_0044_Secretary_Girl-41If you’re curious about me, Leila Rhoden, MA and my personal history, I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and am now nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in northwest Georgia. After a long hiatus from college (approximately 15 years or so), I returned to the University of West Georgia and finished my Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in humanistic psychology and a minor in philosophy.

Not wanting to leave the joys of scholastic life so soon, I signed my life away and completed not one, but two masters degrees – one in psychology with an emphasis in counseling, and the other in gerontology, which is the study of the social aspect of aging.

My focus in gerontology was ‘optimal aging,’ and there was a sort of self-serving aspect in that as I was a lot closer to retirement age than not. Also, I had studied health and nutrition, alternative healing modalities, herbal medicine, owned and managed health food stores, and practiced Foot Reflexology throughout the years before returning to school, therefore, it was the natural way for me to proceed.

After working several years in community mental health and in the private sector as Resident Services Director at an assisted living facility, I experienced early career burnout. For the past few years, I feel as if I have been incubating in a self-created cocoon of sorts–licking my wounds, exploring aspects of myself that needed attention and healing–all while working very hard doing a physically demanding job (which has probably been the best thing for me), in order to support myself.

Fortunately, when working I can listen to audio books and other programming that serve to reconnect me with my passion of studying alternative healing, health and nutritional subjects. I also have been revisiting much of the literature pertaining to spirituality and self-development that profoundly affected my positive growth into adulthood and maturity.

Somewhere along the way, I found that as I was perusing the myriad of sources of information, I was mentally compiling what is vital and meaningful to me pertaining to health and optimal aging into little modules that could be used for the purpose of informing and assisting those who are making the conscious choice to age well. The result of that is Exceptional Aging.com which will be launching as a comprehensive membership community in the near future.

As I was exploring ways to implement an internet presence in order to share my experience and knowledge of healthy aging, I discovered a creative outlet in designing and building websites which I am extremely enjoying. Can you tell? This has turned out to be a most rewarding hobby/entrepreneurship. However, at heart, I am first a student/teacher and a disseminator of information – that of which I freely share within the websites I create.