Sunday, October 25, 2009

Of Phoenixs and Ostriches

I'm more than a little tired of sticking my head in the proverbial sand while life marches gaily on even as I cower in fear of getting a job. (a job? what job? what's the perfect job? what are my talents? how can I contribute to society and pay my bills and be there for the kids....
blah blah blah).
Too much hysterical panic.
Not to mention leaving the butt sticking quite vulnerably just out-there.

The rational part of me gets that it's time to make like a phoenix and rise from the ashes of midlife, leave the stay at home mom career behind to start over--uncomfortably like a teenager, only not as energized, youthful or pimply. Which except for the acne, sucks the fun right out of it.

Can I just please drop the stories and move on?
It appears the only one holding me back is me.
But how do you get past your very own self?

How do women make this transition without all the angst?

Ostrich image found at


  1. Welcome to MY life! I've had this same conversation with myself for, oh, uh, something like fifteen years! After Melody went off to college, I had health issues as a 'reason', then when I was on medication I worked for two years at a vet's office and did pet sitting on the side, then quit five years ago to take care of the grandkids til they started school, etc. I need to be working to help pay our taxes if for no other reason, but here I sit, wondering why I can't make myself get out there like most other people seem to be able to do. I actually like working when I do work, but have no idea what to do or, like you said, what my talents could possibly be after all these years.

    "How do women make this transition without all the angst?"...let me know if you find out! In the meantime, we could commiserate with each other. Good luck with the head in the sand and phoenix rising stuff!

  2. "It appears the only one holding me back is me."

    Boy did that hit the old nil on the head. I can't tell you how often I've been ascertive leader, who plodded on with evey difficult task before more. So, now, why I am afraid to go off in to this world - and for me, simply to get back in a groove I didn't lie before.

    Hot topic!

  3. I'm not sure any transition is possible without some angst. At least that's certainly been the case for me. One thing that works for me is to make myself do one thing I'm afraid to do - even if it's just making a phone call or following through with an idea. Courage seems to build on itself. It also helps tremendously to talk to friends, and to know I'm not alone. And it sure seems like there are a lot of us in the exact same place.

  4. It does seem like like there are many of us out there in the same position. My immediate answer is that I want to move to Denmark, ranked the country with the happiest populace. They have healthcare for everyone, and higher education. They get off work around 4-5 every day and go to market on the way home to be with their families. They don't have homeless folks because if you lose your job the gov. helps you find a new one. Best of all, they don't have a lot of 'stuff' so they have time for what matters. Problem is, I'm not Danish, am not engaged to a Dane, and getting a work visa might be hard since I don't speak Danish, although they probably all speak English anyway...

  5. Linda: how I envy that you got to help raise your grandchildren; since my post on adoption I have learned that my grandson's adoptive parents have implemented a 'more closed' adoption--translated, completely closed. No more blog updates, no emails answered, no invites to say hi (jk), and neither the irony nor cruelty escapes me...

    But back on track, it would seem that you (and I) haven't made ourselves do it because deep down we don't want to. I sincerely believe if we could do what we loved/were good at, it would be a different story. Running your own business, perhaps from home, internet based maybe, or something creative, comes to mind.

    Yes, let's commiserate!!!

  6. Julie: we wouldn't hold ourselves back if we could find a way to do what we wanted to do (assuming we knew what that was). Perhaps we feel disadvantaged (older, and in our culture, that's not venerated) and maybe a little resentful (I am anyway) to feel like we HAVE to go out and do something or we won't survive/thrive. But I really wish, that since things are changing, there was something in place that would help retrain older people and get us back in the workforce. Free higher education or apprenticeship would really help. Of course, one would still have to be able to pay the bills meantime.

  7. Deb: you are right about that! You remind me of Martha Beck, who wrote the Four Day Win which helps you break things down kinda the way you said. It's really the best book I've read on the subject, how to get past the blocks. If I follow your suggestion, I would this week get my resume to a resume company because as someone whose been out of the workforce for 19 years, just doesn't know what employers want in a resume anymore. What to leave in, leave out, etc. It's not like we women with at-home-careers of family and community haven't learned skills or accomplished a million things, but just how do we show that in a resume? Not everything would be relevant. But here's to goal setting... and seeing what comes of it.

  8. Had an interesting discussion with a few other stay at home moms and three moms who had jobs to return to - a pediatrician, dental hygentist and a nurse. How, for them, they had a place to return. How my other friend had left left the large corporation world and I for years had moved around for my husband's job - trying to fit in employment as best I could. Adds all these new dimmensions to the issue. Maybe we should write a book about it.

  9. Hear, hear, that would be quite a book...

    Seems like the medical field (maybe because jobs there are in constant demand?) is a place to transition in and out of more easily. So, we could go back to school and train in that arena?

    And for me,single-momming it factors in anything I take on.

  10. This is such a great conversation. I'm with Midlife Jobhunter Julie - I think there's definitely a book in this. However, if you need to make money, you'll still have to find a job while you write the proposal, find an agent and then a publisher. :-)

    Moving to Denmark sounds great - or Scotland maybe.

    I'm thrilled to be in the same sentence as Martha Beck - one of my idols. Best of luck with your resume (or at least a call to that company).

  11. I think women always have angst. It is just in our DNA.

  12. "you write the proposal, find an agent and then a publisher. :-)"

    Been seriously thinking about it. Certainly seems the market for this topic exists as I label the women, even men, who might be drawn to a book. However, my brainstorming on the topic has enough for 20 books. Which focus? And focus? While menopausing?

    Lorna, I think many single moms share this problem.

  13. Lorna: Have you ever considered a P/T job..perhaps one that you can do from home...or there are many employers that have home DIL did just in her employers home special high fashion clothing needed, no office politics to contend with..flexible hrs. and is always on call if children need her from school. Once they are in high school I'm sure she'll venture out to the corporate world where she came from before motherhood!
    You know what it is just as difficult when one retires from a life time career..I remember I sat on the fence for over a year should I or shouldn't I?? You see I thought I was defined by my career and without it who would I be...well it all worked out and I redefined myself as you can see from what I write about in my blog.
    Take time..put your toe in the shallow end..soon you'll be heading for the deeper waters.

  14. Debbie: Seems to be true, that! Especially when it comes to our kids.

    Julie: Transitioning while menopausing, ya, put a section on that in the book as well, lol. And yes, write the book; there is a market for it!

    Anna: The whole defining oneself by one's career, yes, I could definitely see that. In my old church, people did that with callings too. My ex had calling that he seriously had withdrawals from when he was released. In our culture (America) we do seem to be defined by what we do, i.e. careers.

    I would love to work part time, but the health insurance either. LOVE to work from home, but what? Working for a home office sounds ideal as well.

    Okay, going to go look for some shallow spring water your analogy.

  15. Lorna! Come back to my blog and allow my 250 yr. old lady to pass on her wisdom to you. Stand under her..hear her vibe.

  16. your Q.She and I would be honored.May her wisdom guide and inspire you!xo

  17. How do I get past myself? I take one small step at a time, instead of thinking of the big picture which overwhelms me and sends me back to my comfort zone... I find that if I accomplish one small step along the path to my goal I treat myself and then move toward accomplishing the next step on the path to my end goal. You can do it, just move one step at a time toward your end goal of finding yourself again after all these years - how exciting!!!

  18. Thanks Anna!

    Julie, I think you are spot-on. You sound alot like Deb, and Martha Beck, ha. I guess what that means is doing the small steps and stringing them along until the path the destination. Thank you!