My name is Naomi Parness. I just turned 40 years old last year — during the pandemic. It will forever be a memorable milestone. I have had a very full and meaningful 40 years. I lived out my dream job of being a broadcast journalist. I had a career that spanned over two decades. I worked in New York, Peterborough, Barrie and then at CTV Toronto. I was a breaking news reporter, the City Hall Reporter and Education Reporter. While I was in TV, I got married and became a mom to 2 amazing boys and that’s when everything changed. My dream job wasn’t as dreamy. I was loving what I did, but feeling tons of mom guilt. After years of being unhappy, I made the hard decision to leave TV. I went to work with a charity doing storytelling for them, but the job wasn’t for me. That’s when I took a leap of faith. My friend approached me about starting our own business. A communications company. I had never ever imagined I would work for myself. I didn’t actually think I could be a business woman. But here I am almost two years in — I own two companies and am loving the flexibility and the ability to take on whatever interests me. During the pandemic I began hosting and producing virtual shows and have returned to some of my journalistic roots as I conduct online interviews with phenomenal guests. It’s been amazing! During the pandemic I also started something called “The Good Stuff”. It’s a segment I post on social media where I compile the good news from the week. It helped me get through the pandemic and I quickly discovered it’s helped so many other people too. It’s been incredible to see the impact it has had on people during this difficult time.
What would you say has been the biggest shift in your life since turning 40?
Being more honest and accepting about who I am. Not hiding. Putting it out to the world that this is who I am — faults and all — take it or leave it. I have always lived with low self confidence and anxiety but I am way more open about it now and not ashamed of it anymore. I find when you turn 40 — you finally care a lot less about what others think and have the chance to be your authentic self. I also find we go with the flow a little more. I am a worrier. And I still worry. But I also have the knowledge and insight and life experience to know things will work out. It’s a great feeling to have so much of life behind you. To learn from your mistakes but to also know there are still so many exciting things to come. I feel like you can have the most impact now because you have more experience and have a better idea of what matters and what doesn’t and what you should give your time to.
When do you feel you are most powerful?
When I am telling people’s stories. When I am helping people. When I am making a difference. When I am in front of a crowd presenting. When I am sharing “The Good Stuff”. When I am helping to make change. When I am passionate about a cause or what I am doing and put my everything into it which is always 200%. When I am busy and living a full life and doing things for my family and friends.
What are the top 3 most important things to you right now?
- My family
- My health
- Meaningful work and bringing joy to others “The Good Stuff”
How do you make sure your actions are aligned with what’s most important to you?
I try hard to say no to things that don’t fulfill me and that aren’t part of the top 3 three important things.
What seeds are you planting today for the future?
Like all parents — I am hopefully planting the seeds to raise good humans. I am planting the seeds to carry on the legacy of my grandparents who are Holocaust survivors. I want to make sure their story is never forgotten and that my children’s generation continues to tell their story and the story of millions of others. I am also planting the seeds for the next path on my journey. My longest dream has been to work on a documentary so I am starting to have discussions with people about this.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in redesigning midlife?
It gets harder to redesign in midlife because we get stuck in our ways and are very comfortable. We become resistant to change. But it’s also easier because we have more life experience and have more faith it will work out. It’s also well worth it. Life is short so why be miserable? Live your best life. If that means facing your fears and making a big life change — do it. If you fail you will do something else. We need to put less weight on the “rest of our life” and learn to live “for now”. It makes it easier to make hard decisions when it’s just “for now”.
How can people connect with you and your work?
I am very active on social media and have been connecting with people during the pandemic to bring them “The Good Stuff”. You can find me on Instagram at @nparness33. I am on twitter @naomiparness. My company website is The Narrative Agency. I am also on LinkedIN and Facebook.
Note: This article was edited on November 10, 2023, to update the name of Naomi’s company, The Narrative Agency.
Welcome to my Power Profiles Series
Here I introduce you to powerful midlife role models in our community. May these stories inspire you, motivate you, and show you what is possible.
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