Did you ever feel like you could just burst into flame and vanish? I wrote a book about that feeling. But that's not what this post is about.
My lifelong dream was to be an author, so after adding caregiver for my dying father-in-law to my already busy life raising three daughters, I applied and was accepted into the MFA in Creative Writing program at Rutgers, Newark. This was my way of pulling myself out of a very difficult chapter that required so much love and sacrifice - it emotionally exhausted me in ways only those who lose someone can fully understand. My husband was not keen on the idea of adding tuition for me onto the expected college expense for our girls, but I told him I would borrow the money and return to paid work when I was done to pay it back.
The two years in the MFA Writing community were absolute heaven. It was my transition from losing myself to finding myself again. Unfortunately, it also resulted in a divorce.
Finding my way back to a career was tough at age 56, but I found a job in education that required my marketing and business development skills. Nine years later I'm still at that job. Some days it is tedious. Some days I work and think about the hours I could be dedicating to my writing but here I am toiling away at a 'day-job'.
So, here's the thing...this job allowed me to help pay for college for myself and my three daughters. The divorce allowed me to find a partner who is so supportive of my writing! It also is one of those jobs that gets done between the hours of 8:30 and 4:30 Monday through Friday. So, I am very pleased to say that leaves my early morning time from 7 am to 8:30 am to arrive at my office and turn on the computer and write my books. This September, 2020 my third book will be released by Apprentice House Press. It is a work of fiction, but in it I channel all that we feel as women, giving and caring for our children, mixing work and home, needing the support of friends, and finding ourselves again after long lapses in our pursuit of our dreams. I guess my point of this post is to offer encouragement to all on this site. I was a co-leader of a local chapter of Mothers and More, a support group for women who left careers to stay home with their children. It morphed into a group that supports women in all of our transitions, school to work, work to home, home to the workplace. That group was long before social media existed. It is great that this site does a lot of the same for us. Women over the age of 55 are considered an 'at risk' group for unemployment. I was lucky enough to interview with a woman a few years younger than me who 'gets' it that the skills we carry around with us don't disappear when the children show up. In the words of the Mothers and More founders, "I had a baby, not a lobotomy". What's your story?