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Do What Leaves You Feeling Good About Yourself – Sandra, 66

Sandra Ann Wallace SYSWSJ 092020

Sandra Ann Wallace was introduced to me by a couple of Share Your Story alumni, Jewel Burr and Janice Vitale. Women connecting and collaborating with women is what the Kuel Life Platform is all about.

This Sunday we get our wisdom nuggets from Sandra. At 66 she is a retired nurse/teacher/counselor. But Sandra is anything but slowing down. Author of three books; two already published, Sandra also enjoys playing the bagpipes, hiking, sailing, and is working on swimming across the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. Makes me tired just writing this down!

Welcome Sandra Ann Wallace to the Share Your Story series!

KUELLIFE: What are you pursuing now, at this stage of your life, that surprises  you or might appear to others as if it comes out of left field? 

SANDRA: Writing. I have published two books in the past two years through Amazon. I pursued the conventional route for a year, got lots of positive rejections and one interested publisher that didn’t work out.I’ve now finished the rough draft of my third. My stuff is humorous, aimed at women, but men have told me they enjoyed my books. If I can make someone chuckle, I have done well.Actually, my goal is to write a historical novel based on my Slovakian immigrant grandmother.Got it started….we will see! And, I continue to work on my bagpipe skills, which really, really, really are marginal, at best! 

KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you? 

SANDRA: This is kind of difficult to answer right now, because my typical day during this pandemic is not the typical day I have experienced since retiring in 2016. Whereas before I was always going someplace and doing something, now I stay at home as much as possible, and do what I can to support essential workers.I have asthma and my husband is in his 80’s. WE. DO. NOT. WANT. TO. GET. THIS. So, now it is taking long walks up our country road, writing, working on small projects around the house which likely would NEVER have gotten attention, reading, keeping current with the news, cooking, and having long discussions with my husband about appreciation.We need more of it, especially in these times.

I struggle with regrets from decisions of my past”

KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?

SANDRA: Mostly I struggle with regrets from decisions of my past and trying to maintain a positive focus in the present.

KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

SANDRA: I try to stay informed and maintain a schedule of sorts. Interestingly, my answers would have been completely different a year ago, but it seems getting through this pandemic has caused us all to refocus, and reassess what our priorities are in life. I realize that I have been given much in life, having been raised by good people, and encouraged to get out and do my best. My motivation comes from the appreciation of all that I have and desire to share.

KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?

SANDRA: Forget about the number. Do what leaves you feeling good about yourself. 

Not being able to do some of the physical tasks and activities that once came so easily,”

KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?

SANDRA: It means realizing I am not invincible. I have limits, and although my head says I can run a six-minute mile, my body knows that is an absurd idea. Not being able to do some of the physical tasks and activities that once came so easily, forgetting a name, and accepting the fact that I have passed the halfway point in my life.

KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?

SANDRA: Breaking my leg, giving birth, completing a marathon.

KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?

SANDRA: My parents, my 6th grade teacher, the mom of a TBI (traumatic brain injury) patient I did private duty for, and my husband. My parents taught me the importance of kindness, empathy, generosity, and hard work. My 6th grade teacher taught me that anything is possible. This mom, Joyce, taught me perseverance. She encouraged me to write. And publish. And, my husband has taught me patience, with which I continue to struggle. 

KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?

SANDRA: My mom always told me, “Sandra, it’s better to give than to receive.” She sure nailed that one! 

KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?

SANDRA: I have to say women, plural. My maternal grandmother, who came to America from Czechoslovakia (Austria-Hungry) at the age of seventeen in 1912, three months after the sinking of the Titanic, and never saw her parents again. She made a life for herself here and lived to be 94. My paternal grandmother, who raised eight children during the depression, had her leg amputated, and died at 69 from a ruptured appendix. And my mom…..who lost her first baby, my sister, in childbirth, and went on to become a nurse at the age of forty. She loved her job….her patients…and I think would have worked for free….just for the opportunity of caring for them.


KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?

SANDRA: No.I don’t think I ever will be. Not if I haven’t accomplished this by now.

KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?

SANDRA: I exercise, (LOVE TO SWIM AND AM SO LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING ABLE TO DO ENDLESS LAPS IN A POOL AGAIN!), read, write, play a variety of musical instruments (all with marginal success), talk to my two AMAZING cats and wiener dog. I eat healthy, get plenty of sleep (well, at least I sleep as well as I can since menopause!!)  And, I am blessed with a wonderfully supportive husband, with whom I really do enjoy spending time. He is the wind beneath my often very floppy wings.

KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?

SANDRA: I don’t believe in bucket lists. I think they actually can be disappointing, because so often it is just about checking off an item and not appreciating the journey that allowed it.