So many people have asked me why I started writing a blog that it made sense to include the query in TMSW’s Frequently Asked Questions. (You’ll see a link to FAQs at the top of this page.) It’s taken me until now, however, to drum up the courage to answer the question publicly. Like so many of the events of these past 14 months—my remarriage, my nominal retirement, my relocation—this blog represents my second act. If my life were a movie, this would be “Take 2.” And as long as I’m on a roll with the “re” prefix and the film metaphor, I guess I could call the act of starting a blog a rewrite. I am literally rewriting my career, and, in so doing, I am rewriting a substantial portion of the life I have yet to live. You see, I thought it would be easy to leave the great job that I had in Ohio and slide right into something comparable down here in Richmond—a swift, smooth, lateral move. I applied for several positions, was a finalist for two, and, for one of them, could have sworn I’d be bringing home a paycheck. I was wrong.
This is tough to admit, given the wonderful successes of my Ohio career—and even tougher to experience, especially in this economy. It was (here come those two leading letters again), rejection. And rejection hurts. I could speculate on whether it was my age, or the fact that I’m a newcomer-Yankee in a Southern, relationship-based town, that resulted in my rejection, but I’ve come to realize that none of that really matters now. This is the way things happened to shake out for me. What does matter is that I’d bloody well better get on with something, because the curtain is clearly going up on my second act and I’d better know my lines. I want to make the most of this—it’s an opportunity for (are you ready? am I?) reinvention. Also, there are bills to pay. And, if we’re lucky, real retirement to plan for.
L., a follower of the blog, commented earlier this month:
While I end my 25 years working for the same company which is closing and laid off everyone recently-my last day will be Friday – it has been entertaining to read your blogs each day with some funny happy things to distract me from the next chapter that I will be facing , finding a new job! So congratulations to you.
It’s tough out there for many of us. It hurts to hear of yet another person out of a job. John and I have our own personal experience with this, which I’ll share, with his blessing, in a future post. At this juncture, it might be helpful for L. and others to know that there are some amazing and smart books, blogs, and websites here on the other side of the looking glass. I’ve discovered most of these since starting TMSW, and have been bookmarking and list-making like mad for the time when I’ll have the time to give them all a careful perusal. For now, here’s a non-comprehensive list:
Second Act, an online destination published by Entrepreneur Media
AARP, The Magazine
The Legacy Project: Lessons for Living from the Wisest Americans
Marlo Thomas (Yes. That Girl. Author, Actress, Producer, Philanthropist. She’s Free to Be … in Social Media, and you can find her on the Huffington Post.)
Books and Writers
Kerry Hannon, Author of What’s Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job
Bruce Frankel, Author of What Should I Do with the Rest of My Life?
Marci Alboher, Author of One Person/Multiple Careers
Michelle V. Rafter, Journalist
Denise Kiernan, Journalist and Producer
As for what L. wrote about finding entertainment in the “funny happy” things on my blog? Well, this particular post, maybe not so much. It’s not feeling like a real knee-slapper to me. But that’s life, no? There are dark corners; sometimes we try to find the funny and the happy to light our way out of them. Or sometimes we just start writing.
And that is (one) answer to “Why the blog?” Here are some others:
- Because I’m not trained to do anything else, or at least no one has hired me to do what I was trained for.
- Because I love to write.
- Because I can write. And because sometimes I think that all I can do is write.
- Because it’s time to get serious about getting back to my writing dream.
- Because I still have so much to learn.
- Because I want to feel useful, and be of use to others.
- Because I want to contribute financially to our marriage and to our future.
- Because maybe something will come of this blogging business.
- Because sometimes it feels as though I’m on to something. Or maybe it’s just gas.
- Because … maybe … because maybe it’s my time.