Second Act – The Gift of Me

Middle Age–the period of life between youth and old age, usually considered to occur approximately between the ages of 45 and 65.    http://www.merriam-webster.com

I decided to see what the dictionary described as middle age.  Looks like I may be leaving the land of middle age soon.  I started thinking about the last twenty years.  It has been a very remarkable time in my life.  But, the last 10 years have been the time of overwhelming change and growth.

I have shared some of my life in other blogs.  I describe my life as a cross between a Lifetime Movie Miniseries and Jerry Springer show.   I lived a life filled with chaos, confusion, self-doubt, and fear.  It seems my life has been like a marathon but I froze at the opening whistle.  I have tried to catch up to the pack for most of my life.  At 50, it seems I caught up with the runners at the back of the pack.

I moved back to my hometown after leaving an abusive marriage a short time before I turned 50.  I left with nothing but my car and some personal items.  I truly had to start over.  I had to recreate myself because I had lost so much of me.

More than anything I wanted to do something that allowed me to give back to others.  People had given so much encouragement, support, and love to me and I wanted to find a way to pass that on.

I  volunteered at a local Hotline before moving back home.  I fell in love with the work. The staff told me I had a natural gift for compassion and empathy with callers.  I dreamed of working for a place like this but knew I didn’t have the skills or education.  Once back home I began looking for job.  After each interview, my hopes sank a little more.  These were not the jobs I wanted.

I opened the paper one morning and there it was.  It was my dream job and it was in the classified section of the paper that morning–Volunteer Coordinator” for Hotline needed.  I had searched for a job for more than two months.  I applied for every job that fit my skill set knowing it wasn’t what I wanted to do.

I read the job description again.   The requirements included office skills, experience with volunteers, good communication skills, organizational skills and bachelor’s degree in human services field.  I had it all, all except the bachelor’s degree.  I didn’t have a degree in anything. I only attended college for one semester before getting married.  It was one of my biggest regrets. Friends would encourage me to apply for any job if I thought I was qualified, even without the degree.  I told them it was a waste of time.  Once the prospective employer saw the lack of education, they would toss my resume in the pile to receive the “thanks but no thanks” letter.

I decided to apply and after three interviews, the director called to offer me the position.  I hung up the phone still in shock.  Tears fell as I realized my dream come true.   I have been with my agency now for over ten years.  I am transitioning into another new position (this will be my fourth) as we continue to grow.  As the agency writes new job descriptions, the words “Degree Required” are changed to “Degree Preferred.”

According to the definition, I will be leaving  middle age soon.  Please don’t tell my mind or my body.  They don’t seem to realize it yet.  I still have too much to do.  My other passion is writing.  Last year I took  part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and plan to do it again next month.  I discovered that writing 50,000 words in a month isn’t as easy as it seems.   I created a blog a couple of years ago and in January, I started sharing it with others.  I am also in the process of writing a memoir type of book and a fiction book as well.

I just turned 60 years old.  Maybe this means my “Second Act” will be ending soon.  I will tell you that I am excited about the next act.  My favorite author Anne Lamott says, “Age has given me the gift of me, it just gave me what I was always longing for, which was to get to be the woman I’ve already dreamt of being.”    Anyone want to start a website for “The Next Act?”

3 responses

  1. I think you should read Anna Quindlen’s new book. She is about to turn 60 and talks a lot about how she feels like the older she gets the more she becomes her true, more confident self. Love this post, even if you did point out to me that technically I am middle aged. Really? Sigh.

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    1. The article I read said that “middle age” is the best time of your life. You better get busy and enjoy it. I will have to check out her book. Thanks

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  2. If you would enjoy a great story about a group of women in their “second adulthood,” take a look at “Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever.” The book has been optioned for the big screen.

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