Our Sunday’s Share Your Story, Tammy Guill epitomizes the midlife reinvention. Having worked for others for most of her career, she now runs not one, but two new businesses.
She shares her struggles with losing the love of her life from a long battle with dementia. A story to which many of us can relate. But, also, like many of the amazing women in our Kuel Life Community, Tammy gets up everyday and lives her life with intention, focus, and joy.
This week’s Share Your Story – Tammy Guill.
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?
TAMMY: Being an entrepreneur with two new businesses. I have always worked for others and used my entrepreneurial spirit for my employers, however, I am now venturing out on my own completely.
KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
TAMMY: I live on a 10-acre farm and now that I’m self-employed, my day begins early. I begin my mornings with gratitude and prayer, followed by feeding my animals, watering my large organic vegetable garden, and arriving at my desk by 9am for work. One day a week, I help lead vocal worship at my church and I created and run a ministry called TNT – Tried and True, for our congregation members over 50 years old. We take a monthly trip somewhere in Washington State, to explore new experiences, sights, and tastes and generally get people connected. Many seniors are isolated and this is a fun way to get them out and about and do some challenging things. We’ve also done a workshop where folks created life story books for their families which was a great experience.
“Adjusting to a new life without my husband of 35 years.”
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
TAMMY: Adjusting to a new life without my husband of 35 years. He passed in March, from dementia, after struggling with that debilitating disease for over 15 years. Everywhere on our farm holds a lifetime of memories with him. I miss him terribly, but I’m a Christian and I have peace in knowing he is in a much better place. But, there are days when even my faith doesn’t completely take the pain of losing him so early in life when we had so many years left to share.
“Time is a funny thing – we don’t know how much we’re going to be given.”
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
TAMMY: Time is a funny thing – we don’t know how much we’re going to be given. I value each day and look for special moments that I discover along the way. I try to push myself outside my comfort zone to experience new things to make the most of the time I have.
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
TAMMY: Each woman gets to choose for herself how she accepts aging. For myself, being as independent as possible is the key. Sharing my life with others is imperative and wonderful, but depending on others is a different matter entirely. I have learned that I can always count on myself and my faith to carry me through difficult times.
“Having the courage to open your heart and allow others to truly see you.”
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
TAMMY: Vulnerability is sharing life honestly. Having the courage to open your heart and allow others to truly see you. Get past the self-doubts and refuse to allow yourself to worry about others perceptions of you. Life gives us many opportunities to choose how we want to live our lives… Smile = happy / Frown = confused / No expression = thoughtfulness – I’m an easy to read book.
KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
TAMMY: 1.)My marriage taught me to share and create a harmonious home environment. 2.)I had a riding accident with my horse, that broke 11 vertebrae and three ribs and required me to work an entire year to regain my mobility. This experience taught me to value each moment and I have tremendous compassion for those who struggle with mobility issues. 3.)My husband’s passing confirmed my faith that we are taken “home” to a peaceful and wonderful place.
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
TAMMY: My husband influenced me the most by demonstrating what strength, determination, kindness, and love are all about. He always put my feelings first and I can count on one hand, the times we actually had an argument. He asked for my opinion on every decision and truly valued my input. He taught me to do the same with others.
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
TAMMY: “Take care of yourself.” I have a friend who has taught me that unless we take care of ourselves, we can’t help others to our fullest capacity. There are times when we’re stretched to our physical and mental limits and if we don’t take a moment to breathe and regroup, WE become the liabilities who need care.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
TAMMY: My mother taught me about compassion and serving others. I’ve never known her to put herself first in any situation. She truly has a heart to serve and I believe I learned to love with my whole heart from her.
KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?
TAMMY: Absolutely NOT!I approach my life experiences with the mind of a child and search to see the wonder around me.
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
TAMMY:I get a massage once a month, enjoy my animals and listen for the quiet. My favorite thing is to build a fire in my outdoor chiminea on my deck and enjoy the birdsong after a long day.
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
TAMMY: I heard once that the only thing that limits us is our own imagination. I like that, as I have an active one. My top three bucket list items are to view the Northern Lights from a glass igloo and explore Italy along Cinque Terre, the Island of Capri and Rome. Lastly, I’d love to take a journey to Scotland castles and the Cotswold villages in England.