At the age of 50, I made a life-changing decision. My years at a dead-end, soul-sucking (but well-paying) PR job were about to come to an end. There had to be more to life than sitting at a desk from 8:30 to 4:30 every day staring at a screen, writing non-newsworthy news releases and working with people whose political and personal beliefs I did not share.
I pursued my dream of creating my own home-based business, accepting only jobs that excited and stimulated me. These jobs paid my bills without taking up all my time. I devoted my mornings to work and spent my afternoons doing the things I really wanted to do to fully live: write, garden, help care for my granddaughter, spend more time with my Mom, walk my dog, practice yoga and meditation, travel, volunteer, and be outdoors.
To make sure I could take only the jobs I wanted and not be tethered to my former salary, I pledged to buy nothing for a year (aside from necessities). Mainly I gave up my most frequent “wants” – clothes, shoes, and décor for my home. What I had was enough.
I enrolled in a yoga teacher training and practiced yoga every day. I took time for personal writing and reflection. I started a blog and shared my ideas and beliefs about politics, veganism, environmentalism, and spirituality without feeling embarrassed or ‘in the spotlight’. I wrote openly and without reservation about my thoughts and feelings, and shared them freely.
I also fulfilled a long-time dream of opening a yoga studio in our town, bringing together local yoga teachers to offer a beautiful facility for everyone to teach and practice. I spent time in nature each day. I found a tribe of like-minded people with whom to share quality time.
I traveled with my husband for both business and pleasure. I traveled with my daughters and granddaughter to visit family and maintain connections with loved ones. My husband and I retired, sold our home and downsized to a smaller place in the city. We could now walk or bike to the theatre, concerts, hockey and football games, and restaurants all within our neighborhood.
We spent winters traveling to warm destinations, sometimes with our families and sometimes just the two of us. We said goodbye to -40 winter days and lived in the sun year-round. We took dream trips to Europe and Africa but were never far from our families for too long. I expanded my volunteer work and helped with the organizations I believed in the most – the local soup kitchen, homeless shelter, and the arts.
My greatest accomplishment was writing a novel about my Mother’s life growing up. Her stories over the years always captivated me and I wanted to record them for future generations of our family. Having the time to pursue this was the greatest gift I could give to myself and my family.