Updated: Nov 19
Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
How would you describe yourself?
Some people would describe me as intense, driven, and intimidating. However, I don’t see myself that way. I can get things done, but I am also empathic. I deliberately put myself in situations where I hear others. I am an advocate for many, especially vulnerable children.
What is your proudest achievement thus far in life?
I have dropped my mask of pretending life is perfect and have been forced by my life circumstances to grow spiritually strong. The last five years have been tough times for many, but our challenges raising a special needs son with fetal alcohol syndrome have brought a new level of pain and suffering to me personally. While I used to focus my driven nature mainly on my career, I now harness this tenacity to navigate a very complicated and broken mental health system for children.
What is the best thing about being an older woman?
I love the exchange of wisdom with younger people. I can pour into them, but they also pour wisdom into me. Some of my best spiritual teachers have been my daughter and friends half my age.
What has been the most challenging thing about growing older?
I miss my mother. She passed away five years ago, and I would have loved to share this stage of life with her.
What has been a life-changing moment?
Fostering and adopting a son with mental health challenges and becoming a transracial adoptive family. It has given me a different lens for viewing and navigating the world.
When it comes to mental health, a lot of people throw around the phrase “just go get help,” yet little do people know there isn’t very much of that said “help” out there. Mental health resources are hard to come by and when you do find them, they can have their own issues attached. Before our son entered our lives, I had no idea about the strenuous challenges of seeking mental health assistance.
What is one thing you want to do in this season of life?
Write and publish a book about our son and the challenges of the mental healthcare world. Your words can support and even heal someone’s suffering, and I’m hoping that God uses our story so others know they aren’t alone in any suffering that they’re enduring.
What would you tell your younger self about aging?
Save up for hair color and keep exercising, ha! But in all seriousness, I would tell her that it’s okay not to be perfect.
What's your best health tip as you grow older?
Find a physical outlet for what your spirit needs. That might look different for everyone. I had to replace going to a traditional gym and trainer with something that I felt like my soul needed, which happens to be boxing and yoga, of all things.
Have you gone through (or are you going through) a life transition that is asking you to start a new chapter? If so, what is/was the transition?
I am always in a transition because that is the nature of my life. However, how I handle transitions has changed drastically. I am currently working on developing more patience and trusting the process. It is a different approach than forcing transitions to fit life neatly into predictable chapters. Life can be way messier than that, which can make for a more exciting ending!
Note: This Q&A was developed with the assistance of Ashlea McDonald, Diane’s daughter.