It began when my Mom died, though I didn't know it.  All I knew was tremendous, heart-wrenching, not truly sudden, but sudden enough, loss. Funny, I'm sitting here, thinking I am fully ready to write about this and I'm already a little paralyzed.  It will be seven years this Thanksgiving and I'm still not over her death.  I said to a dear friend on Saturday, "you know, I don't think I will ever get over this is in my lifetime.  Time is absolutely NOT healing this wound."  Hmm...well, let me just move forward because it did all begin with her death.

My life as I knew it changed the instant my brother took her off life support the day before Thanksgiving.  I remember certain details so clearly, and others I cannot recall at all.  I remember it didn't take long.  I remember the tight hug I received from an ICU nurse when it was over.  I remember something unpleasant that happened the moment right after she died, thanks to a family member in the room.  I remember the shock and surprise on her brother's faces that this was all actually happening.  I remember just going forward and doing what had to be done.  Fortunately, my Aunt took over and arranged everything about the service and burial.  My brother and I went to the funeral home.  And we met with the Rabbi.  We had the funeral.  We did all the things we knew my Mom would've wanted and did not do the stuff we knew she wouldn't.  Except we took her off life support.  My brother and I discussed this before we did it because my Mom had said to both of us, "I don't care what it takes, keep my alive."  We respected this and we struggled with it, but we also knew the kind of care she would need and she would NOT have liked that.  And most important, we knew she wouldn't recover.  So, we put her to sleep.  And I'm still not over it.  Thanksgiving, November 2007.

February 2008, I got laid off.  Things weren't going well at work anyway and I saw the writing on the wall.  I was a Sales Manager, a "Road Warrior", making great money, and hating my life.  It was still a shock and when your identify is wrapped up in your career, it's a jolt, to say the least. 

And the jolts continued.  I started a small businessQ2008 thinking, "how bad could the economy get?"  I bought a licensed operation, was doing what I'd done for 20 years, brought a seasoned sales rep from my former employer with me, and off we went!  My GAWD, did it get bad!  We made it one year, I had gone through most of my savings, we hadn't made much money, and I had to seriously reevaluate whether we would continue.  We were both worn out from being eternally optimistic and I was drained from carrying us and almost broke.  We shut down and parted ways.

I then began to do anything and everything I could figure out to do to make money.  I had a house, a car, two dogs (one was my Mom's), several cats, and a horse.  I cleaned houses, I cleaned barns.  I took a medical transcription course and while I passed, the jobs were disgustingly low-paying.  And most of the transcriptions were from foreign doctors and it was hard enough to get the medical terminology correct, never mind trying to interpret a thick accent.  I moved to legal transcription and it took off!  The pay was okay and after some trail and error, I found two women, small, home-business owners, who contracted out their legal transcription jobs.  Turns out I had a knack for it and I loved it.  I worked with a woman who had a contract with the FAA, so I did all of the airplane crash legal transcriptions and it was just great.

It put food in the dog and cat bowls, and maybe kept the lights on, no, the water running, but that was it.  I still know how this happened, I guess I was just one of the luck one, but my mortgage company totally stayed off my back.  I kept in touch, sent what I could when I could, they took my call every time I called, and they were nice.  They're probably not in business anymore!  Ha!

It was a long, dark time.  I worked hard, very hard, to think about who I was, and who I was going to be moving forward.  I struggled every day to put one foot in front of the other for me, while processing the grief I still carried.  The sun finally came out in late Summer 2010.

I thought I was reading a misprint on CareerBuilder for a job I had right out of college and in the same industry, but I wasn't.  I applied to this global company
, had to do a little convincing that yes, yes, yes I wanted the freaking job even though it was half of what I had made just two years prior.  Again, I was one of the lucky ones.  I got the job.  And I loved it.  At first.

The company has identify ADD and they were in the habit of breaking models even if they worked and this go old.  Plus, I was working my ass off and not making enough to live on.  What I had left in savings was being used to supplement my life and it was dwindling fast.  When I asked a good client if I could use him as a reference, he said, "tell me what you're looking at."  I did and the next week he called to see if I was willing to talk with him about this kind of job.  I have to smile because it was just the outcome I was looking for.  I knew they needed this position locally and while I had no idea they were considering it, it worked out beautifully.  And I'm still there a year and a half later. 

What's the problem?  There isn't one.  I just want something different from my life now.  And I realized it as I approached 50 seven months ago.
  I have a good job, with good pay, and benefits.  While I recognize the absolutely fortune of this in today's world, something is missing.  I am a curious person.  I read a lot.  I know what's going on in the world, in other parts of the Country, and my own community.  I also like be and feel refreshed, so I find that I am in a place where I'd like to be refreshed every day and not "punch the clock" doing the same thing day in and day out, over and over, and making essentially the same money year over year.  More importantly, I am thinking ahead and I want to be sure I am learning and gaining expertise in areas I can do from anywhere, including my home.  I want to be reliant on me, not my employer.

And so here I am, My Blog, My Life.  There are probably many 50-Somethings out there wishing for the same, so I'm going to chronicle my experiences here - the good, the bad, and the ugly, hopefully mostly good, so it isn't so scary
for you. 

Already, I've partnered with a close business associate to do some contract recruiting and we're off to a good start 30 days in.  After an absolute obsession (and a little talent!) with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, I've blossomed from repurposing furniture and accessories in my booth in the local antique market to offering custom decorative finishes for cabinets, walls, furniture, accessories, and more!  And last, but certainly not least, I am grant writing and doing some fund raising for an equine rescue.  If I could rescue every in need on this planet, I would.  The dogs and cats have great voices speaking for their cause and since I own a horse and know horse is rescue is expensive and very, very difficult, I've chosen to put my energy to this.

At 50-and-a-half, I'm not there, but I am certainly on the road leading to freedom, purpose, and income.  I hope you'll stay with me!




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    I never thought 50 would matter.  It did.  It does. 


    July 2014