Reinventing Ourselves


Many women whom I have connected with over the last couple of years and are around my age, mid to late 50’s, express a similar desire to do something different in their lives. Essentially they want to reinvent themselves and do something they enjoy and can also make a living from. Many of these women have been in the same careers for 20 years or so and have skills that have become stale and in some cases obsolete. There is a big leap from expressing a desire and actualizing it. One of the first things I ask them is what do they think they would like to transition into and many say they just don’t know. My response is to try different things to see what you like and don’t like and what you think you will become good at. This takes time, money and patience. Time is needed to explore various avenues and resources available, money to learn new skills and take care of yourself and your responsibilities while you are learning and patience to see each new career path through to actually getting started in it and getting paid. It takes about 10,000 hours to become a master at anything so until you have really put in the time and paid your dues, you will just be considered an apprentice rather than a master.

When I retired to travel with my husband, I was ready to give up the corporate world and all of its stresses. After a couple of years though, I became restless and wanted to do something more meaningful. We started an exporting business and purchased furniture and accessories from Southeast Asia, primarily Thailand, Nepal and Burma. We built a warehouse to sell our wares and set up a nice little business buying and selling things. Then the economy went south but fortunately a high-end car dealer leased our warehouse for more money than we could sell furniture for and we were once again left with lots of time on our hands. That is when I decided to get a certification to teach Pilates. My first weekend of class made me realize that I really was out of my comfort zone, having no background in Physiology and Kinesiology. But I persevered, finished and became certified and started working as a Pilates Instructor and gradually became more and more comfortable working with people who wanted to get healthy with exercise. In my past career in corporate marketing, I worked primarily in male dominated environments, but the Pilates industry exposed me daily to women both as clients and as colleagues. That is where I started hearing from women about how they would like to reinvent themselves but they just didn’t know how to go about making the change.

During this career transition, Lauren and I became weekly cooking buddies. We started cooking out of the Professional Chef book which is used in the Culinary Institute of America or CIA and teaching ourselves how to make a demiglace, flambé and bake soufflés. What was missing for us was having an experienced teacher standing over us and giving us their tips and affirming that we were doing something right or wrong. So we decided to go to culinary school. However, our families were not willing to have us spend 2 years, five days a week for 8 hours a day and spend $50,000 on cooking school especially if we did not desire working in a restaurant upon graduation. (Both of our husbands are Accountants and couldn’t see a return on investment) It took us a while to find one but we finally found a cooking school that offered the same curriculum as the CIA but only required one day a week for about a year and a half at substantially less cost. We loved every day of school. Some days were more intense than others especially when we were in the Baking part of the curriculum. We finished in a year and a half and have since tried to think of ways to implement our new skills and create a business. While we are still trying to figure out that piece of the puzzle, we thought a blog was a good way to share our journey and hopefully inspire others to take the leap and explore ways to reinvent themselves.

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