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40 Over 40 Project:

Celebrating women whose power, beauty, strength, grace, and spirit do not diminish with age.

 

I have photographed, profiled and celebrated 40 women over the age of 40.

WHY 40 OVER 40?

I have been witness to the strength and resilience of all kinds of women in my life but the stories that get to my heart the most often, are the ones of women that society used to label as “past their prime”.

What gives me hope for the future is that I have met woman after woman that have said HELL YES! Women that refuse to be labelled or diminished, are now stepping into their own power. Personally, I feel like I am only beginning to hit my stride. Now I feel called to give a platform to 40 of these women. I want them to be seen, celebrated and have a platform to use their voice to call out to us. I want women all over to hear their stories and be inspired. Will you join me on this journey?

I would like you to meet the UNSTOPPABLE

JANINE SHELTON

When I met Janine for the first time, I was struck by her gentleness but also her incredible strength. She is a woman guided by love and faith. Her energy is truly beautiful. When she applied to be a part of this project, I was moved by her story and knew that many of you would find inspiration in how she has become unstoppable.

Anita Watkins

Janine Vannoord Shelton's Portrait in Anita Watkins Photography Studio.

Janine Shelton’s Portrait taken at Anita Watkin’s Studio in London, Ontario. 

What gets you up in the morning?

“That’s an easy answer… their names are Jocelyn and Eden. They are the most beautiful blessings and were entrusted into my care when they were born. I am proud to be their mother and that role drives me to get up each morning…it gives me purpose. Sometimes it gets me up because I don’t always play that role entirely right…and so each day gives me an opportunity to try again!  

I want to clarify that it isn’t just about doing the “Mom” things that encourages me to get up each morning, but living my life to the fullest, setting an example for “good” “healthy” living is what I aspire to as a Mom, as a woman!  

That also does not mean I jump out of bed everyone morning all perky and rejuvenated like you see in the Folgers commercials, but it does mean, even when I lay in my bed, hit snooze at least 3 times, dreading my day and/or circumstances…at some point…I feel the inner voice telling me. Jocelyn and Eden need you to show them how to live a good life…how to live your best life…get out of bed!  
That… is what gets me out of bed each morning!”

 

Living my life to the fullest, setting an example for "good" "healthy" living is what I aspire to as a Mom, as a woman!

Love = take care of your mind, body, and soul.

What is the one piece of advice would you give your 20 something self?

“Be bold, choose adventure, “love” yourself!  

Love = take care of your mind, body, and soul. Fill your cup to overflowing so you can spread the love to others.”

When in your life, so far, have you felt most confident and why?

“Moments of confidence are experienced when someone shares with me how I have made a difference for them or seeks my advice. These acts inspire me to continue to strive to be the best version of myself. I am eager to learn, to experience new things, and to live life to the fullest and to then share this with the people I work with and do life with.

I also feel confident when I am strong enough to receive constructive criticism and feedback. This took years for me to understand that it is okay to not be perfect and that by being able to “hear” what people had to say…also assists in the journey of transformation to my best self.”

Moments of confidence are experienced when someone shares with me how I have made a difference for them or seeks my advice.

My perception of "attractive" has changed from the outward appearance aligned to media's illusion of beauty to the inward beauty reflected in interactions with "attractive" people.

When have you felt most attractive? Have your perceptions of what being “attractive” means changed over time? What do you define as attractive now?

“When I am not looking in the mirror….
When I am joy filled with hope and love…

My perception of “attractive” has changed from the outward appearance aligned to media’s illusion of beauty to the inward beauty reflected in interactions with “attractive” people.  

The inside beauty is what creates the outward beauty of a person. Someone who demonstrates love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…that is attractive and you cannot deny the beauty of the soul that shines on the outside!

I also believe that those who love themselves, they take care of themselves, and when you take care of yourself, that definitely shows up as attractive!

When you shine on the inside, your light will be bright on the outside, and everyone will be attracted to that!

Are there any myths you would like to bust about being a woman over 40? If so, can you tell us about them?

“The invisibility cloak does not automatically fall on as we reach 40 and we remain relevant in this world, but it is all about perspective and life choices! 

This certainly has been an uphill battle for myself as I faced the realities of getting older and the changes experienced in my body and mind, which are compounded by the societal views reflected in ageism.  

I have to make it a practice to choose each day a different perspective. So, I chose to believe that transformation does not peak at any point in our life but remains a constant in our journey.

This is possible if we chose to have vision for our life, accomplished by establishing goals related to seven specific aspects of living physical; financial; mental; vocational; relational; emotional; and spiritual.

I intend to maintain the art of transformation so that every year I grow older I become a better, more beautiful version of myself than the previous…hoping to inspire and be inspired by the women in my life.”

I intend to maintain the art of transformation so that every year I grow older I become a better, more beautiful version of myself than the previous.

Is there anything you would like to share with people in your life?

“When first asked to participate in the “Unstoppable” Campaign, I took a moment to pause and reflect on what it meant to be unstoppable.  

One definition said, “Unstoppable people are like warriors. They are always ready to take on the world. They are guided by a light from within, full of boundless energy and unwavering in their goals. They have learned to activate their natural talents and develop the skills necessary to achieve whatever they aim for.”

As I thought about that definition, I was concerned that I perhaps wasn’t fit to be a part of this campaign. I thought it had to be someone who exudes confidence, who feels empowered…but then I thought about my life journey…and I decided I wanted to offer a different perspective.  
My life journey has had some extreme peaks and valleys, most recently I lost my partner, I waited so long for him, and then 3 ½ years of being together, on February 22, 2022 he died suddenly and unexpectedly. Unstoppable for me during this past year has simply meant… living… getting up each day ….and doing what I could to get through the day… and I want people to know that is still good, that is still great!

Surviving can be just as excellent as thriving based on your circumstances. I believe now that I was unstoppable because I wanted to survive so that I could begin to thrive when the time is right…once I was further along in the healing process and finding my way forward with Al in spirit rather than in the flesh. 

My “unstoppable” self comes from my faith and from the chapter Romans 12. It teaches me to care for my body as a temple; to use my gifts to make the world a better place; to love people unconditionally; to be humble and kind; to live in harmony; and to be joy filled with hope; patient in affliction; and faithful in prayer. I believe it wholeheartedly and had it tattooed on my arm to be a reminder every day…to live my best life….to be unstoppable.”

Do you want to learn more about working with Anita?

Portrait Photographer in London, Ontario

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