“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” – Margaret Drabble, author

Everyone has a story. My story is not about finding myself, or finding my passion, but having the courage to live it. This is my story.

For as long as I can remember, I have lived and loved fashion. Growing up, the walls of my bedroom, where I dreamed of one day working for Vogue, or owning my own boutique, were papered with the covers of fashion magazines. Following the London fashion scene was an obsession. My lifelong dream was realized when at the age of 62 I opened FLUTTER Boutique.

After a long and successful career in retailing at Macy’s, I left the corporate world to care for my aging parents. I lost them both the same year and was still grieving that loss when while watching a movie I heard a line uttered that gave me the kind of pit in my stomach you get when you know something terrible is about to happen and there’s no way to stop it.

“These are the best years of your life. It is never going to get any better than this.” Can this be true, I thought? Is this as good as it’s ever going to be? I immediately started to take an inventory of my life. It had been a wonderful life so far and I had so much to be thankful for. But I wanted to believe that the best years of my life could still be ahead of me, that I could still get the feeling you get when you’re at the beginning of everything and everything feels new and waiting to be explored.

And so began my quest to make this day, and every day, the best days of my life. But where to begin? I needed a plan. I got a piece of paper and began to list everything that got my heart racing at age 13, and still did. I organized it into categories and called it. “My Best Life Plan” and pinned it to a large inspiration board, along with quotes that had special meaning.

I now had a roadmap that reflected all the things I was passionate about and that roadmap led me to Flutter. The name I chose for the store, FLUTTER Boutique, conjured up the image of a butterfly, delicate, yet strong enough to break free and take flight! The symbolism of the name was obvious and it was perfect.

FLUTTER is more than just a dream come true; it is a store where women can find beautiful, affordable fashion. A store where style is defined, not by a woman’s age or size, but by her attitude. Where beauty in every shape and color is embraced. A store where giving back by supporting issues important to the community is part of our DNA. It is also a platform to celebrate and inspire women and to share with them my story and what I know to be true.

That it is never too late to live the life you always imagined, to live your passion, and if you don’t know what your passion is, to go back to your younger self and find it. That when nothing seems sure, everything is possible.

Someone said that the real tragedy of life is not that it is too short, but that we wait too long to begin it. My moment of awakening came, and instead of hesitating, instead of worrying about failure and sabotaging the fulfillment of my dream, I stood on the ledge, made that leap … and flew! Just like the butterfly, breaking out of its cocoon. The best years were definitely ahead of me. I had finally found my Flutter.

FLUTTER Boutique was named the 2015 Business of the Year.

Linda Martin is currently on the board of Christine’s Hope for Kids and is the former president of the Pennington Business and Professional Association.

Flutter Boutique, 20 South Main Street, Pennington. 609-737-2236.

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