Blogging Their Second Acts
Every May, I host a contest on my personal blog challenging both beginning and experienced bloggers to write every day of the month. Close to 250 people are participating in the fifth annual blogathon, many of them in their 40s and older.
SecondAct.com invited these bloggers to share posts this week about how they've reinvented themselves. Their stories about following passions to change careers, take up new sports, re-enter the dating scene, lose weight or become a parent for the first time are intimate, heart-felt and often inspiring.
Here are some highlights:
On becoming a life coach: "I've always been a coach at heart -- the one people call when they need a sounding board. I'm a natural planner, problem solver and great listener. It would be safe to say this is the career I have been working towards all of my life, I just didn't KNOW it was my purpose until a few years ago." -- Melissa Miller-Young, on leaving the public relations and advertising business, on Zen Life Solutions.
On becoming a park volunteer: "I signed up for docent training and a few months later found myself in a classroom with 20 other late-life trainees. For the next five months, I studied geology, desert ecology, reptiles, birds, desert mammals, and Arizona history. I learned to identify dozens of desert plants. I read and did written homework, took weekly quizzes, helped prepare a plant book. It was extremely difficult, and more fun than I could have imagined." -- Kathryn Lance, on trading work as an author to volunteer at Tucson's Tohono Chul Park, on Kathryn Lance's Books and Musings.
On trading in a nursing career: "What's that expression: The proof is in the pudding? The first year I worked full-time from my home office, self-employed, hustling for work, I made more money than I did working full-time as an RN." -- Marijke Vroomen Durning, on leaving nursing in her 40s to be a medical and health-care writer, on Nurse Turned Writer.
On giving team sports another try: "I took a ball to my chest, just as I did in 1978. This time I didn't walk off the field. I finished the game. Best. Day. Ever." -- Patrick McGraw, on playing adult league soccer to get the "do over" he'd always wanted, on PFM Reports.
On becoming a triathlete: "When I finally jumped in the Hudson River for the second time, I had dropped about 50 pounds. I had worked out with a personal trainer, and I was in the best shape of my life. That year's [physical] was just the way I like it. Zero problems." -- Barb Freda, on starting to do triathlons at 50, on Babette Feasts.
On biking to reinvention: "Though I hadn't ridden it in years, I was drawn to the bicycle in my garage immediately. It would become my safety net, my refuge, my release. And it would take me to the land of carefree living, where nothing mattered but the ride." -- Jackie Dishner, on cycling to get over a failed marriage and start a new career, on BIKE with Jackie.
On dating in midlife: "If my life is a movie, I get that I'm the star, and the director and producer, but I'm pretty darn sure at this point that someone else wrote the script. Because this is not where I'm supposed to be, in an personal care aisle in a superstore looking at 18 shelf feet of choices of condoms." -- Lisa Jaffe Hubbell, on the perils of online dating, on Land Guppy.
On becoming a new mom at 38: "I thought I knew what my next two years would be like, though I didn't know what would happen after that. I thought maybe I'd come back to Apple. But then I discovered I was pregnant. And in the next few months, all of the plans I had been so sure about unraveled." -- Doña Bumgarner, on navigating midlife parenthood, on Aubergine, Musings of Midlife Mama.
On adopting at 40: "In March of 2004, a year before my 40th birthday, I traveled to Guatemala with my daughter, Anna, and my father to meet my new 6-month-old daughter. In October of that same year, Anna and I returned to Guatemala to claim my new 13-month-old son. In the period of seven months, I doubled the size of my family!" -- Jan Roberts Culpepper, on adoption, single parenthood and other midlife second acts, on Simply Jan.
On losing weight as a second act: "Deacon Walt explained that Pope John XXIII was a big man, probably as 'big as you, Don,' and then he patted my stomach. I was a bit shocked at his joke, but I wasn't offended. Instead, for some reason, it got me thinking that I should ask John XXIII to intercede for me as I contemplated doing something about my weight." -- Don Gonzalez, on his year-long midlife weight loss journey, on Joe Catholic.
On writing as a second act: "I found myself wondering what would have happened had I been more adventurous -- taken a journalism job in Canada's Far North, taught English in Asia or some such thing. At first I thought the time for those adventures had passed. But the idea that I needed to shake up my life just wouldn't go away." -- Victoria Musgrave, on trading a corporate communications job to be a freelance writer and graphic designer, on Victoria Musgrave.
On writing science fiction as a second act: "I enjoy writing a good deal more than I enjoy marketing. And I'm not making any [money]. But I still get a warm feeling from hearing from people who love my books.... A second act? Not a very profitable one, but very fulfilling." -- Sue Ann Bowling, on switching from atmospheric scientist to award-winning self-published science fiction author, on Homecoming.
On finding wisdom in middle age: "You can travel farther faster through the second half of your life if you're not carrying around all your resentments, feuds and unmet expectations from the first half of your life like over-packed luggage." -- Julie Farrar, on what travel taught her about midlife success, at Traveling Through.
Want to read more stories? You'll find a rundown of all 2012 Blogathon participants here at Word Count.
Do you have a midlife reinvention story of your own? Please share a comment below.
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