Have a question for Molly? Need advice?
Molly is joining our site and excited to offer support, humor, or even just a shoulder to lean on. She has graciously shared her journey and her thoughts here as an opportunity to get to know her better.
The following are her answers to some fun questions followed by Molly’s story written in her own words.
Where did you grow up?
In Miami Beach, Florida in the era when it was a small town. Large beach expanses existed where large condos now block the beach It was gorgeous and exciting there!
Where do you live now?
Winter Park, Florida. I love it here despite the rapid growth. It still feels organic and special and not homogenized. I came here to visit my husband’s grandmother and still recall standing the the park overlooking Park Avenue and saying this is where I want to live. My in laws opened up a bookstore here and needed my husband to manage it. We have been here ever since, almost 44 years.
Where is your favorite place you have ever lived?
I would have to say NYC! As a child, we visited the city every summer and had exciting times. There is just that something special about the energy in that city. I decided to attend NYU for college and lived there two years. Stepping foot in NYC still gives me that energy rush and brings out the spirited me.
If you were given an opportunity to relocate tomorrow, would you?
No. Family is everything to me and right now my family is here.
What is something you try to do for yourself everyday?
Smile in the mirror. Be grateful even when things aren’t going well. Remember the little light inside me that shines even through the darker recesses.
What do you do to relax?
I am a black and white movie junkie. I also like to lose myself playing the piano. Oh… how could I forget the wonderful bathtub soaks!
What makes you happy?
Helping others feel happy.
Imagine I was standing behind you in a long line at Starbucks and we started chatting. What are three things I would learn about you by the time we ordered?
Chances are I would more likely learn three things about you. I seem to have the effect on people. They just start telling me their stories. Probably because I love hearing them.
That said, you would find out yes this is my hair color because I went prematurely white. I live in Winter Park. Also my occupation which involves listening to people’s stories lol
What sounds do you love?
Music music music. Birds chirping and wind chimes.
Tell me about something you find extremely satisfying?
A good, deep, emotionally naked conversation.
What advice would you offer to another woman which you wish someone would have given to you at age 25?
Stand up straight and look at yourself in the mirror. Find all the features you love about yourself and focus in on them. Realize this is probably the best you will ever look and know you are beautiful and enjoy it! Always look at the features you love about yourself the most and forget the rest. Smile at yourself before you leave the mirror and always picture yourself smiling.
What is your favorite thing about growing older?
Knowing myself well and not feeling I have to be what anyone else wants me to me. Loving myself as is and knowing even with my flaws, I am good enough.
How are you different today than the woman you were 10 years ago?
I know more that I can be self reliant and comfortable being with myself. Rather than dragging my husband to events he complains about, I can just go myself and enjoy myself.
Tell me about any tradition or routine in your life you really enjoy and look forward to doing.
Most of my family traditions center around a dinner table. I grew up in a household where the dinner table was the center of discussion. My dad worked hard as a lawyer and had a rule that we must eat dinner together.Often interesting clients would join us for dinner as well.
I love to cook and create an inviting table and space to enjoy eating and communicating together. I don’t like when people eat fast and run. I am talking about the long sit at the table where the discussion is lively and varied.
What is something about you that you wish everyone knew?
That I don’t drive because of a visual impairment and not that I don’t know how. That it is not easy for me to get around town and I always greatly appreciate a ride. I also wish they knew what a hard worker I am and I do all my own housework, cooking from scratch, etc. I scrub toilets and get down on my hands and knees and scrub floors. I am not spoiled in that way.
How would your closest friend describe you?
Authentic, loyal, creative, intelligent and caring.
What most surprised you about your first sexual experience?
That it sucked lol. It would be considered date rape now.
What surprises you about sex at your current age?
That all the things I heard are pretty true. You do literally dry up unless you take hormones.
What do you wish women talked about more?
What’s really going on in their lives!!!
What is the best decision you have ever made?
There are many. The college I choose, the person I married, having children. The most recent, however, was to go back and get my Masters.
I loved the journey of being back in school and having a new audience of support. I cherish the friendships made in school. Oddly enough those are with women younger than my own daughter. I have a career that had been whispering in my ear since my 20’s and I love my work.
What is the hardest decision you have ever made?
To give the doctor the order to give my mother enough Morphine to put her out of her misery as she lay dying.
What surprises you about life at your current age?
That I still feel stylish, relevant, and am still learning new things all the time.
Tell me something about yourself that you are proud of.
That I braved going to graduate school 35 years after graduating undergrad. I also maintained a 3.9 average and never missed a single class in 3 years.
What is the bravest thing you have ever done?
What is something you are still working up the courage to do?
More self promotion in my career.
If I created a new community and you had any skill you desire, what job would you want in our new community?
Tell me something you love about yourself today which in the past you thought was a negative trait.
My authenticity and out of the box way of doing things.
Who inspires you? Tell me why.
Everyone I have learned from in the past comprises who I am today. Ancestors, family of origin, current family, teachers, friends, dogs, animals.They all have inspired me in a myriad of ways.
Who do you want to inspire? Tell me what you hope to accomplish and why.
I want to inspire people to talk with their hearts while keeping their heads.
Is there anything else you would want to share about yourself?
I am honored I was asked to fill this out. Also that I have learned a lot in life by being born with very crossed eyes. Being made fun of has shaped what I hope is my kindness and compassion from an early age. There is nothing like feeling something yourself to create empathy for others. My eyes were operated on when I was 4, but the scars have been my gifts as well.
In her own words: Molly’s Journey
My daughter was a surprise. We were only married about nine months and I was 22 when I got pregnant. At that time I was working but had no real career path. My husband and I talked and mutually decided he would work and I would be a full time mom. It just seemed right to us even though we had very little money. It was a matter of our personal priorities.
When my daughter started preschool, I started working part time. I just had jobs. When she was 7, I got a job working in the Career Center at Rollins part time. I loved that job and they seemed to embrace me. My boss thought I would be good at counseling there and she went to bat for me and got Rollins to ok tuition remission for me to take courses in the graduate Counseling program. I could only take one class per semester though.
I took my first course and found the workload of the course and the workload of my job together robbed me of family time. I was not willing to sacrifice family time. I really admire moms who can juggle all those demands but I knew my loyalties were to raising my daughter. I finished the course, became pregnant with my son, and quit my job. I vowed someday to finish my degree.
Years passed and I threw myself into raising my children and doing hoards of volunteer work. I didn’t work outside the home for many years. When my son was in middle school I was shopping in Williams Sonoma (where I shopped way too much) and the Assistant Manager was putting a sign up for part time Christmas help. He looked at me and asked me why I didn’t sign up. He said I would be perfect for the job.
He was correct. He knew I would never really take home a paycheck because I spent every cent buying items in the store with my sadly missed glorious discount. Cooking was my thing as well as entertaining and this supported my habit. I worked there for several years part time. Kitchen gadgets are in my family blood. My relatives were famous pitchmen of kitchen gadgets. Perhaps you know one of them, Ron Popeil.
After working at Williams Sonoma, I became an even more avid volunteer. I was on the Board of a varied array of organizations. I was becoming over volunteered.
All this time, counseling was whispering in my ear. I was terrified of the thought of returning to school so late in life so I just pushed the thought aside. I thought I could never do it.
One day I made my usual ridiculous amount
Of food. My son was home from college. My daughter was married. My son actually scolded me for having so much food. He said he didn’t need it or want it and why did I make so much all the time and to please stop!
At first I was mad at his disrespectful and unappreciative tone. Then I heard a voice in my head go oh shit, you are fired!!! Now what are you going to do for meaning and purpose in life. Btw thank you Adam!
Very spontaneously I said I am going back to get my counseling degree. I immediately thought, did I really say that??? I started the process without great confidence. First the required test was taken, the transcripts sent, essays written. Trust me, I didn’t really think I would actually go. It was one hesitant step after another.
At age 53, I received my admittance letter. It scared the shit out of me at first. I just kept saying I’ll try it out for a class and if I don’t love it, I’ll quit. It did not seem real.
Long story short, I loved it. It was a natural because I love people’s stories and realized I’ve been counseling people in a sense most of my life. I also greatly benefited from counseling and a counseling group myself so I knew some of the counselor speak and I believed in its effectiveness in inspiring change.
The program was extremely demanding and time consuming. It was three full years long, summers included. I am proud to say I graduated with a 3.9 and didn’t miss a single class. I loved it that much! I loved a new audience of support and remembering I actually have a creative brain.
If there is one thing I would love to convey to this group, it is that change can happen at any age. It is never too late to change direction and follow the things that whisper in your ear.
To end here, a week after I graduated I ran into the boss I had in 1983 at Rollins , the one who got permission for me to start the counseling program. The one I felt I totally let down. I had not seen her since about 1985. It was 2008 then.
I was able to say to her guess what? Remember I told you I would finish the graduate program someday….well I got my counseling degree last week at age 56! She wasn’t shocked as I thought she would be. She simply said I knew you would do it. I always believed in you.
So that’s my story. I can tell you absolutely that I was way too young and inexperienced in life to have been an effective counselor at 29.
At almost 66 I feel revitalized and inspired… and very honored… to help shine a light where dark recesses have blocked the way.