After decades in domestic ‘pit alley,’ finally … the times they are a ‘changin’. Over the course of the last few months, I’ve ‘delivered’ my eldest child to college in the US and my youngest got his drivers licence. I’m approaching the life cycle equivalent of the landline … good to have around in the event of an emergency but otherwise completely superfluous to requirements.
If I’m honest, I admit that I have been fantasising about this day for some time. But be careful what you wish for, because instead of popping the champers, doing nude cartwheels down the hallway and revelling in the serenity, I’m feeling decidedly unsettled, and a bit wobbly. For the first time in forever, I’ve actually got time on my hands and I have no idea what to do with it. I thought I deserved a week of ‘down time,’ to acknowledge my impending obsolescence, but after cleaning out the Tupperware cupboard, rearranging my undies drawer and watching an entire series of House Of Cards … I’m officially bored. I’ve forgotten how to relax and I totally suck at doing nothing.
I need to find a new sense of purpose … to feel productive again. I used to have a biggish job in advertising … back when dinosaurs roamed the world, BSM (before social media) … when engagement wasn’t measured by ‘likes’ or followers and ‘influencers’ weren’t a thing. The thought of dusting off my court shoes and mixing it with all the shiny new digital gurus (who are undoubtedly younger than the aforementioned court shoes) sends shivers down my spine. I need to reinvent myself or risk imminent obsolescence.
But here’s the thing … If I’m totally honest with myself, I’m not sure I’ve got the energy to start again and nor do I have the same unbridled ambition or aspiration to climb the corporate ladder … or any ladder for that matter. Quite frankly, the mere thought makes me want to boil the kettle and take a nap. So, not only am I coming to terms with identifying a whole new career at age 50, but the parameters that I’ve operated within and by which I’ve measured success for the past 50 years have completely changed!
I’m trying to view my impending redundancy, not as a cause for despair but a catalyst for reinvention. This notion of reinvention however must be tempered with a harsh dose of reality, because without sounding too defeatist, there’s a few childhood dreams that are no longer on the table. At age 50, I am unlikely to become a prima ballerina and the chances of me securing a gig in the next Victoria’s Secret parade are slim at best.
I’ve got two choices … accept my redundancy (sans any golden handshake) and come to terms with 50 mind-numbingly boring years or uncover something else that might ring my rusty old bells for the next 50. In desperation I resorted to google for some inspiration and uncovered an article “10 People Who Switched Careers After 50 (and thrived)” Apparently Colonel Sanders was 65 when he started KFC and Laura Ingliss Wilder (of Little House on the Prairie fame) didn’t publish her first book until she too was 65. So it seems as though the pressure is off … I’ve got a good 15 years up my sleeve to uncover my own combo of secret herbs and spices.