Pursuing a PH.D. after age 50 can be intimidating to most; however, that isn’t the case for Dottie Billington.
Dottie Billington and her spouse, George, have called Emerald Heights home for nearly two years. What appealed most about Emerald Heights to these avid walkers, was the beautiful trails and exercise groups. Dottie enjoys living an active lifestyle, working with light weights three times a week.
When Dottie isn’t in the gym, she’s working with the Women’s Breakfast Committee, where she is responsible for finding speakers for events. “It’s challenging, but fun, “she said.
With a passion for continuing her education, at age 50, Dottie returned to school. After a career in investment real estate, Dottie wanted to explore her passion for developmental psychology further. “I’ve always been interested in how people can achieve their greatest potential,” she said. Upon graduation, Dottie received her Ph.D. in adult learning and development.
Dottie knew taking on an intense workload in school would be no easy task, but it was something she was willing to devote herself to one hundred percent. Her late husband, Bill, was very supportive of her educational journey, willing to help in any way he could. “He offered to do the cooking, which was a big load off my shoulders,” she joked. In total, it took her seven years to complete her college education due to an ambitious research project for her dissertation. “It was a long, difficult process and I was the older person in my graduating class,” she said. At the time, adult development was a new field because up until that point, psychologists thought only children developed. “I studied why some continue to grow as long as they live, while others do not,” she explained. “Research about that had not yet been done.”
While in school, Dottie was tasked with writing a dissertation on adult development. As it turns out, her dissertation was so well-received by her professors, it was nominated as Dissertation of the Year by leaders in the adult development field. “I was very proud, to say the least,” she said. “I had wonderful advisors during my doctorate program, so that helped a lot, too.”
During her time in school, Dottie wrote many academic articles, but she knew that her career as writer wouldn’t stop there. In search of inspiration, Dottie went hiking in the mountains with a friend one day. While hiking her friend confided in her about fears of getting older. “She just hated the idea of aging, and that’s when it clicked.” Upon returning home, Dottie began writing and two years later, her book, Life is an Attitude: How to Grow Forever Better, was complete. Almost instantly, the success of the book took off and Dottie was quickly signed to a publishing association.
“After I joined the association, they sent copies of my book to book fairs in England and Germany,” she explained. “Publishers from all over the world attend these book fairs and several emailed me asking if they could get a copy of my book.” To date, her book is published in 17 different languages.
“This has been an exciting journey,” Dottie said. “I’ve wanted to be a writer my entire life but was busy raising kids.” Dottie went on to thank her late husband, Bill, whom she couldn’t have completed her education without. When Dottie received her Ph.D., she gave Bill an “honorary” Ph.D., thanking him for all his support.
Things would later come full circle for Dottie when she spoke at one of the Emerald Heights Women’s Breakfasts. “It was a big crowd,” one of the biggest they’ve ever had,” she said. “I was scared to death but am so glad I did it.’
Fast-forward to now, Dottie and her current spouse, George, are enjoying life at Emerald Heights. The couple very much enjoys playing bridge, which is actually how they met. “He is absolutely wonderful,” she said. “We have a lovely life together.”
Dottie has made several friends at Emerald Heights and feels each one of her friends has a story to tell. “Everyone here could be a book,” she said. “That’s what I love most about Emerald Heights, the people. Everybody is so interesting and has their own fascinating story.”