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Happiness Is A Choice – Annette, 52

Annette Duke SYSWSJ 03012020

They say March comes in like a LION; so who better to lead off this month’s Share Your Story series than Instagram rockstar, Annette Duke, aka @Reinventing50s? With over 45k followers, Annette takes many of us along with her on her exciting travel and beauty adventures. 

Yes; she exhibits a great deal of glamour and style – and who doesn’t love her mane of hair? Yet, when you talk to Annette she’s incredibly grounded. I am honored to share her story with the Kuel Life community this Sunday.

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?

ANNETTE: I am a really linear type of person and a Taurus on top of it!! At this stage of my life to be a content creator and have the ability to exercise this muscle that I never nurtured, is incredibly joyful for me and a surprise to my friends who knew me as corporate chic!!

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

ANNETTE: I wish I could tell you it is all glamorous and that I hit the gym after my green drink in the morning…but the truth is, I’m in my PJ until 9:00 every morning and that is after a rundown on all my social channels. From there, its anybody’s guess as to what the day looks like. I have been invited to red carpet events on the same day, spa invitations at lunch and tasting menus by 4:00. I love that about my life! 

KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?

“We don’t have offices and co-workers, so a lot of times you can be burnt out and tired of your job, but nobody can relate.”

ANNETTE: I think we all struggle with being isolated in this industry. We don’t have offices and co-workers, so a lot of times you can be burnt out and tired of your job, but nobody can relate. So in order to keep creative, you need a network of artists and friends to keep you going when you have self-doubt and are stressed out.

KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

ANNETTE: Mantras!!! They are wonderful and they work!! One of my favorites is: This too shall pass. I say this a lot!! But it puts everything back into perspective for me and keeps me motivated to move forward and not linger on what is not positive in my life.

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

ANNETTE: It’s coming! Be the best YOU, not the best ME. In Hollywood and on line, you see so many women fighting the good fight but not really coming into their own and being the best version of themselves. I think it is important to remember to love yourself first and then you can love everyone else better.

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

“I am still working on accepting the fact that I am not in control of everything around me and that I don’t have to have all the answers.”

ANNETTE: I’m not good with being vulnerable. It probably comes from having to be a boss for so many years, so I am still working on accepting the fact that I am not in control of everything around me and that I don’t have to have all the answers. I’m probably most vulnerable in group situations. I feel the need to be of service to everyone and a leader and obviously you can’t be everything to everybody!

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

ANNETTE: I don’t know if I would say it helped, but the death of my first husband was staggering in terms of how it changed the trajectory of my life. I was very young and had two babies. What came out of it was a woman who was stronger than she realized and more powerful than she could have ever imagined. I realized that I could depend on myself alone to take care of my family, buy a home, and run a business.  

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

ANNETTE: Hands down, my father. He was an incredible man who had overcome social adversity in the 60s and went on to be the first in his family to attend college at UCLA and became an attorney. He was a philosopher of life and all its beauty, and I have cherished memories of us sitting on the couch after dinner having long talks about life. Being able to have a voice in my home was important, so we would have these great talks around the table about a lot of different subjects; anything from Greek mythology to current events. He taught me so much in terms of doing the right thing, working hard, and serving others. He was a cool guy and I miss him dearly!!

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

ANNETTE: I had my cousin tell me one time that happiness is a choice. And she was right. Just that small statement had a big impact on my outlook. It was one of those things that seemed so cliché, but I heard it with a different attitude that day, and it made such a difference in my life.

KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?

ANNETTE: My daughter. She is an incredible woman. She is patient, where I am not. She is insightful, where I don’t see it. And she is naturally talented, whereas I work at it. She inspires me daily and I seek her advice on a lot of things!

KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?

ANNETTE: Gawd, no! I’m super immature! Hahaha. I still chase shiny things and have so much joy that I don’t sleep well because I can’t wait to wake up the next morning.

KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?

ANNETTE: I meditate. And I pray. It is my way of recharging my soul so that I can be the best for others. And it is amazzzzing how great I feel afterwards.

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

ANNETTE: Oooo! So many things, but my top three are:
1. I want to sail to destinations uncharted around the world with my husband.
2. Work on humanitarian projects to save the antiquities of the world. (I’m working on that currently!)
3. Live long enough to see grown grandchildren and have those same talks on the couch with them that I had with my dad.

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4 thoughts on “Happiness Is A Choice – Annette, 52

  1. Annette says:

    Many thanks, Nancy for your sweet comments. We all have had dark moments, but it’s so wonderful to know that we have the choice to move into the light.

    Thank you again and looking forward to hearing more from you on Kuel Life. ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Nancy says:

    What an inspiring story. I’m sorry about the loss of your husband. Meditation and prayer have taken me personally through a lot lately and your mantra “happiness is a choice” is very true. I often say we cannot control what happens in our life but we can control how we react. Your daughter is beautiful,

    Glad to have read about you!

    • KUEL LIFE says:

      Thanks for reaching out Nancy. It is remarkable, after tragedy, to choose happiness. Glad you were able to relate to Annette’s story. Thank you for tuning into Kuel Life. I am committed to bringing women in midlife meaningful, relatable content.

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