40 Over 40 Photo Shoot with Michele Vella Distefano

40over40 Photo Shoot Amanda_Hsu_9592web-915x1280 40 Over 40 Photo Shoot with Michele Vella Distefano
40over40 Photo Shoot Amanda_Hsu_9644web-914x1280 40 Over 40 Photo Shoot with Michele Vella Distefano

Here is the interview with Michele:

1) How did you mark turning 40 and 50? And how did that feel?
At 40, I threw a party and celebrated. Life was good and it felt good to celebrate. I was totally fine with turning 40 and still think that it’s a great age to be.
When I was turning 50, I was dealing with a personal issue that made celebrating feel inappropriate. Nonetheless, I was happy to turn fifty and hit a milestone ‘twice’ the age my teenage self thought I’d live.

2) How has your relationship to time changed as you have gotten older?
Has it sped up? Has it slowed down? When did it move the fastest for you?

Without a shadow of a doubt, time has sped up as I got older. When I was a child, time seemed to last forever. The scholastic year seemed never ending. I always seemed to be longing for Summer. As I grew older, moreso after I had the children, time really started to speed up. One minute I had a baby, and this year he’s turning 29. At the age of 41 I travelled to the UK to undertake a course of post graduate studies. By this time, I was aware how quickly time was passing and I realised it would be over in the blink of an eye. Knowing this, I relished every passing second, realising that the experience would be over in no time at all. There wasn’t one moment of regret in the whole experience for this reason. I can hardly believe that it took place in 2013/14. Time is still going at full speed.

3) Have your values changed over time? What do you value now?
I don’t believe they have; I’ve always held Religion, family and integrity close to my heart. As I grew older, I nurtured more patience and tolerance (I still need to work on these some more). The passage of time & changing circumstances has taught me that unless you walk in a person’s shoes, you have absolutely no way of understanding their actions. Don’t judge. Be more tolerant and patient. You have no idea what they are dealing with.

4) What have been the significant points of change in your life so far? How did these significant points in your life change you?
At age 16 I discovered I suffered from a medical condition that required surgical interventions and treatment. After the three or so months that experience lasted, I felt about ten years older than my peers. Gone was the naivete, the childishness, the enchantment with the world, the positivity; it was replaced by constant uncertainty, almost paranoia. It took a while to recover and to feel that I wasn’t going to drop dead at any minute. I began to deal with this by reading every medical article I could lay my hands on to learn about my condition. Being armed with information gave me the tools to move on. Sometimes the vulnerability still surfaces. If I had to pinpoint a moment in my life, that would be it.
At 24 I had my first son and my second at 27. Both, for different reasons, were huge life-changing experiences. I was ecstatic to become a mother and dumbstruck by the enormity of caring for these dependent young beings.
After my first son was born, respect for my own mother rose to new heights as I wondered every day how she managed to make it look so easy. I admire every female who manages to make mothering look effortless.

5) What was your career? Or job path?
In my early years, I was employed as an executive secretary in the Marketing Department of Simonds Farsons Cisk. At the time I was also reading for a BA course at UOM during the evenings. The atmosphere in the Marketing Department struck a chord. I loved the dynamism, the events and the fact that no two days are the same in the marketing industry. It sowed a seed that began to grow. I felt a magnetic attraction to the world of Advertising, Marketing and Events. As my children went through schooling, I worked with an International Trading Company in the position of director. The owner was a very forward looking individual who embraced remote working and this allowed me to be around my children when they were home from school. I also got involved with the PTA at their school and organised events to raise funds for different activities. When the children finished formal schooling, I travelled to the UK to take postgraduate studies in Events Management & Organisation. I started my own business shortly after my return to Malta.

6) What is the one piece of advice you would give your 20-something self?

Relax and enjoy what you look like, with all your flaws and scars. You’re going to wish you had when you’re 50!

7) What advice would you give to yourself when you were a young mother?

Take deep breaths. The colicky stage will only last a few months. You’re doing ok.

8) If you had a bucket list, what’s your favorite thing you’ve checked off?

Living abroad.

9) What gets you up in the morning? What are your motivations?

My work and making travel plans. I love both.

11) When in your life, so far, have you felt most confident and why?

I feel confident when I work. I go to great lengths to ensure that I am delivering the best I can.

12) It would be really interesting to hear about any ambitions you have for the future?

I like to make it a point to have one new experience, try out one new thing every year. This could be travelling to a new destination, trying out a new cuisine, or doing a new activity. Sky diving has been on my bucket list for a while.

13) Have these ambitions changed since you turned 40?

By the time I turned 45 I had fulfilled my personal ambitions; I feel a new set of ambitions are warranted for the next phase of my life. I haven’t thought about these yet. I am happy where I am in my life right now.

14) How do you think your generation is perceived by other generations?

Oh my. I thought we were high tech when they were young, with our pda gadgets, laptops and early mobile phones. Even though we try to keep up, I believe they think of us as very ‘old school’ 🙂