Amy Schmidt realized she was entering a new phase in her life as she neared age 50. She was anxious about reaching the milestone but not scared. She also was motivated. \u201cI knew part of me had to do more,\u201d Schmidt said. The Ridgefield resident decided to launch a website called \u201cFearlessly Facing Fifty\u201d and start a podcast with the same name, attracting guests such as former \u201cGood Morning America\u201d co-host Joan Lunden, Covergirl model Maye Musk, and Julie Moran of \u201cEntertainment Tonight\u201d and \u201cABC\u2019s Wide World of Sports\u201d fame. Schmidt is a former journalist herself, having worked for radio, television and print media outlets before focusing on raising her three children. She\u2019s now published her first book entitled \u201cCannonball! Fearlessly Facing Midlife and Beyond.\u201d The book is a collection of her personal experiences and other women\u2019s stories intended \u201cto empower women to take charge of their lives and overcome feeling invisible,\u201d according to publicity material. \u201cI\u2019m very honest about my life and journey,\u201d Schmidt said during a recent phone interview. The book\u2019s title comes from how most people will freely do a cannonball dive as a youngster but then become intimidated about doing the same as an adult. She tells women to cast those fears aside, refuse to be judged and just jump in the water. \u201cYou make the biggest splash possible,\u201d Schmidt encourages readers in the book. \u201cYou truly don\u2019t have those insecurities around pleasing everyone or, quite honestly, caring about what people think. You exude confidence.\u201d The book has eight chapters, with titles such as \u201cThe Water Looks Cold,\u201d \u201cJudges are Everywhere\u201d and \u201cThirty Shades of Gray.\u201d It covers everything from dying parents to menopause. Readers will even find out where she would hide a pack of cigarettes (the ice cream sandwich box in her freezer). Schmidt said women too often undervalue themselves and look for validation from others. \u201cWe underestimate what we do as women,\u201d she said. She suggested women \u201cclose your eyes and look at the highlight reel of what you\u2019ve accomplished through the years.\u201d In midlife, a woman\u2019s most important relationships change because her role as a wife, mother, daughter and sister evolves. Women often become nervous of change and uncertainty and \u201cfear beginning again,\u201d she said. But women shouldn\u2019t be afraid to start the next phase of their lives. \u201cGive yourself permission to explore new things,\u201d Schmidt said. \u201cWe reach the age where it doesn\u2019t matter what others think,\u201d she explained. \u201cIt doesn\u2019t have to be perfect and we don\u2019t need to dot all the i\u2019s and cross all the t\u2019s.\u201d The book has received praise from Laurie Gelman, a television personality known for her humorous novels \u201cClass Mom\u201d and \u201cYou\u2019ve Been Volunteered.\u201d \u201cAmy Schmidt has nailed it,\u201d Gelman says of Schmidt\u2019s book. \u201cIt\u2019s as though she got inside my head (and really every woman\u2019s head) and pulled out all the voices that stop us from trying something new or even giving ourselves a pat on the back.\u201d Schmidt\u2019s website includes advice, podcast and article links, blog posts, details on her background and other information. She\u2019s recorded 40 podcasts since last fall, with a new one available weekly on the website and popular podcast platforms. \u201cI\u2019ve always had the ability to connect with people,\u201d she said. \u201cI\u2019m a natural conversationalist.\u201d Launching the website and podcast was a challenge, partly due to all the technology she had to learn. \u201cI\u2019m going to figure this out,\u201d Schmidt told herself as she began the process. She received guidance from a young Ridgefield resident, took classes and spent a lot of time asking questions at a computer store. \u201cIt\u2019s not an easy thing,\u201d she said. \u201cThere\u2019s a lot of steps to get there.\u201d Schmidt moved forward at a fast pace. \u201cI pushed the record button and didn\u2019t know if anyone would be listening,\u201d said Schmidt, adding she\u2019s been pleased with the podcast\u2019s audience size. She also hosts workshops on starting a podcast and to assist women in midlife with issues such as relationships, health, body issues and careers. Recently, she\u2019s been doing these virtually due to the pandemic. In addition, she coordinates an online Facebook group. Schmidt grew up in Wisconsin and married her college sweetheart. She worked as a journalist in Wisconsin, Washington, D.C. and Indiana as her husband Tim\u2019s career in the pharmaceutical industry compelled frequent family moves. \u201cI took on the role of traveling spouse,\u201d she said. She was a competitive swimmer from age 6 through her college years. \u201cThat was my identity as a kid \u2014 between the black lines\u201d in the pool, she said. She later coached youth and college swim teams. Her family moved back to Connecticut five years ago after spending six years in Germany. They picked Ridgefield because it had a small-town atmosphere with \u201ca European feel.\u201d Her children are now ages 23, 20 and 16. Her book is available on Amazon and in bookstores. For more information about Schmidt\u2019s book and podcast, visit fearlesslyfacingfifty.com.