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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

LORI ROBSON

Lori exudes grace and empathy, the kind you would expect from a retired nurse. She is also very confident in WHO she is, but like most of us, was very nervous to get in front of my camera. Not for long though! Once she placed her trust in my hands, she went from look to look seamlessly, even donning a magnificent set of pearls that I have in my studio wardrobe. We had a blast and I am grateful that Lori has a series of photos to remind her of how awesome she really is.

Anita Watkins

Lori Robson's portrait in Anita Watkins Photography studio in London Ontario

Lori Robson’s Portrait taken at Anita Watkin’s Studio in London, Ontario. 

What gets you up in the morning?

“For years the alarm clock was the thing that got me out of bed. Being a nurse, I was often up before the sun and left before the rest of the family got up or the opposite, falling into bed to sleep the day while they went to school or work. There were lots of times we were like ships passing in the night, quick hellos and good byes, missed celebrations and times I fell asleep in the middle of things. Shift work wreaks havoc on family life but I loved my job and found it very fulfilling.

For most of my career I worked with new parents helping them make the transition into parenthood. It was largely upbeat and positive but when things go wrong with newborns it can be devastating. Either way my goal was to make it as easy a transition as possible.

After 40 years I decided it was time to retire. I wanted to have some time to choose my itinerary while I was still young enough and active. Unfortunately I also knew some coworkers who never made it to that phase, their lives cut short by cancer or other terminal diseases. I didn’t want to miss my opportunity.

My children are grown and have launched themselves into their chosen professions. Now the alarm clock is gone, I wake up in the mornings looking forward to a day of doing things I planned.”

"Chaque chose en son temps" translates to "Everything in its time"

Change can be good and the hard times make you appreciate the good times that much more.

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

“Be flexible- life can be crazy but things generally work out in the end.

There will be lots of times when things don’t go as planned but just roll with the punches and know that you have a huge support system to help you.

Change can be good and the hard times make you appreciate the good times that much more.”

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

“Confidence develops with time and experience. You can start off optimistic and positive but I find some young women start off overly confident without the knowledge and skills to back it up. This tends to lead to a hard fall. It’s good to stride purposefully forward but be cognizant that there can be pitfalls and learn from mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help- if you don’t know, you don’t know. Faking it can lead to disaster. Over the course of my career I learned from the best, put in my time and challenged myself to new experiences. This enabled me to pursue leadership positions where I knew I could succeed as well as supporting and teaching my staff so that they could succeed as well.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for help - if you don’t know, you don’t know.

My definition of attractiveness has changed - it goes beyond face value.

Have your perceptions of what being “attractive” means changed over time?

“My definition of attractiveness has definitely changed over the years. I grew up in a fairly male dominated neighbourhood. There weren’t many girls my age so I just became one of the guys with no thoughts of how I looked or dressed.

By high school things changed and I began to realize that other girls spent a way more time on their faces and fashion sense. I was tall and gangly with no idea about makeup. Other girls had developed curves and mastered eyeshadow and lipstick.

My sense of attractiveness was low but I still managed to find dates. Late in my teens I started on working on my style and experimenting and developed a minimalistic look. The biggest change came during my student nurse days. We came from different backgrounds and were of different ages and all were brutally honest. There was a lot knowledge shared and we all helped each other put our best foot forward. Those women became life long friends who I value each and every day. 

My definition of attractiveness has changed – it goes beyond face value. You can have a really pretty face but no depth of personality or integrity then you aren’t going anywhere. Trust, responsibility, empathy, caring and humour make a person so much more attractive to me as well as being comfortable in your own skin.”

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

 

“I think the biggest misconception about women over forty is that we are on the downswing, we are old and jaded. Not so – I still have passions and I am continuing to grow now that I am in my sixties. I have taken up kayaking and painting as well as continuing on with my previous hobbies of reading, travelling, and photography. There is a certain freedom one achieves after the age of forty- children are older and more independent , financially more stable and you have a more a more precise definition of where you are going and what you want to achieve. My current energy levels are higher now than 25 years ago.”

The biggest misconception about women over forty is that we are on the downswing, we are old and jaded.

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

“My life at times has been complicated, frenetic, uplifting and totally insane but I wouldn’t change it. I have seen moments of grace from a first breath to the last. I have had extreme highs and lows but for the most part have been blessed. I have a husband of 38 years, 4 children who are successful and gainfully employed, and a granddaughter who is the apple of my eye. I have a huge support system of family and friends which is essential to get past the hard parts. 
I feel comfortable where I am and am looking forward to new horizons. I believe there is still a lot of life to live”

Do you want to learn more about working with Anita?

Portrait Photographer in London, Ontario

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