A baby boomer recovers her long-lost dreams

We baby boomers might not have nine lives like a cat, but Geneva Broussard of Arcadia, California, has proved that we can have at least two. In her first life, she didn’t control her own destiny. In her second life, she does.

I grew up on a farm in the Midwest. In the 1960s, farm girls were expected to marry and have children. I wanted something different though; I wanted to go to college, but that wasn’t happening. Instead, I did the expected and buried my dreams. Following those expectations took me through the river and over the woods of someone else’s wishes for my life.

Geneva Broussard

Geneva Broussard

Living out those unwanted wishes, I endured three marriages, raised two lovely daughters, and worked thirty years at a job I didn’t like. My second marriage was physically abusive. When I showed signs of reaching for my destiny, he acted as if I’d declared war on him and it nearly cost me my life. I escaped with even less self-worth. I’d like to blame someone else for these situations I repeatedly got myself into, but honestly I was to blame.

It was my fault for having no faith, courage, or confidence in myself. It was my fault that I went looking to someone else to fulfill me. I spent the first thirty-five years of my life learning what I didn’t want, and being miserable because of it.

Geneva, Isle of Capri, ItalyThe next twenty-five years though was a sea change. I learned and experimented living life full on. At thirty-seven I garnered the courage to take control of the destiny I wanted to create. I enrolled at the university for a Bachelor’s degree. Then, I went to law school and got a law degree. However, as proud as I was of myself and my accomplishments, I still felt unfulfilled and unclear. I continued searching.

At fifty-two I met and fell in love with a guy who was twenty-something. May-December for sure, but through our love, I rediscovered my dreams. I’d buried them beneath the years of detritus resulting from my unhappiness. I came to understand that happiness is an inside job and that first I needed to love and embrace myself. With that, my dreams awoke and I started to write. I returned to the university to study English. Studying and writing, my soul sang for the first time.

My relationship with the twenty-something didn’t last, but our love and my dreams survived. In February 2014, at sixty-two, I retired and started living another dream I unburied — traveling.

Geneva in Burano, Italy.

Geneva in Burano, Italy.

Now, at sixty-four, I have completed a Masters in English & Creative Writing. I also completed a novel and created my blog. I hadn’t always wanted to write a blog because, hell, they are a recent phenomenon. But I wanted to write something and I’d long hidden that dream. So in July, my website was born. It’s been a long road to this milestone of an accomplishment.

But by far, learning to love myself has been my dearest accomplishment. Then, recovering my buried dreams and breathing life into them is a close second. Now I know we’re never too old to follow our dreams and change our lives, even if we have to dig those dreams out of the trenches in which we’ve hidden them.


    1. Thank you so much for your reply. I guess it was courage, or just plain ‘ol Midwestern farm girl orneriness! Maybe they’re the same thing? Thanks for you comment, I appreciate it.

    1. Marianne, thank you so much for your beautiful comment and especially for following my blog. I just started it so i’m still trying to get traffic. Im having so much fun. What’s your site? I’ll be traveling back to Italy in November to the Lake District, Italian Riviera and Venice (hoping i can substitute Verona for Venice) and even squeezing in a day in Lugano, Switzerland. Stay tuned, now the sleeping giant has awakened!! Thank you so much again for reading my work, always an honor when another writer offers praise. Ciao, and Never Stop Dreaming!

  1. G Woman, absolutely awesome and as you know, I went through some of your life with you. So proud of you. I could call you and ask you this, but want to know does that young man know about this article? He should. I’ll call you soon. And, don’t forget to TCOY. Love you

    1. Thanks Emma. I know a lot of people who continue working because they don’t know what they’ll do if they’re not working-uh, that’s not me. Glad I could offer some hope. Good luck in your retirement.

    1. Thanks Gertha. I’m having a great time. It only took about 52 years to figure out how. Not so bad I guess in the scheme of things-lol. Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment. I appreciate it. Check out my blog and follow me as I travel the world and see what it has to offer too! 21stCenturyNana.org

      1. Checked it & love, love it! I will follow your postings, they give me ideas on where to plan my next trip as I move along this journey called life. Thanks for doing representing us baby boomers well!

  2. Lovely my dear friend. Thank you for reminding me to hold on to my dreams. I’m so happy for you. Keep living your dreams. Hopefully I can share some with you. Miss u much…….

    1. Clauzelle, thanks for stopping by here. What a surprise. Yep, it’s my theme now, Never Stop Dreaming. It got me through the tough times and I didn’t even know it. Hope all is well with you. Check out my blog and follow me there too. I’m traveling the world to discover what it has to offer. Good to hear from you. Never stop dreaming, my friend. Ciao,

  3. You’re a brave girl. From the first day I met you in Sorrento, Italy, I wondered what would motivate you travel half-way across the world by yourself and make lifelong friends with total strangers (like…Jody, Lori, and Me..). I’m glad to say that I spent time getting to know you. You have inspired me, and it is even more inspiring that you have shared your journey with others. Keep it coming!

    1. Renee, thank you so, so much. It is my lot in life to inspire and offer hope and if I need to use my bumps & bruises to do it, oh well, guess that’s what I’ll do. I have never stopped thinking about and enjoying the memories from my first trip to Italy and it’s what inspired my blog. Keep your eyes on my blog because I have a post about us in Sorrento. I return to Italy in November, the Italian Riviera, Lake Como, Milan, Venice and I’m even squeezing in Lugano, Switzerland-lots of stories for my blog. Next year I go to Ireland and then Southeast Asia. It’ll keep me blogging for years.

      Love making new friends from around the world and from the good ‘ol US, even if I meet them half was around the world. My blog is 21stCenturyNana.org stop by and see if it arouses some memories of our Sorrento trip. Ciao, Geneva

    1. Lyra, thank you so much for your beautiful sentiments. It is my fondest wish in life to offer hope, inspiration and encouragement to others. It’s the ultimate compliment. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, I appreciate it. Never stop dreaming, that’s where it all starts! Ciao, Geneva

    1. Yah Lisa!! Writing is the best therapy, next to traveling of course, ever. Thanks for your comment, also check out my blog for travel tales from my solo traveling. I wish you all the best in your writing and hope we get a chance to meet one day. My blog 21stCenturyNana.org lots of trips coming, but for the ones I’ve taken, check it out, and keep on writing! Ciao, Geneva

  4. Ms. Geneva thanks for sharing your story with us. So I thought I knew you well, but little did I know everything you have lived through. You are a great example of those who believe in themselves and work towards their dreams. You go Ms. G!!!

    1. Vanessa, isn’t that the truth? We never know what’s behind the curtain of the people we know. It’s why i love meeting people and getting to know them. I’ve been told I’m a good listener and people love to reveal their secrets and I love to hear them because there isn’t much i haven’t experienced on the down side. Now I get to experience the up rocket and I’m having a ball. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it. Please check out my blog and leave a comment too. Follow me around the world as I get to see what the world has to offer a solo traveling baby boomer. my blog 21stCenturyNana.org look forward to hearing from you there.

  5. fantastic. all the right adjectives have been taken… inspiring, terrific, motivating, encouraging, heartwarming, uplifting… so i’ll just add more to the pile of positivity, and say kudos on a life being well lived. i am envious of the self-comfort you have so firmly acquired, and likewise of the happiness you so richly deserved and are now claiming as your own. safe and enjoyable travels, geneva!!! keep up the great work.

    1. Joshua, I love that name. It has a certain romantic rhythm to it. Now back to the story at hand. Thank you so, so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate your beautifully stated kudos. It has actually left me a bit speechless–that never happens as you can probably see. That just shows me there’s still so much yet to learn. I’d appreciate your checking out my blog and letting me know what you think. I believe if i never stop dreaming, life never ends and my dreams work triple shifts. I certainly am enjoying life now and getting a chance to speak with (or text or comment) with friends like you. 21stCenturyNana.org let me know what you think. Ciao, Geneva

    1. One of my favorite singers of all time! Yep ya still got it. It’s so cool to know that one act by the right person, at the right time is all anyone needs to recognize who they can be. It is an experience I wish for and on everyone. It will change your life forever in the best way possible. Ever, Geneva

  6. Love seeing this from someone I am pleased to say I have broken bread with. . .My favorite line? “Studying and writing, my soul sang for the first time.” Great work, Geneva. . .

    1. Thanks Bill, and thanks to my writing groups who give me courage and lots of feedback because without y’all, I’d still be hiding in the closet writing in diaries. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment. I really appreciate it. Would love to hear your comments/feedback or thoughts on my blog too. Follow me around the world where i get to meet different people in different cultures and write about my experiences. 21stCenturyNana.org
      This is all such a blast!

  7. Geneva, congratulations. You stand as a beacon of hope for those of us who are still struggling to discover who we really are underneath all the waste we’ve allowed others to pile on us.

    You should now be accustomed to taking leaps of faith.

    1. Thanks so much Toni. The good news is any success of mine I owe to so many other people, you being one of them. Thanks for your encouragement and faith.

    1. Thank you so much Kathy for your kind words. I’ve attained some of my dreams, but now I know i can keep going to attain even more. Hopefully, others recognize this fact as well. I hope to never stop dreaming!

  8. Wow, what a lady! Your courage and determination are an inspiration for sure. You clearly give hope to many others who started out just like you. Me for one!

    1. Thank you Linda. My ardent hope is to encourage and inspire others, especially ones who’ve experienced some of what i have. I wish you all the best and keep on dreaming!

    1. Amie, thank you for your well wishes. My wish is to offer hope to others & let them know keep going it gets better even if it doesn’t seem so. All the best to you

      1. Thank you so much Dr. Elkins. Some of the better part of my story wouldn’t have happened without you. Many, many thanks to you and your guidance. Geneva

  9. Congratulations, Geneva! You are truly an inspiration. You’re reminding me that we never know what our students–or anyone–has or is going through, even though you wrote and spoke some of your experiences in class. Brava!

    1. Dr. Bush! What a treat. Thank you so very much. We often don’t know what others are going through. I only hope I can reach some of them to be a beacon to guide them to the other side. Fortunately you knew me on the other side of horror & helped me to the shores of knowledge. Thank you for your wonderful words. Geneva

    1. thank you so very much Susan. I am certainly looking forward to writing more. It’s a true passion and I hope to inspire and encourage others. You can accomplish your dreams if you never stop dreaming and keep going forward. Thank you for your boost of confidence.

    1. Thank you Surpolfed, writing has & is certainly making me happy and my primary goal is to keep on writing. thanks for your encouragement and good wishes; keep looking for me on the Web, hopefully you’ll see me there more in the future!! Check out and follow my blog, 21stCenturyNana.org for more of my writing & Never stop dreaming!

  10. This is my friend and we met right when we needed to. You always inspired me Geneva, and your life story I understood. Let us continue to grow, laugh (oh the laughter – LOL) and most important…LOVE♥. Thank you for your spirit and always being…YOU♥ When I’m around you I’m instantly reminded how much fun life can be. You go G! I’m proud of us both.

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