Lisa Gates is our Kuel Life Expert on Care Giving. We have more than 45 million caregivers right now in the US alone. The average age is 49 and they are predominantly women.
This topic is incredibly relevant and critical for our Community of women. We are lucky to have Lisa on board sharing her advice and insights to those of us who find ourselves in a care giver role. You can read Lisa’s introductory article for Kuel Life – A CareGiver’s Must Read.
Lisa is co-founder of a charity that provides services to seniors, caregivers and youth through intergenerational programs. She also work for HelmsBriscoe, a company that finds venues for group travel and corporate meetings. I am thrilled to share Lisa’s story with you today in our Share Your Story series.
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?
LISA: The fact that I started a nonprofit and quit my full-time secure job along with all of its benefits– a company whom I was with for six years. This will be the second time that I have reinvented myself and literally started over in a new career direction in my later years. I do believe it is never to late to start something new and the beauty of starting it in your later years, is the fact that you can draw from what you learned from your past and, there is oh so much experience to draw upon.
KUELLIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?
LISA: I try to make my days “atypical”, so I don’t get bored. Obviously, with COVID-19, they have become more typical than usual. My goal is to attend three or more professional networking platfroms per week via Zoom and/or educational webinars, so I might learn a new craft or hone my marketing skills.Most recently, it was an onboarding training program regarding the travel and meeting industry.Personally, I try to get to the swimming pool daily for exercise and socialization.I also enjoy making evening meals and trying new recipes.
“I find it hard to shut work off sometimes and truly be present in the moment.”
KUELLIFE: With what do you struggle?
LISA: I still struggle with balance. I find it hard to shut work off sometimes and truly be present in the moment.That is an old habit; and, to this day, I still struggle. Sometimes, one needs to just turn off and wind down and, enjoy the company of another or one’s self. Take time to live with gratitude.
KUELLIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?
LISA: Music is a big motivational tool for me. Depending on the mood or what I feel I need, I listen to several types of genres. Song lyrics have a profound impact on me. I also phone a friend. There is nothing better than receiving support from an inspiring woman.
KUELLIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?
LISA: The old cliché that age is just a number. You choose how young you are through your participation in physical, spiritual, and educational forums. There are so many opportunities that there is just no excuse to feel old! The world is your oyster, so to speak.
KUELLIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
“For me, becoming vulnerable is learning to say how I really feel.”
LISA: Vulnerability is all about taking chances – a chance that something might not work out exactly how you expect or want it to. It is also about sharing something that might be uncomfortable or emotional. Recently, I watched an executive director from an assisted living community, address his COVID-19 case within his building. He handled it with such diplomacy and integrity that I was impressed. I made a comment to him that it took courage to confront the situation and that certainly placed him in a vulnerable position. For me, becoming vulnerable is learning to say how I really feel. I am a fairly, direct woman; however, there are times that I won’t say how I truly feel about something for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or saying what I want to please them.
KUELLIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?
- Traveling to Italy with a Group Study Exchange program with Rotary International. It was my first time out of the country. I traveled with a group, whom I previously didn’t know, prior to becoming selected.
- Packing my car and moving to Florida—sight unseen— I didn’t have a job or much money at the time. It turned out to be the most positive thing I ever did.
- Losing my mother to kidney disease. She taught me to become more philanthropic and to be sure to live life since none of us know how long we have!
KUELLIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?
LISA: First and foremost, my parents. They taught me to be fiercely independent. They both gave back to the community. Both financially, as well as, volunteering. They did that throughout my entire life and taught me the importance of being connected with your community. My father owned a small men’s clothing store. I watched it evolve over the years and at its end cycle, it carried some women’s clothing. It was in existence for three generations! Lessons learned were centered around the importance of customer service and loyalty. That was back in the day when suits were taken to tailors to fit your personal image. I also watched my father stay in business when the malls and outlets opened just to be sure his employees had jobs.
KUELLIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?
LISA: Another old cliché –just be yourself and don’t worry what others think about you! Hard one to live by sometimes.
KUELLIFE: What woman inspires you and why?
LISA: So many women inspire me. Women who live their dream life (whatever that dream may be) and women who give back to society in one form or another. I believe in karma—it is important to give to get.
KUELLIFE: Are you grown-up?
LISA: I live with a man who is 69 and still acts like he is a kid sometimes. I am constantly joking with him about that. Seriously, he has taught me to lighten up and be child-like sometimes. It keeps me young at heart!
KUELLIFE: What do you do for self-care?
LISA: I take time for myself. That could mean going for a walk myself, reading a book, getting a pedicure, or going out to a Happy Hour with one of my female friends. It is all about taking the time to do things that I enjoy doing and are done simply to please myself!
KUELLIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?
LISA: Travel is #1 –experience places that are out of the ordinary; have a small quaint beach house; and spend quality time in the Carolina mountains.