This is one story from HuffPost Fifty’s new series “This Will Be Our Year: 15 Women Over 50 Shaking Things Up In 2015.” We’ll be following 15 remarkable ladies throughout the year as they make a radical change in their lives, whether it’s embarking on a 500-mile hike, starting a new career or attempting to find love on the Internet. Follow each woman’s story here.
Mary Cate O’Malley, 58, is learning to sail and plans to sail from San Diego to Catalina Island.
“Change has been a constant for me as a single mother of two with virtually no child support. In 2007, my 30-year-old son was hit by a car. Since 2009, I have spent 12 hours a day as his primary caregiver. His independence has been a goal for some time and this year he moved in with some caregivers his own age so I thought it would be a great time to start a new life.
At 58, I am getting my first chance at real freedom and adventure. I am moving to a sailboat, learning to solo sail and releasing the mass of stuff I have collected as a thrift store hound. I’m going to start taking sailing lessons and my goal is to do a solo sail from San Diego to Catalina Island. I was extremely motivated by a documentary on Laura Dekker, the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe — I want to be the oldest! I like the idea of challenging myself. I like the idea of solitude. I just want to keep myself open to experiences and I’m committed to this.
I took inspiration from that documentary and realized that I’ve always been focused on my children and my career, so that I could raise them and have what we need. Now, I’m actually pretty free as I look after my son less and less. I never imagined I’d have another lifestyle besides looking after him.
A year ago I had this feeling that a major change was coming to my life. In the last five years, I’ve become really aware that I have the ability to create my life the way I want it. One of my goals was always to make sure my children are successful and happy, and they are. So this is my time. Life is good!”