Today is a very happy day for me! I am writing my hundredth article for this column, Life after 50.
One hundred articles in 2˝ years. I still can’t believe it’s possible!
Before starting this column, I never wrote about my personal life.
I wrote five books and many articles in Russia on business but here on the island I began to write about my feelings, memories and the voice in my soul, which is always calling for me to listen.
I began to write about my beloved people and about those who left a deep mark on my character; I journeyed back to my past in Siberia and life on Lake Baikal.
I began to share my recent past; how I met my husband, Bill, in Bermuda and about my incredible mother who finally fell in love when she was 80 years old. These memories sparked thoughts on heartfelt topics: the nature of goodness, gratitude, the meaning of life, perseverance and strength, tenderness and compassion.
I found an audience for my stories in the kind, polite and sensitive hearts of Bermudians.
I expressed my awe at the sheer beauty of Bermuda; its close connection to the vibrant sea, the majestic clouds, the pure air and clear, clean rain; the dances of longtails, the calm, red dawns and the indigo sunsets; the way nature surprises you in hidden pockets among the pastels of unique homes and prized gardens.
As a child, I explored the endless forests of Siberia surrounding the cold, blue waters of Lake Baikal but nothing prepared me for the sound of the sea here before a hurricane.
I still marvel at the calm confidence of Bermudians as they prepare to ride out yet another storm.
There were the acts of kindness I witnessed every day; the laughter of friends as they joked and teased each other as only Bermudians can.
In short, I fell in love with Bermuda by paying attention to its deep and wondrous tapestry found nowhere else on this changing planet.
I discovered Bermuda’s inner identity, which filled me with admiration. I began to understand the value of community and appreciate how rare it is for a society to live in peace in this troubled world.
There is the Bermuda of pink oleanders, old stone walls, peeping tree frogs and secret beaches.
But underneath all that beauty, I found another one; the character of a people founded from an ancient shipwreck and left to create a new world on a small, far-flung island hidden in the vast Gulf Stream current.
Bermuda woke in me an overwhelming need to tell my stories, and I am not afraid to be frank. Sometimes, I meet people who, having learnt that I am Nina London, say that they know a lot about me. “I know about your first date” or “I remember how you wanted to try oysters so much you moved to another country”.
I laugh and think, “Maybe I am too open?” But, this is my life and I want to share my journey. It’s also a way of saying thank you to Bermuda for welcoming me, a Russian woman far from home.
During these years of writing, my thoughts changed. I changed.
I began to contemplate what events in my life had made me better, what inspired me and gave me the strength to persevere and follow my dreams.
This column supported me when I was sick. It was an anchor for me to connect with a healthy life.
I didn’t stop writing even when I was in pain and this determination grew and found itself in my articles. I found myself healing as I wrote about hope and strength.
In our modern world, where all magazines and newspapers are going digital, it is a rare opportunity to be printed in a paper newspaper.
That is why Thursday is my favourite day of the week.
This is the day my article is published and I do my ritual. I drive to the Fairmont Southampton hotel.
I take the newspaper from the stack on the counter and leaf through its pages, still smelling of ink. I find my article, sit in the lobby, and slowly reread it.
It gives me the feeling that I have done something important in my life. I have told my short story and these words of mine might help or inspire someone.
I am very grateful for this opportunity to be heard, incredibly grateful to all my readers, and deeply grateful to The Royal Gazette for giving me the freedom to say what is in my heart and on my mind.
When a stranger approaches me and says they have cut out my article and pasted it somewhere to look at over and over again, it touches me to tears.
My first story was about the amazing and unexpected thing that happened to me when I turned 50: I began to fulfil my dreams.
I will be 54 in ten days and I am still dreaming. My latest dream is to publish a book of these weekly stories. As I said in my very first article, “If not now, when?”
• Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com