There is power in story telling. There is power in community. There is power in sharing. The more we know about one another; the more we understand; the more powerful we become.
This is Hensley’s.
KUEL LIFE: What are you pursuing now, after 50, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it’s come out of left field?
HENSLEY: A transfer to Europe. I’ve made my whole career in the US and lived in our current home for almost 20 years. But I also recognized how much I benefitted from three years in Japan when I was in elementary school and when the opportunity presented itself to spend a few years in Switzerland, I jumped on the opportunity.
KUEL LIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
HENSLEY: There’s no typical day – but most weeks I travel somewhere on a plane for work for at least a day or two. So one kind of day would involve air travel, staying in a hotel, and lots of client meetings. The days when I am not traveling I try to work from home so I can put my daughter on the bus in the morning, maybe prep dinner while I take conference calls, and eat with my family. The common elements are that I start my day with a run every morning (with VERY few exceptions) and I typically eat the same kinds of breakfast and lunch wherever I am – the consistency provides some sanity for me.
KUEL LIFE: With what do you struggle?
HENSLEY: I struggle to maintain my level of fitness and commitment to my passion – rock climbing. It’s very hard to fit in strength training and climbing given my travel schedule, and so I often beat myself up when I’m not able to climb as well as I think I should. In my 50s I’m working to get rid of the “shoulds” in my life and just enjoy climbing and running regardless of where I am skill-wise.
KUEL LIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
HENSLEY: Setting and keeping a routine is important. I also do a fair amount of work with non-profits, which I find very rewarding. Probably the most important motivation is working to set a good example and be a great Mom to my 10 year old daughter.
KUEL LIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
HENSLEY: In the last 5 years I have found so much support and camaraderie from having close women friends my age, with whom I can share laughter and frustration at the aging process. I read an article a few years back where the author suggested that instead of being critical of the “wear and tear” on your physical body, think instead with gratitude of all the wonderful experiences your body has allowed you to experience. I try to keep that in mind when I get frustrated at changes that don’t conform to Hollywood’s standards of beauty.
KUEL LIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
HENSLEY: Being with friends that I love and trust love me allows me to be vulnerable and share my fears, frustrations, and anxieties. . .but also the joys and milestones I am most proud of.
KUEL LIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
HENSLEY: Spending a summer at Outward Bound at 14. Having the courage to leave my first husband at 32. Having my amazing, generous, strong, and beautiful daughter at 41.
KUEL LIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
HENSLEY: My mother. She set incredibly high standards for me – so high, in fact, that I never felt that I was able to live up to them. I still don’t. But for better or worse she drove me to push myself to try to continuously improve in all aspects of my life – personal, academic, career, motherhood. . .
KUEL LIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
HENSLEY: Forgive yourself for not being perfect.
KUEL LIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
HENSLEY: It’s impossible to pick just one. All of my women friends inspire me in different ways.
KUEL LIFE: Are you grown-up?
HENSLEY: Definitely not.
KUEL LIFE: What do you do for self-care?
HENSLEY: I run every morning. I get out climbing with friends as often as I can. I travel for fun with my family several times a year. I have no skin care routine but I occasionally get a good massage
KUEL LIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
HENSLEY: Hiking in Nepal/the Himalayas. Living and working outside the US (about to check this one off). Living long enough (and staying fit enough) to play with a grandchild/grandchildren someday.