A tear-drenched Ann Fry sat with her son in a Jack-in-the-Box in Austin, Texas as she questioned her choice to pick up and move to New York City six months earlier. In a gentle tough love, her son replied, “Cool it, Mom. I've known you my whole life and I always see you land on your feet. None of my friends' mothers have the courage to do what you are doing and I am proud of you.” Ann cried harder at the loving words of her adult son who had become one of her best friends.
Going back a few years, Ann first realized that she needed a change of scenery on 9/11 when the tragic events of that day shook America to its core. At 56, she realized that life was too short to be unhappy.
On her own after twenty-five years of marriage, Ann continued her work speaking about humor in the workplace when she suddenly realized she could work from anywhere. Maybe it would soon be time to try a new place, like New York City, where her sister lived and it was rumored she was conceived before her parents moved to Florida. But, she wasn’t ready yet.
A couple of years went by and time found Ann at the end of a one-year relationship and depressed. It was her nearly her 60th birthday and she needed some guidance. Ann consulted a spiritual coach, trying to understand the thoughts and emotions swirling through her mind. The woman told her to meditate by putting a pen in her non-dominate hand and writing anything that came into her mind in a form of free-thought writing. He told her, “Meditating is God's way of talking to you.”
Hoping for the best, Ann sat down in a quiet room of her home and put the pen in her left hand. As if by its own strength, the pen took off as Ann's meditative inspirations flowed on to the paper. Ann watched herself write, “You have no idea what's about to happen. The truth will be rolled out bit by bit. Just know it involves a move. Type a list of intentions for your life. Don't Pass Go.”
Filled with a renewed vision for her life, Ann went and typed three pages of intentions that would later become the beginnings of her book “Sixty, Sexy, Sassy, and Free: A Real Woman’s Story of Reinvention.” Over the next couple of weeks, more and more inspirations flowed from Ann during the times of meditative quiet and periods of free-thought.
“Born on the first day of the Baby Boomer generation, Ann coined herself the 'Head Boomer' with a message to share.”
At her 60th birthday party, Ann was faced with blowing out candles and making a wish. She looked at the cake and then around the room of her dear friends. When asked her wish, she said, “I want to be sixty, sassy and free and I don’t want to do it here in Austin anymore.”
Eyebrows raised, her friends looked at her and questioned, “Where are you going?”
“I'll take Manhattan,” she said, with a sassy, confident smile and twinkle in her eye. She followed through on that promise a couple of days later when she flew up to check out the Big Apple. Staying in a “sublet”, she decided that it was time to fulfill a dream hidden deep in her heart for many, many years.
Seven weeks later, her son drove her and her two cats to New York City. There she began the process of turning her journal into her new book. She also kept up her public speaking as she explored ways to incorporate the process of reinvention into her business workshops. Her goal was to help others going through the same period and uncertainty in life. Born on the first day of the Baby Boomer generation, Ann coined herself the “Head Boomer” with a message to share.
About the Boomers, Ann shares, "They're waking up in their 50s or 60s, and this is the time to do what they really want so they can feel fulfilled. They'd love to retire and get their pensions and do their own business or volunteer work.”
In her materials, Ann gives three steps to the start of reinvention:
1. Stop doing things you don't want to do.
2. Start doing things you really want to be doing.
3. Never let anyone else tell you what to do or not to do
And despite the confidence set-back that sent her home to her son in tears a few months after the move, Ann did pull herself up again and made a place for herself in the big city. She worked to educate employers and managers about the generation that defined our culture today, a generation ready to retire from their jobs but not life. They are healthy and asking “What's next?”
Ann worked with businesses and individuals wanting to reinvent themselves. There comes a time in both businesses and personal lives, that people say, “What can we do different to make work a better place or to make our lives better?” Ann found a way to reach both with her new curriculum based on her inspiring reinvention of her own life. Sometimes people just need a little direction and their own creativity takes over the process.
By taking a huge risk to live differently, Ann found a home in New York with a new career where she could explore new possibilities others only dreamed of achieving. By living the life of “whatever is next is next and I'll try whatever that is,” she was able to be fulfilled in her passions while she helped others achieve their own goals.
BIO: Ann Fry completed “Sixty, Sexy, Sassy and Free” and is now working on a workbook with the same theme and the steps to take to reinvent. She is still loving New York City but enjoys visiting her family and singer-songerwriter son back in Austin, TX at regular intervals. For more information, check out http://www.annfry.com
Thank you Ann, for sharing your Story with us.
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© 2009 by Sarah Peppel and Story of My Life®