I am 47 years old.
I feel it’s important that we start there because it is, in many ways, the perfect age. Scratch that. Not in many ways. It IS the perfect age.
At least it is for me. I’m getting ready to enter a new chapter. Already I can hear the orchestra warming up for the first few notes of the overture. I’m waiting in the wings . . I’m nervous but excited. Wait, I don’t remember any of my lines! What if I trip and fall! (sorry, years of community theater make that feeling very real and fresh . . . once I did forget my lines and once I did trip and fall. Didn’t die.)
There are several things I have recently figured out with a clarity that I no longer thought possible:
- I don’t want to retire
- It is time for my next career
- I have nothing but freedom
- It is an incredible blessing that I will not squander
As a high energy person who feeds off making a difference, I think retirement and I would be poor bed fellows. I love being home (LOVE LOVE LOVE being home) but only as a respite from something else. Something challenging. Something change making.
I never finished my education and it’s time to do that. But I have no idea what I want to pursue (yet).
I have freedom. By this time next year my boys will all be independent. They may still live here, but using our home as a place to sleep and eat is not the same as needing me to make dinner and sign permission slips. In fact, one of them being here would be good. They can watch the dogs.
I also have financial freedom. at least for a few years. The husband has agreed that since I carried the bread winner title for several years in the beginning, he will carry that burden while I figure out what I want to do when I grow up.
And I am a woman living in the suburbs with a mind that works, a supportive community, and financial stability. To squander that seems criminal to me. I don’t want (or need) to be famous or well-known but I do want and need to make a difference. Yes, raising my kids has been powerful. The most powerful experience of my life, in fact. But I have a lot of years left.
While researching our family tree, I came across my great Aunt Clara Foltz who, at 81, was the first woman ever in the US to run for Governor of CA. Actually, she was the first woman to do a lot of things. I didn’t even know I was related to her until about 4 months ago, but she has motivated me in ways I cannot describe. Well, I’m a writer, so maybe I can. Lots there to write about, but that post is for another day.
But first, we will play and discover and write. So, starting hopefully in the spring (Lord willing) my “Gap Year” will begin. I will travel and think and write and meet people and engage, evidently, in excessive run-on sentence creation.
I don’t know what will come next, but, as my counselor says, I’m only 47 and I have time to literally be anything I want. And I don’t know the stats on how many women world-wide can say that, but I’m guessing it’s not many.
So, if you want to come along on the journey, you should subscribe and follow and do all those things one does. Or don’t. Maybe you’re too busy on your own journey for that and I think that’s fabulous. We need each other.
Since it’s Tuesday, I guess I’ll make Tuesday my Gap Year post day.
“And now,” said Max, “let the wild rumpus start.” Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak