Baby Boomer Woman Making a Difference for Her Generation

by Anne Holmes on October 20, 2009

As promised, it’s time to feature another baby boomer woman making a difference. These interviews are a favorite part of my work week. I enjoy seeing the commonalities of boomer women who have become more intentional about living as their true selves as they’ve matured. I hope you enjoy getting to know Joan Ellen Gage and take time to browse her Web site.

  • Using one paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself?  I’m a boomer woman who picks away at transforming her life.  I work 4 days as a dental hygienist in east Central Florida, keep house, cook, etc., and write to inspire women boomers.
  • Tell us about your family; married, divorced, children, grands, boomerangs or parents living with you, etc.  My husband Rob and I have been together since 1989.  He has 2 children who each have one daughter.  My parents are in their 80s and doing well.  No one is currently living with us, except our 4.5 year old dog, Magnolia.
  • What is your favorite childhood memory that is reminiscent of growing up in the 50s, 60s or 70s?  That would be the extended family reunions at holiday time at my paternal grandparents.  The cousins played hide and seek, climbed trees and ate great comfort food (meat, potatoes, pie, and cakes).
  • What qualities do you have that speak of our generation of women?  As a farmer’s daughter, I learned to be an honest person with a strong work ethic.  My parents taught us respect for authority and others. They also taught us to be polite and to be kind to others.
  • What inspires you?  Other women’s stories; either someone like Oprah, who is helping others, or every-day women’s stories who battle cancer, other debilitating conditions, unfairness, and abuse, among other conditions.
  • What brings you the most pleasure in midlife?  Sharing with others, either by listening to my patients, talking to friends, blogging, keeping up on Facebook, writing poetry, or spending time with friends and family.
  • Do you have any interesting hobbies?  I write a lot of humor, mainly as poetry, and I write story poems.   I also take interesting photos to add zest to the poems in my books.
  • Do you have a favorite book or movie? If so, tell us why it’s your favorite.  I guess a favorite would be To Kill a Mockingbird.   It speaks to me of justice, a father’s love, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.  One never knows what life is really like for your neighbors or friends.
  • Do you travel and if so, who are your favorite travel partners and where do you like to go?  Rob, Magnolia, and I go often to Western North Carolina, where we have a cottage in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.  We garden, cook, keep house, vacation, and visit friends.  We enjoy the beauty of nature there which also inspires my writing.
  • Do you practice preventive medicine? Please elaborate.  Absolutely!  I take several supplements, including a good multi-vitamin for menopausal women, CalMag (calcium citrate with magnesium), fish oil, cranberry extract (to prevent UTI’s-urinary tract infections), chondritin with glucosamine (for joints), turmeric (natural anti-inflammatory), rhodiola (for memory and stamina), and vitamin D3.  I walk 5 days a week, eat lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, and mainly low-fat meats.  I also have an annual check-up, fasting blood-work, a yearly mammogram, and a pap and pelvic exam.
  • What do you stress about?  The usual triggers; money, the economy, politics, world turmoil, lack of world peace.  I am a ruminator, so I obsess a lot.
  • Is it important for you to retain your youthful looks, and if so, to what degree are you willing to go?  Yes, of course.  We have been programmed to have routines to look and stay young.  I use some moderately expensive products, and some good basic ones.  I have electrolysis done to remove my “mustache and beard”—ouch!  I would have Botox and laser face-lift if I had the money.  I’m not sure about actual surgery; although, I might consider an eye-lift, eventually.
  • Have you re-invented yourself, and if so, how?  I have; but, this is a work in progress.  I started writing seriously at age 50, published a book, Water Running Downhill! Word of Empowerment for Women in Midlife, and am working on a second one.  I also write a blog for women boomers and beyond.  My website is:, the blogsite is:
  • Do you plan to retire?  At some point I will retire from dental hygiene.  I will keep working as a writer, and probably do some volunteer work.  I think working in some manner is a key to keeping young.
  • Are you doing anything to GO Green?  I recycle everything I can.  I donate things that can be reused.  I get most of my bills online, and use online banking.  I hang most of my laundry out to dry (weather permitting), then fluff it in the dryer.
  • Do you engage in any faith based practices?  I say thanks daily for my many blessings, and try to list most of them.  I use nature to connect to my higher power; this gives me serenity.
  • Can you pinpoint major turning points in your life that led to your life’s work/play at midlife?  Just that big 50th birthday!  It was my wake-up call to get me to take time from giving most of my energy to work, and none of it to creative time for myself.  I created a celebration for myself and my friends, which got the ball rolling, as I gave myself permission to do this!
  • Do you still have unfulfilled dreams, and are you doing anything to accomplish them?  I would like to work less at my day job and more at creative processes.  Eventually, I hope to focus on writing and inspiring others.  I write a blog, and I try to spend more time on getting my second book finished.  Self-promotion is difficult for me; however, I have made a focused effort to get out there and ask for interviews.
  • How do you make a difference in the lives of others, your community, and your world?  I try to create a joyful, painless experience for my patients by day.  With my writing I strive to inspire others to step out of the box and take steps to improve their lives.  And, I try to make people smile;  it’s free and enjoyable to pass on!
  • Who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?  Hmm, this is hard to pinpoint, I guess several factors came together.  My parents whose hard work for an honest wage brought them enough success to be happy.  They have never been extravagant, and are content with their lives.  My paternal grandmother was a strong, in-charge female.  I think I admired her for sitting as an equal with the men in her family.  Otherwise, all my friends have been very influential due to their support of my writing.  Women are great nurturers and supporters!
  • If you were to have a personal mission statement, what would it be? Feel free to be as serious or fun as you choose.  My mission is to enjoy my life, either in work or leisure, to be joyful, make others smile and laugh, work less, play more, and to have as much fun as I can get away with!

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