A story from Jill appeared in this blog on April 12, 2012. Here is more from her.
When two of my three children graduated from high school and went away to college, I found that my 13-year-old daughter and I were rattling around in a too-big house with too much property, so we moved from our home of 13 years. I was also slogging along in a career that, after 15 years, no longer satisfied me. It seemed as good a time as any to quit my job, although I had no other means of bringing in an income. Nevertheless, I decided that I was taking on a new life by selling my house and leaving my old career behind forever.
When I look back, I think I was delusional—or so burned out that I didn’t see the pitfalls of quitting a job with no real means of support. For five years, I did everything I could to avoid getting another job. As my savings diminished, my hopes and dreams receded. When I ultimately arrived at the point of complete desperation, a job offer appeared. The concept of steady income was a huge relief, but it also meant returning to my old career. For me, it felt like a giant step in the wrong direction. It meant the death of my dream of taking on something new, wonderful, and fulfilling. However, the fear of becoming a bag lady was stronger than the dream, so I took the job. In the five years since then, I have lived in my own sad story—complaining that I am almost 60 years old and have done nothing more with my life than sell medical supplies.
Recently, I organized a gathering of intelligent, powerful women to “create the lives that we love.” There were 11 of us in attendance, and when I looked around the room, I realized that two of the women are clients from my current career who have become good friends. Two others had been invited but were unable to attend. The realization hit me. If I hadn’t verged in the “wrong” direction, I would not have had these incredible women in my life. What a terrible loss that would have been! What had looked like my failure to move forward was, in fact, a gift that has allowed me to enrich my life in ways I could not imagine. As I approach my 60th birthday, I am reminded that my path is to bring people together to act as their inspiration so they can create the lives of their dreams, and I can do that no matter what job I have.