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An empty nester, Maria Leonard Olsen is trying to see as much of the world as she possibly can. Over the past year, she has lived in Medellín, Colombia; Antigua, Guatemala; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. She even traveled to Antarctica recently and camped on the ice!
Maria’s passion is helping people reinvigorate their lives. She uses her podcast, Becoming Your Best Version, to amplify the voices of inspiring women, and her TEDx talk was meant to help people not feel alone in their traumas. She’s working on her next book about the legal ramifications of DNA test discoveries, following her surprise (at the age of 54) that the father who raised her is not her biological father. You can connect with Maria Leonard Olsen on LinkedIn.
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IN WHICH GENERATION DO YOU BELONG?
Generation Jones: 1955 – 1964
DO YOU WORK? IF SO, WHAT DO YOU DO?
I’m a civil litigation attorney, author, journalist, and public speaker.
HOW ARE YOU MOST DIFFERENT FROM THE 25-YEAR-OLD VERSION OF YOU?
I am no longer afraid. I have dropped the rock of caring what others think of me because I realize that I can control no one but myself. It took me five decades to accept that truth because I was a chronic people-pleaser.
WHAT HAS NOT CHANGED ABOUT YOU?
I am still an extrovert who loves trying new things.
GOOD OR BAD, WHAT ABOUT MIDLIFE HAS SURPRISED YOU SO FAR?
I am surprised at the need to practice self-forgiveness and the power of doing so. I am surprised at how few material things I need to be happy. I am surprised at how great it feels to let go.
WHAT ONE HABIT ARE YOU ACTIVELY WORKING ON THESE DAYS?
Slowing down. I know that I have lived more life than I have ahead of me, and so I don’t want to waste a moment. I know how much joy I get from savoring life’s pleasures, though, so I have to stop myself from rushing sometimes.
WHAT BRINGS YOU THE MOST JOY THESE DAYS AND WHY?
Beauty in nature. It surrounds us and is so plentiful, but I took it for granted in many ways. I no longer do that, and my life has been elevated as a result. Take time to watch the sun rise and set. It’s a miracle and not guaranteed. Look at the trees. They thrive if given what they need, as do we.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THESE DAYS?
Paying forward my hard-fought lessons. When I help another person, my pain getting there was worth it.
IF YOU COULD GIVE A 20-YEAR-OLD PERSON SOME WORDS OF WISDOM OR PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT MIGHT IT BE?
If something is worrying you, write it down and put it in a box. Then let it go. After a month, read what you wrote. Nothing you worried about came to fruition. This practice can help you let go and stop spending energy on what you cannot control.
AND THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION: WHO WAS YOUR FAVORITE SINGER/BAND GROWING UP?
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