want to take beautiful photo’s just like Jeanette.
Meet Jeanette, known to many of you as The Real Jenty! The woman behind the lense!
Name and age
Jeanette Verster age 44 (45 in June)
Blog address and social media handles
http://therealjenty.com and http://jeanetteverster.com
How do you feel now that you’re in your forties?
I’m 4 years into my forties, and I still really don’t feel like I’m “that old”. My first thought was that I don’t feel different to my thirties, but that wouldn’t be true.
I’m more aware of myself, yet less concerned about what others think of me. I’m more aware of how I affect others. It’s probably a lot to do with parenting, and also a lot to do with being wiser as a result of just living.
I believe now that your journey in life should make you wise, if you think about things that have happened along the way.
Having a full time career as well as a business that I run from home (and the blog on top of that), means that I’m very busy. But in the last few years balance has been very important to me, so I make sure that downtime is diarised.
What has been your greatest achievement since turning forty?
This one was tough to answer actually… I started quite a few things at the end of my thirties. In fact, in the year I turned 40, I tried to tick off one thing from a bucket list every month.
But one thing I started in my 40’s was running. I’ve never been athletic in my life. This is BIG. I’m healthier than I’ve been since I was at school. I started off walking, and within 3 years ran my first marathon. I didn’t quite qualify for an ultra this year, but I’m thinking that next year will be my year. I’ll do another few marathons this year and hopefully use one to qualify.
Now, as a mature woman, do you have any regrets? Anything you wish you could go back and do differently?
Not really. I think I needed to learn the lessons. I’ve never been afraid to learn new things. The only thing is maybe bravery. I’ve had two opportunities to resign and start my own business. Both times, I chickened out for various reasons. One was my photography business, and I don’t think that’ll ever happen now, but it’s ok, I’m in a good space at the moment.
If you could talk to your 20 or 30 something self, what would be one piece of advice you’d give yourself.
Stop trying to keep up with everyone else. Do it in your own time, and in your own way. Make it your own.
What has been one/some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed within yourself since turning forty?
I’m definitely more gentle on myself. I’m more aware of my strengths.
I don’t know if this is because the kids are older, or because of my age but I’m also more aware of how I affect others. I get a kick out of helping other people realise their strengths. So the way I show up in their lives is important.
What do you still hope to achieve in your forties?
Run an ultra marathon. Get the kids through teenage years! Get my career properly back on track.
What advice would you give to women who are fearful about approaching forty?
It’s literally just a number, and nothing to worry about.
What is one of societies stereotypes about women in their forties that you wish you could change?
It’s not about 40’s, but more about ageism. It’s really hard to build or sustain a career the older you get. There are less opportunities. You suddenly become over qualified and you will be more expensive. This is something I really wish I could change… and it’s worse as a woman.
I could really write an essay on this topic. It’s grossly unfair, because you actually have more to offer.
Any parting thoughts or comments?
Enjoy your 40’s. Have a rip roaring party to kick it off, I regret not having a big party now. Enjoy learning about yourself, and being a better you.
Thanks for participating Jeanette! I loved reading your answers because it feels like, in some ways we are quite similar (shared birthday month, shared age, a few shared interests) and Happy Birthday for next month!
Are you fierce, fearless, fabulous and in your forties? Would you like to be featured in this series? Then drop me an email!