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Who Says You Have To Retire At 62?

Posted on January 20 by in Customer Spotlight | 21 comments

Who Says You Have To Retire At 62?

This post is part of our Customer Spotlight series. If you have an interesting story to tell and would like to share your experience with WordPress and Elegant Themes on our blog, please contact us!

Let Me Introduce Myself

Some people would say I should retire, after all, I am 62 years old, raised some amazing children (twins), and have a comfortable life. But my inner creative has always led the way and I can’t wait for the next turn in the road.

profile

I went to school for Fine Art, and got a job at a small map making company in Harvard Square, Cambridge. They needed an illustrator and I was happy to be drawing pen and ink sketches for their city maps. This led to designing and making the maps in the old way, with layers of acetate and line tape. Fortunately for me, my experience in the map trade opened up a career at the Boston Globe, Boston’s best newspaper. I became the first female cartographer in its 120 year history. I illustrated news of all kinds with info­‐graphics: science diagrams, business charts, event maps. Sometimes I wrote the captions within the graphics.

Information graphics became very popular in the publishing industry, led by Time Magazine’s Nigel Holmes. Today, information graphic design is making a comeback. I won a few awards including Time Magazine’s Map Making Award. I think it was the perfect practice for web design layout and user experience. Little did I know that I would someday be coding for the internet. I left The Globe after ten years to start my own business, and being a full service graphic designer. By then, I had a desktop computer, fonts, and software tools to help me. I used Macromedia Freehand mostly. I continued to design maps but also, annual reports, logos, brochures and books.

The Internet Changed Everything

Then the internet happened. We were curious. We knew it was big. I attended a few workshops. I bought a few books on html. I taught myself the code and how to add Javascript and CSS. What I loved about it was its immediacy. WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get. I could play with color. It was fun.

But, the internet continued to develop faster than I could. I had to think about smart phones, iPads, and testing on all browsers. It was becoming overwhelming. One day, I called a local developer to help me with a difficult job. The Javascript animation was not working on my client’s android. They invited me to visit them at their studio. They asked, “Do you know about WordPress?” I didn’t. I learned. It was amazing!

I designed a few websites using Photoshop and hired the developers to code them into PHP. It wasn’t cost effective. Not many of my clients could afford the price tag. WordPress was obviously taking off, because it allowed you to concentrate on the content and organization and not spend endless hours testing code. Looking into Themes, I realized there were a lot of inexpensive alternatives other than the free ones offered by WordPress.org.

Pergui design is my web design company.

Pergui design is my web design company.

Elegant Themes became an obvious choice. With one price point, I can download as many as I need each year. The support is good. The themes are versatile. And more come out every month/year. I can offer my clients a site that is professional, beautiful and the best marketing tool in their kit.

Using WordPress saves me time and it allows me to continue fine art where I left off forty years ago. I’m painting again and having a blast. I can paint and create websites in the same day. Who says you have to retire at 62?

21 Comments

  1. Very inspiring! Thanks a lot for posting this.

  2. great story. its good to here other webmasters are doing well.

  3. awesome! I am very proud of you mam, you are inspiring me.

  4. Another Boston based ElegantThemes subscriber! Very cool. Your site layout is great.

  5. Very inspiring indeed; I am pushing 60 myself and don’t ever want to retire.

  6. Cool i love that great work / Bon boulot, une vrai de vrai. Quand on commence avec la peinture on peut tout faire ensuite l’esprit est libre.

  7. Way to go Deborah! Who cares about age? :-) Just keep doing what you like best.

    • Great story Deborah! I’m in that age bracket too and keep throwing myself into new challenges like building websites … using Elegant Themes sure makes it a lot easier!

  8. Great and Inspiring Story…

  9. Great! You are an example for all the people!

  10. Thanks for guidance.

    I will surly seek other ways to ensure that I am not retired ever.

  11. Cartography, computers, Internet, WordPress … hey, I know that path (and I can confirm it doesn’t lead to retirement).

    Happy trails, Deborah.

  12. 30 years experience in SEO, impressive! ;-)

  13. I do… I say you have to retire at 62!

    Retire IMMEDIATELY!!!

  14. Thanks! i feel the inspiration. It´s true elegant themes make the life of designers easier ;)

  15. Thank you for sharing… age is just a number! Keep following your creative passion!

  16. Cheering from the grandstand!

    Aside:
    Boy would it be nice for The Professional theme to be converted to become responsive. It’s very versatile for professionals of all kinds.

  17. Thanks for sharing Deborah!

    I am 54 yrs. old and a small business owner. My husband and I own and operate LDJ Auto Body and Customs in Gibsonton, FL. My husband has been doing custom body work for over 40 years now and he has a wonderful following that keeps our business at the top of the ratings for what we do. I have always done all the marketing for the shop and that has kept me on my toes trying to keep up with all the new technology. I have always been very computer literate and even owned my own computer network consulting company for 14 years. But, all the new things available for the Internet can be very overwhelming to say the least. I recently started taking some online courses to improve my coding abilities in HTML, CSS, and Java Script. I came across Elegant Themes and I too think that they offer an absolutely fantastic array of options. I had been approached by several of our business associates to help them with their web design and have recently decided to start another business doing just that.

    It’s great to hear that there is someone else in my age group that feels the same way I do. I couldn’t agree with you more. I love working with web design and I can’t see myself retiring any time soon. If you truly love what you do and you are good at it, you are absolutely correct. No one says you HAVE to retire at 62…in fact, for some, it can even be a starting point!

    Thanks for the inspiring story and I wish you the best!

    Denise Blackman

  18. 59yr web-Grandmother here!
    hey its great to know there are so many of us ‘digital emigrants’ successfully working in this field – if your passion and enthusiasm for web design is there, age knows no boundaries!

  19. Keep Going Deborah, 62 is no age at all. A mere slip of a girl :)

    At 68 my colleagues suggest I possess an intellectual age of 18 years !

    I have no intention of retiring.from my work which is, after all, my life.

    Mike

  20. Thanks, everybody! Mike is right that age might slow you down physically, but if you keep an open mind, you will feel young forever. Cheers!

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