Not quite.  Actually, not by a long shot, but every day I get closer!

Last November, while spending the week of Thanksgiving with my good friend from childhood, in her beautiful home in No Cal, El Dorado HIlls, to be exact, which I adore, and doing some day tripping, I found it.  The "It" that got me all fired up to really take the leap and work towards trying to build a business for myself that was more a lifestyle.

Andrea has spent the last couple of years trying to get her fledgling designer jewelry and gift off the ground and she was in the final stages, so she didn't have a ton of time to day trip, not to mention, her stress level was pretty high.  Oh, and she was hosting Thanksgiving for her wonderfully eclectic group of buds.  She wanted to be sure we got to the cute little town of Folsom because we HAD to go to this store, Not Too Shabby. 

First, we stopped at a little gourmet chocolate shop and bought the things we needed for the next hour or two!  Then we stepped into Not Too Shabby.  My heart stopped just a second or two.  I've been in a million shops like this, and so have you!  Great location, cool things, old and new, spilling out the front door, begging you to come closer and take a look and touch.  It was the inside - there was so much color and yet, there was none.

Of course, it was decorated for the holiday season upon us and though I saw glimpses of red and gold and green here and there, what I really saw were the whites, the whites with wood showing through, the smooth blues, some foamy greens, and the shapes and bones of the pieces these colors covered.  And then I saw the buffet, repainted and every inch of its shelves covered with a can of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  The colors were so creamy and soft and bold and impactful...quietly so.  I just walked around touching the colors, not the pieces they covered.

Chalk Paint.  Huh.  In 2013, I spent a night at Andrea's during Thanksgiving week and while I was there, we reminisced about our families, our childhoods, what each of us remembered and the other didn't, and a lot about our Moms.  In Andrea's bedroom is a beautiful piece of furniture, a long, heavy dresser, like they used to make and her Mom had refinished it many, many years ago.  It looked like pickled driftwood.  I couldn't get the finish on that piece out of my mind and when my New Year's Eve plans got cancelled at the very last minute, I started Googling chalk paint and found a few YouTube videos on how to make it.  I don't recall seeing Annie Sloan.

So off to Lowe's I went, bought the ingredients, and spent New Year's Eve weekend mimicking the finish on Andrea's piece.  It wasn't exact, but I loved it, I had a blast, and it looked great in my bedroom!  New furniture for less than $100!  Yay!

So when I saw the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint cans, which look great in and of themselves, and the beautiful colors, with the consistency of a creamy milkshake before restaurants started putting cookies and candy in them, I just couldn't think of much else.

I got home, did a little homework, found a store about 50 miles from me who sold it and I was off!  I painted, and painted, and painted, and painted.  Almost obsessed, I could barely stop.  I have a great friend who supported me, along with her dear husband, 110% and we rode around in their truck picking up pieces I bought.  And after some practice, I did the furniture in her loft over the garage.  Now I was big time!

I bought candlesticks, lamps, some furniture, children's piggy banks, and some "one-off" accessories and just kept painting.  It was almost like I was in a trance!  I went to the town square in my little town and leased a booth in the Antique Market.  I stayed up painting until midnight, 1:00a.m. trying to get things ready for this booth to open.  Was I nuts?

I have a day job.  I am a Human Resources Manager for a manufacturing company and I'm pretty busy.  Constantly recruiting, traveling to our other facilities, dealing with employee needs/problems/issues all day long and into the night if something goes wrong.  But I had to paint.  Just paintpaintpaint!

Sara and her husband spent an entire day helping me get my booth set up and moving things into it and it's done okay so far.  I need more accessories and I'll get there.  I took a deep breath after it opened and then...

While at a lunch meeting for a Board I am on, one other Board Members, and interior designer, asks me if I want to do the furniture and faux wall of the coffee shop remodel she is doing.  Of course I want to!  Yes!  I'll start right now!

Full disclosure - I am the kinda' gurl who thinks she can do anything (that's what my Mom raised!) and while the thought of doing faux scared me, I knew I could do it.  After searching endlessly for a class, I found one I could afford and that was local.  And it turns out, the woman who owns this faux business, "faux" is very 80s/90s, the current term is "Decorative Finishes", is a delight, taught me all the basics in two days, and has been an incredible mentor to me.

So I had a paying job, a booth with some sales by March!  Not bad for starting at the end of December!

Nope, I'm not really there yet, but I am getting there.  And with a couple of other side ventures going on, I will be there.  My intention is to be there by the end of this year.  I will get  there and you
 
 
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!

Peace,
Robyn



 

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

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