The 40 over 40 Women's Campaign
Catherine is a kind, sensitive and beautiful woman who adores art and fashion. She is originally from France she completely fits the stereotype that French women have style!When she showed me her many choices for her wardrobe, I wasn't quite sure how it was all going to fit together but she puts on any combination of clothing and makes it look fabulous.
If your friends/family had to describe you in 3-4 words, what would they say?
Once said a friend of mine "Desert Edelweiss "...so I always felt quite different and kind of one of a kind but not standing in my strength enough to handle it.
What is your occupation and how to you like to spend your free time?
I guess the most important occupation I had in my life was to be a mother. It's the greatest responsability I've experienced, the most powerful and beautiful to be given, also the most scary because you are always the example, so you have to be the best example for your children. Because they are now almost grow-ups or studying, I realise I have now time to think about: what do you need Catherine? What do you want?
Free time to me is looking for water. I really need the calming influence of the sea...or a river...or even a natural pool.... When I move to the Netherlands in 1993, I was so delighted that I could visit the sea within 1 hour riding....this was really a gift.
What are you most proud of? Surviving a trauma, starting a business, moving countries, or just making it through every day?
I am really blessed and happy with everything in my life what "made me" the person I am now. I think life gives you what you have to get, and you learn much more from the hard part of it than from the soft part. I learned to be confident with my feelings and intuition, being happy with myself and not depending on anyone to be happy. The only person you earn is yourself. Even your kids are not yours. When you realize this, you can sink in a kind of confidence with everything in your life, and you can be deeply positive. Because it's the best way to fight the negative around us. I have been "the strong one" for a long time but now I'm free to rest. And to let go.
What is your favourite poem, quote or saying?
DIFFERENT IS ATTRACTIVE
What advice would you give your 20-year old self looking back?
We feel so insecure when we are 20. The best hint is to stay close to yourself. Don't look to others, just look at yourself, at what you have and not at what you do not have. Embrace the differences and not the similarities. And go inside, everytime you feel insecure. Because the answer is always inside, not outside.
Also try to be PATIENT. This is the greatest key to success in many ways.
When you entered your 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's or beyond, what did you find were the most significant or poignant changes? Eg, in work, health, family or relationships?
The greatest change was to realize that I am my big own happiness. I don't rely on anybody else. I'm in charge and being different is great and ok!
Do you have a story about yourself that you would like to share? Something funny, wise or that you have overcome?
The funniest is that I met the Dutch father of my children through friends. As a French girl I was always attracted to any country covered with sun so my attention went to all the sunny countries under France. I had barely heard over the Netherlands and did not knew at all where this country was on the wold map!!!!
What are your thoughts on aging?
I feel blessed to have reached already my age, because my mother passed away when she was 50. I was 26 and I definitely missed her in all the moments I would have liked to share with her in all the phases of my life. I had to discover a lot by myself.... I missed the reference!
I will be blessed with each single year I will get. Really. Because life is a wonderful present. Even the setbacks are a gift that makes you grow.
And I really think that the most difficult in aging is to lose a lot of people along the way...
Do you still have a dream or big goal that you would love to accomplish? What are the skills or things that you'd still love to learn?
Never stop dreaming... I do not have specific goals to reach or accomplish, I let life surprise me. I've experienced a divorce, and a burn out, so I had enough stress in my life. I really try to avoid any situations which could set me upside down, this is I think the greatest achievement for me....