Teresa, 49 Former career: Customer Support Account Manager New career: Massage Therapist Reasons for change: Tired of downsizing in the tech companies she worked for. Also she recently married a gentleman who had retired, so working 60 hours a week wasn’t practical. Teresa decided that working for herself may not pay as much but it was far more rewarding. Being a planner, she researched the time and cost of schooling and saved enough to take the required year off from work. She put her finances in order with the help of her accountant and made sure her husband’s health benefits would also cover her. Her family and friends were supportive and she had many willing volunteers on whom to practice! The outcome, Teresa loves being her own boss. With a little planning, she takes vacations when she wants and works the hours she prefers.
She loves working in a room filled with quiet music instead of a tension filled office with over 20 people on conference calls. Her feeling is “what more do you need in life besides your health, a happy home life and food on the table, with a little time left over for fishing, hiking and spending time with your family?”
Kim, 50-ish Former career: teaching New career: opened her own Events-planning business Kim decided at age 40 that “my life sucked”. She hated teaching, was unhappily married and didn’t even like her friends. She decided it was “now or never” to have a happy life. She asked her husband for a divorce. “It really wasn’t that bad, we had nothing left in common but our 2 kids”. They have remained very close. Friends resented her for leaving, as they were the “fun” couple. New friendships had to be developed. With a communications degree in hand she started her company. With each decision, Kim decided she was getting stronger and ready to take on more chances as they presented themselves. This included falling in love and marrying a man fourteen years her junior. They have had two children of their own.
Kim feels her biggest obstacle besides blending two families was overcoming her fears of letting someone else be responsible again, at least partly, for her happiness. Her children range from 5-23. Fast forward ten years, she feels her life is as close to perfect as anyone can expect. “Once I took that enormous leap of faith, I NEVER looked back”
Finally, we have Sarah, soon to be 70 Former career: retired freelance writer and developer of supplemental curriculum materials New career: Newsletter editor and publicity person for her church. Sarah felt she was in a rut. She felt herself “slowing down” both physically and mentally. Her energy was so low she decided to re-evaluate her life and step into some new activities. When she and her husband joined a new church, the opportunity to do the congregation’s newsletter piqued her interest. She had long wanted to write another column (the previous one was as a drama critic) and this would give her the chance! She found herself eager to handle the job and try new things. Far from being too much, she found herself excited at acquiring the new skills (layout and PR work) needed for the position. Her writing, always good, began to sparkle-and she was being complimented by people whose opinions she valued.
She has begun writing articles again and submitting them to magazines and papers. There is more Sarah says she wants to do. She feels “young” again and loves it. Her invalid husband actively encourages her to take on more and more. “While this is normal for him, I suspect an added dimension in that he sees it as improving my life when he is no longer with me.” The rest of her family has also been supportive-many read everything she writes. “All think what I am doing, is right for me, that I’ve found my niche”.