Jill Perrin

My husband loves to create surprise birthdays. I told him that I wanted to bring in my 50th in an intentional, spiritual way with people I loved. From that, he created a retreat with family and friends. We were at Menla Mountain in Phoenicia, NY. I was told we were going away with my kids and would be doing a private yoga class. When we arrived, I walked into a room with 16 family and friends waiting for me on yoga mats. We were then led through a practice. It was very moving and powerful for me, seeing all my loved ones doing yoga for me because I knew for some of them, it was out of their comfort zone. The rest of the weekend included kirtan, live drumming and more yoga. It was incredible and I will never forget it!

Time goes so much quicker now than I ever remember it to. I always remember January dragging on and now, even January flies by! I do not remember when it started to speed up, but definitely after 50.

I have always valued family, even since I was a young girl. This continues to be the most important thing to me. Truth and honesty are at the top of my list. I value people who are real and willing to speak their truth.

I have three children and each one’s birth marked significant points of change in my life. I planned my pregnancies far apart as I did not think I could handle two little ones at the same time. This gave me the opportunity to really enjoy each baby but sometimes I wish I had had them closer, so they were closer in age.

I went to NYU Tisch School of the Arts for Drama for college. Right after I graduated, I was hired at RCMH to dance with the Rockettes. I performed as a Rockette for 8 years but spent the whole time explaining I was really an actress. I laugh at myself now at how rigid my thinking was. I wish I had really embraced working there while still pursuing acting. This thinking really got in my way. I had danced my whole life, attending School of American Ballet for 5 years so dancing was a big part of my life. I do not understand what was going on in my mind, except I do know I was riddled with fear of failure. My fear of failure has kept me form really going for anything 100 percent in my life until now. If I could tell my 20-year-old self anything, it would be to feel the fear and do it anyway and to lighten up. The advice I would give myself as a young mother would be similar. In my early years as a mom, I strived to be the perfect mom. As we know, there is no perfect. Until I found meditation, I was very anxious. I would advise my younger self to relax and not worry so much. That worrying invites those things into your life, rather than keep them away.

I have had the luxury of some wonderful experiences. Seeing the Northern Lights, going to Alaska and China are on the top.

The gift of being alive another day gets me up in the morning. I lost a friend way too young to cancer and since then, I do not take a day for granted. I have spent most of my life feeling like I have not accomplished enough, and just being me was unacceptable. But since I have become a student of the Course In Miracles this has shifted a lot. Now, I enter each day asking, “Where am I needed most? " I am really beginning to embrace the idea that all I need to do is love and be kind, and that is the most important thing in life. I have recently certified as a life coach with Marianne Williamson. The certification is called Miracle-Minded coaching as it is based on The Course in Miracles. I have always loved helping people and supporting them in living a life filled with peace and joy. This coaching really supports that. My mother suffered silently from depression and anxiety, and I was raised thinking life was a challenge and joy was fleeting. Her pain was really difficult for me to witness, and I often felt guilty for feeling joy. Now, I recognize that we were born to experience peace and happiness and share it with others. But it has been a long road to get to this thinking and many years of studying meditation, yoga, many different spiritual philosophies, and therapy. I would love to hear that people describe me as kind, loving and supportive.

The most confident time in my life, ironically, is probably now. Although the outside is breaking down, LOL, the inside is stronger than ever. I still lack confidence in myself at times, but I am learning to hear the ego speak and do it anyway. I am learning to not care about what people think. It took me well into my 40s to understand what speaking my truth was and now, I believe I can do that.

Future!

As I watch my daughter do all her "lasts" this year, I am seeing the end of 29 years of mothering a child at home. I know mothering never ends, but it does shift.  I realized recently that I have been enjoying these moments with some tears flowing but looking forward to the future. But just yesterday I realized that I have some mourning to do. How I have loved being a mother! How lucky I was to have the choice to stay home with them. I have lately heard myself say "I am getting too old for this!" when feeling tired or overwhelmed by whatever was expected of me. So, I am aware that I am ready for the next phase. But when I think of my daughter leaving the nest, I am very sad. I have made many mistakes as a mother, but I do believe it has still been my greatest accomplishment. I adore my three children and am so proud of the human beings they have turned out to be. So proud! So, what is next?

I am excited to devote full time to my coaching practice as well as continue teaching my meditation and yoga classes.

I am looking forward to some new beginnings with my husband such as possibly moving to NYC, downsizing from a home to an apartment, and hopefully traveling more. I hope to spend more time in our condo in Sarasota, Florida and possibly connect with like-minded yogis and healers in that community.

One myth I am determined to bust is that we wither after 50! I believe it can be a wonderful time and we are only halfway through our life! I hear some friends complain that it’s all downhill and I will not embrace that. Yes, the body doesn't respond to diet and exercise as easily and there is something to be said about aging gracefully. But I believe we need to stay active physically and mentally and not allow ourselves to fall victim to "getting old." One of the things I am passionate about is helping women continue to feel sexy, to unearth the feminine goddess within that has less to do with how you look and more to do with how you feel! I think advertising is beginning to wake up to the market of women over 50 but unfortunately, we still see beauty portrayed by less wrinkles, less cellulite, and flat stomachs.

I think as we age, we continually look back at how we perceived ourselves and think. "Damn, I didn’t realize how good I looked."

I spent most of my life thinking I was fat (thank you ballet world for that!) Once I started to have children, my body became more about creating and nurturing life than my egoic thoughts of how I looked. I have always exercised, and this has helped me feel like I am doing all I can to stay healthy. My diet is cleaner and healthier now than it ever was, but it’s by choice rather than deprivation. I truly believe confidence brings beauty as well as an open heart. When we keep our hearts open and allow love rather than fear, there is a glow in the eyes that is beautiful. Beauty comes from within.