Discover Yourself Over 50 & Thriving Series

Over 50 & Thriving: How Experiencing Tough Times help us to Thrive

June 8, 2018



I recently wrote about how being resilient in life helps us to Thrive.  My next guest in the Over 50 & Thriving series has proven her resilience by facing up and conquering tough times in her life.  Jennifer Jones, from Next Phase Fitness has certainly had her fair share of tough times.  But as she writes in her contribution to the series, she believes that we have to work hard to thrive – it doesn’t just happen. Today, she shares her stories and tips on how we can Thrive.

I met Jen, just before the AtoZ Challenge and we have become firm friends.  Another, Aussie, Jen and I both have a love of keeping fit and active in common and the desire to inspire other women to become healthier in their Midlife & Beyond.  Don’t forget to connect with Jen, through her website and social mediate links which are at the end of the post.

How Experiencing Tough Times help us to Thrive

How Experiencing Tough Times help us to Thrive

Thriving doesn’t just happen. Or it didn’t for me. I had to work hard at it, and found I had to set things in place, to ensure that my life was humming along exactly as I wanted.  But I had to go through some tough times first, before even starting to think about whether I would ever thrive again.  The saying is ‘before a breakthrough you need to have a breakdown’, and that was certainly the case for me. Thriving in my mind, means having fun and enjoying life. It means being eager to face the new day, with a life that excites and causes me to feel enthusiastic.Those things were definitely not happening in my life for a while there, until I made a few necessary changes.

The breakdown occurred after my divorce, which came as a shock to me. Before I knew it, I was a single person, living alone. I felt I had lost my identity, and my sense of who I was. I moved away to another city, for a new start and this increased my feeling of isolation. It seemed to me, that I had also lost my family. The next  years were tough, but I soon realised that I would have to build up my resistance, adaptability and resilience.  I saw that I would need to  create a new identity and bring changes to my life, in order to thrive.

For a while, as I tried to create a life that I loved for myself, I really struggled. I was facing one challenge after another, until one day, I realised that I was laughing again and I was happy. Since then I can honestly say that, as I’ve built my new life, I have definitely thrived.

These days, I very selfishly choose what I want to do and toss out what I doesn’t interest me.  I feel I have earned that right, as my younger and middle years were taken up with raising a family and running a very busy business. Now in the final third of my life, I am exerting my right to choose.

And as I do that, I am thriving!

Occasionally, problems might sneak in that drag me down but I’m now quick to notice them, and do what needs to be done, so I can start to thrive again. Thriving is much more enjoyable than the feeling of not thriving in life.

I plan to keep thriving as I age, by being healthy enough to keep up an active lifestyle. I hope to be doing all activities  that I do now, until the day I die. If I wish to do them of course.  When I retire I expect to be able to spend hours doing what I want to do when I want to do it.

In the past, there was an expectation that once a person, especially a female reached the age of 60, it was time to slow down, sit on the couch and watch TV or read a book. Thankfully this attitude has changed, as  over 60s are spreading the word that it’s possible to stay active and be fit.

I am so thankful for this change in attitude. I intend to keep active and keep thriving towards my century! I have come to realise, that I need certain things in my life, that are important to me, to line up correctly, in order for me to thrive.


My home life now is very happy and harmonious. I have an awesome partner who always encourages fun and a positive outlook. We met when we worked together and firstly developed a relationship as work colleagues and friends. I’m sure this deep friendship  we have is why our relationship is so successful. Love is different when you’re older. Of course, I’m not saying that there is no romance. But our relationship is not built on the mushy, lovey dovey stuff of teenagers. We are more about being great mates who are committed to each other, committed to having fun and who love each other’s company.

As much as I love where I live, and have no desire to ever move, the one disadvantage, is that I am about two hours away from family. At first, when I moved to this area, I found it difficult to settle, because I wanted to be closer to my parents, my children and particularly grandchildren.

My first grandchild was born just six months after I moved away, and that added to the difficulty of settling in this city. I never ever thought that I would be a long distance Nanna and it took me ages to come to term with that.  I still don’t like it, but  I can’t change it, so I refuse to let it drag me down.

I’d prefer to concentrate on the positives of being a long distance grandparent. When I’m retired, I know that I will be able to see family more often and I look forward to that very much.


In 2015, when I sold my business, I gave up full time work.  After not working for about eighteen months, I then began casual work in a supermarket. This is entirely different work to my career, but it’s been perfect for me.  I love that I can be busy some weeks, and not so busy others weeks. It gives me the opportunity to try out being almost retired, some weeks, but knowing there will be extra hours to work in other weeks. At my stage of life, this is a much better alternative to being tied to an office desk for 38 hours every week. It’s my opinion that casual work is a great transition to retirement, which,  I’m now thinking about, as I  very quickly approach retiring age.


This is a non-negotiable for me. To thrive, I must have the opportunity to spend time outdoors. Whether it be walking the dog, bushwalking, cycling or gardening, I just need to spend time outside every day. Without that opportunity, I feel myself feeling flat. It’s not only the light that I need, but the activity. When I’m exercising, particularly outside, I know that I am thriving.  There is no doubt.


One of the most important parts of my life keeping up with my fitness regime and also looking after my health. Hopefully, all that I have done for my health in the long term, will make retirement more enjoyable.  My sense of well being is very high, when I’m feeling healthy and when I’m following a rigid exercise regime.

I love to set goals, both short and long term, and tend to get very enthusiastic when I have a challenge or goal to work towards. Goal setting helps me to work towards being the best I can be, and therefore is a huge contributor to my thriving as I age. Exercise also brings fun into my life. No matter the age, we all need a bit of fun in our lives. I’m sure that it would be impossible to thrive without having fun.

My attitude to confidence has also changed.

As a young person, I had very little confidence. Somehow, as I have aged, I have developed a self confidence in myself, without even thinking about it. I’m aware that I’m not a perfect being, and never will be a perfect being. Once, that thought would have really stabbed at my confidence. Now I can  appreciate that it is just a fact of my life, and I am who I am. Having confidence definitely helps me thrive, as I tell myself, that yes, I may be old, but I am still a work in progress, and I can feel happy about that.

Recently, as I have reflected on my life, I have realised how important acceptance is to me – acceptance of who I am and acceptance that certain things that  happened in my life, were beyond my control. Now I have that acceptance, I don’t carry those concerns on my shoulders, as I once would have done.

With acceptance, I can thrive and even soar, making it possible to enjoy today without worrying about yesterday’s problems or what might happen tomorrow. I very much look forward to the next phase of life in retirement. I have no doubt that I will thrive and life will be very fulfilling and amazing.


Meet Jennifer

I am a very proud mother of two sons and one daughter, and Nanny to three gorgeous little boys. I have passed midlife and am now into my sixties, celebrating heading towards the last third of my life. The thought of the years that have passed being more than the number of the years in front of me, doesn’t make me feel at all sad. It make me feel very excited and enthusiastic about the years to come. Most people know me as being very much into fitness and health. My preferred activities are gym, hiking and cycling. I’m also a dog lover and mum to three four legged balls of energy.

I am committed to spreading the word that exercise is not only possible, but is an enjoyable activity for older people. I have decided that my mission in life from now on will  be  to do all I can to encourage women over 50, that exercise, along with healthy living is possible and worthwhile.

Connect with Jennifer

Have you learned to be resilient by experiencing tough times in your life?  How did you cope?  Join the conversation and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you are Over 50 and would like to contribute to the Over 50 & Thriving Series, I would love to hear from you.  Send me an email at and I can provide more details.

Click here to catch up on my previous guests in Over 50 & Thriving Series
Or you can subscribe here so you never miss a post and receive a FREE Copy of my latest e-book ’10 ways to start Thriving today’!
Don’t forget to post your Instagram photos using the hashtag #over50andthriving.

Let’s Keep Sizzling!

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  • Reply samfiftysomething June 8, 2018 at 02:26

    Lovely to read about Jennifer. I’m so glad after a difficult time in your life you’ve turned it all round and are happy and healthy. I also love to stay fit and active as an over 50 mid lifer, I too believe it to be so important. Enjoyed reading 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 8, 2018 at 06:28

      Hi Sam! Thanks for stopping by and I agree, Jennifer certainly proves that we can face difficult times and come out the other side. I am so jealous of her as she has a home gym! She can just get out of bed and walk straight into her well-equipped gym – now that would be a luxury for me. Have a great day and glad you enjoyed Jennifer’s contribution 🙂

    • Reply Jennifer Jones June 11, 2018 at 16:11

      Hi Sam good to hear you understand the importance of exercisers for midlifers. Pleased you enjoyed reading this post.

  • Reply Retirement Reflections June 8, 2018 at 10:38

    Hi, Jennifer, I love your blog and enjoyed reading more about you here. We have much in common (gym, hiking, Camino, blogger and dog lover…check, check, check check and double check)! I look forward to reading more of your posts.
    Thanks, Sue, for featuring Jennifer this week!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 8, 2018 at 16:30

      Hi Donna, I agree that you and Jennifer do have much in common. I am jealous of her well fitted home gym! Glad that you have discovered Jennifer and I know you will enjoy reading more of her posts. Have a great weekend! xx

    • Reply Jennifer Jones June 11, 2018 at 16:12

      Thank you so much Donna for your kind comments.Yes we do seem to have quite a bit in common, which I have noticed on your blog by the way,

  • Reply Kathy Marris June 8, 2018 at 14:48

    Hi Jennifer, I loved reading your story and how you survived adversity in your life. It gives others strength to realise that they’re not alone going through separation, loneliness and isolation. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 8, 2018 at 16:31

      Hi Kathy, Jennifer’s story is an inspirational one isn’t it? Thanks for stopping by and have a beautiful weekend x

    • Reply Jennifer Jones June 11, 2018 at 16:14

      Thanks for reading my post Kathy. I really do hope others can gain strength from my experiences.

  • Reply leannelc June 8, 2018 at 15:16

    I really enjoyed this Jennifer – I think the two words that stood out for me were “resilience” and “choice” Tough times build resilience if we have the right attitude going through them – and our choices are what make or break us. Going through a divorce you can choose to curl up and die or you can choose to push through and creat a new life for yourself (which you’ve done so well). More women need to read this!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 8, 2018 at 16:36

      Hi Leanne, Divorce can be so traumatic even if it is ‘amicable’ as it was in my case. Jennifer really has shown how resilient she is and I’m so happy that she is now enjoying life again x

    • Reply Jennifer Jones June 11, 2018 at 16:16

      Hi Leanne, you are very perceptive. As I set about writing the post, I had resilience and choice in my mind. Hopefully we build resilience through our experiences and gain the confidence with age to make the choices that we want to make.

  • Reply Candi Randolph June 9, 2018 at 06:25

    The tough times in my life have definitely helped me to begin to thrive again in my 60’s. Like Jennifer, I am ‘Nana’ to long distance grandchildren. It’s not always easy but I work hard to make them a priority. Thanks for sharing Jennifer’s experiences with us, Sue!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 10, 2018 at 08:38

      Hi Candi, it must be hard at times being a long distance ‘Nana’ but then that would make the times you do get to spend with them so much sweeter!

    • Reply Jennifer Jones June 11, 2018 at 16:18

      Thanks for visiting Candi. Being a long distance Nanny is so hard. I’m hoping as my grandchidren get a bit older, and in my retirement that they can come and stay for the holidays. We need to look at the positives and this is one that I’m looking forward to.

  • Reply Christie Hawkes June 9, 2018 at 06:39

    There’s so much to love in this post, Jennifer! Resilience, self-confidence, acceptance, and physical activity are all crucial to thriving. You seem to have hit on all the key points. Thanks for helping to get the message out that healthy habits are important at any age. I’m taking this 56-year-old body to run a 10k tomorrow morning!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 10, 2018 at 08:39

      Hi Christie, I agree with your thoughts about Jennifer’s post and it is great to see another Over 50 Woman spreading the word about keeping fit and active. Enjoy your run! x

    • Reply Jennifer Jones June 11, 2018 at 16:20

      Hi Christie, I have no doubt that you are thriving through activity. I’ve been loving reading about your adventures on your blog. Hope you enjoyed your run. Thanks again for visiting and for your kind comments.

  • Reply Natalie June 9, 2018 at 08:46

    Thanks, Jennifer, for sharing your story of strength and resilience. I love to stay fit and active, too. Thanks, Sue, for featuring Jennifer. Have a great weekend!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 10, 2018 at 08:48

      I’m loving our group Natalie as we are all like minded when it comes to staying fit and active. You have a great weekend too! x

    • Reply Jennifer Jones June 11, 2018 at 16:21

      Thank you for visiting Natalie. I’m pleased you enjoyed reading it.

  • Reply Johanna June 9, 2018 at 16:56

    Really enjoyed this post Jennifer and learnt from it too. You have certainly shown great strength and resilience. I also believe that staying fit and active is so important as we age 🙂

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 10, 2018 at 08:44

      Hi Jo, we seem to be singing from the same song sheet re health and fitness. We only have one body don’t we? We need to take care of it even more as we age and I think our generation has realised this and are making it a priority. x

    • Reply Jennifer Jones June 11, 2018 at 16:23

      Hi Jo. We are definitely on the same wave length in regard to health and fitness. It is so important to both our physical and mental health. We know that, but it’s great that we can all put the word out amongst our networks.

    • Reply Jennifer Jones June 11, 2018 at 16:25

      Hi Jo, We are definitely on the same wavelength in regard to health and fitness. It’s so important to both our physical and mental health. It’s great that we can put the word out on our blogs, amongst our networks.

  • Reply Karen Hume June 9, 2018 at 20:19

    Hi Jennifer. Thanks for sharing your story, tough times and all. You’re an excellent example of resilience in action. Your passion for spreading the word about the importance of exercise in the final third of life will undoubtedly help you to remain resilient and strong for a long time to come. A sense of mission or purpose tends to do that 🙂

    Question for you, Jennifer- When did you become committed to an exercise habit? Was that something you’ve had in place your entire life, or did it emerge after your divorce and subsequent breakdown? If it’s the latter and you’ve written about it somewhere, please let me know where to find that information. I’m very interested in the thinking that prompts major life changes at this stage in our lives.

    Thanks, Sue, for featuring Jennifer’s story. As you can see, I find it quite fascinating.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 10, 2018 at 08:42

      Hi Karen, I love your question for Jennifer as I believe we all have times in our lives which, although tough, can also motivate us to look after ourselves. My answer would be turning 50 and being encouraged by younger women that I could run – even though I didn’t have that confidence in myself.

    • Reply Jennifer Jones June 11, 2018 at 16:31

      Hi Karen, I love your question,as it’s always the question I would ask. This topic of late adopting of exercise really interests me, even though I wasn’t that late. I was a couch potato until I turned 30. I blogged about my ‘epiphany’ during the A-Z Challenge on my other blog here #AtoZChallenge H for Health and Fitness | Tracking Down The Family Once discovering exercise, health and fitness, it’s been a feature of my life ever since.

  • Reply Jennifer Jones June 10, 2018 at 19:13

    Hi Sam good to hear you understand the importance of exercisers for midlifers. Pleased you enjoyed reading this post

  • Reply Jennifer Jones June 11, 2018 at 16:34

    Hi Sue, I’d just like to say a big thanks to you for encouraging me to write this post. Also, congratulations on the fantastic community of midlifers that you’ve nurtured here. I am really loving the new blogger friends that I’m making, mostly through this site.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 11, 2018 at 18:31

      Oh it was my pleasure Jen as your story was just so inspiring to us all. You have shown that determination build resilience and that we really are stronger than we believe at the time. Thank you for your kind words about my nurturing the community of midlife bloggers. I like to promote us all and help us all to connect. You have made my day with your comments and thank you for being my guest – I hope you will be a guest in the future as well. xx

  • Reply Debbie Harris June 15, 2018 at 00:55

    I really enjoyed reading Jennifer’s story and learning more about her. Thanks Sue and Jennifer for sharing so honestly. It’s inspiring reading about all these amazing women who are just doing what has to be done. Thanks Sue for sharing.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric June 15, 2018 at 08:23

      I’m loving all of the women who are contributing Deb and learning so much from you all. We certainly have a fabulous generation of role models. xx

    • Reply Jennifer Jones June 15, 2018 at 18:20

      Thank you for your kind comments Deb. I’m also loving this series.

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