Thriving after 50

In this age of living longer, more people are learning that the second act is sometimes the best.
Known as the baby boomer generation, today’s 50-somethings are redefining aging in America . Nearly 78 million adults are over the age of 50. In fact, every 7.5 seconds someone turns the golden age. Turning 50 was once a time to think of retirement, now it’s a second wind into the journey of life that can be filled with a roller coaster ride of twists and turns.
“I am a woman who doesn’t believe in perpetuating the myth that somehow we become less valuable as we get older,” says 57-year-old Monica Lee, author of Singing Off Key a new release published by Sea Wind Publishing. Known in the art world as Mo Van, she isn’t your typical 57-year old. In fact, she’s proof that life doesn’t have to be boring as one gets older. You’ll often find her at the beach on a boogie board, running 5 miles a day, practicing her splits, and on occasion bursting out in song on the street. “I’m over 50. Who says there’s not a second act?” Mo Van says. For the baby boomers who question if there is life after 50, her inspirational story is right on time.
The mother of four children before she turned 25, now-grandmother of seven, is a self-taught artist who once sewed for boutiques and ran a gardening business. Mo Van discovered painting in her 40s, and found her second wind in life. “Middle age is not a pitfall to achieving goals. It’s an exciting sequel to the first act,” Mo Van says. She opened her own gallery in Laguna Beach, California, which became her primary source of income, and also a kind of salon for empowering women of all ages. “It was all about just doing, and not being afraid to fail,” Mo Van says in her autobiography, Singing Off Key.
Mo Van has not always followed the traditional path, but always trusted in her faith to lead her in the right direction – and somehow it has. The broken path led her to the love of her life after two failed marriages. She believes marriage is more than a rite of passage into adulthood. “It’s a dance of precision and grace that not everyone is ready to perform,” she says. “But you jump head first into the pool, you must trust your partner and know that it’s okay to come up for air.”
She believes that woman do themselves a disservice by marrying too young. Nevertheless, she is close to all her children, stepchildren and exes, and credits their love, her faith, and her joy in living with her cancer survival. “I’ve looked at the thought of death,” she says, “and I am alive. I am very alive each and every day. It doesn’t matter how famous you are; no one cares, in heaven.”
Mo Van shares tales of her adventures as a child in Holland, her battle with breast cancer, struggling as a single mother, and her photo shoot for Playboy at the age of 45 “to show that vibrancy and being lovely are timeless.” Each chapter shares her personal lessons and ends with wise words from her journey: “Being young and beautiful is a ‘gimme’,” she says after one chapter. “Being old and beautiful is an accomplishment.”
Throughout her autobiography, Mo Van reminds us that life is about not being afraid. “It’s about faith in God, living the truth, learning and being loyal to yourself. It’s about journeying on a highway with no red lights,” she says.
Singing Off Key (Sea Wind Publishing, July 18, 2006)
ISBN: 0-9776941-0-0
Sea Wind Publishing
165 pages
For a review copy of Singing Off Key, contact Rachel Damien at 727-443-7115 ext. 206 or



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.