We had the good fortune of connecting with Catherine Berra and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Catherine, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
My favorite quote is:
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I first saw this quote when I when I was a young girl. It resonated with very deeply and became my life’s motto. My independent personality is strong and these words have motivated me throughout my life to try things I might not otherwise would have attempted. It is important for everyone to appreciate their uniqueness and worth as well as their individualized journey. Going where you might not have contemplated or trying a new skill, sport, class or personal engagement with another, are sometimes tasks that require what my mother used to call “gumption.”
I’ve always tried to enhance my life by continuing to learn, explore, and travel. Going on those very scary or intimidating, unbeaten paths can often lead to enlightenment and discovery.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I spent over 20 years in the Washington, DC, area working in telecom, for a high-profile political appointee, then in the Division of Cybersecurity at the U.S. Department of State. Upon returning to Colorado in 2014 to assist my aging parents, my life took a very drastic turn. The job market was different and less stable and I found myself laid off several times in the first few years of my return. I am most proud of having lived a very fast-paced life back east with a very high stress job while also making my son a priority and giving him great opportunities and experiences as a young man.
During the down time between jobs in Denver, I returned to DU to complete a graduate certification program in Animals and Human Health, ended up adopting a rescue horse after several months of research for the program at a rescue barn, created a self-esteem program for kids called BeHerd (partnering with my horse) and subsequently turning to my first passion in life, which is writing.
I have been writing poetry since I was a young girl and decided in 2020 to self-publish a collection of my poetry, which I did. It is called Lucid Life: A Collection of Lyrical Poetry.
From there, and after the passing of both parents, I decided to finally put together another book about my funny online dating stories, of which I had many as an older human. I divorced when my son was young but did not have the energy as a single mom to date much until after my son left for college. My friends had been trying to convince me to write this book for years and I finally did. It was published in January 2022 and is called These Stories Are True… I S#!+ You Not: A Humorous Look at Online Dating for the Unsuspecting Older Human.
I was not going to write this book because the experiences, while comical and hilarious, were also a bit mortifying. Modern-day dating at any age is quite an adventure so I was very tentative about it. However, what I have found since it’s publication is that the book resonates with SO MANY people who have been through the same, or worse, situations than me and are happy to share their stories of romantic ridiculousness.
This book, while a comedy, has opened up a conversation with so many people and gives us all a true-life look into the human condition and how social media, and especially during COVID lockdowns, has altered the way people interact, are or are not accountable for their actions, and how with the excessive ability to connect online, it seems as though we have less true connection. You can find both of my books through my website, CatherineBerra.com
I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way and if anything, I’d say that confidence, persistence, healthy living and spending time in nature are the most important parts of seeking out your passions. Your energy level is tied directly to your love for what you are doing in your life, and if those things are creating negative energy then your body, mind and spirit will suffer.
My journey has not been easy, but I believe we all struggle, manage and persevere the best we can. We assimilate to our circumstances, and like it or not, we make it through. A positive attitude is paramount and a close group of supportive friends and family make all the difference in the world.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Colorado is so different than the east coast in that it is so expansive. I believe Coloradoans forget about the amazing views, sunset, open space, natural wonders and mountainous beauty that is all around them.
My favorite place is up in the Aspen area where I lived in the mid-90s. The Maroon Bells during the end of September are breathtaking and a hike up to lake is one of favorite meditative trips every year.
I would take a friend for a drive up to the mountains, stop in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt for some great sightseeing, then up to Aspen. My favorite spots are Matsuhisa Aspen, The White House Tavern, the Red Onion. For breakfast on the way back down to Denver, I’d stop at The Village Smithy in Carbondale.
With the unfortunate population growth in Colorado, so many of our favorite local mountain areas and spots are inundated with people now, but I’d still bring them to Denver to visit the brew pubs, Union Station and Coors Field. Estes Park would be on the list as well and Rocky Mountain National Park.
I also enjoy the performing arts and take advantage of the great shows at the DCPA, the Paramount and Fiddlers Green.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My close friends are a constant source of support, love, mentorship and encouragement. Connie, Sallyanne, Megan, Angela, Julia, the list goes on. We women create a formidable force within our tribes. I depend on their intelligence, honesty and laughter to get me through this crazy thing called life.