Retirement, like all of life's experiences, is what you make of it. For some, it's about traveling the world. For others, it's about spending more time with grandkids.
But for four 60-something-year-old ladies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, retirement is about doing the unexpected — playing rock and roll.
Debbie (60), Dorothy (62), Kay (64), and Sandy (67) are members of Your Mom, a punk rock band on a mission to prove that at any age, you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to. It just takes a little courage — and having the right people by your side.
Rocking new identities
When Your Mom was formed three years ago by "rock coach" David Hinson, founder of the Baton Rouge-based Adult Music Club, Debbie, Dorothy, Kay, and Sandy were all adjusting to new stages — and challenges — in life.
"I was struggling a bit. My kids had grown up…and I was a little beaten down," says Debbie. But learning to play the drums for Your Mom allowed her to finally do something for herself. And with that came a newfound confidence. "I just found my power. I was somebody's mom, somebody's wife, then somebody's ex-wife, and [now] it's time for me."
For Dorothy, joining Your Mom not only boosted her self-esteem, but also helped her overcome depression, a condition she struggled with for years. "I was in a bad space, and I just couldn't imagine being in a room with people. I've done it now, and I love it, and I think it helps me stay on a more even keel."
Your Mom gave Kay the outlet she needed during an extremely busy time in her life. "I had a lot of extra responsibilities at the time that David recruited me into the band, and it has just been a wonderful experience all together. Not just musically, but the new friendships that have formed, and the fun of getting to go play, and getting excited about it. I would have never imagined, at 64, I'd still get to do that," she says.
And for Sandy, retirement had her wanting to do something out of the ordinary, and Your Mom gave her the opportunity to do just that. "When you've retired you have to decide what you want to do. Do you want to sit in the corner and knit, or do you want to play rock and roll? I want to play rock and roll," she says.
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Stepping out of comfort zones, together
Watching Your Mom jam out to a packed concert hall in downtown Baton Rouge would have you thinking these ladies were naturals — born to rock and always ready to roll. With Debbie behind the drums, Dorothy on the bass, and Kay and Sandy on the guitar, Your Mom's unique sound and energy is daring and bold. But the members of Your Mom will be the first to admit that commanding the stage didn't always come naturally. Finding their groove meant taking risks.
"When I first showed up to David's music class, it took everything in my being to walk in there by myself, knowing that other people were more experienced [than I was]," Debbie says. "I've wanted to quit [at times], but I've gotten a lot of confidence out of learning to play the drums. I've busted out of that little box I was in. Now I have a new life, a new power, and a new outlook."
Dorothy also had to feel a little discomfort to discover her true potential. "Because I'm a mom and a wife, I never really did things for me for years. It was hard for me at first to do self-care and to allow myself to have fun, especially if maybe one of my kids was having a rough time," she says. "But I have confidence now. [Your Mom] has taught me that I really need to take care of myself."
A big part of what's helped the members of Your Mom get comfortable with taking risks—and themselves — is the support they receive from each other.
"[Your Mom] is like a basketball team. If I miss, somebody's going to rebound. I love that camaraderie that I haven't had since high school," says Dorothy.
Setting the stage to inspire
Together, the ladies of Your Mom have wowed crowds throughout Baton Rouge, making a certain statement about retirement and getting older: Pay no mind to age or stereotypes.
"When they go out there [to play], they really lay it down," says David. "I think that challenges people. It challenges everybody watching to do something with their lives."
Perhaps more importantly, Your Mom has proven that stepping outside your comfort zone can make all the difference in your health and happiness as you get older.
"This is keeping us young, thinking, popping. Keeps us on our toes. Keeps our brains active," says Debbie.
And with health comes a fuller life.
"We give up so much as we get older. This adds a whole new dimension to your life. It gives you something else to live for," says Sandy.
Whether it's playing rock and roll or something else, Your Mom has set the stage for others entering retirement to face their fears and try something new.
"Find something that gets your passion out and don't be afraid of it," says Debbie. "It might not be playing the drums or guitar. Just keep searching and trying different things until you find something that's right for you."
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