Aug 20 2012

The Plan, Mid Life Reinvention.

Ok!  This is it! This is my official starting day of pulling it together, starting anew, reinventing myself, becoming a newer and better version of me.

My mothering, in the hands on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week sense is done.  My children are off and running.  I’ve only got one left at home and he’s an independent one.  As long as I have large quantities of food in the fridge and keep the eyes in the back of my head open, he’ll be fine.  He’s 15 and already found a part-time job, on his own, without prodding or kicking. He wanted a cell phone. As I did with my other children, I told him he had to get a job and pay for it himself. So he did.  That was my biggest concern for all of my children.  I wanted them to be motivated in their own life, motivated to go after their dreams, motivated to work for it.  So far, I am three for three.

Now, it’s me time.

For anyone on the same road as I am, the emptying nest and life after the kids, I’m mapping it out. I’ll write what worked for me and what didn’t.  If you’ve got any tips, send them to me in the comment box. I may not have the answers but between us, we might be able to come up with a no fail plan to reinvent ourselves.

Here are the criteria required from which to start, you can choose what fits:

1)      You must have had your comfortable and secure world shattered in some way.  It doesn’t matter how,  you just have to be at the place where you are on your knees either praying for a sign or just saying WTF as you drop your hands in defeat.

2)      You have to be in a state of financial insecurity. Again, it doesn’t matter how you got there.   Financial insecurity would have come at the moment you realized that your old friend Peter, whom you used to borrow from to pay Paul, is also strapped. It doesn’t matter how Peter got there either.  He probably had kids, a mortgage and a leaky roof too.

3)      You have to be at a place where you are nowhere near where you thought you would be.  You can be kind of close but keep hitting the ceiling.  All you know is that you are off the mark.

4)      You have to be tired, so very tired and grasping at straws. You have to be doing internet searches on this subject, using key word searches like: how do I start over, how do I reinvent myself, what am I doing, what should I do next, how can I start  (insert anything here), how do I find myself, what are the signs of a mid life crisis.

5)      You have to be spending hours on the computer, looking for inspiration, jobs or other bloggers, with tips and advice on your particular issue.  You might just be spending hours on the computer, getting sidetracked; looking up things like tailors bunions or rare diseases that have one symptom that matches your own. You might be using an image search engine to look up brown recluse spiders to compare with the one that is watching you from the corner of the wall.

If you are reading this and you glided through mid-life and your children leaving the nest, then now is your time to let us all in on the secret. If you have lost your job or your dream and picked up the pieces quickly, then we could use a couple of guaranteed tips.  Time’s a wasting.  Comment on!

My Plan

Disclaimer: This plan is not guaranteed and may change at a moment’s notice.  It will probably be revised numerous times throughout the next period of time, whose guess is anybody’s guess.  All I know, is, I will be here for the duration and to see it through to its magnificent end or glorious new beginning. I’m aiming high, I’m aiming for the happily ever after.  I take no responsibility for the results of anyone following the advice of or carrying out my carefully executed plan.  As I said, this plan could change at any moment as I have no idea what I am doing. 

OK!  This is it. My Plan (I’m stalling.)…..

…. But this is what has worked so far.

1) Sleep and Eat.

When my second child left home, I was still on the fast track of trying to figure out what to do. I had a few clues but the last few months were so busy that I was seriously sleep deprived.  I wasn’t focusing and the task of figuring out what to do next felt completely overwhelming.

I put the plan on hold, telling myself that I would only think about it when I felt clear.  Then I slept. I napped. I day dreamed. I changed my diet to more nutritional home cooked foods. Then I napped some more.   I involved myself in simple non thinking activities, like painting the staircase and hallway. Then I slept some more.  It’s a week later and I feel refreshed. I’m going to continue this regimen and slowly add in the other parts of my plan as I figure them out.

Now that I am thinking clearer, I’m reflecting on what didn’t work for me in the last year or so and what I have learned from it.

2) When job hunting, think about what fits you.

The first day or so after my second child’s departure, I tried to jump into figuring things out too quickly.  It just left me feeling anxious and hurried and intense.

I had thought about this moment over the last few of years.  I was hoping to have everything figured out by the time they left so that I could glide into this new stage of life.  I did my homework; I picked up a job outside the home that I thoroughly and completely enjoyed. I continued my business as an artist on the side.  I started getting my artwork published by a greeting card company.  Sounds good, right?

Then my dear friend died, and my one in a million, best friend and father died five days later.  I didn’t feel much like painting. The wind was knocked out of my creative sails.  I couldn’t get one idea out.  I relied on my outside job to get me through and it did for a few months until the economy waved its magic wand over my employer. It caused a major shift.

Well… I’m still employed technically, but I’m at the bottom of the food chain and rarely get an opportunity to go into work. I’m what you might call “A Girl Friday” although I’m available seven days a week. I’m efficient and punctual and reliable (just in case you’re hiring) and… I guess I’m laid off.  To top it off, my beautiful, wonderful regal dog died two months after I got the news about the future of my job.

My first career thought was to write a great country western song. It had all the components of a real tear jerker.  Hmmm!

Realistically, I knew that song has been written a million times before.  I could have given up.

Instead, I got right back up on the saddle and started sending out mass resumes.  Then I waited.  While I waited and watched the clock, I prepped for the day that my second child would leave home.  As the day got closer, I scanned every on line opportunity and the local classified ads with intensity and drive. In the meantime, I started painting again to catch up on the business I let slide.  I regrouped and continued teaching my art classes. The classes alone kept me going.

From all of the resumes I sent out, I was only called for one interview, at a funeral home.   The job description was  a graphic artist/secretary.  The interview process revealed that there would not be a heck of a lot of art going on.  Instead there would be a lot of greeting the mourners and the usual gopher type jobs.  I’m not against that type of work; in fact it always guarantees that each day would be different.  But I had no idea what tasks would be necessary at a place like a funeral home.  Would I be required to climb on in and vacuüm the hearse after every use?  What about the spirits? Would I run into any? Would they whisper in my ear? Would I have to corral them at night? My imagination took off.  I fretted for days about the interview.  Could I handle it, day in and day out?

 How could I face the heartbroken without feeling it myself?

I didn’t think I could do it without showing emotion or shedding a tear.  I was still grieving at the time and I would have been no comfort to anyone coming in to face their own grief.  I would have been a puddle on the floor and I knew it.  Based on the fact that I cry during Tim Horton commercials and old episodes to Road to Avonlea, I sensed this would not be a good fit.

The morning of the interview, it began to storm. The clouds rolled in as I left the house. It was windy and pouring rain, thunder and lightning by the time I reached the funeral home.

Of course it was!!!

I think my prospective employers reconsidered my application after I declared that I would try the job but would like to know if the last person hired has to turn out all the lights. I also laughed a lot during the interview which is what I do when I am nervous.  I joke, I riddle, and I pun.  The thought of working there made me really nervous.  Although they offered me a second interview, I couldn’t get a clear idea of just what was being asked of me and what my job description would be.   They were supposed to call with an interview time later that day.  The storm continued.  The power went out briefly as did my phone line.

When the storm was over, there were no messages waiting.

This clearly was not a good fit.

The good thing was; I discovered that my gifts probably would best be served in the land of the living; although I do have a small interest in ghost hunting.

Now that I am refreshed and remembering some earlier lessons that I learned, I will devise the next part of my plan.

Stay tuned. And don’t forget to comment if you’ve got some good tips.

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