Updated: Jun 27, 2022
In this episode (LISTEN TO THE EPISODE), Manjoo tells her story of going through the loss of her husband of 24 years and transforming her grief into her passion for empowering women, especially women who are immigrants or have lost their husbands (or separated/divorced) by inspiring them with her own story.
She talks about how she dealt with the grief and how being financially independent is very important, not only for having your own identity but for being able to support yourself during hard times like the loss of your loved ones.
Manjoo also says that only recently she has become more resilient and has learned to put herself first by setting boundaries. Nowadays she tries not to compare herself with others but rather be a better version of herself.
Right now Manjoo is so busy loving herself and being in charge of her life, and that’s what makes her feel the most beautiful.
10 Facts About Manjoo
(at the time of the project)
1. 50 years old.
2. She is an immigrant from India, lived in New Zealand, and moved to Australia in 2006
3. Manjoo is a widow.
4. After suddenly losing her husband of 24 years, Manjoo transformed her grief into her passion for empowering women, especially women who are immigrants or have lost their husbands (or separated/divorced) by inspiring them with her own story.
5. She is a mother of 2 young men.
6. Manjoo is a glass-half-full kind of person, living her life queen size.
7. Manjoo believes that being financially independent is very important, not only for having your own identity but for being able to support yourself during hard times like the loss of your loved ones.
8. Manjoo says that her greatest accomplishment is that she has been able to achieve a great work-life balance, having been really hands-on mom. And also she has progressed in her career, Manjoo is in a very good position in her company.
9. Biggest challenge at this age – “Having lost my best friend, my husband, who I was married to for almost 24 years, my biggest challenge currently is living without that care and nurturing that I had received from him for many years.”
10. Positive change with age – “I have definitely become more resilient. And have learned to put myself first by setting boundaries.”
Watch Manjoo's VIDEO interview HERE
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE :
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (auto-generated) :
Hi, you are listening to My Body My Story podcast,
My passion lies in empowering women, especially women, having lost their husband or separated or divorced. I'm a widow. And I would love to empower them through my experiences by inspiring them with my story.
This is the 45 or 45 chapter where we celebrate rule breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show that sensuality, beauty, soul and true essence. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and will listen to the stories of our participants. If you have an interesting story to share, we would love you to participate, you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
Hi, Manju, welcome to our studio and welcome to our project. And today, while you sitting in the makeup chair, and Danny's doing makeup for you, I'll be asking you a few questions. Let's start with telling us a bit about yourself.
Hi, Alexandra. My name is Manjoo Sharma, Lalwani. I am 50. And a mother of two young men. I am an immigrant from India, lived in New Zealand and moved here in 2006. So I've been away from home for 22 years. And to summarise my life, I am a glass half full kind of person. Where I live life queensize.
Oh, that's nicely said. So, what are you most passionate about?
With my life experiences and what I've gone through I think my, my passion lies in empowering women, especially women who are immigrants or having lost their husband or separated or divorce. I'm a widow. And I would love to empower them through my experiences, by inspiring them with my story. What how I have dealt with grief and being alone. And how you can do you can
it's a very important thing to know how to manage when you suddenly meet this kind of situation. So how did you manage? Do you have any advice to women who go through losses? Any losses like this? You said divorce or death of the close ones?
Yeah, mainly for me. I have been doing this. I mean, I've been in a lot of I've been involved in things like this to empower women writing stories and stuff. My story I've shared actually, I could share with you later on. I think financial independence is very important. You may be with a partner who may be the richest man but I think you should have an identity and do something when something like this happened. Specially mine was not planned. It happened abruptly but I had financial independence that I please didn't have to worry about that. While dealing with and being an immigrant, if I didn't have a job, if I relied on my husband, probably I've had to probably pack my bags and go back home. You know. So having that independence, it's empowering that I'm looking after myself and my boys. I mean, they are older now but still I had to pay the bills pay the mortgage. So I think that's important plus to have a positive outlook like you can't change things and you have to accept move on. It's not easy I've been there it's not easy grief cry, have good friends around you who are genuine and who will give you honest advice. And I've been lucky in that as well. And yeah, I for me, I found peace in spirituality. I'm not religious, but and I respect all religion but to believe in good karma. Help people who come your way. Be honest. Yeah, so I think that really helped me bring my soul was healing doing those things. And if I can help one person with my instead of sitting and crying and sulking Oh, this happened to me. Yeah, that's what helped me and I I'm so glad that with my story, I can reach out to women who are struggling. And that you can do it, you know, get a job, do anything, have an identity, have that money coming in your account to make you feel that it's I can look after myself.
You know, I think it's financial independency it's always important for a woman to feel not dependent on anyone, if anything happens, whatever it is, and plus, it's just makes you feel that you're mean something, are you doing some meaningful things, or you are in your own income?
So everyone knows that with age we change. But what positive changes have you experienced so far?
For me, I have definitely become more resilient. And have learned to put myself first by setting boundaries. Before I probably was not a people pleaser, but I could never say no to someone, I would put my feelings, my whatever behind and put the other person's feelings first, so much so that I couldn't even tell the person Hey, I don't like this or if you ordered food for me, which I didn't like, I would still eat thinking, Oh, he he or she will feel bad. I was that person many years ago. But I've learned to Yes, say no. And again, after losing my husband, I realise how resilient I had become. While still grieving, you know, I was able to pick up, pick myself up pretty quickly. And I continue to do well personally and professionally,
good quality with which comes with age.
What is the biggest challenge for you? At the moment with this age?
Okay, it may sound very arrogant or pompous. But I think age is just a number. And I can fit in any age group, I can sit with a 12 year old or 90 year old and still start a conversation and understand their, you know, way of life. But again, having lost my best friend, my husband, who I was married to for almost 24 years, my biggest challenge currently is living without that care and nurturing that I had received from him for many years. But now again, I have learned to be content on my own, or rather feeling complete in myself without needing as much as I miss that I'm quite. Yeah, I think that also comes with age, right? Where you're able to feel complete on your own. But that would that was a challenge to come to that level.
To feel complete on your own without relying on your partner or someone near you. It's it's quite a difficult task, or it is it is I know that we lost my dad nine years ago, and my mom was still struggling with accepting that and nine years later, so it's quite a challenge.
And I do have my moment. It's not like I'm all strong, I break down I cry. But as they say, you know, I get up fix my crown, and I face the world.
Yeah. So what do you think is your greatest accomplishment?
I have many, but I think it stands out where I have been able to achieve having a great work life balance, having been really hands on mom. And also in my career, I have not been behind I have progressed in my career, I'm in a very good position in my company. And also my boys now, men doing very well in their areas. And that, of course, was possible because my husband was really supportive husband who wanted me to go and get the job. And it required lots of travelling internationally International, but he's, he'd say, you go I look after the kids. I'm sorry. And so I think that that's my achievement. where I am today is because of that. Being able to balance both I just didn't go all career and left my family. I was able to raise my voice in a most balanced way.
Yeah, that's wonderful. So if you could go back and meet your 30 year old So what advice would you give her?
Yeah, so for me, I'm going to tweak that a bit because I got married young. So in my 30s, I was already a mother of two, and a struggling immigrant. So I was pretty much what and how I wanted to be in life in my 30s. But if I had to advise myself, it would be my 20 year old self. Because that's when I think I should have set boundaries, telling people. No, I don't want to eat that food, or I don't like you saying that to me. Yeah, so if it was my advice to my 20 year old self would be set boundaries. And you have to put yourself first sometimes not everyone else, and you behind.
Okay, and what advice would you give younger women who will eventually undergo this changes will reach this age and we'll face the changes of the age.
Sure. Definitely self care Self Love Me first, but not in a selfish way. And again, everyone is beautiful in their own way. So beauty exudes from the inside out, let your inner self glow. And always strive to be a better version of you. By comparing yourself to you to your own self, like what I was yesterday, I want to be better, but not comparing yourself with anyone else. Like say, for example, what I do say I go to the gym, I'm very much into fitness. I don't compete with what other people are doing. I look at how much did I achieve how many, you know, calories did I lose yesterday, I want to do it better. Today, more today, not like looking at other people's achievements. So yeah, love yourself. Not again in a selfish way. Not like forgetting you live in a society. But yeah, be your true self from inside, and you will be the most beautiful, most happy content person.
I also want to talk about body image and how we have this picture of the perfect body in our heads. And where do you think this idea of perfect body image comes from?
Yeah, I think even me sometimes when I see you know, pictures on Instagram were skinny anything Oh my God, no stomach, no. Flap lifting whitewash. I look big or whatever. But I think I've realised that it is definitely all this social media, you know, when you get walk? It's the skinniest model, why can I be a model? Even for me? I'm short. But why can I walk short people don't wear clothes? They do. So I think that's definitely the pressure and the peer pressure where everyone is trying to take the best picture. We're looking slim, trim, whatever. And I think it's I think I'm sure everyone goes through the we want to be that someone instead of so you know, my it goes to my previous one where I compare with me, not with anybody else, which again, it may sound very perfect. It doesn't come easy. When I go through those were my God, why can I be skinnier or skin, flawless skin or whatever. But definitely, I think our social media and all the music videos you see with only skinny models, I guess young girls get into the zone thinking this is what you have to be.
And what does it mean to you feeling good and looking good? What do you think comes first or what comes first for you?
For me feeling good. Is from within that comes first because I'm sure everyone has experienced that when you feel good. From inside. And and again, happiness is not something you can go to a place and find happiness. It comes from within. So when you feel good from inside, you definitely feel good on the outside and it exudes a new glow. And you radiate really, and my feelgood factor is actually for me like literally breaking the norm as you know, as girls you always made to feel that you need a man to be happy. And as much as they do bring happiness. I'm not anti men, but you look after yourself. Like I'm single. I would love to have of course love for the second time, but I can be happy looking after myself. Feeling good. I own my own money. I am an independent woman. And I think that makes me extremely happy that oh my god, I can do this. I never thought I could, you know, losing as little as 24 years. So definitely that feeling of being empowered, that oh my god, I did this and I can do this and also make other women who are struggling, have that empowered feeling. It's definitely My, my passion and my feelgood factor.
That's great and what makes you feel the most beautiful?
Again, as much as I like being single and being independent, I have been in love and been married to a man who loved me like crazy. So I'm a true romantic and I want to be in love and be loved. And I think that definitely, truly when that one person makes you feel like you are, you know, the love of their life definitely makes you feel like the most beautiful person on earth. And again, I was very fortunate to have that with my husband. But right now I'm so busy loving myself, and being in charge of my life. So in the next phase, this phase of my life, I feel beautiful that I can still continue to feel that beauty inside me by being singleness.
Well, I like the phrase, I'm so busy by loving myself.
Yeah, I'm very busy loving myself. So I'm, I'm being loved by me. So that's the most beautiful feeling.
And do you have any favourite quotes about being a woman?
I have several. But the one that actually conveys the message that is close to my life right now is by Eleanor Roosevelt. Former First Lady of the United States, goes “A woman is like a tea bag. You can't tell how strong it is until you are put her in hot water.” Which was me.
You know, it's so interesting that when I did my episode of podcasts, which is I think number 25 I did give exactly the same quote and it's my favorite one and I love it and I think that's all your things what you told me during this interview exactly showing that you're resilient. Yeah.
And it is short and so powerful that you know, really I didn't know I was so strong till I had to be put in that hot water that didn't burn me but I you know, I made the water cool.
Also, I know that there is a saying that God doesn't give you tests that you cannot pass
I believe that he must think I'm the best student he has so he he put me through the I'm not the only one I know there are many were going to worse than me but for me it was the worst thing in my life, you know, that could happen.
So you can go through that and start inspiring others with your example with your experience and helping them and big also believe that sometimes we have those tests so we can start helping others.
Yes. 100% and I believe that I have been put in this path for a reason. And I don't want to just that's why I'm sharing my stories. I know many people who struggle to you know speak the truth or share their stories. I know many women have reached out to me where they say wow, how can you share your stories openly I said you know, it's it's not because I'm sharing it like having fun sharing this. But if one person is listening, they're struggling to come out of that grief and if I can make that one person feel or if she can do it I can do it. That's my path right now and that's my passion.
So how do you do it you have your website or like how women if they need help or how they would find you?
I don't have a website yet but I actually in fact just before I you know got in touch with you was it during I can't remember exact but few months or this year starting I got in I was contacted by a women's magazine in the Indian women's magazine online called sucky Online Soccer means friends in the meaning translates to a friend and they asked me like if I could do you know some article and I did I shared my story and I did say you know mention that if anybody's struggling just want to have a chat. I'm there so I did give my you know, it was on Facebook the magazine advertised and some people reached out on Facebook Messenger and wanted my number and wanted to talk many many many compliments from women. Were saying oh my god, I want to meet you I want to talk to you and to hear I'm happy even here for to share my Insta or maybe mobile I wouldn't give away because I do get crazy men also. And I've had to block many Yeah, my Facebook. I don't have a website. I don't think I can I have a busy work as well. But yeah, happy to.
So we will put your link to your Instagram. Yes, that would be so if anyone needs help they can reach you through the Instagram.
Definitely. That will be lovely. That's great.
Thank you Manjoo, thank you very much for your sharing your story and for joining our project. I hope you will enjoy today photoshoot.
Thank you. Thank you. It's, it's yeah, it's great and thanks for the opportunity.
If you have an interesting story to share would love for you to participate. You can email us at email@example.com or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
This is the 45 over 45 chapter of MY BODY MY STORY podcast, where we celebrate rule breakers and role models - the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show their SENSUALITY, BEAUTY, SOUL, and TRUE ESSENCE.
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