Do you ever wonder what it’s like to do something else for the day? Whether it’s choosing a different career path or stepping out of your comfort zone, this series dives into the crazy-interesting lives of those we’ve always admired. From pilots and chefs to charities making a difference, go ahead and read a page in their life.
If there’s someone that we can truly say makes us have #happyeyes (and a much happier outlook on life), it’s Lois Alter Mark of Midlife at the Oasis. Our most recent Page in Your Life feature is an avid writer (for her blog and for big-time publications), a world traveler, and a motivator — she has such an amazing perspective on just about everything! Take a look at our interview with Lois, and get inspired to start living every moment to the absolute fullest!
Lois wearing our Penny readers.
To start, tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your backstory?
Lois: Well, I just turned 55 so the backstory is pretty long! I was a journalism major in college, got my master’s degree in public relations, and worked for some great companies like MGM/UA, WBZ-TV and Liz Claiborne. I met my husband in college and was 22 when we got married. 32 years later, he’s still the love of my life. Anyway, we got a chow chow, and I decided to become a freelance writer so I could stay home with her. Our parents were all worried that they would only be dog grandparents, but we had a son a couple of years later and a daughter a couple of years after that. By that point, I was already writing for a lot of the women’s magazines and was a contributing writer for the newly-launched Entertainment Weekly. I wrote their Parents’ Guide for many, many years and then became the Flicks for Kids editor at NickJr.com. Somewhere in between, we moved from New York City to San Diego, although, of course, both kids are now back on the East Coast!
What does a typical day look like for you, or does that even exist? (We know you are a very active writer, editor, blogger, author, and even a travel enthusiast!)
Lois: Well, I spend the majority of the day in front of some kind of screen (computer, movie, or TV — mostly for, uh, work), so I play tennis almost every morning and go to Jazzercise three or four times a week. I try to squeeze in lunch with a friend at least once a week, and there’s always some kind of event or screening or conference thrown into the mix to keep life interesting. And Starbucks. Lots of Starbucks.
Was there a defining moment that led to writing becoming a passion (and career) for you?
Lois: I won a writing contest in American Girl magazine when I was 12 years old for a story called “Teenaged Grandma,” which was about a grandmother who acted like a teenager. It was not based on real life! I wish I had kept a copy of it — this was waaaaay back before computers, remember. Interestingly, I’ve never written fiction since.
Why did you name your blog “Midlife at the Oasis?” Is there meaning behind it?
Lois: In 1974, Maria Muldaur had a huge hit with a song called “Midnight at the Oasis.” It had silly lyrics about sending your camel to bed, but it was so catchy and so popular. I wanted my blog to be really upbeat and positive, and I loved the wordplay and the idea that midlife could be an oasis. And I knew once someone got that tune in their head, they’d never get it out again! Anyone who remembers that song should be reading my blog!
Lois showing off the Stanford readers.
You mention you are celebrating midlife through rediscovery. Could you provide a few examples of how you’ve been able to accomplish this?
Lois: I’m realizing what’s important to me and trying to really focus on those things. That means writing, traveling, and spending time with the people I love. And if there’s something I want to do, I’m just going for it. I didn’t start blogging until midlife, and it’s changed my life in so many ways. Because of blogging, I was chosen by Oprah to go to Australia with her when I was 51. I’ve made some of my closest friends in real life through a Facebook group of midlife women bloggers. I auditioned for Blogger Idol, which took me far out of my comfort zone — and I won! I was named Humor Writer of the Month by Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, which was a huge honor — even though I don’t think I’m always funny intentionally. This has been an amazing time of my life, and I can’t wait to enjoy all the good things still to come!
Why do you enjoy traveling often? Is it a part of your celebration and rediscovery? (Please share some of your favorite travel experiences, too!)
Lois: Travel has always been important to my husband and me, and we took the kids all over the world when they were growing up. We don’t seem to have typical travel experiences, though, as you can see from my stories about our family trips to Idyllwild and Amsterdam. Travel is the one thing we splurge on — we don’t care about buying stuff. It’s the experiences that create memories, and travel gives you those more than anything. We went on a safari in Africa last summer — a trip I’ve wanted to do forever — and it was so profound, I still haven’t been able to write about it.
What advice would you give to others who want to celebrate their midlife years? Is there a “best way” to do it?
Lois: The best way is to just do it! Don’t sit around thinking about all the reasons you can’t or shouldn’t. In both 2013 and 2014, I’ve made “do” my word to live by for the year, and it’s totally motivated me to “do” whatever I want, rather than convince myself I’m too old or too this or too that. It’s liberating and so rewarding. And, honestly, when you think about the alternative, I never understand how people can complain about getting older. There’s so much to celebrate every single day.
We are a reading glasses store, so we have to ask: What is your favorite pair from Readers.com?
Lois: Ooh, that’s a hard one because you have so many cute ones! I think my all-time favorite is the Stanford (wearing them above). I love love love the metallic green temples — which is a term I never knew before, so thank you! I posted photos of all my new pairs on my blog so readers can decide which is their favorite. I hope your readers will come and weigh in on which ones they like best, too. Now that I can read the comments more easily, I promise to respond to each one!
Lois, we think you look wonderful in all of your new pairs. :) Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us!