“Pay attention to what you really want to do, instead of what you think the world wants you to…”
My best friend is 80 years old. When we first met, she pulled up in a car colored lavender, dressed in a crisp white shirt. Classical music was blasting from the windows, and a fluffy-coated three-legged golden retriever was hanging out the passenger side. Instantly intrigued.
Her name is Betsy. A writer who is working towards her life’s dream of having her writing published. And she’s not slowing down. Not one bit. She’s in fact speeding up and, on a day-to-day basis, encouraging me to shoot for the stars, all the while never giving up hope.
I’m sitting at her desk, on the first floor of the Dutch Victorian home she owns on a corner street in the sweetest part of town. It’s about 8am, and she’s sipping on coffee with a splash of cream and a spoonful of sugar. Her one-year-old dog is sleeping at her feet, and every surface in the room is piled with stacks and stacks of poetry and stories that she began writing when she was a little girl…
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Funny, disorganized, bright.
What inspires your writing?
My Irish Grandmother, who was quite the storyteller.
Writing tool of choice?
What would you say to your 25-year-old self?
You are too young to be married. You are certainly too young to have four children. You are doing a great job, though. You need to pay attention to what you really want to do, instead of what you think the world wants you to do. Take yourself more seriously.
P.S. Stop comparing yourself to your sister.
Favorite thing to write about?
Well, I love writing children’s stories. My favorite topic to write about is probably animals.
Tell us about your favorite piece of work that you’ve written.
It’s called The Prince Of Snores. It’s about an old bassoon who fell asleep in the middle of a concert and snored. It was inspired by an evil orchestra conductor who embarrassed me because I played one wrong note on the Piccolo.
Tell me a secret.
My father built a house shaped like a shoe.
Favorite place you’ve lived?
A village in France called Fontvieille, which is in Provence. I lived in a one-story Spanish style villa along the countryside. It was very quaint and aromatic. Wild lavender and thyme grew right outside our windows. It had a view of Daudet’s mill, which was a very famous mill from which Alphonse Daudet wrote his classic work.
What are your hobbies?
Watching Netflix. I love Netflix. Riding horses. Playing flute. Taking my dog, Lucca, to the park. Oh,and I make a mean chocolate chip cookie.
Top 3 favorite books?
Winnie The Pooh, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Secret Garden.
Who is your style icon?
Audrey Hepburn. I’ve always been so unlike her. I wear a size 12 shoe.
Best advice you’ve been given?
Madisyn. I’ve been given so much advice. Haha. Probably, “Keep your mind on your horse”. My dad told me that. Cause, it’s not just about your horse, it’s about everything in life. Oh, and, learn how to balance your checkbook. Haven’t quite figured that one out yet.
Could you give some advice to all of the dreamers out there?
Believe in yourself and your art. Never ever ever ever ever give up. Here I am, at 80 years old, probably got about 10 years left, and I’m still trying to publish.
To be “free” means?
To be who you really are. You know what I mean? Because so many people don’t live that way. Cause like, if I was free right now, I wouldn’t have put on this housecoat just because my nightgown underneath has a big hole in it.
Thank you Betsy, for letting us in on your life a bit, and for continuing to follow your dreams! You are truly an inspiration.
To any readers who feel discouraged, this is for you. Sometimes I feel drained, or that my passion alone is not good enough, that I AM not good enough. And well, this is not true. It can’t be. Because we are all different, and each one of us is beautiful. When you have a moment of weakness, or feel as though giving up may just be the easiest way out, think of Betsy. She’s lived. And still doesn’t believe in giving up. So let’s do this thing called life, and follow our dreams while we’re at it.
Follow Betsy Binder on Instagram. (YES. REPEAT. 80 YEARS OLD. AND HAS A REALLY CUTE INSTAGRAM). Spread the word about her. Let’s get this woman published!