Within moments of starting my conversation with Elaine she says “make every day matter” straight in, with the Bolder living wisdom!
The context of that comment was sharing that an Artist and Designer she knew Duggie Fields had died a few days ago at the age of 76.
Embracing life and taking a risk is very much what Elaine is all about and these are just two of the reasons why I want to give her a BOLDER shout out.
I first met Elaine in, September 2019, when I had the absolute treat of going on one of her Write it Down! retreats to the beautiful Finca Buenvino, in the Sierra de Aracena National Park, north of Seville.
It was a truly life changing week. I’ve written about it before (if you’re interested you can read it about it here)
I first formed the intention of being Bolder for myself in 2018. It was in the context of consciously considering who I wanted to be as I aged. I want to be more vibrant and outspoken and that’s what inspires me most about Elaine, she is the epitome of BOLDER living.
At 70 she moved from her home in London to start an adventure to live in Seville. A Global pandemic wasn’t going to stop her from living in the city she was longing to live in!
Photo Credit Helen Cathcart/Bolder
What is Bolder living to you?
It mean’s something different to all of us. When I ask Elaine this question she shares that being bold started for her as a child. She had a very difficult childhood and relationship with her Mother who, unfulfilled in her own life, cruelly tried to limit Elaine and her possibilities.
This made her all the more determined to speak out for herself and to be unlimited in what she achieved.
Elaine also knows that bolder living was encouraged by meeting Jerry when she was 17.
Jerry believed in Elaine and they were a team. Like her he was creative, inspirational and there was a liberation for them to express and argue alternate opinions without fear of rejection.
When they went to live in Italy, this was when Elaine met her tribe!
Working in the fashion industry she loved working with the passionate and expressive Italians. They know how to argue in a meeting and then go out for lunch with respect and friendship intact, able to be affectionate with each other, despite differences of opinion.
Experimentation is a big part of bolder living for Elaine. Living and working in Italy was a place where experimentation is encouraged, take a risk, try it out.
When I ask Elaine how it feels to live boldly “it brings colour into my life, she says”. Having spent much time in Italy, Spain and Greece has brought bold, bright colour and pattern into life for Elaine and she feels European.
Living in Spain now makes her feel alive. It also makes her feel like she is part of the population. In Café’s and Bar’s (remember them?!) there are a variety of people, workers, mothers, young children they are all welcome and it feels like a place you can join in. Food is affordable and eating out is accessible to everyone.
Living in London, Elaine noticed it’s a place where she felt she didn’t have enough, everything feels more expensive and exclusive. There’s a “place” for people and when you go somewhere that’s not your “place” it can feel uncomfortable, unwelcome.
This is very much in line with my observations with the whole hangover from Empire, treating people as if we are subjects, in particular women, who dare to be uncouth “Bold as Brass”
Two fingers up to that, say those living Boldly “Take risks and have adventures!” says Elaine.
Elaine’s husband Jerry died at the very young age of 53. This was a driver for Elaine to continue taking risks, to try it and see. This has taken her from Brighton to live in Cornwall, then London and of course now in beautiful Seville.
What advice do you give to others about being Bolder?
“Play, whatever your age” and for goodness sake stop saying “What, at my age?!”
Yes, at whatever age, because if you’re physically able, then what you can achieve is limitless, if you stop self-imposing barriers!
“Take a risk, what’s worse the risk or the regret?”
And actually, I want to point out, Elaine has had a heart attack, breast cancer and skin cancer and that is not stopping the adventurer in her any time soon!
As well as experimenting Elaine’s advice is keep on learning. There is so much out there for us to learn from; whatever your passions, read, watch, write about it.
Earlier in our conversation when we were talking about travel restrictions and how Elaine was finding this “We’ve found a way to travel, mentally, with Zoom”
I love this, what a wonderful way to keep seeing the richness of learning, even when we can’t travel, we can do it mentally by expanding our minds with new groups who share our passion.
Speaking of which; you can mentally travel to explore your own creativity in your writing (no experience required) with Elaine in her Write it Down! Workshops, which she runs twice a week.
And, if after all this Lockdown living you’re ready for adventure, I highly recommend going to visit Elaine in Andalucía for a wonderful week long Write it Down! Retreat of mindfulness, walking, taste sensations of food and wine and of course getting creative in your writing. All being well with the world July 21’ will be the next one.
Oh and one last thing piece of advice for BOLDER living “You don’t need to cut your hair off as you age!”
If anyone knows of a hairdresser stylish and bold enough for Elaine in Seville give her a shout! (London does some things better!)