THE BIG FIVE-OH! Carol-Anne, Marjorie, Jocelyn and Cheryl - living life to its fullest at 50!
by Julie Carrington
FIFTY and Fabulous and living life like its always golden! That’s the mantra of four friends - Cheryl Moore, Marjorie Emile-Smith, Joycelyn Gittens and Carol-Anne Brancker. The four who all recently turned 50, say they have embraced this significant milestone more assertive in purpose and fully grounded in Christian principals.
The phenomenal ladies, related their own unique stories about turning 50 and embracing all that life has to offer during an interview with the FiftyPlus Magazine at one of their liming spots recently.
Attractively attired in white, accentuated with white pearls and Pandora bracelets, the best friends have a lot in common - they are all entrepreneurs, have a deep passion for Christ and are committed to empowering women.
Cheryl, who has already penned Living On The Edge, is currently writing another book, The God Of The Second Chance. The vivacious mother of a daughter and son and stepmother of one daughter, said she was excited to turn 50, and readily admits that she does not feel a day over 25.
“Interestingly enough, the transition was so smooth. You only know it because someone celebrated you for that day. There is so much to look forward to so it is a great feeling to be 50,” she quipped.
Marjorie, the mother of twin boys who just wrote this year’s Common Entrance Examination, started high school and after celebrated her 50th birthday in March and is loving every moment of it.
“It is a great feeling to be 50. I am enjoying it... It is fabulous, it is a certain level of freedom in my thinking and how I approach life now and I am finding my purpose now and I am enjoying that,” she says.
Marjorie, who retired at 50, went back to school and, is a few months shy of becoming a certified counselor. She intends to start up a counselling practice with her husband – a move that would allow her to spend more time bonding with her sons.
Joycelyn, a mother of one daughter, runs a cleaning company alongside her husband. She described turning 50 as “something that just happened.”
“For me I can’t say that I feel like 50…it is something that just happened and I am enjoying it.”
Carol-Anne successfully ran a hair salon for 22 years before taking over as Creative Director of the family’s business – Branckers on Fontabelle. Fifty, she said, represented a second chance to do the things that she wanted to do in the past, but never got the opportunity to pursue.
“I have a second chance to make that happen. It is like I have been through that half-century and I know so much more now, than I knew then,” she observed.
When asked what was the best thing about turning 50 they all agreed that it represented a new chapter in their lives.
While Carol-Anne believed it was an opportunity for a new beginning, Marjorie reminisced on her surprise birthday dinner and the fun time she had with her best friends. Marjorie, Cheryl and Joycelyn also expressed delight at finally becoming BARP members and the range of discounts offered by various partners.
Carol-Anne literally spilled the beans about Marjorie’s birthday surprise and how Joycelyn was inspired to be a member.
“For Marjorie’s birthday we literally flashed mobbed her on the boardwalk and then we had dinner at Tapas. The theme of the dinner was Fabulous at 50 and we went around the room and asked guests what was fabulous about 50.
“ My dear friend Cheryl…she couldn’t wait…she said you want to know what is fabulous about 50 – BARP. I couldn’t wait to get my BARP card and she was on and on like a BARP ad.”
She continued: “Marjorie was excited already about getting her BARP card and she said ok we going Monday morning and Joycelyn who was already 50 for a little while, after hearing Cheryl said ok I coming with you Monday morning…So, the talk at the party turned to BARP being the fabulous thing to happen when you turn 50.”
Cheryl, dubbed the “flag woman” for BARP, mentioned the various companies that offer BARP discounts for over 50’s.
“There are different associations that are a part of BARP. If you want to go to the doctor you can get a discount.
“You can also get 50 per cent off your installation costs for MCTV, at Harrison Cave and at Branckers you get 15 per cent off tiles…,” she underlined.
The obvious camaraderie they share with each other is exemplified by their bond as sisters in Christ. As devout worshippers at the Hope Church, Neil’s Plantation, St. Michael, Carol-Anne related how they were acquaintances brought together by God.”
“I don’t know how to explain it…But all of us came from situations and God just did a beautiful thing and …put everybody together. We are so connected in so many different ways…We all [wear our Pandora bracelets and pearls] that’s who we are. We also wear white as our signature colour when we are going out,” she added.
The group also plans to establish a foundation to help women to understand their value in God’s eyes and how to rise above their problems based on His teachings.
Showing no signs of slowing down, the best friends urged other 50 year olds to embrace life now and as Cheryl explained “not try to live ten years down the road “.
“Try to find purpose in each day that you live and for me, turning 50 was about leaving a legacy and [an examination] of the path the rest of my life look would take and making the best of the rest,” she said.
When complimented about their youthful looks in public, they acknowledge it is God’s grace that has kept them to this point and promise to be an inspiration to all seniors who are ageing gracefully.
“We are now considered the youth of old age (or the old age of youth), the babies of BARP or whatever you want to call it, but we are looking forward to ageing actively and gracefully.”
Fifty Plus, the magazine of the Barbados Association of Retired Persons, is published twice a year and distributed free of charge to all 33,000 BARP members and is also available for purchase in bookstores and other retail outlets. It is designed to appeal to all persons aged 50 and over in Barbados and beyond.
As BARP continues to grow in size and stature, we recognise our increasing responsibility as advocate for one of the most significant sectors of the population, so the magazine addresses the wider community. You will find, therefore, a variety of relevant features and articles on health and well being, lifestyle and leisure, consumer affairs, financial advice, travel, cookery, nostalgia, books and much, much, more. There is something in this magazine for everyone.
Our intention is that Fifty Plus will inform, educate and entertain, as well as enable BARP members to keep in touch with the Association's news, views and activities.