Series – Everyday Women Who Have Redefined After 50: Judith Pratt-JefferiesOct 10, 2020
What an amazing and gutsy woman. It was a joy to sit and chat with Judith Pratt-Jefferies and I look forward to many more interactions with her in the future.
Judith was a dietician who made the decision to finish her professional training when she felt that her kids were at an age where she could do that. She went through an intense practicum and worked in the field in various upper level capacities until she took an early retirement. She then continued working part time both as a consultant as well as in a government position afterwards.
Throughout all of this, Judith had a dream. And one day, she rented out her home in Toronto, picked up, and moved to….
The Dominican Republic!!
She picked up and moved to the Domincan Republic AFTER 50! She now lives a short walk from the beach where she goes every day, looks at the water, and says “Thank you.”
Why the Dominican? “I’d traveled a lot. It felt like home It felt like the place I wanted to be. The air was soft. I’m right near the ocean. It answered all of my requirements I love the musical sound of the language, the music, and the people are so friendly.
Because Judith was working part time, she had the flexibility to get down to the island and “try it out” for longer periods of time before making her final move. She had a small apartment there where she would go for a week or a month. In front of her at all times in her office in Canada was a picture of a beach chair and her blue travel bag. This was her version of a vision board. A constant reminder of her goal.
As courageous as this move may seem to many of us, Judith is no different from most of us in that her barriers were mainly mindset. She said the main barrier was that she had to give herself permission. Permission to pick up and move and leave friends, family, and job behind.
Judith didn’t share her dream and plan with people because she feared their responses, which unfortunately ultimately came true. She spoke of a friend whom she respected whose response was “You’ve lost your focus.” Judith’s comment: “I’ve just changed my focus. I haven’t lost it!” In addition there were many who asked her why she was leaving such a great job and life. As she predicted they would.
I can feel the disappointment in my heart as I imagine people not supporting me in my dream. Luckily, Judith did Judith. We can’t live our lives a particular way because others think we should.
Judith put a more empathic and positive spin on it than I may have….she said “Family and friends are worried! They see the risks. And you may see them too but you just don’t care!”
Once she settled in the Domincan, Judith did a number of things. She taught second grade for the first time in her life (after 50!). She loved teaching math lessons on the beach and science lessons on the way.
She also enrolled in self publishing school and set out to write a memoir. The barrier of granting permission to herself to follow her dream had such an impact on her that she entitled her memoir: “Permission Granted: How to Find and Follow a Path to a Life True to Yourself.” In addition, she has a blog entitled “Come Walk with Me” where she often poetically describes the happy calm life that she dreamed about for years and is now living.
But, even as she went to write her memoir, that stinkin’ Imposter Syndrome mindset reared it’s ugly head. She said to herself, “who do you think you are? You aren’t a writer!”
What's Next for Judith
What do you do after you’ve moved to a beautiful tropical island and written a book? OH….and met and married your husband?
Judith dreams now of having her own studio. She did some painting when she lived in Canada and imagined herself continuing that once she moved.
She would also like to create a course to help women like herself to plan, create, and implement the life that they want, no matter their age. To help them overcome the mindset and societal barriers and grant themselves permission.
I have no doubt that Judith will make these things happen.
In the meantime, Judith is taking an instructional design course. When I remarked that I, too, love learning and taking courses and never plan to stop, Judith said:
“Learning is the one thing you can do forever!”