A friend on Facebook wrote a post today saying that she had made a big decision. Her son (with autism) just successfully finished a full year of college. Without the stress that he might be returned home, she decided to get a full time job, jumpstarting an old career in film editing. She was no longer needed at home, and the writing jobs that had kept her mind going while managing her families needs now felt lonely. At age 50, she was starting a new life.
Many of my friends are at that stage of life. It’s menopause and a new career all together in one package. Some complain about agism and the barriers to reentry. But a surprising number are making it work. The job situation is pretty good right now, at least for people with BAs and on the coasts.
I’m sure I’ve written about this before, because it’s such a big theme in daily conversations with neighbors and friends, so I’m sorry to bore you all again, but I can’t help it. I love reinventions. I love that older women aren’t settling for knitting circles and volunteer activities that typically occupied the post-child years. I’m seeing new opportunities for myself in the next year or two.
My dad reinvented himself at 65. He retired from college teaching, something he had done his whole life, to take a job running a food pantry. He’s in his early 80s and he’s had to learn a whole new job set. He applies for grants plugging spreadsheets into automated government forms. He drives a van around New Jersey picking up frozen turkeys at Thanksgiving. A Republican since the Reagan years, he’s helping undocumented workers about food preparation and driving home single moms with bags of groceries, getting a first hand view of people that his political party disdains. It’s a full time job, even without a paycheck, and it’s kept him younger than his peers who do nothing.
If you could reinvent yourself today, what would you do?