Martine van Weelden, 42

Women, Fabulous Over 40

Martine came to my photo studio in Driebergen for the Fabulous Over 40 Portrait Experience in 2023. She was still recovering from a ruptured achilles when she came for her shoot and so it was quite entertaining posing her as she hobbled around the studio. We still had lots of fun.

If your friends/family had to describe you in 3-4 words, what would they say?

According to my partner ‘funny, smart and sexy’.

What would you say is your best emotional quality?

I think I’m quite relatable, I like it if people feel at ease around me and vice versa. I like to make a real connection with people. Keeping up appearances is not my thing.

What is your occupation and how to you like to spend your free time?

I’m a Director at the Capitals Coalition. We aim to make business decision making more sustainable by redefining value, so that it includes the value provided by nature and people. This in turn should drive systemic economic change. Simply put, we don’t pay a bee for all the services it provides to us, but yet we profit massively from their pollination for instance. If we would account for the importance of the bees' services, our decisions would be made differently. I was supposed to travel a lot for work, as i lead on a global project on agriculture a.o., but due to covid I'v ebeen working form home mostly.

I love to be in nature and lead an active social life, preferably near the beach. I love kitesurfing, tourskiing, dancing, writing short stories and gardening. Travelling and meeting new people and cultures I enjoy too. As I'm injured now, I've started oil painting.

What are you most proud of?

My perseverance and agility. I’ve had my fair share of setbacks. Studying anthropology and wanting to have a meaningful career in sustainability wasn’t easy when I started 20 years ago, and now that’s what I do.

I have faced quite some societal rejection, and still do as a childless woman. Entering my 40’s this is specifically hard. There is a lot of talk about how hard it is to be a mom, but little conversation nor interest in the other side of the medal and the outsider role you get within society. Embracing my scars with compassion is what I’m learning.

What is your favourite poem, quote or saying?

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!' by Dr. Seuss always gives me strenght. My favorite bit: You'll get mixed up, of course,
 As you already know.
 You'll get mixed up

With many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step.
 Step with care and great tact
 And remember that Life's

A Great Balancing Act.
 Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

What advice would you give your 20-year old self looking back?

I was 22 at the time and living life to the fullest. I think it would have helped me if I had stopped doubting my intelligence, capacities and beauty, and would have allow myself more to mess up life up every now and then. A few years back a lady said to me ‘remember, you’re a catch’. It would have been nice to take that in at age 22.

When you entered your 40's, what did you find were the most significant or poignant changes?

I'm not sure whether it's age or covid, but I notice that I connect more with fewer people and feel less urge to invest in many people. That's quite liberating!

Do you have a story about yourself that you would like to share?

I ruptured my achilles tendon when doing a dance workshop at a beach early July, 2 days before I was supposed to have my shoot. We had to reschedule, and during the shoot I still couldn't walk properly (still can't). Jules did an amazing job in supporting me throughout. It was a challenge to find positions I was comfortable in, but we succeeded.

What are your thoughts on aging?

I think there's beauty in youthfulness, but also in age. Unfortunately the latter is undervalued by women. I wish women would stop the ratrace for eternal youth through plastic surgery, it's a race we'll never win. I hope people at this age can be content with who they are, and radiate the beauty of age.

Do you still have a dream or big goal that you would love to accomplish?

I'd love to write a novel about the many travels I've made and all the beauty I encountered in small moments when travelling.

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