A middle-aged student has opened up on why starting her life over in her 50s isn’t a negative thing but an empowering one.
Janeta Hevizi, who lives in Sennen, near Penzance, prides herself on not following suit.
She has never been one to blend in with the crowds and has always challenged what society says about where you should be and when you should be there by.
She has been married twice, never had children, had almost every job under the sun, and now in her 50s she is a student again and living with her parents.
While most people in her position are in their late teens, with no clue what the future holds, Janeta says she is old enough and wise enough to finally know there is no ‘right path’ to follow.
“I was feeling so pressured in my 20s and I don’t feel that pressure now,” she said.
“They do say the older you get the more relaxed you feel about time even though you have less of it, but the pressure in my 20s and the shame of failing and burning out left me not knowing what to do.
“I needed something to help me feel proud because in my life I have felt quite trampled on and lonely. You’ve got to do your best to find strength.”
Janeta has always indulged in a life of learning and experimenting. She was a primary school teacher in the 90s before it became too much and she “burned out”, before she went onto study nursing, and then personal training.
She’s no stranger to learning something new and has explored various different avenues including tennis, karate and modelling. She’s also published a few children’s books.
Now she wants to encourage others that it’s never too late to try something different, saying people need to stop thinking “life is written off” after a point or that you are less of a woman because you don’t bare children.
“People in their 40s and 50s don’t get written off,” she said. “Retiring at 65 isn’t the way it is nowadays and anything goes. I personally will have to earn an income until the day I die and I know that. So why should I stop learning and trying to better myself?
“Believe me I’ve had my low points and its not just plain sailing and I’m now dealing with lots of issues I didn’t deal with in my early 20s but I’m old enough now not to worry what people think.”
Janeta, who had an abortion when she was 21 years old while studying to teach and is not ashamed of her decision, was diagnosed in her late 20s with severe endometriosis and suffered a serious of miscarriages up until she was 40.
“I believe for me not having children has made me be more resourceful and creative and children aren’t for everybody,” she said. “Although it might seem the norm there are a huge amount of people out there who don’t follow this ‘norm’ of having children and owning a house by whatever time.
“I’m really maternal and caring but I fulfil that in other ways by caring for my parents and rescuing my animals.
“You only have one life and that mindset really taught me that not everybody can do everything. But my ambitions have always been very big and I’ve had to modify that and find happiness in other ways.”
Janeta and her husband have recently separated which has meant she is back living between the homes of her two divorced parents – who she also provides full time care for – while they work on their marriage.
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“Losing that support and starting out again is hard,” she said. “Trying to make the best of a bad situation means you have to be more resourceful and honestly if I had children I think maybe even my first marriage might not have ended.
“But no matter whatever happens I still believe in self-actualisation and fulfilling my dreams and ambitions which I still have and I don’t want to give up on how I feel about myself.
“It’s about feeling empowered and not controlled and this I hope is one way I’m able to do that.
“It’s going to give me confidence and increase my self-esteem and I will keep learning and I hope to become a life coach and educator one day for other older adults in their 50s and beyond.
“So whatever age you are, don’t let age be a barrier nor get in the way of your life-long interests. It’s never too late. Embarking upon a masters degree in middle age has been fascinating but that is not to gloss over the fact that it is hugely challenging too, and you need both organisation and self-discipline in abundance.
“The coursework and exams seemed quite relentless at times, and deadlines often had me feeling like I was having a nervous breakdown. But the sense of achievement when you pass a module is amazing.
“I’m far more confident with so much new knowledge and understanding in terms of the course I’m doing, a masters in Psychology MSc. Indeed, the personal growth benefits of higher education are huge, and if it is a subject that you’re passionate about, then that will make it all the easier.
“When fulfilment isn’t always there you’ve got to do your best to find it but it’s also important to remember that you’re not failing if you don’t.
“People say I’m really joyful, positive and happy but I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety and I’m always working to pull myself out of it – it’s never too late to start over.”