Celebrating Independence

On this beautiful day, July 4th 2017, I am taking a few minutes to reflect on the steps I have recently taken towards independence of a different sort…

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About 2 months ago, my co-workers and I were laid off due to losing our grant funding. It was not completely unexpected, but it still left each of us scrambling to deal with things in different ways. These ways were generally determined by where each of us was in our decades of life. We were all female, but we ranged in ages from our mid 20s to early 50s. Some of us were married or divorced, others were single; some of us had children, but they were between 5 and 20 years old.

One of the youngest of my colleagues, still in her 20s, had the greatest mobility. With nothing holding her down, she packed up and moved to another city before she even had a job lined up. She was fortunate enough that her parents were able to provide some transitional support.
The members in their 30s and 40s were at different stages described above- which determined how quickly they were willing to find new employment. These decisions were largely driven by the need to afford child care and health insurance for their families.
I was one of the oldest employees and was in a unique situation. My husband had retired a few years previously and my kids were almost full-blown adults. While it was convenient that my job had provided health insurance for all of us, it was not a deal breaker to finding my own path.
I did look at a few job possibilities, but I have long had the idea in the back of my mind of forming my own business. Well- what better reason than to give it try- here and now- than due to this upset to my career path? Thus, within a few weeks I filed paperwork for my own company, attended networking events and developed a business plan. In the next few weeks I hope to start contacting clients and setting up programs for this fall.
It may not go as smoothly as it sounds, but I am prepared for the challenges. Besides, knowing that this is completely self-driven and that I have the independence to make my own decisions, is both exciting and liberating!
I may not have had the confidence nor the time and means to do this when I was in my 30s. Now, however, I am ready to take the risks without knowing what the rewards will be. In my mind, it would be more regrettable to have never tried than to have failed. My new-found independence will not be an uphill battle; it will be an adventure!

To borrow from Brainy Quotes “Quote of the Day”

Freedom means the opportunity to be what we never thought we would be.
Daniel J. Boorstin

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes_of_the_day.html

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Post-mortem Insight: Why wait til it’s too late?

Yesterday my family and  I attended a memorial service for my father-in-law. It had been 9 months since his passing.  Our wells of tears had dried up and our minds were open to honoring his life accomplishments. Many people came up to the podium to speak of him- the challenges they faced together in their career, the obstacles that they overcame and the principles that motivated them. As his daughter in law, I had not known him during his career days. While I knew drips and drabs about his work, I never fully understood his personality and the drive that sometimes triggered conflicts of interest.

Listening to what people had to say about him yesterday  gave me so much insight into who he had been and gave me so much more respect for his ideals. I always knew what a warm, passionate person he was but this window into his other life outside of family gave me a whole new perspective. My children respectfully listened to the stories about their grandfather and one of them even got up to thank people for giving her this opportunity to learn about him.

This whole experience really got me thinking: why do we wait until someone dies to reflect on their life? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if families got together to share these stories at a time when you could still ask the honoree questions? There are so many things left to second guess. We only know the facts through other people’s eyes. What if we had a chance to clarify the rationale behind his choices; or ask what he was most or least proud of doing?

Children never seem to pay attention to what their parents do outside of the home. Sure they know what profession their parents have chosen, but they have their own lives to live and can’t bother with more than that. By the time they do become interested, they are likely involved in their own careers and families and have limited time for in-depth discussions. And then the grandchildren come along, but they are more interested in hearing about when grandpa was a little boy- not the ups and downs of his career.

So when is the ideal time to have these reflections? I wish I knew, but there has to be a better way…

A New Year for Growth and Change

   My kids have been back to school for almost a week now. They are getting adjusted to their daily routine and I am trying to find my own rhythm. For the last 9 years, I have enjoyed teaching pre-school. Four and five-year olds can be so inquisitive and eager to learn new things. It was a great experience for me and I occasionally run into a student or parent who remembers me. I love to hear how they are doing and think that I played a small part in their lives.
    Every September, I started out with a fresh crop of students-all of different personalities and levels of readiness. By the end of the year, they were very comfortable with themselves and ready to move on to kindergarten. I was proud of my accomplishment.
    However, this year I decided to step back for a time. I feel there is something else I want to do, more people I want to reach. So here I am blogging my thoughts on this webpage as I attempt to determine what the next steps in my career will be.
    I decided to name my blog the Middle Generation, because like many of you I am a mom with older parents. My kids are now teenagers and my parents are very active in their own lives. However, I feel as if I am juggling my attention between the needs of my kids and the obligations I feel to look after my parents.
    My parents are dealing with cataracts, knee replacement, insomnia, arthritis and weight, as well as some nerve-wracking blood tests as they age. At the same time, my kids have reached a stage where their grades actually count. My oldest one will be driving in a year and looking at colleges in two. My younger one is gaining his independence on his bike or online (I’m not sure which is more dangerous).
    I plan to use this blog as a way to talk about subjects on both sides of me, and figure out how to find time for myself- both  physically and emotionally. Thanks for joining me on my journey.