An Adultitis Fighter is someone who rallies against rules that don’t exist and engages in ruthless, senseless acts of silliness that undermine Adultitis and its unadventurous version of adulthood. Once a month, we shine a light upon the most remarkable among us, holding them up as a dazzling example of what we should strive for in this epic battle against a formidable enemy.
Mary Helen Conroy is one heck of an Adultitis Fighter! Known as the Midwife of Midlife, she is a life coach who has cultivated a lifetime of daring adventures in her quest to help retirees rediscover the flame in their heart. Each page in the chapters of her journey have challenged her to grow and learn. Her own reinventions include a career as a public library administrator and building consultant on the south side of Chicago, a sales executive for the publication Women in Higher Education, and adjunct professor for Cardinal Stritch University in the areas of team and change management. She moved to Madison, Wisconsin to create a new life, raised two incredible young men as a single mom, and found the love of her life.
If you are retired or nearing retirement, Mary Helen is the go-to person to help you ensure the next stage of life is your best one. For us, retirement is a long way off, but she’s is the sort of person we want to be like when we grow up!
In recognition of their efforts, Adultitis Fighters of the Month receive a special mini-canvas hand-painted by Jason, along with a certificate of honor, a sweet patch, and other Adultitis-Fighting tools. We asked Mary Helen some questions about how she fights the Big A and what advice she has for others…
What are some of your favorite ways to fight Adultitis?
I like to play a game I call, “What if I?”
What if I changed the car radio station? What if I wore all pink today? What if I listened to a TED talk? What if I created… It’s like a key to my locked up comfort zone and challenges the everyday.
Who or what has been the greatest influence in your own fight against Adultitis?
I guess I’ve always been an Adultitis fighter, even as a kid. I would sit at the dining room table and make all kinds of weird things from the toothpicks on the Thanksgiving table. My children allowed me to be fun…I always made my own play-dough and I’d create sandbox time on the kitchen floor with oatmeal. My partner is in my life to make me play and laugh. She is an elf that just is a magical Adultitis fighter.
What is something you loved doing as a child that you still do in some form today?
It’s my belief that I’m Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. I play Dorothy all the time, creating new yellow brick roads for myself, gathering my tribe of the scarecrows, tin mans and lions I meet every day. I tap my ruby slippers and believe there is no place like home. I also will sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow anytime, anyplace! But, I’m the only one that hears my singing in key.
What is your strategy for dealing with people who are obviously infected with Adultitis?
A smile. It’s goes far.
What advice do you have for someone who is feeling overwhelmed by Adultitis?
Breathe. Stress literally takes our breathe away. I often close emails and texts with a simple….Breathe!
If that doesn’t work, I ask “will the sun come up tomorrow?” Aging has taught me that. But, when you’re in Adultitis mode it doesn’t seem like it will.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Life is short! Choose to live it, your way. Life’s a Daring Adventure and I’m not done yet!
Congrats to Mary Helen Conroy, September 2016 Adultitis Fighter of the Month. Thank you for making the world more awesome!