Vulnerability Undoes Shame – Janice, 53….and a half

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The ‘Share Your Story; the Women the WSJ Missed!‘ series continues. We’re on week seven, but no worries ladies; there are many, many REAL women who are ready to share their stories with our Kuel Life Community. And, I am committed to telling them.

This week I share Janice Vitale with the Kuel Life Community.

At 53 – and a half, Janice is reclaiming parts of herself that she’s covered up for too long (dreams, inklings, and her authentic/creative self). This is her story:

KUEL LIFE: 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?

JANICE: I signed up for a life coach training program. Never in a million years did I think I’d be taking another class.

KUEL LIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?

JANICE: I wake up around 4 am (yay menopause!) and take a shower. My job, as a mental health therapist, can be very stressful and I need to be present and focused; I can’t just fake it. So I do a little yoga and meditation every morning because it makes me feel more centered. I recently reduced my hours at work in order to reduce my stress. On the way to work, I mentally set my intention for the day and listen to inspiring, educational, or entertaining podcasts. I see six to seven clients a day on my full days. I generally have only five minutes or so in between clients. To combat stress I always take my full lunch hour and do things that replenish me; like talking and laughing with co-workers, eating a healthy lunch, going for a walk, or meditating. After work, it’s more podcasts on the way home. Sometimes stress kicks my butt and I end up on the couch watching reality TV to escape a bit. Other nights, I take a walk by myself or with my husband, and sometimes I even go for walks with my kitties in the woods by our house. People think this is ridiculous but my cats really do go for little walks with me. I cannot say enough positive things about the restorative powers of cat walks!

KUEL LIFE: With what do you struggle?

JANICE: I struggle with negative self-talk and negative core beliefs, depression, food/weight, and stress.

KUEL LIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

JANICE: I should have said I struggle with motivation too! It’s something I am always working on. I feel so much better when I am exercising, eating healthy foods, and doing things that replenish me. Depression creeps in when I am not doing those things. I am very driven to feel purposeful and not depressed.

KUEL LIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?

JANICE: Embrace your age. Don’t hide it. Tell people your age and be proud! We need to undo the shame and internalized ageism that we all have lurking about inside us. (I have only recently embraced this idea). Did you know that people who have positive views on aging live, on average, seven years longer than those who view it negatively?! 

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

JANICE: I’ve been working hard at being more open and sharing my story. Being vulnerable has lots of benefits. It helps us to undo the shame that lurks inside us and it inspires others to do the same!

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

JANICE: Wow! These are deep questions and I love them! Flunking out of college, getting divorced, and marrying current hubby. I am going to be a rule breaker and add more: going on an Outward Bound trip in my 20s, getting fired, going sky diving, and being a “Big Sister” in the Big Brother Big Sister program.

KUEL LIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?

JANICE: Anyone and everyone who demonstrated authenticity, showed vulnerability, wasn’t afraid to do things their own way, and spoke their truth. These attributes have been important to me my entire life and continue to be; as I uncover who I really am, without the detritus of negative beliefs covering up my authentic self.

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

JANICE: Don’t have kids unless you really want them…..like a bone deep longing for them. I never felt that way and decided not to have kids. It was a very good decision for me.

KUEL LIFE: What woman inspires you and why?

JANICE: I don’t have any specific woman who inspires me. I am inspired by any woman who shows up authentically!

KUEL LIFE: Are you grown-up?

JANICE: Probably not.

KUEL LIFE: What do you do for self-care?

JANICE: Meditation; laughing; watching comedy (tv, movies, and stand-up); listening to podcasts; watching reality TV; playing with my cats; doing fun things with my hubby; talking to my sister; embracing creativity; creating opportunities for creative expression at work; going for walks; deep breathing; mindfulness; talking to my sister in law; supporting others; embracing my creativity; taking antidepressants when I need them; going to counseling; reading; learning new things; and resting when I need to. I could go on and on. I’ve had to get really good at self-care.

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

JANICE: I don’t really have a bucket list but three things I would like to do are: write a book, sleep 8 hours in a row, and go to India and/or Nepal.

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