This week’s Share Your Story installment is very special to me. I met Lori Roach last year at FierceCon LA 2019. She joined the Kuel Life Party as a member and we spent an entire weekend connecting – to one other and all of the other amazing women in attendance.
Lori’s smile shines so bright; whatever room she is in lights up. Married for 30 years, a mother to two grown children, Lori now resides in Long Beach, California where she runs her blog, CircleSquareOval. She grew up a ‘military brat’ which meant moving yearly. Lori attributes both her adaptability and her people pleasing to ALWAYS being the ‘new kid’. There’s a great deal to learn from this very wise, seasoned woman. I invite you in.
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?
LORI: I started my blog a little over a year ago. No one would be surprised that I write a blog – I’ve always been a writer. But the fact that I chose an on-line medium that is very technical would shock people, as well as the fact that I am putting myself completely “out there” for anyone in the world to see. I have no great love for technology, and to be honest, it frustrates the hell out of me most of the time. I’ve always joked that I would have been better off if I’d been born in pioneering days. So the fact that I blog, and do all of it myself, surprises even me. It has been a tremendous challenge (and tremendous amount of satisfaction as well)
KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
LORI: Well, I’m writing this during the COVID-19pandemic, so days are pretty quiet. But ultimately, I am an introvert and homebody so my days aren’t tremendously different from before. I spend a good deal of time working on my blog and all that comes with it. Gardening, reading, crafting – I have spent so much of my life caring for others that I feel that I deserve my self-care time indulgence now! Walks – nature is important to me – weekly trips to the dog beach with my dog were a must before the beaches closed down. We could both spend hours there. I meditate every day for at least 15 minutes. I get up early and go to sleep early – I’ve never been a night owl.
“I was always a real chameleon and felt I had to be just to make friends.”
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
LORI: I am still way too much of a people pleaser. My father was in the Navy, which meant we moved every year or so. I was always the new kid. Moving around all of the time, and being a natural introvert and empath, the easiest way for me to fit in was to adopt the behaviors of those around me. I was always a real chameleon and felt I had to be just to make friends. As I’ve aged I feel like I’ve done a better job of being myself and understanding myself instead of mirroring others. But I do not handle conflict well at all – I have a deep-rooted need for people to like me. I’m still learning how to stand up for myself in certain instances.
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
LORI: I give myself a lot of grace. Sometimes I have to remind myself why I do some of the things I choose to do. I remember that I am in control and that things are “mine” outside of belonging to anyone else. I also have my word of the year “shine” – it is my goal to shine in everything I do, and when I’m unmotivated I ask myself “Is this helping me to shine?”. If not, that realization is enough to pull me in and get back to it. I deserve to shine, and the only way I will is if I put in the work to make it so!
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
LORI: It ain’t half bad! Honestly, I am far happier, more confident, and content now in my fifties than I ever was as a child or young adult. The whole “I wish I knew then what I know now” has been very true for me.
“being the center of attention, makes me feel vulnerable”
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
LORI: I am very emotional but I do not like to be vulnerable. I was taught from an early age that they both were not acceptable ways of being. My mother had very definite ideas of who she wanted me to be and how she wanted me to behave – she wanted Little Miss Sunshine. I turned out to be an introverted, anxious, fearful child. So I guess I would say that being noticed, being the center of attention, makes me feel vulnerable, because then it becomes clear that I am not the person I was always told I was “supposed” to be. People who are very extroverted and comfortable in their own skin make me feel vulnerable, because they remind me that I am not like them.
Of course, I am challenging myself to get past all this by choosing to shine!! That’s what aging has done to me – it is turning me into a fighter, even if it’s just an internal battle to be true to myself!
KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
LORI: I can’t really think of any truly defining events, but the way of life I had as a child shaped me in so many ways. As I’ve mentioned, I grew up in a military family. I went to nine schools by the time I reached ninth grade. I was always, always “the new kid” and that was both terrifying and exhausting, having to behave in an extroverted way all the time just to be able to make some friends. Also, knowing that in a year, I’d probably never see any of them ever again. But this same experience also made me very adaptable, patient, and non-judgmental. I feel like I can be friends with anyone and accept others as they are.
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life, and why?
LORI: I’d have to say my maternal grandmother. It seemed that as soon as school let out for the year, my parents would drop my brothers and I at my grandparents’ house on Long Island. We’d live there for the summer, and eventually my parents would pick us up and take us to our new house in whatever new town my father was stationed in. My grandmother was my rock, my stability, my comfort during all those years of constant change. Plus, she and I were a lot alike in personality, so she really understood me well. I was fortunate in that she lived until I was 53, so I had a lot of time with her, even as an adult.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you, and why?
LORI: Michelle Obama is such a powerful role model. I loved her book. She was always driven, goal oriented, and knew where she was headed in life- she even managed to remain her own person as First Lady, which has got to be such a challenge! She has raised her daughters to be two strong women. I have so much respect for her.
KUELLIFE: Are you a grown-up?
LORI: I do feel like a grown-up. Motherhood took care of that – don’t poke the Mama Bear. Sometimes I wish I felt more childlike and free spirited. I can be very silly at times, but for the most part, yep, I’m a grown-up.
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
LORI: #1 is sleep. Sleep is sacred to me. It was a shock when menopause hit, and my worst symptom was constant insomnia. If it weren’t for the sleep deprivation you get with newborns, I think I would have had ten babies.
#2 is meditation. I’ve worked at this off and on for years, but have become far more consistent in the last year or so. Now my day is not complete without at least a short practice
#3 I have friends that I spend time with and don’t include my husband. Sure, we share a bunch of friends, too, but I think it’s important to have some people that are just *my* people and not *ours*. I work at home and the kids are grown, so I have searched hard to create my tribe that is separate from him: people who know me just as me, not as half a couple or someone’s mom.
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
LORI: #1 Visit all 50 states. My goal was to do all 50 by age 50, but that didn’t happen. I still plan to see them all, as I just have 6 left – Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North and South Dakota, and Minnesota. It will be an epic road trip – anyone want to join me?
#2 Live abroad. I’ve lived all over the US, and I have done some travel abroad. I love immersing myself in different cultures, and I would like to try it for longer than just a vacation.
#3 Write a book. Since I was a little girl, this has been a goal.