Lorraine C Ladish is a midlife mentor who will not let her age stop her from doing anything. Despite her fair share of hardship she’s built a successful business celebrating women over 50 and at the age of 56 she’s embarking on an additional career as a yoga instructor. Here she talks to Lumity about overcoming immense adversity, positive ageing and the secrets to maintaining her youthful good looks throughout.
A little over a decade ago, Lorraine C Ladish was a broke, single mother of two, in her mid forties. She’d lost her marriage, her savings and her writing career was caving in.
Despite being forced to sell everything valuable she had to pay the rent and feed her young children – four and seven at the time – Lorraine refused to give in.
At 45 years old Lorraine had to turn her life around and reinvent herself fast.
Through sheer determination, courage and the power of positivity she was able to flip her hardship on it’s head and build a new life for herself and her family
Today she runs the fabulous online magazine Viva Fifty – celebrating life at 50+ – juggles being a wife, mother and author and says she is truly living her best life now and you can too.
You have certainly had a rollercoaster of a life. How did you came out the other side with such positivity?
“Honestly, I have NO idea. I’ve overcome eating disorders, depression and anxiety, divorce, unemployment and welfare, growing up without a mother and so much more. But I’ve always had this inherent drive to keep on going,” the bilingual author, who lives in Florida tells Lumity. “I look to others who’ve had it worse and have come out on top. When I was a single mum on food stamps 11 years ago, my kiddos were what drove me out of bed every morning. Sometimes that was my biggest win, just getting out of bed.”
Are you naturally a positive person?
“I wouldn’t say I’m a born optimist,” Lorraine admits. “I have a super neurotic personality and depression runs in my family. But I don’t see myself succumbing to the effects of adverse circumstances. These are always temporary, just like the great times. I am now the sum of my many failures and some successes. Our entire story matters and that makes it easier to accept the rough patches.”
You had to reinvent yourself in your mid 40s which must have been daunting. What advice would you give to other women who may be too scared to take the plunge because of their age?
“I didn’t feel like an adult until I turned 30. At 56 I still don’t feel old. I have friends in their 70’s and 80’s reinventing themselves. Why wouldn’t I do that at my age? At 46 I took my writing career from print to online and 10 years later, I’m starting a career as a yoga teacher. Life is short but it’s also long: there’s a lot we can do with it.
“Fear may never go away. I’ve simply learned to live with it and just not give it too much attention. I do things despite fear, especially fear of looking silly or of failure. Fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Not doing things you really want to do because of it is what prevents us from having more joy in our lives. ‘Do things anyway’ is my motto.”
Despite your hectic schedule you still manage to look amazing. So what are your beauty and wellness secrets?
“Because of my addictive and compulsive personality, I’ve exercised most days of my life, including during bedrest in one of my pregnancies,” Lorraine tells Lumity. “I just did arm and ankle circles and breathing exercises, but I moved.
“Between the ages of 21 and 35 I was a fitness instructor (full-time for a few years and then part-time). I’ve also been a runner, swimmer, dancer and am now an avid asana yoga practitioner and earlier this year became a certified yoga instructor.
“I sleep eight hours most nights, I nap if I need to, eat a bit of everything and drink alcohol in moderation, but most of all I don’t take myself too seriously.
How do you find the time to exercise every day?
“Exercise is as much a part of my day as brushing my teeth or showering,” Lorraine explains. “I can’t conceive life without movement. I do exercise daily and I honestly don’t have to struggle with myself to do it. I feel bad if I don’t: I get edgy, moody, my muscles and joints hurt, I have brain fog. Exercise takes care of all of that and then some.
“The great thing is that my kids grew up coming to the gym and to dance studios with me. They are now 18 and 15 and they are already fitness fans. I started early too, thanks to my dad. We started running together when I was 12. I am very grateful that I do naturally what others find so hard to accomplish. I do not take it for granted.”
It’s unfortunate that some women feel that once they’re 50+ it’s too late to start a new fitness regime, get in shape or be their best selves. How can we make them see this is simply not true?
“Just look at older women like Kathy Smith, whose exercise videos I followed when I was pregnant. She is in her sixties and looks and feels amazing. I know a bodybuilder, Josefina Monasterio, who is in her 70s and, get this, started bodybuilding at 59.
“The body is very interesting and responds well to movement. Think of this: whatever you do or don’t do with your body, will affect your quality of life in five, 10, 15 years. Barring illness, which at this stage in life I know can hit the fittest person on earth, I am looking forward to many more years of mobility. I don’t want to be a burden to my kids and I want to be able to easily go up a flight of stairs or stand up from the floor without an issue. I consider exercise the best preventive medicine.”
What would you say are the best things about being in your 50s?
“Confidence. Self-love. Hindsight. I didn’t start acquiring any of that until my mid-30’s and especially when I became a mom at 37 and then again at 40. I don’t think one’s fifties are better or worse than any other time in life. Every decade is precious. But I can say this is the happiest, most fulfilling time of my life personally. I met the love of my life ten years ago, I run a profitable digital publication, I practice yoga daily, I conquered a health scare that could have turned into colon cancer, my kids are healthy. Life is good.”
In today’s society so much focus is on trying to turn back the hands of time rather than embracing the age you are NOW. Has the aging process ever felt daunting to you?
“Not really. Perhaps because I don’t yet feel the aches and pains people say are an inevitable part of ageing. Because I’ve been into sports all my life, I’ve had injuries here and there, from slipped discs to sciatica and tendonitis. I do have muscle soreness sometimes after an intense workout but that’s a good feeling. Only lately have I become more acutely aware of what my body and brain could be like in 10 or 20 years if I don’t continue to take care of myself.
“It does bring on a certain sense of urgency to get things done. I recently launched TheFlawedYogini.com in addition to my publication VivaFifty.com which is almost seven years old, and am working on my next book (I have a few under my belt) and studying to get my 500-hour yoga teacher certification.
“My best friend died of cancer last year and she was younger than I am. All she wanted to do was grow old. That thought takes away any of my fears of ageing.”
What else have you got in your sights to achieve in the next few decades of your life?
“Goals keep me going,” says Lorraine. “Before I turned 30 I wanted to write and publish a book. I did and many more followed. At 40 I had my second child. At 50 I married the love of my life and launched my website Viva Fifty! At 60 I want to be able to do a freestanding handstand. I can handstand close to a wall but am still not strong enough to do it in the middle of the room. Even if I never accomplish that, the quest is what keeps me going.”
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice. What would it be?
“You’ll be fine. Things WILL get better.”