When I posted on the Fab after Fifty facebook page that I needed to take a break from the website and all that is involved in the running of it, I was overwhelmed at the response I received. Many asked me why, and why I would choose to take a break at this particular moment in time when more than 100,000 women visit the site every month.
When I started the website it was in response to so much negativity in the media and society surrounding women over 50 once they seemed to reach that milestone 50th birthday – that was 5 years ago, although it was some months later before the first version of the website went live. At the time there was no positive resource site offering women over 50 information, inspiration or most importantly a voice. Somehow I had this vision of creating a platform to change perceptions of women over 50 and beyond. If we could challenge the stereotypes portrayed in the media of women in our age group then perhaps we could start to make a difference.
That was the vision. I was naive. I had no experience of websites, social media or SEO – or all the mundane things that went along with creating and maintaining a website – it can take hours to find the right image for a post! I had absolutely no appreciation of how time consuming the entire venture would become.
So much support from likeminded women over 50
I have been amazed at the support I have received from so many likeminded women, and at the sense of community created.
I lived and breathed Fab after Fifty but there has been a down side. I have seen my words plagiarised, my ideas copied, with very little I could do to prevent this in the online world.
While I was busy researching ideas and information to help everyone else look and feel fabulous about themselves I was neglecting my own life and health.
So, on to the day that I posted ‘I’m taking a break’ post it was at the point of having reached the point of total exhaustion, following a press trip to Paris. Paris may sound glamorous, but when you find yourself having to take the stairs from the second level (in heels) as part of the press progamme and unable to walk the next day it is far from fun!
I had reached breaking point. I was not sleeping, had become a virtual recluse afraid to leave my laptop for more than a few hours at a time, and had not taken an entire day away from my screen for 4 years.
So I packed my bags and took a last minute flight to the South of France, where I have the opportunity to take time out and reflect on the best way forward. I did not fire up the laptop for 10 days, choosing instead to spend time with friends, getting physio for my back, and wandering around the lanes in Antibes. It was time to take time out for me – something I had encouraged everyone else to do but had neglected to do for myself for over 4 years.
I have received hundreds of messages asking me not to give up the website.
Do I still believe in Fab after Fifty? Absolutely! But I also realise it can’t consume as much of my life as it has been. I also realise that I cannot put so much of time into a project that generates no income, as every penny I have earned as a result of the website I have ploughed back into it.
So what next for Fab after Fifty?
I’m hoping that members of the community will volunteer to get more involved. Perhaps write posts, share their inspirational stories. Even act as admins on the Facebook page.
I had already started to work on some video based products and courses – I have filmed lots of style segments with Judith Brady who is a long term contributor to the website for a styling product and we will of course finish these and share hopefully sooner rather than later! There are other projects planned too.
As the site is more about you than about me, I really need you to tell me what you would like to see on the site and Facebook page.
I still believe that Fab after Fifty can make a difference, and have been encouraged by others not to walk away completely. I have had some very long discussions with friends and family who are encouraging me to find a different way of working rather than give up!
Can you help?
I do need your help, perhaps together we can move forward and make Fab after Fifty THE voice for women over 50. The website was also intended to be about bringing together a community of women to share and inspire. Perhaps now it is time to make that vision a reality.
I hope so.