In dog or cat years, at 66, I’m 462 years old (7 X 66)…that makes me pretty darned old, but if I live to anywhere near my Mom’s age (92,) I’ll be 644 years. That’s a whole lot of living, and a good reason why one shouldn’t fold it all up or just coast… by the time he or she reaches 60.
Here’s how my life’s gone so far: At 21, I went into the classroom as teacher in the public schools of Rhode Island’s second biggest city. I taught, over the next 30 years, in 4 separate buildings and contrary to most, I switched schools, intentionally—not always something teachers do. Why? A teacher has few perks (oh, I know you’re thinking: “What? You get the summers off.”) When she’s in one consecutive building for her career, she’s carved out her niche and owns a few perks.
When one bounces around, she’s busted to the lower strata of employees—again and again—in each building.
What did all this moving around do FOR me? It made me adaptable…I consider this a characteristic that’s stood me well over the years.
When I retired from teaching after 30 years (at 51), I went into real estate for 8 whirlwind years. But—I didn’t like that career as much as teaching. It was a frenzied, non-stop business in which I was ever on a tightrope to get things done. Little time for interaction and less time to enjoy successes…just always moving on to the next sale. My income grew exponentially while I withered with the reality sales of that type wasn’t for me.
So, I left.
All the while, I wrote, whenever time would allow. It had been pretty much what I did throughout my life, but in recent years, I’d ‘gone public,’ by submitting articles to the Providence Journal. Four of them became Cover Stories in their “Lifestyle” magazine.
When that division folded, I submitted to the Journal’s Editorial pages, where my pieces ran as Op-Eds. That, too, dried up as an avenue of revenue as newspapers, nationwide, dwindled in readership. I needed to identify another outlet.
That outlet came about in a most unusual way.
Two years ago, my husband suffered a broken neck, in an accident, and “died” from complications a day later. Medical staff brought him back via the paddles, and he’s clawed his way back since that time.
That event ushered in an incredibly-stressful time for both of us.
To help focus myself on the positive in life, I began writing “Encouragement in a Difficult World: Biddy Bytes Blog.” Some of those posts ran in the Wall Street Journal and CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog, kevinMD.com.
And Biddy Bytes (which I now still write) became the launch pad for my new career, as writer of the “Grandpa and the Truck” stories at www.grandpaandthetruck.com. They showcase my husband’s 30-year career driving his 18-wheeler through every state in the United States. They’re stories about the big rigs and this driver…. for little ones 4-8.
This last merely combines my former careers—writing and teaching (since they highlight geography with emphasis on truck location and maps; history, as stories focus on past events, like the Woodstock Music Festival, nature, in the form of blizzards, ice-slicked roads and hurricanes; and amazing life lessons.)
How is my real estate sales career involved? I’m now a marketer. I must determine how to best move my product—the Grandpa and the Truck stories.
So, 3 distinct and separate careers, to date, melded into one. I have a feeling my life will continue this way and I’ll never simply be trying to whack golf balls on a course or going to retirement luncheons—at least not yet.
Now I ask: “How many careers have you had?” “And did each somehow follow from the others?” (If you’re a teacher, I consider the move from secondary to primary a whole career switch, since a whole new set of skills is needed.)
“How do you see your life going forward?”