Midlife crises come in all shapes and sizes. For some, it’s about throwing caution to the wind and buying a Porsche. Others might seize an opportunity to sail the South China Sea on a junk. Or do something completely radical, like run for an office for which one is uniquely unqualified.
While swimming around in my fifties, my life altered with scarce notice. In the space of eighteen months, I lost both my parents, found myself without a job, and discovered my husband met someone else. Throw in a special needs teenaged son, an unexpected health scare and extreme stress about my future for good measure.
It’s enough to drive one around the bend.
After a sufficient period of mourning my losses, I found redemption in retail. No, not the kind where one goes on a reckless purchasing spree, but in the form of a department store who offered me a position when nobody else seemed to be interested in my many successful accomplishments as a nonprofit professional. It’s not the solution I hoped for, but in many ways, I’ve been saved.
This position as a floor person introduced me to a vibrant community of individuals, many facing the same situation as me. We’re all trying to make a living, yet we’re struggling to stay alive. It’s not only the money, but our sanity we’ve had to scrimp together. In this position, I’ve gained the friendship of many, found sympathetic shoulders upon which to cry, support for my soul when I almost gave up, and not to mention a reason to get up and get earning.
Along the way, I’ve experienced it all. Customers provided me with a nonstop source of writing fodder. Every day I worked, I gained another boatload of stories. There was nothing left to do except write them down. My colleagues shared their lives with me and became richer for it. Turns out, everyone grieves for a life they’d rather not have, but dreams for a life they still seek. I stand on the cusp of a new life I never sought at this age.
After three horribly long years and five Christmases later in retail, I found a job in my given field: The Arts. Though my budget’s kind of thin, the bills do get paid. I still struggle with self-esteem and confidence issues, but then again, what creative person doesn’t?
Oh, and did I mention I was a writer?
This blog is dedicated to all of those, female and male, who find their dignity under assault and wandering down an uncertain path, unsure of what to expect. But as an old friend said to me, how do you know where the road is going if you’ve never been down it? Join me as I head into directions unknown and share in the wacky, madcap misadventures affectionately known as “Oh, S@#%! What the &*#@ Do I Do Now?”