by Jackie Frank

Pat Allen is my doctor, and she asked me to tell my story for her birthday. So here goes:

Things I’ve Done Since Turning 50

1. Got a master’s degree in international affairs
2. Spent five months in Bangladesh training people in television journalism
3. Produced a theatrical documentary on Darfur
4. Spent four months in Cairo supervising a social issue soap opera for the Arab market

At some point in my mid-40s, I finally accepted that I was not going to have a family. I couldn’t have kids for medical reasons, and as a mysteriously relentlessly single person, I didn’t want to adopt alone.

Once I accepted that wasn’t going to happen, I looked at my life and said, well, if I’m not going to have a family, then what do I need this settled life for?

And with that I moved to Europe, took a job making the television travel program “Lonely Planet/Globetrekker,” and spent years being paid to travel the world.

At one point I fell in love with a Ghanaian man, got engaged and moved to Ghana, and almost re-settled there — but didn’t (we’re still friends). Upon returning to New York in 2002, I decided it was time for my next change and enrolled in Columbia University’s School for International Affairs. In 2005, I received my master’s degree.

One of the main reasons I was motivated to do more international aid and development work: They LIKE older people. Age and experience are a plus; can you imagine?!!

I have no idea what my next project will be, or where it will take me, and that’s just fine. All I do know is that there is a big world of need out there, and we have a lot to offer.

So get out there and see for yourself how great it feels to be appreciated for being just what you are: older, experienced, valued — and useful.

Happy birthday, Dr. Pat!

* * * * *
Jackie Frank lives in New York, and much as she enjoys traveling, her job search will remain local for now because of her mother’s health. She enjoys living in an apartment with a wood burning fireplace and going to lots of movies, theater and other New York cultural tidbits. She is not enjoying the dating scene, but is about to try speed dating. Five minutes is usually all it takes to suss a man out anyway.

Start the conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.