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Episode 97 – Susan | My Body. My Story PODCAST| 45 Over 45 chapter

In this episode, you will learn 10 FACTS about Susan, what age she would like to go back to and what advice she would give herself at that age! We also talk about the main causes of body image issues, how they come up and how she overcomes them. And we discuss what aging means to her and to her body.

You can READ the interview transcript HERE


10 Facts About Susan

(at the time of the project)

1. 56 years old.

2. Susan was born and raised in Timaru, New Zealand.

3. She moved over to Australia in 2014, to be close to her sister who lives in Sydney and her brother, who's now in Perth.

4. Susan has two adult children, a son who is 30 and a daughter who is 27. And she has a four-year-old grandchild. They do still live in New Zealand.

5. Susan was married at 22 and for 20 years. Her ex-husband worked for a bank and they went to Papua New Guinea for five years. So they lived an expat life there. Then they went to the Solomon Islands for three years. And then they came back to New Zealand.

6. Susan traveled quite a bit. Her favourite place so far, is Santorini.

7. I have a cat called Archie. That's a British blue cat. And he's very fat.

8. Susan just loves being active and going to the beach. She loves reformer Pilates.

9. Susan doesn't rush through life, but she definitely has always been a forward-thinking person.

10. Susan is working at Redlands School. She is now PA to the head of secondary school, and she also manages the Student Services Centre. And that feels like a family to me. So that's what I really love about working at the school.




Hi, you're listening to the My Body, My Story podcast.

And um, you know, I do wear makeup to make my face look better. I do get my hair coloured so that I look better. You know, I moisturize. I don't think there's anything wrong with a woman doing any of those things. And we've got all these things available to us now. And if it makes you feel better, I'm all for it.

This is the 45 over 45 chapter 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. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and we listened to the stories about participants. If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the My Body My Story project. And today with us in the studio, Susan. And I'll be asking her a few questions. Hi, Susan. Welcome to the studio.

Thank you. It's lovely to be here.

And let's start and tell us 10 facts about yourself.

Okay, I'm 56 years old. I was born and raised in Timaru, New Zealand. I moved over to Australia in 2014, to be close to my sister who lives in Sydney and my brother, who's now in Perth. I have two adult children, their boy that's 30 and a daughter that's 27. And I have a four year old grandchild. And it's actually his birthday today, which is quite exciting to be doing this on his birthday. They do still live in New Zealand. I sort of left because they were older and they were doing their own thing. And I'd been in Christchurch all through the earthquake. And that was quite challenging. And it's cold and it wasn't my home anyway, and I really don't have any other family there except my two children. And my daughter had moved to Auckland to swim because she was quite a good swimmer in New Zealand. So I just took the opportunity to come over here. I never had a backup plan. I sold everything and just came over. And I've been lucky,

very brave.

Yeah, didn't have a job or anything. So I came over here, I had friends because you have friends everywhere, you know. And they helped me my sister helped me and then I ended up buying a little place and Dee-Why living by the beach and everyday is feels like a holiday to me living here. It's beautiful. And then I got a job working at Redlands school and comon. And that's been a wonderful experience for me. I just absolutely love my job. I'm now PA to the head of secondary school and I also manage the Student Services Centre. And that feels like a family to me. So that's what I really love about working at the school.

What did you do in New Zealand?

In New Zealand I was when I left school, I started in the accountants office and then I went into insurance.

So the office work

the office work generally, I was married at 22. I had my first child when I was 26. My second when I was 28. But me and I'm since divorced. I was married for 20 years. But me and my ex husband, he worked for a bank and we went to Papua New Guinea for five years. So we lived an expat life there. And then went to Solomon Islands for three years. And then we came back to New Zealand.

So you travelled quite a lot.

I did travel quite a bit. And I have since travelled a little bit. I've been to Europe and I took my daughter to Croatia and Greece, Ireland, the Greek islands back in 2017 when I was 15, and she was 21. I love travelling want to do more travelling,

but what's your favourite place?

Oh, favourite place so far, I'd have to say was Santorini I don't know in Greece, it was just so beautiful. Beautiful, but I loved Croatia that that was amazing. I'd like to sail it next time because we did a land trip but yeah, there's so much more to see. I mean I love Venus too but it was quite overcrowded but you can see

I was there twice and I wasn't that lucky I didn't like it much.

Which one was that?

Venice. I've been there twice. Probably one time I was in May and the second time it was February. Yeah, and for some reason this water in channels smells

look, it's probably not my favourite place but it's just interesting that that city is, interesting place. But then all Europe's quite interesting when you come from an island like New Zealand.

I love Rome.

So that's my favourite haven't been looked at Santorini though Yeah, okay. Santorini is beautiful, because really other effects that I had here. Oh, I have a cat called Archie. That's a British blue cat. And he's very fat. To try to get rid of him once but have settled down there is a beautiful cat. And yeah, I just love being active. I guess I love being outside. I love going to the beach. And right at the moment, I'm writing to reformer Pilates. So love to do something like that. Yeah. It's so it's it really does help your body to feel much. Yes. stronger, stronger.

Yeah, I don't know, for some reason you do exercise. You get tired, but the next day, you feel like, wow,

I know. It's amazing. 45 minutes, that can be tough. But then like you said, recovery is great. Yeah, yeah, it's and I think it's really important, especially when we get in our 50s or 40s 56, whatever, to do weight bearing exercises. Yeah.

So you just do Pilates? You don't do any way.

Oh, no. Sometimes I try and do a strength session, but I prefer the running around too much.

Okay, so let's move to ageing and body image questions. And my first question here, What does ageing means to you at this point of your life.

So at this point, I really try not to dwell on Ageing, I really try not to, because I still feel the same inside, even though my body's ageing around me. And I know that now I finally realised in the last few years that I need to look after my body more, I think when I was younger, I probably didn't treat it as preciously, as I should have, you know, you eat bad, you go out you drink. You have late nights, you know, you really, really do push your body to the limit when you're younger. But as I've got older, I realised that I do have to nourish my body from the inside for it to look better on the outside. And I do need to exercise and I need to check myself a bit more. So that's why I started going to the gym and why I tried to try to think that I've got to eat healthy and do more healthier things. That doesn't mean to say I still don't go out and like a drink. Yeah, I do. But yeah, I just think I need You need to be kinder. And yeah, I don't like the ageing process. Because it makes you realise that, you know, you just years are ticking by and even now and again. I remember my daughter, the last time I saw her last couple of times, she took my hands and she said, Oh Ma'am, your hands are getting so old. And I'm like, Oh, shut up. But it does you realise that your skin is ageing, but you can't do anything about it. So I yeah, just don't worry. I just kind of think I've just got to do the right thing be healthy, enjoy my life. And live it to the fullest. Yeah, I think that's what you need to do.

So but if you could go back to any age, what age it would be? Why, and what advice would you give yourself?

I had trouble answering this question. Because all ages mean something a little bit differently. I put my early 20s Only because I realised that I was so self conscious in my 20s. I went down a path, I guess that I thought was expected of me. I've I feel now that you know being in your 20s and the 80s didn't have as much probably is opportunity as kids in their 20s have now. I think I tried to rush my life a little bit, you know, make this you know, and I'd go back and say you don't have to make the decision that's going to define you now you can do I'll explore a lot of different options. You can be kinder to yourself, you can you know, all that sort of stuff. I mean, I didn't appreciate the firmness of my body and my 20s Probably I was a bit chunkier at times in my 20s I ended up having my kids in my 20s Yeah, I guess I'll just say take more opportunities, you know, think a little bit more before you rush into things like that.

This phrase talks to me now. Yeah, you said that it's like a sign from universe like you don't need to rush to define yourself even at this age. No, no. So at any age, you probably go one step at a time. What is comfortable for you now at an it may change with like in one year or two or three?

That's right. That's exactly right. And I think that you can't let people try to influence you. I think we were brought up especially in my era to look, you know for advice from others and sometimes that would be would trample down what you really wanted to do, because someone else's opinion mattered. But at the end of the day, you're the most important person in your life, your opinion of yourself matters. And if you want to shine, you've got to, you know, be brave enough to follow what you want to do. Not saying I regret anything that I've done, I don't think that I was ever coerced and not doing what I ended up doing. But um, maybe it's just the time that we were in, I think there's more opportunity now. But now as an adult now, as at this, even at this age, this is why I decided to do this because this is something different for me. I just want to challenge my to keep challenging myself and just making sure those you know, have a good time and enjoy. I truly believe anyone challenge myself to enjoy life. Yeah, I know. Well, though, I think this is the only life you get. So you want to make sure to

So if your body could talk, what do you think it would ask you to tell you at this momen?

that isn't I think it would tell me to rest a bit more to be but to eat. You know better every now and again. I'm I love chocolate, and I love sweet foods. And sometimes I can, you know, not something I'll have a couple more drinks than I should have or whatever. But I think it would tell me to just rest and take my time a bit more not rush around. Yeah.

To get your body time to recover.

That's right. That's right. know that's that's about it. Really. I didn't I did. I don't know what else it would tell me. Maybe do my pelvic floor exercise was probably. But apart from that, that's all good.

So what do you think are the main causes of body image issues for any age?

I think nowadays, social media for sure. But when I look back, we had Body Image, Image problems. Back in the 60s 70s 80s, not when I grew up. I mean, I think most of girls that I went to school with, you know, anorexia was around bulimia was around. When I look back at them, supermodels of that age, they were all really thin, you know Kate Moss, and all the magazines if you wanted to be pretty, he had to be thin. That's that's the messaging that I got when I was younger. I wasn't I was actually quite a big chunky girl when I was in high school and have always struggled to maintain my weight. That year, definitely. I social media and also, because I actually think it's not really a boy thing because most men look at women as a package anyway, they don't really focus. It's a woman who actually creating these body images more. Sometimes I think we're so hard on ourselves, and we can be really critical of other woman whereas I think we have to change that mindset and be a lot kinder. Everyone's different, everyone's a different shape. And also that like the the advertising in the movie industry has changed, I think a little bit more. Whereas when I was younger, I mean Brooke Shields you just had to be beautiful. Otherwise you weren't considered anything really? Yeah, so I think social media, movies, TV, but I think it is changing which is great. Slowly, slowly.

Sometimes it goes the opposite way too much like this body positive moment. Which I like the idea but I think it's getting twisted.

Yeah, I guess like everything. Yeah, like everything.

Sometimes I feel they're letting themselves go. Just by this. Yeah, well, I'm body positive. Yeah,

you're on it if I see that actually. And I mean, I think it's brave for women to wear whatever they want to wear. But you know, because you can look beautiful, whatever shape you are, but sometimes the clothing is just not suitable for that body shape. So I mean, you still want to look nice, whatever shape you are and that that's everyone's prerogative to choose what they want to wear. But sometimes I see people wearing stuff and I think gosh, and if you're brave or you just haven't, it just doesn't look nice.

So those are two purposes of wearing clothes. The first is to get yourself comfortable like if it's cold to make you warm if it's like you do a sport day make your movements easier. Another purpose of the clothes is to make you look better. Yes, when you want to dress up and look glamorous. In that case, you have to choose something which really makes you emphasizes these points.

Yeah, but then You know, everyone has a different idea what is good.

Do you think it can affect relationships? this negative body image? And how? And I'm talking about all sorts of relationship?

Oh, definitely. Because I think if you don't feel good about yourself and the body that you're in, you're not going to attract the right people. Yeah. So I've seen, you know, in romantic relationships, I've seen woman who perhaps haven't felt good about themselves, no matter what shape they are, they attract a guy that, you know, sometimes isn't the right one for them. So that can be awful. Because they just feel that, oh, I'll just put up with that. Because I'm not going to get anything better. Because look at me. And that's, you know, that's really sad. I think and it can affect how you work. He feel good about yourself, how you greet people, you know, if you're really, there's all different streams of how people feel. I mean, sometimes I don't feel great if I put on a few kgs and a feeling but you know, and I go to put a pair of pants on and a bit tight. So then next month, you just focus on the roll going on the jeans, you think I don't look good. Everyone's gonna notice. People actually generally don't notice this stuff. Right? It's all in their head. Right?

So, but yeah, oh, you overcome this body insecurities when they come up. Like you say,

Well, for me these days, I try to focus myself on being fit and healthy. So I don't actually try to focus too much on the fact that my bummers and my bums flat so I look at I was at parties this morning. And it was a gorgeous young girl next to me who had the most amazing figure with that lovely booty that all these young girls have, and I never had that. I've got, you know, wide flat bum really. And so I don't, I think with age, you can just blow it off a bit more, I think. And if I start to put on weight, I try to be a bit stricter with myself. I try to eat healthy. It's not so much really, I don't really call it a diet anymore. Because I think you know, I've gone past that but I think it's I know that if I eat good food if I eat vegetables if I eat fruit if I don't eat a lot of fried food and that my when my weight will stay down. And that's why I'm doing the pilates and going to the gym. And you know, yes, I do pop a little bit of Botox on my forehead because that makes me feel good. It takes away the lines so um, you know, I do wear makeup to make my face look better. I do get my hair coloured so that I look better. You know, I moisturise I don't think there's anything wrong with a woman doing any of those things. And we've got all these things available to us now. And if it makes you feel better, I'm all for it. So it's everyone's own take on how much they do have all that, you know, cosmetic surgery or whatever. But oh gosh, you do it for yourself or for yourself, not for someone else. I look in the mirror and I want to like what I see I don't you know in that hopefully attracts other people, the same mindset. Things just got to be kind to yourself. Yeah, as you especially as you get older, but even as a young person, I wasn't kind enough to myself as a young person. I think I was quite critical of how I looked. And

so what did you do when the when you were young if you had this body insecurities?

Well, I guess I just wasn't as I has always been a bit funny and humorous. And I think I just kind of just became a bit of a joker. Because I was, you know, at school I was Jonesy and you know that she's funny. She's you know, so I have a I could have a larger personality to make up for the fact that I wasn't one of the pretty girls who attracted all the guys at school because I wasn't.

You think that was your how you felt? Like, obviously because you very attractive woman?

Yeah, but I don't look at all like I did when I was at school at high school. If I was to show you a picture of me at high school, you wouldn't hardly recognise me. So yeah, I was quite a cute little girl. And then I went through puberty and it just all went to custard. I was chunky ahead rowshare on my cheeks, which was really like fiery, like, everywhere I went, I had these big red cheeks. I was cutting my hair short, because most people did in the 80s. And I was colouring it all these different colours. And I just, I took me a long time to find where I was comfortable. And a bit of that probably had to do with my growing up and things like that. But I just was not confident in myself, but I guess I was a confident person. Because I was able to therefore be funny and I used to do musicals and do acting classes and things like that. So I sort of went through that way to sort of overcome it, but I was never that particularly happy with the way I looked. And it wasn't until I left school and sort of got things more under control. And then I met my boyfriend when I was 19. I married him at 22. And I just went down that path of life and had my kids and was a mum and everything like that. And when my marriage broke up in 2010, I dropped a lot of weight from that. And I just had more time probably to spend on myself, because the kids got older. And so I've really enjoyed just reinventing myself a little bit, I guess. Which means you don't have to stay in the just because you look one way you can.

So you've done all the program - I need to get married, get a kid. Yeah, this is done. Check. Check, check.

Marriage is over. Now. I can take care of. So um, yeah, I mean, I'm, yeah. I'm sort of a single woman do mind thing at the moment is actually quite nice.

So you don't regret that? Your divorce?

Well, I didn't choose the divorce.

Yeah, do you feel comfortable?

I'm comfortable with it. I would have stayed married for over a year. So I would have but you know, I didn't choose that. But I guess I just decided that I've got to make the best of it. And I've got to move forward. I've always been a person who's always move forward that that's the one thing my mother used to say to me, actually, because both my parents have passed away. She used to say to me stop rushing Susan stop rushing through life. And I guess I don't rush. But I definitely am always been a forward thinking person. So I really try not to dwell on things that I can't change. Maybe that's a good thing, that it is hard. It doesn't always work for me. I've had some moments where I've really, really struggled. I had a relationship last year actually, which was really different for me, I thought that I'd met someone that I would want to be with. And he ended up a guest on him. No gas lighting was but he ended up sounds really bad now, but I don't mind if you put this on the podcast because no one will could relate to it dating. When you're older is hard. I've done some online dating and that I find it very difficult actually gives me anxiety to online date, because the expectation is just there. And but I didn't meet someone. And I thought it was going well. And then he kind of started to say he wasn't feeling well. He was sick. I wasn't giving him the love and support that he needed. And I couldn't understand what was going on. But he'd actually reconnected with his old girlfriend and who's out there living with her. I did find out about it. And I twisted all the words and everything. It was terrible. Terrible. But anyway, I got through that. Okay, and it took a while because I just couldn't believe that someone that I thought was, if nothing else, did he not have enough respect to tell me? Yeah, it's not. You know, people do fall out of love with people, people do find other people. I accept that. But don't lie and try and make it my fault. When you're living a double life for someone else. That's, that's what's beautiful, is the fact that they disregard.

Well, you mentioned it would last longer and you found it out.

I know. So there we go. months, you know, it's a blink in the ocean really?

Okay, so my last question. What is your favourite saying or, quote about being a woman?

Well, when I grew up, the slogan was girls can do anything. They still can. And that's always stuck with me. Because in the 70s I think there was a big push 60s and 70s for girls to get out there and try different things. Yeah. And that's the one that's always stuck with me and we can girls can do anything. Okay, so that's my favourite quote.

Thank you. So thank you very much for sharing your story and I hope you will enjoy the rest of the day and your photoshoot

Thank you. It's been great so far. So yes, I'm really looking forward to it.

If you have an interesting story, we'd love for you to participate. You can email us at That's Aleksandra spelled with a K S. Or visit our website






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.

For more information about the project visit:

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