Ceri Wheeldon is the founder and editor of Fab After Fifty, a lifestyle website dedicated to informing women about health, style, anti-ageing and finance in later life. We asked her about the life lessons she’s learned through experience, and why she thinks the biggest one is to trust your instincts.
Is there an opportunity you wish you had taken?
Many years ago I was offered a job in Sydney, Australia. I was already working in Canada which seemed an incredibly long way away from home. This was in the 1980s before Skype, email or mobile phones, and the only way of communicating with family and friends was by letter and very expensive international phone calls. I was already homesick and so rejected the offer! Given that same opportunity again I would probably negotiate a one year contract – and more holidays for a visit home. Perhaps it’s not too late.
What are you most looking forward to in the next 10 years?
I am looking forward to making a success of my new business venture (online courses for the over 50s) as well as continuing to grow the Fab after Fifty website and community. It’s never too late to be an entrepreneur! I’m also looking forward to travelling more. I have a list of places I want to visit – including Sydney – just to see what I missed out on.
What has been the best thing you’ve achieved in life?
I don’t have any children, so I would have to say that my greatest achievements have been work related. My successful career as a headhunter and also totally reinventing my career to do something I felt passionate about when I set up Fab after Fifty. Other than that, I would say having some great and close friendships, where you can instantly just connect, no matter how much time has passed since actually seeing each other, both in the UK and abroad.
What’s the most valuable advice you can give someone?
Firstly, I would share some advice given to me many years ago by one of my first bosses – don’t be afraid to make decisions. You don’t always need 100% of the information in order to move forward, but inaction can have worse consequences. Also, when meeting people, trust your gut feel. I have often been persuaded to override my initial (negative) thoughts on somebody, only to have my first reaction proven right. I could have saved myself a lot of heartache had I just trusted my own judgement.
What are you most enjoying about this part of your life?
I am enjoying just being myself, with nothing to prove, spending time with real friends. By this age I think you appreciate the qualities that are important. Authenticity becomes so much more important.
What’s been your biggest life lesson so far and how did you learn it?
Trust your own judgement. In both business and my personal life, where things have not had happy endings it has been in instances where I have been ‘talked round’. Also anything you agree regarding finances – put it in writing. You never know how relationships may change in the future – even with family and spouses.
What’s been your biggest regret?
I suppose my biggest regret was marrying the wrong man – I was not 100% sure but was persuaded to compromise. I allowed myself to be pulled into his timetable. Not a mistake I will make again!
Would you rather regret things that you have or haven’t done?
I don’t think you can really regret things from the past – decisions made then make us the people we are today. All we can do is build on past experiences and do things in a different way in the future. It is never too late to live the life you want and be the person you are meant to be. I married the wrong person but learnt a lot about myself in the process – and made lifelong friends during that period that I would hate to not have in my life.