If you’ve read my bio you will notice my resume is a bit eclectic. I talk about my former life as a “dilettante/flight attendant/stock broker/business journalist/expat wife.” Even my husband can’t keep track of it. “When were you a flight attendant?” he asks for the third time. For me it has been a circuitous route leading me exactly where I was meant to be. But I didn’t know that at the time. I just knew that I liked to re-invent myself every so often. Re-invention can be hard but also liberating. It is change and change can be stressful. Change has never been my problem, perhaps not sticking with something long enough would be more like it. But since this is a blog about turning 50 (and being happy about it hopefully!) I want to share some advice on re-inventing yourself.
When I graduated from university, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. In fact, I don’t think I really knew until I was 40. I tried various jobs, while feeding my wanderlust with my part-time job as a flight attendant. But I could never quite find one that I felt passionate about. Then the economy started to tank (along with my first marriage) and I realized I just wanted (needed) to make lots of money. So, I decided to take the courses necessary to become a stock broker. I took the Canadian Securities Course, got my insurance license, options trading license and associate portfolio manager designation. I got a job at a brokerage firm and worked there for close to ten years. I thought I would never leave.
Here is where the extreme re-invention comes in. I met someone, younger, who was doing well in his career and really wanted more children (I already had a daughter). So, fortunately we had a son and I went on maternity leave at the age of 41. I was used to a very busy, multi-tasking life and I worried I may be bored during my leave, so I applied to journalism school. Just as I was accepted into the intensive program starting in the fall, I found out I was pregnant again (that’s another story for another time). So, I was going to be studying full-time, while pregnant, with a one-year-old. Yes, looking back now it seems insane. But I got through it with help from family and babysitters of course. So, at 43, I had a daughter, two little boys and a degree in journalism. In a matter of a couple of years I went from a single-mother-working-in-a-brokerage to a married-mother-of-three-kids, looking for a job in journalism. It was challenging to say the least. But I loved it and I was lucky to be able to find something I was interested in and passionate about (had it always been writing?)
So, I want to challenge you to re-invent yourself, if you are feeling like you need a change. I definitely felt out of my comfort zone many times but that sense of discomfort is what helps us grow and realize who we really are. Sometimes when starting a new job I am nervous and shy and wonder why I keep doing this to myself. I am sure there are lots of reasons but I think I must actually enjoy the challenge of change.
What have you always dreamed of doing? What could you spend 12 hours a day doing, if you didn’t have to pay the bills. And I know about paying the bills, or not being able to. If you can’t leave your job because of financial reasons, do something in your spare time. Take salsa dancing lessons. Take flying lessons. Jump out of a plane and into a life of change and growth.