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Reed Baker


Rietje Bakker (69 years old) 

Married to Andries, 3 adult children, 6 grandchildren

Former Occupation: Occupational Therapist, Mental Health Coordinator 

Current passion: visual artist, most recent exhibition "Indescribably present"

Straw words of wisdom for mid-lifers

There is a beautifully written article about Rietje, her life and the things she considers We talked about getting older and the second half of life. Because around the age of fifty, Rietje picked up the brushes more often and then grew as an autodidact to her own exhibitions and giving workshops. I know Rietje from the workshops and see that she lives an inspiring and meaningful second half. I asked her what she would like to pass on to people of my generation as we think about the second half of life. 

Live with and for the other
" The relationship with the other makes us who we are. After all, life revolves around that relationship, if only because you yourself do not come into your own or your destiny without the other. Therefore, think relationally and make a difference
.  This is also possible in small things, such as giving someone conscious attention so that they experience that they are being seen.”  

People in their forties are allowed to dim a bit, and people in their fifties too
"Younger people are still chasing too much of a life that they hope is feasible. People in their forties should dim down a bit more, and people in their fifties too, in fact. They often follow the issues of the day too much. Because don't be mistaken, the life can just be different from one second to the other than you planned and hoped for. Let go of the malleability of life and live consciously in the here and now with gratitude for what you have already received. This core value will bring you peace. In addition, young people are looking for role models. Take a look around you. Be for those young people the person you wish you had known when you were younger."

What would I regret if I didn't?
“You know what the crazy thing about getting older is? Up here (Rietje taps her head) not much changes, but people do react differently to you. They see an older person and make less appeal to you. So you really have to organize your life yourself. I read a study about elderly people who were asked what they regretted at the end of their lives.  That was: 1. Too little time spent with my loved ones, 2. Things I haven't tried. Ever since then I've been asking myself that question: What would I regret at the end of my life if I didn't? And then it's just a matter of organizing and trying.”

I now think about the time ahead of me
"Now that I am 69, for the first time in my life, I have no external obligations. There is no office where I go, I am not organizing a new exhibition in the short term, my work at an NGO has stopped. I am now thinking about the time that lies ahead of me. Until recently, life actually just unfolded, with work, care tasks, volunteer work, painting. What I find quite confronting is that, strictly speaking, no one is waiting for me. Yes, my loved ones and friends, who I'm grateful for, but that's not the same as getting the external validation that you matter, that your contribution makes a difference, and that connection with others, especially outside your own comfort zone, that's what's so important to me, so I really look for a place outside the door to be involved again. I'm already talking to an organization."


I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.


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