Hot Flashes, homework, and having it all…

So a thing happened. My dear (somewhat older) hubby retired. It was sort of spur of the moment, jumping in with both feet and eyes closed kind of decision. I’ve been supportive. Okay, I’ve been trying to be supportive. Mostly I’ve been a little irritated and a lot freaked out. I do not deal well with change.

But, he’s been working his entire life. My dear farmboy who grew up tending the livestock at the break of day and just went from there. So, yeah, he deserves a break. I’m happy for him. Really. I am.

We quickly realized, however, that this new life means I have to go back to working outside the home. I’ve been blessed for most of our married life to be a stay-at-home mom. But although the Social Security and the pension are great, they won’t keep this not-so-little family afloat in the long run. I’d rather not do the food service thing if possible. Mostly because minimum wage is a joke. No one can live on that, folks. Not easily. Not well. Anyway, since my degree is basically useless at this point in history — I was a journalism major — I’m having to re-invent myself, so to speak.

Problem is, I like who I am. I don’t want to be “re-invented”. I’m a writer. It’s what I do. It’s my talent, my spirit… it’s me. However, I haven’t been able to make a living at writing fiction. Not by a long shot. Oddly enough, most professional writers don’t. There’s only room for a select few at the top of any best seller’s list. The indie publishing scene has been all the rage but, as usual, I came into it too late and with too little. Add to that my lack of marketing savvy, and you have a less than lucrative career as a novelist. Oh, I’ll never stop writing or stop trying to get published again. I’ll probably self-publish again, as well. But I just fear I’ll keep floundering at it.

Upshot is: I’ve gone back to school to try out a new career. At my age. Fifty-one. What’s that? Fifty is the new forty? Yeah. Sure. Let’s go with that. Anyhow, I’m taking on-line classes with the local community college: Anatomy; Medical Law and Ethics; Medical Terminology. I’m going for a Medical Assistant certificate so I can do something like work in a doctor’s office.

Can you hear my eyes crossing from over there?  😉

Science is not really my thing, but I’m learning. Actually, the Ethics class has been the easiest so far. One thing for sure: I’ve developed a deep sense of respect for everyone in the medical profession — especially doctors and nurses. Just memorizing all those terms! Let alone understanding them… Yikes!

So, this me. Starting menopause … hence the “hot flashes” in my title… at home with four of my five children (the fifth comes home on weekends), my hubby, an indeterminable (as in I won’t admit to it) number of cats, and joining my four oldest children as a college student. Our youngest is a high school junior and does the cyber school thing.

Am I nuts? Oh, yes, obviously. The sanity ship sailed away long ago without me. I couldn’t bluff my way into buying a ticket for that one. Am I happy? Most days, yes. I’m mostly overwhelmed and stressed. But, then again, that isn’t really new.

Why should you care? You shouldn’t. But someone told me my story just might inspire someone. So, if you’re “starting over” like me, maybe my misadventures and triumphs will give you hope. Or a few laughs. We can all use a little more of both.







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