Images Today I turned 50. Today I am the oldest I have ever been. I have always been one to just plow ahead and move forward not giving much thought to what I was looking for. Being reflective and sentimental has never been a big part of my DNA but I am working on it. So today I am going to take a little time to reflect.

The smartest thing I possibly ever did was meet Fred and marry him. Our relationship has been a 30-year journey that has been incredible and will only continue to get better as each day passes. We are a great team; great partners and have the utmost respect for each other. All of the career decisions that I have made over the course of my life have been made with Fred.

We made them as partners based on what made sense for our family. Getting off the track of a career that had run its course was the right move at that time when we had two young kids at home and were living in the suburbs. We didn’t have two nickels to rub together but we made it work. My endless desire to always start new things has probably worked well for me on my career path.

I started this blog 8 years ago figuring that something might come of it and it would help me figure out my next step moving forward. The kids were getting older and although I have always worn many hats I needed to find a hat that I could call my own. Over the last couple of years being involved with the incredible community on this blog has been pretty powerful. It has also led me to be lucky enough to become an angel investor with many brilliant entrepreneurs who I believe in wholeheartedly. I enjoy being involved, thinking strategically and watching the growth of their companies. I was in someone’s office this week and I was telling him that one of my favorite jobs was being an assistant store manager where I managed one-third of an entire store nurturing each manager to grow and get promoted to their next job. It is probably why I love doing what I do now, in many ways it is the same thing.

Yet regardless of all the career stuff, getting on and off the track, it is the people and friends that we have met and accumulated over the years the most special. Some have been part of our life for years and others have recently come into our life. Fred and I are consistent in our love for the start-up. We are always meeting new people and love bringing them into our lives, we love collecting art from young artists who are just emerging, we love exploring new places that have yet to become known, we love hiring people who are starting out in their careers.

Yet, at the end of the day it is all about our children. The most successful venture we will ever have. Those years I stayed home were probably not such a bad thing. Watching our kids become thoughtful, philanthropic (with their time), independent thinkers and confident adults is the most precious gift of all. I am sure the next couple of years will be interesting once all of our kids leave the nest. What happens next, who knows. I seem to be able to always figure out how to move forward, re-invent and roll up my sleeves into each phase of life…and always enjoy every moment.

Comments (Archived):

  1. David Noël

    Happy Birthday, Joanne! Have a kick-ass day.

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks David!

  2. fredwilson

    happy birthday!

  3. bfeld

    Happy birthday awesome woman!

  4. Vicki Day

    happy birthday I turned 50 on Saturday just gone – enjoy your day 

  5. awaldstein

    Happy Bday Joanne!I learned to drink wine in Napa. Trust you are sipping some great local wine.Enjoy!

  6. RichardF

    Happy Birthday Joanne, hope you are having a great day.

  7. Guest

    Happy Birthday Joanne!  Hope you are having a great day.  Thank you for all of the inspiration you provide us through your blog both personally and professionally.  Looking forward to your next fifty years!       

  8. Andy Ellis

    Happy Birthday Joanne, hope it’s a terrific one.

  9. DonRyan

    Happy Birthday, Joanne. Have a terrific day. 

  10. $3236

    Happy birthday!

  11. David Smuts

    What a great day to turn 50 Joanne! Happy Birthday to you!As you know…. 50 is the new 30 🙂 Go girl

  12. Yanyan

    Happy Birthday Joanne

  13. leigh

    Happy bday.  Can’t wait to see the food and drink photos 🙂

  14. Farhan Lalji

    Happy Birthday!  Looking forward to wishing you many happy returns in person at the meet-up next month.

  15. ellen

    Have a wonderful day.  Things that you took so seriously when you were younger all of a sudden don’t seem quite so important . Perspectives  change.  Wishing you a happy and healthy next 100 years.

  16. Deirdre

    Hurray!!  Happy Birthday. 

  17. Joanie

    Happy Birthday! Birthdays are great excuses to stop and reflect.I enjoy your blog and want to thank you for doing it.

  18. Jill

    HBD! Being 50 is very in right now! It’s a good age to be!Best, Jill

  19. denmeade

    happy birthday! thank you for sharing your stories… and your book recommendations!

  20. maithreyi

    Happy birthday :)!

  21. daryn

    Happy Birthday Joanne!

  22. lindsaycampbell

    Happy birthday! To me, the most obvious thing about you from your blog is that you’re always looking forward to the next adventure. I admire that so much. 🙂

  23. juliet blake

    You are one amazing human being.  Happy Birthday.  We are moving back to New York.  I want to take you out for a belated birthday lunch.  Juliet xo

  24. Christine Tsai

    Happy happy birthday Joanne! Your blog posts are always so inspiring. I can’t wait to meet you in person sometime. 🙂

  25. Danaabcd

    Happy Birthday Jo. Hope this day has been one of celebration and joy.your post is open,honest and straight from the are admired by your friends…..and yes those kids are pretty great!,,,

  26. Robert Thuston

    Bday.  Hope you’ve had a damn good one!

  27. Erin Newkirk

    Happy Birthday, Joanne. You are an inspiration! xx

  28. Rohan

    Happy birthday Joanne! Life begins at 50.. 🙂 And I’m hoping we’ll meet in London/NYC in the next 365 days! 🙂

  29. LGBlueSky

    I hope you had a great birthday.  You have done it all and I am honored to be one of the new friends you have picked up along your great journey.  I look forward to seeing and hearing about the next chapter in your life.  Watch out world! 

  30. Tracey Jackson

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Remember fifty is what we make it. And knowing you you will make it an amazing decade. Lotsalove

  31. rachel

    happy belated bday to my favorite blogger! 

  32. Mwilkotz

    Happy, happy birthday!  You have created so many amazing things in your 50 years Joanne.  A strong and growing partnership, amazing children, a community around you, supportive environments for entrepreneurs and delicious food, to name a few.  I hope that you can take the time to savor all of that.  I feel lucky to have found your blog and lots of my friends feel lucky that I have too, since I mercilessly send them your posts! 

  33. Paola

    Happy Birthday from Italy!

  34. Lisa Mogull

    Hope you had the most wonderful birthday.   No doubt the next 50 will be even better!

  35. Sunchowder

    Happy Birthday Joanne, and I wish you many, many more prosperous, happy and healthy years!   I love having you be a part of my life through your blog.

  36. rich caccappolo

    HB, GG – hope you had a great day

  37. Ryan Drew

    Joanne, Happy Birthday! I hope you had a great Mike Singletary (50)!

  38. Tereza

    Happy birthday +1! You’ve accomplished so much it feels like you’ve been building and building and now hitting cruising altitude. Not that you’d cruise, per se, but that you can cover some serious-ass ground with what you set your mind to, that touches a LOT of people for the better. THANK YOU.So much to admire but what pops out the most is your commitment, joy and wonderment around progress and what’s new and the people pushing the envelope. It’s infectious, we need more of it.Whether 20, 50 or 100 Joanne is always fresh, modern and exciting!

  39. CCjudy

    your family is so very fortunate to have you in their lives  J

  40. joelle

    Happy 5-0 Joanne! I love checking in on your blog.

  41. Jessie

    Happy Birthday!!!

  42. Cecelia Feld

    Happy Birthday! The best is yet to come. You speak from the heart, always. It is refreshing. Love, C.

  43. William Mougayar

    Happy Birthday week…The best birthdays are celebrated over several days, just like you did!

  44. Arielle

    Happy Birthday Joanne! My mother is a woman of reinvention too and it’s one of the things I admire and respect most about her. I love people who just keep on keepin’ on. Can’t wait to see what this next chapter brings. Cheers, Dana

  45. Geoff

    A belated Happy Birthday! I never realised that my girlfriend Sally( is exactly the same age as you 🙂 We are currently walking The Lycian Way in Turkey! The food is totally delicious and the views truly spectacular.Maybe we will get to see you on one of your trips.Best regards Geoff

  46. TanyaMonteiro

    A warm (belated) Happy Birthday wish working it’s way across to you from sunny Portugal Joanne.Your plow ahead enthusiasm and compassion consistently inspires me and so many others. It’s a joy to be a part of this blog, I’m looking forward it’s, and your continued success.

  47. Yule Heibel

    Happy birthday (belatedly), Joanne! Having dropped off the blog-reading-circuit of late, I *nearly* missed your birthday and the lollapalooza week of postings related to happy trails in Napa. It sounds like you’re having a blast and are gearing up for a helluva decade-and-more to come. Keep on rocking it!

  48. Dory

    Happy Birthday (belatedly), Joanne!  I love it when you go all sentimental and reflective.  Ha!  I think you (and Fred) are the greatest things since sliced bread!  Here’s to fifty more years of Gotham Gal!