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So, this week I turned 55.
Since turning 55 is sort of a milestone, I got thinking about when, why, and how this website idea got started back in 2006. When and why are easy…in 2007, I turned 50. The birthday was in the summer, the website started in November that same year. My son was a sophomore in high school, my daughter and her family were relocating to another area, and I had just reached my goal of getting that bachelor’s degree in English and professional writing. Suddenly I was feeling quite unnerved. C.h.a.n.g.e. Although I wasn’t disturbed at turning 50 for any particular reason, I could sense a sea change in where my life was going.
Gone were the days when my kids needed my undivided attention. My husband was secure in his career at the time, my grandkids were living quite a distance away. I had just gotten a job – miracle of miracles – as a copywriter, but was struggling with feeling fearul and out of place, as if I wasn’t in the right place at the right time. I could see down the road just a bit to where my son would leave home and I would be that dreaded, writhing, pitiful creature, the “empty nester“.
And the how? As it happened, I had just taken my first ever class in .html (I still have the text book). I knew little about computers, particularly anything to do with the “business end” of programming. But, I gave it a go and started by creating my very first simple website. And I started writing.
Empty nest…the family afterwards…menopause…changing careers…higher education…it all started to come out. As I wrote article after article, I began to be able to look at where I was more clearly, and get back that feeling of excitement and joy I’d always had about anything new happening in my life. I was able to look back on my accomplishments and accept them one by one, with the feeling that anything was possible.
If I’ve learned anything in the first half of my sixth decade, it’s that this is an amazing time of life and there’s more ahead! Inevitable ups and downs (my husband lost that career position, but wonder of wonders…a blessing in disguise!) punctuated by amazing moments. Who would have ever thought I would drive from New York to Georgia and back by myself? Appear on the Today Show with Meredith Viera? Stick it out at that same company where I went home crying for the first three weeks…and taking on entirely new responsibilities? Actually overcome a lifelong, debilitating fear of flying, and go on an amazing Meditteranean Cruise with my husband and son? Conduct interviews with people like Joan Lunden, Linda Evans, Trisha Meili and Pat Brown? Me? Really?
Five years later it feels as though I’ve lived an entire life during that time. So…on turning 55? Not so bad. Just sayin’.
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