fbpx Skip to content

50 over 50 2022 Edition

Nataliya Gryb

Meet the participants of the 50 over 50 Portrait Experience 2022 Edition. 

In their own words……

Fire. Rock. Heart.

The number 50 is scary… Don’t get me wrong, the scary part is not the number itself, is not the fact of getting older or age. The uncertainty of containing this 25-year-old mindset in a 50-year-old body… How do you do that? I am still goofy myself who wants to dance when a good beat comes on the radio, who wants to book a ticket to Iceland and take my dog on the journey with me (never happened but it was one of my crazy ideas). I still want to be spontaneous and live-in-the-moment… But wait, you are 50 now, you should be settled, presentable and don’t you dare to embarrass your kids in front of their friends with your silly dance moves and old music tunes. Do I really have to?? 

To begin with, she would never listen 🙂

But if I had a chance to talk to this young woman, I think we would have a great time laughing and comparing our similarities and differences. How about a practical one: ” Don’t try to understand, honey, but go and buy some Amazon stocks!” 🙂

I want them to be able to see the strength and the softness at the same time of the woman who went the long way to the point she at in this picture. The woman who is not taking a No for an answer. The woman who is vulnerable but unbreakable, who refused to be disrespected or mistreated but who will give you her heart if you are in need of one

I was born and raised in Ukraine (the former USSR Republic). In 2003, just by pure and unpredictable luck, I won the Green Card lottery that grants you legal entry to the USA. The feelings, at first,  were mixed – yes, you won something big, something everybody wants, but really, are we ready to uproot yourself and your family and start life all over again from nothing? My husband and I were well-established professionals with good jobs, families, friends and all that makes you comfortable in life, except stability. The country was going through turmoil with constant economic downfalls and uncertainty for tomorrow. We decided to give it a try: “If we don’t like it, we can always come back, right?” And just like that, two of us and our 6 years old daughter left behind everything and dived into the unknown. Twenty years later we are proud to be part of this community, to be accepted and find HOME in New Milford

Immigration, definitely. You are changing everything you know, everything you used to love, everything that made you – YOU. It’s a new language, new rules, new society. First credit card at 30, ok… shouldn’t be that difficult, until you are denied numerous times because there is no credit history under your name. Medical insurance for the family, wait – what are a co-pay and deductibles?? Do we have to PAY for the medical care now?? Your brain works like a sponge with the productivity of a toddler who learns and absorbs this world with amazing abilities. So much to learn, so much to understand and adjust your thinking to, it’s like you are reborn once again except there is nobody to explain to you all those new aspects of life.

 We made it or should I say we are making it as we are still learning every day. But I wouldn’t change a thing on that journey that brought me to who I am now 

I am proud of us! My family who works hard every day to establish a new generation on this continent. No pressure, but when my great-great-great grandkids will be listening to the family history, it would be our names they will be bashing in case this family tree branch won’t be worthy or rotten 🙂 

My husband reinvented himself to become a pretty good carpenter and he never stops working (for his clients or trying to get to the bottom of this endless “honey to-do list” I’m sure everybody has in every house). My daughter graduated with honors from Northeastern University in Boston and is building a successful career in a PR agency in New York City (that’s for the girl who didn’t speak a word of English going to 2nd grade). My 13-year-old son is a High Honors student, working on his 3rd degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and practices 6 days a week with different sports.  This family is solid and stays together no matter what. We love, support, and count on each other every day and in every situation!

To be completely honest, in all those 20 years of establishing ourselves here I almost forgot what joy is… It’s always working, running, catching up, more working 🙂 I enjoy simple things in life, like cooking for my family and dancing with a wooden spoon in my kitchen. Planting new flowers in the backyard and watching them bloom.  Books!! Love books but never have time to read so working on collecting the good ones for my retirement 🙂 And my latest obsession  – a discovery of a completely new universe in my puppy’s eyes, the part of me I never knew existed to become an animal lover

To hold to your core beliefs and what makes you the person you are without apology and without caring too deeply about how others perceive you

A genuinely happy person

Father moved to CT from Norway when he was 9, parents grew up in Greenwich- met as teenagers – a few years after they got married they wanted to move to a quieter area so they moved to New Milford in 1969 and I was born a year later. They still live in the house I grew up in!

This probably seems silly, but balancing family and friends has always been a challenge- less of one now as I feel I more appropriately prioritize family

The qualities my kids have developed that have made them who they are

Sharing in the beauty of God’s creation with my loved ones, and even when alone. Anyone I am close to knows how much I enjoy sunsets. They never get old! Sunrises, ocean air, watching the birds, animals, and human babies interact with each other – lots of joy from that. Not to mention cooking a beautiful meal with gorgeous produce grown at a local farm. And just being with each other.  All of these things bring me joy!

The Stories behind the faces

Each subject has a unique story to share – find all the stories in our exclusive magazine

The 50 over 50 PORTRAIT Magazine

Everyone has a story. The Planet Photo Portrait Magazine features the participants of the 2022 Portrait Experience and a little about each participant; their dreams, their real life stories and the experiences that shaped them.

Portrait experience

Join me on a fun and incredible adventure