This post isn’t remotely about perimenopause or even menopause, for that matter. But, I’m writing it anyway because something remarkable happened to me recently and I just want to share it with you. It’s remarkable, because I thought the time for certain things in my life were over. I’m 60. When I started this blog I was married. Now I’m not. When I got married nearly 20 years ago, I never dreamed I would get divorced again. But I did.
I’m not going to go into the entire marriage story, but the backdrop of the relationship is important to my story today, so it needs to be told. It was a marriage and relationship I was completely invested in. There wasn’t a part of me that wasn’t. To say I entered the relationship with great hope and expectation is inadequate. I was overwhelmed with indescribable joy that at 40 years old, I had finally found a man capable of real love and commitment. A man who would love me, love my two young children, and dedicate himself to our family.
And when I say I was invested, I was INVESTED. Never in my life had I given up so much of myself to be part of what I thought would be my happily ever after. I gave up my home town, left my family, left my job, and abandoned a new accounting career and the opportunity to become a CPA, to be married and raise a family.
And at 40, I wasn’t young. In fact, looking back, I doubt many people would have thrown such caution to the wind to leave everything they knew behind, travel across the country and begin a new life. But, I was convinced that my marital bonds would never be broken, and that my new husband would love me, value me, and take care of me and my children for the rest of our lives.
Boy. Was I wrong.
Sadly, and much to my dismay, my marriage turned out to be an abusive prison which swallowed up nearly 20 years of my life, and drained every ounce of self worth from my soul. The divorce happened years ago. But, my ex-husband didn’t get that memo, as he has done nothing since, but harass, intimidate, threaten, plot, scheme, and do everything in his power, either through my children or the courts, to make my life miserable.
In addition to grieving the loss of my marriage, my family, the death of both my parents, and enduring the continual onslaught of vengeance at the hand of one very wicked man, I also grieved the loss of my accounting career. When you’re 60 years old with a 20-year gap in your work history, in a field as competitive and ever changing as accounting, the job prospects are pretty dismal. Trust me on that one.
Some of you know that for the past 14 months, I worked for Chick-Fil-A. While it wasn’t my ideal job, it was employment, and there were many things about it that brought me joy. Nevertheless, I could never shake the pain of giving up 20 years of my life (and my accounting career) for what I believed was going to be my own fairy tale ending, only to have it all blow up in my face.
My life has felt like a pile of rubble. All of my hopes, dreams and happiness were shattered into smithereens. It has been devastating to cope with, and I didn’t have the first clue where to start my life over, or how to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. The only thing I could see in front of me was an insurmountable obstacle of an aging woman whose time had passed, with no hope of ever recovering lost opportunities. I despaired. I became so despondent at times that suicide seemed like the only way out of the pain. Were it not for my children and knowing what my suicide would do to them and the rest of their lives, I might have done it.
I Knew God Was Still There
Through it all, however, I continued to pray and seek God. I have seen enough of God’s power in my life to know that He is real, and that He is willing and able to help us when we reach out to Him. But, in my despondency and despair, I just couldn’t see past my age and the 20-year gap in my work history. My prayers seemed futile and not worth the breath it took to utter them – until I read this book.
You Can Begin Again: No Matter What, It’s Never Too Late
First of all let me say, nothing in this book is groundbreaking. She doesn’t say anything you probably haven’t heard a gazillion times before. I know I have. But sometimes, you hear what you need to hear at exactly the right time, and it resonates. That is what this book has been to me.
I had a similar experience over a decade ago when I wanted to begin writing. I was afraid to call myself a writer. I was afraid to put myself out there, to be vulnerable, to open myself up for criticism or critique as a person and a writer. However, looking back and understanding where I was emotionally (in the middle of an abusive marriage) it all makes sense. But, the reasons are really irrelevant. The fact is, I was afraid to take a chance.
A woman I met on a writing website shared her story with me of her weight loss journey. She had been obese for most of her life. But she had lost the weight and had kept it off. She attributed her success not to better food choices and exercise (though those things mattered), but to the fact that she had faced the fears she had buried underneath her fat for years. She did it, she said, by making herself “push through them” when they inevitably arose.
Again, not groundbreaking or particularly insightful, I know. But, it was a statement that framed perfectly the battle I also had in front of me. When my own fears arose as I stepped out into the arena of being a writer, I pushed through them as well. It was transformative and profoundly life changing.
Fast forward. I ran across Joyce Meyer’s book, You Can Begin Again, No Matter What, It’s Never Too Late, and the title blared at me. I needed hope. I needed to hear the words “You Can” and “No Matter What.” I wanted to re-enter the accounting world. I wanted to resurrect the career that I had given up to support my ex-husband’s career. I wanted to be a CPA. I had studied hard for that accounting degree decades ago, and the thought of never being able to use it was too much for me to bear, particularly in light of all the other losses I had endured as well.
But, I was terrified. I had a 20-year-work-history-gap hurdle to get over, in addition to my age. Starting a career at 60??? NOTHING was in my favor and I knew it.
So What Changed?
The short version is that I had to let go of everything that had been holding me down. My sadness. My grief. My regrets. My sorrow. My fears. My insecurities. My self-doubts. All of the “but what ifs….” I just had to let them go and step out and take a chance.
But, I knew all that before I had read this book. And in fact, before Chick-Fil-A, I had interviewed for countless accounting jobs. And I never got hired. The continual rejection only reinforced what I believed in my heart anyway……nobody wanted to hire a 60 year old woman with a 20-year gap in her work history.
And so they didn’t.
After reading this book, it finally became crystal clear to me that the only thing standing between me and God’s help was me. Those simple and ordinary words….”You can begin again. No Matter what, it’s never too late” set me free. I mustered the courage I needed to send out one more resume, and then I laid it all out before God. Everything. My soul, my heart, my trust – something I didn’t think I could ever do again.
Remarkably and quite miraculously, the Red Sea in my life parted, and I walked effortlessly to the other side. Within 30 days of reading this simple little book, I started a new job as an entry level accountant in a fantastic company which pays me more than what I asked for in salary, and has opened the door for me to become a CPA.
My goal is to have my certification by the time I’m 65. <<<<——– Yes. 65. What I had believed I lost at the age of 40, God gave back to me at the age of 60. Is it easy trying to resurrect accounting knowledge which has lain dormant for over 20 years? No. It’s not. The job is extraordinarily challenging. But, it is an opportunity that I sincerely thought I would never have again. But, I do now, and it is all due to reading a simple little book…..“You Can Begin Again, No Matter What, It’s Never Too Late”
But What About The Perimenopause Blog?
The Perimenopause Blog is going nowhere. This blog has been in existence for nearly 10 years now and I’ve worked extraordinarily hard to get it to where it is today. My blog has very little competition in this niche’ subject and I plan to continue writing and publishing articles. I realize that my posting has been scant and sparse for quite a while now. However, given what I’ve just shared with you, I’m sure you understand why.
I wish the income generated from this blog was enough to sustain my lifestyle and provide a comfortable living for me. But, it’s just not. Which is why I need to work outside of my home. I plan to work very hard to publish regularly. How regularly that will be, remains to be seen. Two or three blog posts a week is just not realistic for me, all things considered. But, maybe twice monthly or even once monthly is. I don’t know. It is something I’m going to have to work out.
In the meantime, however, I hope this post (while long, I know) will inspire you in some way to step out of your own prisons and fears and “begin again” too. If it’s not too late for a 60 year old woman to begin a new accounting career, it’s not too late for you either.
As always, thanks for reading, and I will be back on a consistent blogging schedule soon!