When Mariam Kobras turned 50, and found she had time to herself for the first time. Having been a typical stay at home ‘soccer mum’, Mariam’s children no longer needed her. So what were her options?
There was an empty auditorium at the school Mariam’s husband taught at. Mariam suggested to the headteacher that perhaps she could teach a theatre class – she was given the keys and told she could do as she pleased. However, the auditorium had not been used in ages. The theatre had no props, and there was no money. Mariam decided the best show to start with was Chorus Line- as it was the play she could think of requiring the fewest props. Even though it was a school production, permission still needed to be sought to perform it. It wasn’t forthcoming. Mariam corresponded with legal department after legal department. With no permission, and with time running out to get rehearsals underway, she had to make a decision. Mariam wrote her own play. Ironically consent to perform Chorus Line eventually came through- but it was too late!
Writing her first novel
Buoyed on by the success of her play, Mariam decided to write a novel. She also started a blog and started to tweet. She decided to post page 99 of her novel on her blog. Publishers responded – and Mariam was asked by a publisher ( via twitter) , to send her full manuscript. 4 months later and the manuscript was ready to send. Mariams’s book, The Distant Shore, will be available in January. It was through Twitter that that Mariam also found the illustrator for her book cover.
Making friends through Twitter
Mariam describes Twitter as her ‘miracle box’. She has connected with so many people, making friends and even travelling to the US this summer, meeting up with 20 of her twitter friends.
The amazing thing for Mariam, was that due to a medical condition, travel is not a particularly easy thing for her to do. Mariam was determined that her physical limitations would not get in the way of her enjoying her life. She started her trip to the States using a cane and a wheelchair. By the second week of her trip to the US, she felt so much better and had so much more confidence, she threw away her cane! Says Mariam “ I’ll be on medication for the rest of my life. We all have a choice. I had to decide, do I give in to self pity or do I carry on? Illness can be a self fulfilling prophesy. You can say no if you want!”
Advice to women turning 50
Now 55, Mariam decided at 50 that she would give her life a new direction. She has enjoyed the freedom it has offered. She had done what she was supposed to do- looked after her husband and children. Mariam felt that she had to grab a life or sink- she didn’t want to sink!
Mariam’s advice for any woman turning 50, would be to buy a t-shirt and have ‘I’m 50- I can do anything!’ printed on it. At 50 there is still so much living to do!
Mariam’s book ‘The Distant Shore’ is available from January