SECOND ACT OF THE MONTH AWARD
Each month, we give the 50PlusToday SECOND ACT Award to an individual who made an intentional decision to change gears in this phase of life. It’s our goal to recognize and support people who reinvented themselves at age 50Plus and we choose recipients who are creative, innovative and inspiring to others. Their pivot might involve a new career, business, community effort or lifestyle. A successful, happy and meaningful life means different things to different people; reading what others did might start you thinking about your next journey! The bottom line is that your second half of your life can be as good as, if not better than, the first! We hope to inspire our readers with success stories from others. (Is there someone you know that created a wonderful second act that you would like to nominate? Complete this form to submit their name for consideration!)
The recipient for August 2022 is Linda Hansen
After retirement, Linda finally had time to nurture her creative side and started taking watercolor classes. Her interest in art soon became a passion that led her to embark on a whole new adventure, writing a book. At age 77, Linda authored and illustrated her first children’s book, which she published earlier this year. It’s never too late to start something new!
We asked Linda about her journey; here’s what she told us:
50PlusToday: What are your unique skills that contribute to your success?
LH: I have always been entrepreneurial and worked as an independent contractor my entire life.
50PlusToday: What did you do before starting your entrepreneurial journey?
LH: My husband, a hairdresser, and I opened a salon in 1972 with $2000. Half was from a bank loan, and the other from our finances. I ran the business. By the time we divorced in 1977, the salon grossed over $350,000 annually. I lost the business in the divorce and found myself unemployed. From 1980 to 1995 I worked in a variety of jobs; I worked as a professional make-up artist for TV/film and selling real estate, and everything in between.
Long story short, in 1995 I became the Executive Director of an extremely small non-profit. In fact, I was the only employee and all I received to start was a checking account with $2000. I left the organization with over $2,000,000 in investments when I retired in 2015 at age 70. During those years, I taught myself to write grants and create programs. I also founded a camp for burn-injured children, and designed a book to help build self-esteem.
50PlusToday: Tell us about what you are doing now.
LH: I recently started life over again. In February, 2022, I became a first-time, self-published author/illustrator of a children’s picture book called Otto the Otter, A Big Surprise. I currently spend my time marketing and selling my book, making presentations to book clubs, schools, and giving interviews on podcasts and YouTube.
50PlusToday: What passion led you to start this new endeavor?
LH: I discovered this passion by accident. In 2018, I started painting as I always had an interest in art, but did not have time to pursue it while working. Ironically, I realized I was a ‘face painter’ during the years I worked as a professional make-up artist! After I painted for awhile, a neighbor who liked my work urged and nagged me, starting in May 2021, to write a book. And so I did.
50PlusToday: How does your age and experience help in your success?
LH: Through the years, I was involved in many aspects of my careers. I am definitely a hands-on type of person and developed expertise in a wide variety of areas. I also learned to work with large numbers of people in different capacities, which is very helpful when trying to market my book.
50PlusToday: What unique skills did you have from your previous job/business/lifestyle that help you in this new position?
LH: My skills are unique because I have had so many careers. In just about every position I held, I had to think on my feet and ‘out of the box’.
50PlusToday: What advice would you give someone in this age group searching for their meaningful second act?
LH: My advice to anyone in this age group or any other is to just ‘do it’.
50PlusToday: Finally, please give us three random facts about yourself.
- Three days after I graduated high school, at age17, I took a bus from my hometown of St. Louis, MO to Boston, MA for a summer job.
- I worked as a cashier at the Festival Movie Theater in New York City in 1964 where Al Pacino worked as an usher. We developed a friendship that lasted many years.
- At age 42, in 1984, I decided to start weight training and competed as a body builder against young women in their very early 20’s. Guess what? I took 2nd place in my weight class in a competition.
50PlusToday: Your favorite quote:
‘If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.’