This is going to be an article all about me. That sounds like something you really want to read, right? You get to read about Paula Harer. It is your lucky day!

Actually, this is part of an exercise designed to help you become aware of your strengths, be able to verbalize them, and make changes if you don’t like what that list looks like. One of the best qualities most women have is reinvention.

I was feeling like I needed a little pat on the back, so I started thinking about the things that I am proud of about myself. It turned out to be a very positive internal challenge. It was more about what I feel I bring to the table for my friends, my family and the people around me than self-praise.

 
 

I didn’t include the basics like, ‘she showers daily,’ ‘always wears deodorant’ or ‘knows how to drive a car.’ Here is my list:

Humor

Brilliance doesn’t get in my way. Glamour is not an issue for me. But, I am funny. I don’t know if that includes the way I look – I kind of hope not – but I am funny. My Dad was funny, and I think that is where it started. Now, my kids are funny, too.

I am an only child so I know that the best way to make friends in a group of strangers is to say something funny. If you continue to be funny, they will put you in charge, so you need to know when to stop! I am pretty self-deprecating, which, in my opinion, is the best way to be. Much better to laugh at my own expense than to laugh at others’.

Generosity

I am very generous. I can honestly say that I get much more excited about gifts that I am handing out than gifts that I am receiving. Being generous is a much more selfish attribute than you might think.

Take, for example, the fact that I knit hats for friends’ children or grandchildren. I knit the hat, which allows me to spend time with that friend in my mind every time I knit a stitch. I give the hat to the friends who ooh and ahh over it because it is, of course, super cute.

Then, I collect the compliments. I am the star of that. Tah-Dah! I get so excited when I find the perfect gift. I am also generous with donations, with my time and with any other resources that I have. It makes me feel good, so everybody wins.

Style

One of my best qualities is style, and I got it from my Mom who was way more stylish, beautiful and talented than I can ever hope to be, so I come by it honestly. She could make a hospital gown look good! And, we didn’t have a lot of money.

I can remember watching her sewing a dress for her high school reunion. I still remember that dress. It was robin’s egg blue with black beading around the neckline. It seemed very risqué to my 6-year-old self because the neckline was nowhere near the neck!

It was stunning and homemade. I inherited that from her. I like to say that my headstone will read, “Here lies Paula. She could make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”

While Style has nothing to do with money, when I was young and poor people seemed to think I was way more successful monetarily. It had to be because I was able to make something from the bargain basement look expensive.

When I started my life over two years ago, I moved into a one-room loft, and everything that I owned had to go into that loft. The only furniture that I bought consisted of two sleeper sofas so my adult children could all stay with me at the same time.

My Mom’s style was never more evident and necessary than when I had to make that place our family home. I did and it is.

Resilience

My final of the four best qualities is resilience. I am, as I feel most women are, a resilient woman. At 61 years old I am newly single and reinventing myself, as I have had to do a number of times before.

I am like those blow-up clown punching bags that have sand in the bottom: when I get punched down I hit the ground and bounce back up. It doesn’t mean I don’t have a little wear and tear on me. It doesn’t mean that I am not held together with a little duct tape. But I do pop back up every time.

What are your four best qualities? If you don’t know them, ask your friends. I would read about them in the comments. No need to feel embarrassed because mine are right here for all the world to see. Brag about yourself a little.

Paula HarerAfter a 30-year marriage crumbled, Paula Harer found herself single for the first time in 35 years. She felt like she had something to say about her experience, so started writing a blog called Starting Over at Sixty. She addresses everything from loneliness and reinvention and offers ways to create a new outlook on life.

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