– as told to The Silver Women
Women who inspired you as a young girl?
My sister, Patricia Bell. Managing director of wealth management at Merrill Lynch, philanthropist, best friend to many. She took care of me when I was young and bounced back from the most difficult trials in our childhood. She always was on a forward moving path. I learned to work hard by following her lead. She taught me, unconditional love.
Women who inspire you now?
Still my sister, Patricia Bell. My daughters, Elenore and Anabel Simotas.
Two friends, I admire Judy Clain and Shelley Sonenberg.
Most valuable lesson taught by your Mother or any other women growing up?
My Grandmother “Don’t be afraid” & “Don’t mess with me.”
Do you think older women are valued or celebrated enough?
Tricky question. Do you mean by society, family, workplace?
“As with any labeled group,
I believe it is the job of the individual to celebrate themselves. Everything else is just illusion.”
Through the decades!
20s: No regrets! Might have read a few more novels…seen a few more films….learned to be a better knitter.
30s: Worked 24/7.
Looking back, I might have taken a little time for myself or to enjoy my girls more. I was a work machine for this decade. It had its payoffs and I try not to look back. I will, however, advise my children and anyone else who asks to try & seek balance.
Obsession has no place in the heart.♥
40s: Yikes! 40’s were the lead up to now. I had to make some hard, deep, choices in my 40’s and then live with those paths I chose. Lots of painful moments. Today I know I took the road which was best for me. Phew!
50s: Just in. So far so great!
Ask me again in 5 years!
For the future decades…Hoping to be grey and happy and speak a second language.
What are you most grateful for?
I am grateful for every step I take. My children fill me with joy and gratitude is a daily reminder of our good fortune.
I am GRATEFUL for everything.
Has there been a significant circumstance good or bad that changed your outlook on life?
I had the good luck to avoid the darkness most of my life, or so I thought. In my 40’s, I found myself in a situation that was dark. It took every ounce of strength to pull myself out. I will never be the same and am grateful to have seen the other side.
“Making mistakes is part of life. Finding the courage not to repeat them is the ultimate struggle.”
Have you made career changes over the years?
Yes. Kind of. Sort of.
My latest venture prinkshop.
We design advocacy campaigns for the worlds most pressing social issues and silkscreen the graphics on Tee shirts and totes. The individual wears the statement as a Superhero wears their mark.We also produce in factories with a social mission. We just made hundreds of units for the Autism Speaks annual fundraiser. Each of the totes was silkscreened in a factory where 73% of the employees have Autism. Full circle!
Thoughts on aging,
The downside…Feels pretty natural. The downside is not standing out to me. I feel better than I felt 20 years ago…so it’s mostly upside for now.
The upside…Funny, in some societal ways it’s “ game over.“
What most women don’t understand is that this makes it so much easier to play.
Your advice to young women of today?
Have no fear. And don’t let anyone mess with you.
Images courtesy of Pamela Bell unless credited otherwise.
FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!
Book/Novel: The year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.
Just so damn romantic. I could re-read every sentence for a lifetime.
Song: Gravity by Sara Bareilles
It reminds me of my eldest daughter. She sings this song and I am slain.
Film: One I have not seen.
Scent: Eau D’Hadrien by Annick Goutal
Flower: Coral Peony
Style Icon: My daughter, Anabel…Seriously
City or place: Somewhere I have not been.
Skincare product you can’t live without: Tinted Sunscreen from Kiehls
Make-up product: Eyelash curler
Food/Meal/Cuisine: White rice with salt & olive oil
Artist: Helen Frankenthaler & my daughter Elenore Simotas