I am about to embark on the most exciting, terrifying, exhilirating, scary journey of my life. And if that sounds contradictory, it’s meant to. Because it’s very much how I feel about it all.
In September of 2008, I lost a job I’d had for 17 months. It was a job I loved (event planning) and it was a job I thought I’d have for a very long time. Boy, was I wrong.
Fast forward 13 months. Over 1,200 resumes later (which resulted in only two face-to-face interviews), my unemployment benefts have run out and I’m still unemployed. Granted, my job history has not been stellar. I spent a lot of years raising my family, sometimes working, sometimes staying at home. The result has been that I have some great administrative skills, but none of it has been acquired in any one field.
A few months ago, I began to feel a sense of desperation, not just for our financial situation, but for my emotional well being. Insomnia, signs of depression, and even a touch of agoraphobia began to creep into my day-to-day life. Agoraphobia? Well, yeah…when you can’t even get your foot in the door anywhere, it’s exhausting to even think about leaving the house where your totally trashed self-esteem is seemingly on display for everyone to see.
I knew I had to do something. Here I was in my late 40s, edging ever more closely (much too quickly for my taste) to 50, and I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.
I know my strengths are not necessarily in areas that require sitting in a cubicle all day. Or dressing to the Nines (I don’t even own a pair of panty hose anymore) to greet visitors at some fancy-schmancy office. Yes, I can type 85 wpm and I know Microsoft Office like the back of my hand, but I don’t want to type or create spreadsheets or PowerPoint presentations for eight hours a day.
So what gets my fires burning? I wasn’t even really sure about that until I started paying attention to the feelings I had during my regular daily tasks. And I found that there were a lot of things that really made me feel good, for lack of a better word. I’m sure experts could talk about endorphins and right-brained vs. left-brained, and all that jazz, but all I know is that reading a book, learning a new recipe and fixing it for my husband, hanging out in my warm, bright cottage kitchen, learning about something new to me (like the history of salt, which I find fascinating) or handcrafting something out of a simple object that would normally get thrown away really gets my juices flowing. Filling out paperwork, adding up a bunch of numbers, fixing the car, creating a database…not so much.
After a lot of soul-searching and research and numbers crunching (I hated that part), I decided I’d go back to school full-time and study culinary arts. A totally new career. And one that most of my family hasn’t shown a great deal of enthusiasm about. Well, I can’t really blame them because, after all, my dad did always tell me I couldn’t even boil water.
I’m sure it will be a wild ride. An adventure. A life-changing journey, if you will.