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Finding Your Future

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My son has written a book. My son is an author.  Looking back through the years, this is something I never imagined I would be saying and writing about.  But he did, and I am, and I’m so very proud of him.

Let me give you a brief history of how this came to be, as it’s a path full of twists and turns. From the age of 5, when he first started playing basketball at the Y, my son was all about sports.  He was a natural athlete, and seemed to thrive on the routine, the practices, the games, and at a young age, decided he wanted to make this his career.  His dad and I went to every game, drove all over the place with a van full of boys, sent him to basketball camps, and even put him on a plane to go to Las Vegas to play.  He received scholarship offers for college and ended up going to a great junior college that sent all of their players to Division I schools to complete their degrees.  We always told him that making it in sports was not a certain thing and to make sure he had another goal along with that dream, and he chose Communications, working towards being a sports announcer.  He was thriving at his college, first time away from home, getting good grades, working in the College President’s office, President of the Minority Student Group, and working towards his basketball dream.  But at the end of the school year, the summer before he would have been the starting point guard, he was injured, not by basketball but rather by a local kid who was part of a group of kids there to tour the college and participate in some college events.  The kid had a knife and my son’s dream ended in the parking lot of the school, a life changing injury that forced him to come home.  He could have died in that parking lot.  I’ll never forget the phone call that I got, telling me what happened.  He recovered physically, and eventually mentally, but his dream for basketball never recovered.

I remember worrying all of the time about his future. He lived and breathed sports, basketball, and had a real shot at playing professionally.  That dream was not to be.  So what would take its place?  He continued with college, changing his major, but nothing seemed to be a good fit until finally he changed to Health Promotions and found himself loving that major.  This started him on a path of health and wellness and brought about the change of life that he needed.  He changed his diet, became an advocate for healthy eating and taking care of his body, wrote a health curriculum, became a personal trainer, and began a new dream. During this time, he also changed as a person.  He began reading, a lot, studying philosophers and redeveloping his own philosophy. He became more spiritual and looked into himself to grow and find new meaning.  He wanted to make a difference.

About this time, he and his girlfriend made a trip to Lilydale. For those of you who don’t know, Lilydale is a camp and meeting place for Spiritualists and Freethinkers. It’s in upstate NY, set on a lake with a Victorian ambiance, attracting thousands of people annually.  There are workshops and speakers, mediums and spiritualists, and the calm, wooded setting is seen as a place to connect with nature while recharging your batteries. “People come here for a lot of reasons”, stated Susan Glasier, executive director of the Lily Dale Assembly.  “They come for private readings, the workshops, or they just come to be”.  While there, my son prayed to be used for something bigger than him and described the trip as “spiritually amazing.” He spent a good bit of the first day in the library, a spiritual media library, reading and thinking.  He visited various prayer spots, sat in the sweat lodge where he participated in the music, holding the “shaker” and made an affirmation-“Please use me to help the world.  I’m ready.” He also felt the presence of his grandfather, my dad, who told him to pursue something from childhood.  He and his grandfather were very close so this feeling of his presence meant a lot to him, giving him a feeling of peace.  My son was always a spiritual person, even as a child, so this trip was a reawakening of that spirituality.  He also liked to write and actually won an award for poetry.  This was possibly the meaning from his grandfather.

After returning home, he continued to read and think and one night, while lying in bed, he saw the word “Future” in his mind, got up to get a pen and began to write. For two days he continued to write, calling out from work, and completed about 85% of the book. Finding Your Future” was born.

So what is this book about? I think it’s many things for many people. It took years to write, and rewrite, the language changing as my son grew as a writer.  And as he grew and expanded his thinking, the book morphed into its present form. It’s the kind of book that makes you hold a highlighter at the ready, to underline phrases you want to read again and again.  It contains chapters that are pertinent to some while not to others, so it’s also a book that you may skip around and read a chapter that has meaning to you, to go back to later, to reflect, to even change your thinking. It focuses on love, family, life, environment, our growth as people but also as beings connected to each other.  The timing of this book is perfect as our nation divides under the new “leader” so it can also be seen as a manifesto to bring us back together.  Each chapter begins with a quote, with the first being from Lao Tzu, “To lead people, walk behind them”, and other notables such as John F. Kennedy, Dali Lama, Socrates, Tupac Shakur, all giving a positive path forward in life.  If you are looking for positivity for women, the chapter on “Women” explains the extreme importance women play in our society and the respect we are due, pertinent to the #MeToo movement; “Health” shows us the necessity to treat our bodies in a respectful manner, and “Old vs Age” begins with a quote by Sophia Loren, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity your bring to your life and the lives of those you love.  When you learn to tap this source you will have truly defeated age.” I find this chapter personally pertinent as I age and plan this last third of my life, trying to stay relevant and valued though sometimes feeling invisible. I want to use my talents until the end, not just wait for life to be over.  It’s harder to feel valued at this stage of life and my son and I have had many discussions about aging, staying positive, and continuing to build a life.

This book is also somewhat of a family affair. My niece proofread, as did I.  My brother-in-law acted as advisor for publishing, formatting, lay-out, printing, the technical side of book writing.  My other niece created the “Autore” logo and my grandson is on the cover.  It was wonderful to have their support and encouragement, and it was so exciting when we realized that this book was finally ready to publish.

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As his mother, I of course am going to encourage you to go to Amazon, type in Finding Your Future, and buy the book. But also as a reader and a writer, I think that you will find great value in this book.  We all are looking for our future, no matter our age, gender, religion, or ethnicity.  We all want to find happiness, success, purpose, but sometimes need a little guidance.  Let Finding Your Future give you that guidance.

 

If you live locally, there will be a book signing on June 16th, 11:00 AM at Bogart’s Book Exchange on High Street in Millville, NJ. You can meet William and have him sign your copy.  The book is also going to be used by local youth groups, as a book club read. He is in NY this weekend, promoting it.  And there are more books to come. This won’t be the last you will hear of William Autore.  My son, the author.

 

My Pinterest Life

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When I was younger, I accumulated a lot of magazines, getting some through the mail and some at the store. Every month I would read the headlines on the cover and be eager to learn some new thing, gain wisdom in life, try to copy new styles, and enjoy the articles.  I would cut out my favorite recipes, knitting patterns, clip articles that were worth saving, and then file them in the appropriate file…patterns, hairstyles, recipes, etc.  And then I would have a stack of magazines added to the month before, and the month before, saving them for who-knows-what, and spending quite a bit for each monthly copy.  Every once in a while, I would pull out a file to find something I remembered saving but for the most part, the pages sat in the file, beginning to yellow as they aged, never be touched again.  I would get to a point where I would pull them all out, try to go through them and then discard the ones I tried that failed (recipes), or the patterns that were too complicated for my skill level, and then decide to toss them all. This cycle continued for many years.  But one day, I discovered Pinterest!

My first discovery into the value of Pinterest was when I worked as a Behavior Assistant. My job was to go to a child’s home and work on behavior skills such as self regulation or anger management.  I would work under the plan set out by the therapist and assist the child in developing those skills.  Many of these children had experienced trauma and as I learned, many of the behaviors were rooted in that trauma.  Or lack of attachment.  Or being moved from one Foster Home to the next because their behaviors were so hard to deal with.  I would be tasked with helping them form new behaviors, or to “fix” them, as many parents requested. But I digress.  Imagine sitting in a stranger’s home for 2 hours a week, trying to bond with a child, change their behavior, and accomplish this sometimes in only 3 months.  Do you know how long 2 hours can be and how much it takes to fill that time?  You get 6 state sponsored classes to do this job but they are on things like wrap-around services, DSM-5, Safety, Cultural Diversity, but no class on what do you do when you walk in the door.  But this is about the time I discovered Pinterest. And it was a lifesaver.  I have 921 pins on my board labeled Therapy.  And it covers things like Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), coping skills cue cards, the ACE test(trauma scoring test), Inside Out Feelings Chart, Feelings Go Fish, adapting simple games for social/emotional development, or Behavior Bingo, just to name a few.  And as I searched Pinterest on a daily basis, I found more and more articles, projects, story books, games, art, and collages that I could use with my youth.  It helped me to come up with a sort of a lesson plan for each visit so that I could fill the time in a beneficial way and not find that after a half hour, I had run out of things to do with that child.  Pinterest saved me and enabled me to do this job for about 7 years, until it became too physically challenging to use a cane, climb stairs if they had them, and carry all of the supplies into the house.  Because it required planning, like a teacher, and finding or making the items I was going to use, and then stocking my car with these items, and lugging them into the house.  The age range of children is 3-18 so that’s a diverse amount of supplies.        Sorry, digressing again.

I also have a Child Development Board, a Sewing Board, as well as a Living Frugal Board and this is where I saved information for the Examiner.com articles that I was writing until they went out of business.  I wrote for them for at least 4 years, posting every month in the beginning, and then a little less as time went on, but that’s a lot of information that had to be gathered to write those articles as we got paid by the number of views so the articles had to be good to attract attention. I really loved writing for Examiner and was sorry when they went out of business but Pinterest helped me do the research necessary to write those articles.

I have another board called www.acupofteaandabood.wordpress.com and I post my blog posts there to hopefully gain more followers.  I occasionally post a random picture of a tea cup and a book, but typically, it’s my blog posts.

Pinterest is also where I saved a lot of low-carb recipes as well as vegetarian recipes because I don‘t want to acquire any new cookbooks (another obsession). I have over 1000 pins for low-carb but please don’t ask me how many I’ve actually made!  LOL.  I just like collecting recipes and this is such a better way than buying the magazine or cook book, cutting out my favorites, and then saving them in a folder.  They are right at my fingertips, even if I make less than a third of them!

One board that I Iove is Childhood Fun.  Any time that something new pops up that reminds me of childhood, I pin it.  I have pictures of so many things that I had forgotten about growing up.  Dolls that I had, our beautiful Christmas trees  from the 50’s, roller skates and the skate key, playing dodge ball and kick ball.  Love’s Baby Soft perfume, Villager skirt and sweater sets, Nancy Drew, that pink tape we used to tape “spit curls”, petticoats, Evening in Paris perfume, comic books we loved….I could go on forever with this topic.  But the point is that these pictures remind me of a time of life that holds many good memories.  Who remembers playing Heads Up, 7Up at our desks when it was raining and we couldn’t go out for recess?  I never gave this a thought until I saw the picture.

I know that some of you see Pinterest as a time-waster, and to an extent I agree. And like with my magazine cut outs, there are many things that I’ve saved that I never look at again.  But it also has enhanced by life in several ways.  I dream of going to Italy some day.  While this may never happen, I’ve now seen Italy through photos of places I never would have imagined were in Italy.  Beautiful beaches, wonderful architecture, cities, country, ruins.  It’s not as good as the real thing but it definitely has opened my eyes to the beauty of that country.  Pinterest has helped me at work, has helped me discover ways to make extra money, has shown me on-line education such as Udemy and Skill Share. I’ve saved practical advice as well as ideas for jewelry and crafts. It helped me go from long hair to short with plenty of pictures to take to the hairdresser.  It has given me natural remedies for health issues as well as ideas for another tattoo.  Whatever I think of I can find it on Pinterest.  Some of you follow me on Pinterest and I follow some of you.

I guess it’s obvious…..I love Pinterest!

 

 

Ya Gotta Have Friends!

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Ya Gotta Have Friends!

SAMSUNG  When I first started this blog, it was one of the ways that I coped with the divorce and rebuilding my life. It helped me put things in perspective and explore my feelings, and figure out how to rebuild my life. I enjoyed writing and loved the feedback that was so positive. So now my life is back together, sort of, and I still want to write so I have to find a new direction.  There are a lot of mommy-bloggers, fashion-bloggers, and food-bloggers and I really don’t have enough to say to just choose one topic.  I know that successful bloggers find a niche but I think I’m going to be more of an everything-blogger and just write what I feel like at any given moment.  So you may see a post about food, fashion, or grandma stuff, but you also might see a lot of other topics as my mind wanders around.

I think today I’m going to write about friends. Throughout my marriage, I tried to bring couples into the mix, going out together in groups or 2 and 2, but it never worked out the way I hoped and as time went on, our social life revolved around basketball and baseball with our son, going to all of the games and sitting with the other parents. Occasionally there would be group picnics and we always had fun but it seemed that there never was time to get any more involved than that.  We did a good bit of traveling because of these sports so it filled up the time that we might have spent socializing in free time.  During this time, I drifted away from my close college friend and my girl time revolved around work, going out to lunch regularly, attending meetings and trainings together, and it sort of filled that friend roll.

Upon divorce, I realized that there wasn’t too much happening in my life beyond work. My son was grown, no more sports, and I realized that I needed to expand my life.  My son and I are friends, and talk about many different things, even working together on different projects, but I needed more than that.  By this time, my college friend Kathy was back in my life and we were doing our best to get together regularly, but this was limited by jobs and different days off.  We were able to pick up where we had left off, one of those friendships where you went through a lot together, knew each other’s secrets, and had a long history of friendship.  We met around 1968 and were suite mates in the dorm, becoming best friends for 50 years now.  But one person isn’t a circle so I had to decide to get out of my comfort zone and make some more friends!

My first new friend was Rocky, my little Yorkie. Rocky was one of the first things I did just for me and he filled some of that alone time that I had to adjust to.  I loved that dog like no other pet I ever owned and mourned his death for a very long time.  Truth be told, I’m tearing up now.  I always had a pet, both single and married, but this little dog got into my heart in a different way.  Perhaps because of the emotion of divorce, perhaps because of the circumstances, but in any case, he was a little friend that I loved. However, not much conversation going on with Rocky so I kept trying to find ways to make new friends, much harder as an adult than as a kid.

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Next came the knitting group, something else that I never would have done married; just no time. I met Carla, Ray, Ellenbeth, Karen, among others, and this was something I looked forward to every week.  We met at Bogart’s Book Exchange and spent a few hours a week knitting, crocheting, drinking coffee, and buying books.  I managed to get there every week for about a year but then for some reason, it got harder to achieve and after a while, I gradually stopped going. However, I’m trying to get back to it and yesterday, I finally got there and while the group has changed a bit, and Bogart’s is in a new location, it was so great to be there.  I’ve missed going.  I won’t be able to go regularly but I’m hoping that yesterday broke the ice for me and I’ll continue.

I’ve also managed to hold on to some friendships from past work.  Women from Headstart are still part of my circle and we actually met for lunch a few weeks ago.  Several others are my Facebook Friends, and while we don’t see each other we keep in touch in that FB way.  At my last job, I managed to bring several of my friends to my new job so we still talk regularly.  And of course, there are the new friends at work now, and we occasionally go out to lunch after monthly meetings, but everyone has so much going on, and truthfully, most of these people are younger so are at a different place in life, and are busy doing their own thing.  I love the connections that we have, but we all live in different areas and don’t see each other outside of work.  And that’s OK.

I also have to mention Facebook Friends. I’m so happy that I’ve reconnected with high school friends and went to our 50th reunion in the fall.  And I’ve come away from that with some new friends, looking forward to seeing their posts and in some cases, getting together.  I also have made new friends on FB and while we don‘t meet, they are new in my life and enrich it.

Meetups are also something I’ve used to try to make more friends but that never seems to work out as the most interesting meet ups are too far. There are very few in my area and while I’ve thought of starting one, I finally decided against it and started Coloring and Coffee, again at Bogart’s, where we meet the last Sunday of the month and spend a few hours with adult coloring books, coffee, and socializing.  It’s a small group but Bogart’s is a small coffee house, so that’s OK.  If I made it a meetup, it would involve dues, and maybe a different location, so I don’t want it to change and like that it’s close to home.

So you might wonder what’s missing. I feel blessed to have so many people in my life but the one thing I don‘t have is a travel friend.  I think there’s some gypsy in my soul as I love to see new places.  I could take a road trip every weekend, given the opportunity and the time, and am a great navigator and car packer.  I learned from the best, mom, who made the lists of supplies every time we traveled and kept track of the maps and costs for every trip we took.  I actually have one of her notebooks from our trips and she tracked every dime spent when we traveled to Niagara Falls and Watkins Glenn, among others.  And Dad was the packer, loading up that station wagon, the old Plymouth, packing every suitcase, cooler, and supplies like it was a puzzle to fit together.  We never arrived with something we forgot at home, because those lists were detailed!

Life seems so much busier than it was growing up. Perhaps this is why it seems harder to make friends  I remember my mother having groups that she met with, the Cousins Club (female family that met once a month), her Sorority, and when she and Dad retired, a group that they traveled with, mostly couples, but they were never home.  I feel like I’m going to have to work part time instead of retiring because most of my friendships come from work, but at the same time I yearn for the freedom from work, so this is something I have to figure out.  I don’t want retirement to be isolated and lonely.  I want to be busy doing things with others, having fun, being productive, enjoying the freedom I’ll finally have to do what I like, but I also want to have other people be part of that.  So I’ll close by saying, if you live in south Jersey, give me a call!  Maybe we can become travel buddies or start a club, or just get together for coffee.  The possibilities are endless!!

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I’m Back!!

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I came home tonight determined to write something.  It’s been ages since I posted in this blog and it took me a long time to figure out what’s been going on with me.  Quite simply, I’ve been depressed.  Sure, I’ve been going to work, playing with my grandson, reading some books, but underlying this has been depression.  The reason….the election.  For the first few months, I didn’t know that it showed, didn’t even really know I was feeling it.  But when I got my review at work, I was asked if everything was OK and while I was saying yes, it dawned on me…no.  I was not OK.  I was scared.  Scared about the future that I have left.  If I were still married, perhaps it wouldn’t have hit so hard, but since I’m not, it’s all up to me and while I certainly have made progress and am doing OK, there aren’t enough years left to plan for a single retirement.  So, yes, I’m scared.  And the root of my fear is who won the election.  Not that he’s a Republican but because I have zero respect or trust for the guy. (gag) So every day I’m wondering if I’ll ever really be able to retire, have decent health insurance, enough money to be comfortable, to eat healthy,  and to finally get to do something for me.  I don’t know if you know but Cumberland County is either the first or second poorest county in the state so my earnings have been good for these standards, but not great by others.  And I of course stayed here because my husband wanted to.  And once my grandson arrived… well, you know. So the result of this depression and worry  is that creativity got wiped out.  I couldn’t think what to write, couldn’t sit down to write, didn’t feel like writing, but at the same time was yearning to write.  No crafts, no knitting or sewing, not much reading, just work and playing with my grandson when he was here.  He could lift my spirits but at the same time I was so tired and just wanted to sleep. (By the way, I didn’t want to turn this into a political discourse so I kept my comments to a minimum but rest assured, I could go deep on the topic. But maybe another time.) Also, physically I can’t do the things I used to do so that just added to the depression.  But today….today…I said enough.  I need to get off my ass and do something that I feel good about.  So I may be rusty but I’m typing.

And eating.  I’m balancing a bowl of homemade soup while I type, just some orzo, fresh broccoli, spinach, and broth, but I haven’t had pasta for ages and tonight’s the night!

So what do I write about?  Originally, I started this blog as a way to help me to get over the divorce, which it did, and that was its purpose.  Fulfilled.  But I can’t spend forever writing about starting over because I did, and I am.  Other than the aforementioned issue, I’m OK.  It would be like beating a dead horse to keep writing about starting over so I need a new topic.  While I’m giving this some thought, I do want to mention the class reunion.  (50th)

It was my first reunion and I can honestly say I didn’t want to leave.  I’m not real great on my feet in crowds so I wish I could have gotten around more but I enjoyed every minute of it. Carole and Jerry took me under their wing and made sure I was OK, and it was so great to be able to talk to everyone and see how we’ve changed, and how some haven’t changed.  I had some special conversations, good food, and loved the location.  I haven’t been “home” since the 70’s and as I got into Summit, I barely recognized it, except for one little area.  (I remember the first time I drove Dad’s 67 Plymouth Belvedere to Summit and had to park that boat in the lot behind the stores.  I spent ages trying to ease into a space, sweating, scared I’d hit someone, and got so stressed that finally I left.)  I didn’t do much driving around NP once I left for college and rarely got back home, and then my parents moved to the shore.  So this trip, every time I saw a landmark that I recognized, it was so exciting.  Driving down Springfield Ave., I at first didn’t see much I recognized, but then I came to Livingston Ave.(I think) and  Gale Drive and knew where I was.  I’m going to admit that I cried.  And am now.  We were so blessed to grow up there.  I of course missed the turn into the apartments and had to go downtown to turn around, and everything was so different from my last visit over 30 years ago..  I found my way to my home and the yard looked so small and the trees so huge! It felt so good to be there. Ricky A. lived down one end and Dale S. lived up the other, with my house halfway.  Safe, innocent, a good life back then. After looking like a stalker taking pictures, I moved on and ended up out by OLP and managed to find my way to Blue Star (used to go parking at Seeley’s Pond) and out onto Rt. 22.  My journey ended in Union at my sister’s house and I was quite pleased with myself for finding my way without the GPS.   I want to thank Fran and Linda for putting that all together.  It gave me something I didn’t know I was missing and I’d love to take my son there and show him where I grew up.Where I live now is nothing like that though it does have pockets that are somewhat similar.  I’m hopeful that we do get to do it again in Florida and that we all are healthy enough to go. And that if you couldn’t attend the NP event maybe you can make it to Florida.

I guess the reunion ended up being my topic for this post.   It’s been so long since I posted I hope that I can remember how to get into the blog. I guess if you’re reading this I figured it out!  I’m thinking about future topics so if you have any ideas, please send them to me.  It might just be “life goes on” unless some inspiration hits.  

Until next time….it feels good to be back.

Shelley

Taking Steps

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20170128_163723_hdr-2On January 2nd, I posted that I am determined to break the rut that I’m in and get started accomplishing something other than punching a time clock every day.  I’m happy to say that it has begun.  Not a huge amount but a start.  So I want to share my plans so that my followers will see progress and understand what it’s about.

I’m going to be opening an Etsy store soon.  Right now I’m getting supplies and making patterns, getting ready to make my “projects” that I’ll be selling.  I’ve given this a lot of thought and the idea that I came up with is making “props” for therapists, Behavior Assistants, teachers, and even parents.  Since I’m a Behavior Assistant, I have spent a lot of time creating these props for my own visits while working on coping skills, emotions, and anger management.  I’ve had to create brief “lesson plans” for these 2 hour visits, incorporating play, crafts, videos, and games, and usually have made most of the props myself in order to save money.  I also have a good resource for purchasing children’s books that deal with these issues so will occasionally sell the book along with the project.  The projects can be used as patterns but for those who don’t feel “crafty”, the price will be low enough that they can be repurchased for each new client, and of course, these would be a tax write-off for the purchaser.

Idea number 2 is as a clothing reseller.  I have huge amounts of clothing that has been given to me by friends who don’t want to be bothered holding a yard sale, and clothing that has been sitting in bins and boxes as it has become too big or too small to be worn.  I also have fun searching thrift stores and have one particular store that sells by the pound, where there are many items that are new with tags, barely worn but used, from jeans to coats to gowns, men and women, children, and many of the purchasers who frequent this store, are purchasing for resale also. The thrift store search is something I enjoy with my friend Kathy and we spend the day being silly, eating, and hunting for bargains. We went yesterday and had a great day, stopping to take pictures along the Delaware River on the way home. I’ll be posting these items in local Facebook pages and will meet locally for sales but perhaps will ship items as time goes on.  I see this as a way of recycling as well as a profit center, mindful of what happens to unwanted clothing as it ends up in our landfills, and also as a way to work on being more environmentally conscious.  20170128_164814_hdr-2

I’ve decided to forgo the Masters program due to the uncertainty surrounding Social Security and Medicare as I’m not interested in accumulating debt that I’m not able to pay off but I can continue to work as a Behavior Assistant and am also looking into Life Coaching classes on Udemy.

You might be thinking that I’m crazy and doomed to fail at these plans but I’m looking forward to being able to quit the full time grind but still have money coming in, and working at things I enjoy for many years to come.  I want to travel, take classes that interest me, have time to paint and do crafts, perhaps make jewelry again, and so many other things that I don’t have time for now.  It’s not that I mind working; it’s that I mind the schedule that is so rigid that I can’t miss a day.  And as you might remember, I never did much retirement planning so work is also a necessity; I would like it to be as much fun as possible.  I’ll be posting links and you’ll see some of it on Facebook but I’ll also be marketing in other ways. As an extra note, I have to stay busy so as not to be thinking about the condition of our country now and my fear for the future.  It’s very scary to be in this position at this age and health condition so I’m being as proactive as I can.  I just ask that you wish me success!

The change has begun!

 

 

Happy 2017!

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Happy New Year! I know it’s been a while since I’ve written anything so I want to start off the new year in a positive way and get on top of all of the things that I’ve been letting go, writing being at the top of my slacker list. So make your tea, get comfy in the recliner, and let’s talk. It’s rainy and dreary, but I’m off from work so of course I’m in a good mood. I’ve realized that I’m really tired of the 9-5 grind, after about 50 years of doing it, and would love to retire, but my pocketbook says NO! So that’s my first topic to discuss.

Way back, when I sort of planned my life, this time of life seemed so far away. I’m sad to say I didn’t give it much thought as day to day life and survival took precedent. I worked towards better and better positions, more and more money, and finally achieved what I thought would be the ultimate goal, Assistant Director of Head Start, a program that served 3 counties, with more than 1000 children in our child care centers. I supervised staff, traveled around, and actually really liked what I was doing.  However, after being there for around 6 years, some restructuring occurred and I ended up out the door. I found another position, at 20,000 less a year, still at a good salary, but during that time my hip was getting worse and worse, and after 2 years, I needed surgery and for a variety of reasons, left the position. Since I live in South Jersey, positions that pay that well are not hugely plentiful and after recovering from the surgery, I struggled to find a good job. The end result is that any retirement money saved needed to be used for survival, and had to be cashed in. Of course, this was also the time of separation and divorce, and I know I’ve written about those struggles so I won’t bore you with all of that again, but here I am at 67, still getting up at 5AM, driving an hour each way, sitting in an office each day bored, and trapped. I’m driving 2000 miles a month, and now that great old NJ has the new gas tax it cost $25 yesterday to fill the tank and I have to fill it every 2 days to get to work. So I’m pretty much working for peanuts now and don’t see much way out at this point.

So this leads to my next thing on the slacker list.  I have quite a few ideas for small businesses I could start from home, some good and doable, some not, but my mind is always working and coming up with ideas.  Am I doing anything with this, to help my work woes?  Well, no.  By the time I drive home, highway all the way, in the dark with my old lady eyesight, stressful high speed driving since I can’t just do 65 because I want to get home, I’ve been gone for about 12 hours and I’m drained. And did I mention that I leave in the dark at 6:30 AM and work in an office with no windows? So I come home and sit in the chair, on FB or Pinterest, or playing with my grandson, or reading, maybe warming up something for dinner, and then all I want to do is go to bed.  So nothing is happening but the same, every day.  It’s so tiring.  I’m trying to put my nose to the grindstone and DO SOMETHING, but I haven’t been able to maintain it.

Now, this post is not for your pity. I’ve come a long way, with pitfalls I haven’t even mentioned, and won’t, but I know the clock is ticking and I have to break free of this rut.  My income has improved since the divorce and I’m doing repairs on the home that I managed to hold on to, I have new friends that I socialize with, and I’m proud of my progress and love that I’m not a quitter.  But I’m so sick of working like this.  Getting up at 5 is no joke!  And I’m bored with my job but it pays ok and I can’t do anything physical so in this area, it’s somewhat limited to look for something else as this is a big fast-food/retail jobs area. So that means I have to create something like I did before (I taught chair exercise to seniors in nursing homes) but the planning means getting out of my rut and doing something.

This blog post is the first day of changing the rut.  I’ve signed up for an email tutorial on free lance writing to expand my writing possibilities, I’ve looked into courses I can take on Udemy, and am looking into getting my Master’s in Psychology, to work as a therapist instead of Behavior Assistant, though since the election I don’t feel very positive about taking on that debt at this time of life. I have a few other things I’m considering too, all dependent on breaking the rut, with the point being that a person is never too old to start over, start something new, and reinvent themselves. I’ve gone through 4 major reinventions, just in my professional life, and have also had to do it in my personal life.  If I can do it, so can you.  If you follow my blog and are floating in the same boat that I’m in, perhaps reading about my struggles and determination to overcome will assist you in your journey. Or perhaps not.  I know I’ve made mistakes in my life plan and have so much to give to a do-over, but since that isn’t going to happen, I’ll just keep plugging away.  I don’t feel “old” and if it wasn’t for arthritis, feel healthy and whole, so I’m blessed in that regard. Some of my choices are somewhat limited but working around them the best that I can is OK.

My goal is to write a post once a month.  I have several posts started from previous months that never got completed so that gives me a head start.  I want to start back with some sort of craft, and I’m going to follow through with what I mentioned above.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress, and won’t say “or lack of progress” so as to stay positive.

One last thing: for Christmas, I finally had my dad’s old home movies converted to DVD’s and many of my grade school and high school friends, old boyfriends(you know who you are!), etc. are featured in those films.(Remember marching in white boots and green uniforms?) There are a lot of family Christmas celebrations, family vacations, and faces of loved ones. Watching was so moving and somewhat sad to see all who have passed on, but I loved it too.  Some of you who have reconnected through Facebook are in those movies and it was wonderful to realize that we still have a connection. So thank you for being in my life.

My teacup is empty, and the next project calls.  Have a lot to do with this day off!

Happy New Year to everyone!  Stay safe and healthy, keep growing, loving, and being you. Until next month!

Shelley

 

Best Wishes to Andrea and Joe!

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andrea-and-joeIn August, my sister Andrea remarried after several years. She married Joe.  The reason I’m including this in the blog postings is because my blog is about starting over and succeeding to build a happy life, no matter what age you are.  And this is definitely a happy ending story.

My sister used online dating services and met a lot of guys, all ages, some good, some not so good, had some good relationships, some really fun dates, but never met her perfect match.  Fast forward about 7 years and here is her story.  She met Joe because of a cookie monster picture.  He and Cookie were together and it made her laugh.  So she wrote to him, he wrote back, and they decided to meet.  Cue cupid and they were bit by the bug and started dating.  I don’t know all the details; she lives 2 hours away and we don’t see each other a lot, but they were happy dating and next thing you know, they were becoming serious.  Fast forward again, and this past August, they married.  And I was the wedding officiant who married them!  We had a great time at their wedding.  It was small, in a hall in Berkeley Heights, good food, great live music (my sister is friends with a band, Shore Soundz Band), a fun photographer (Allan Reider Studio), lots to drink, and moi, crying as I officiated and pronounced them husband and wife (wife and husband?). All of our family except for one missing niece Allie, was there and we had a blast.  (She is in Seattle in her new architect position-we missed her!) My sister’s son and daughter, Jen and her date Joe and Billy, and Billy’s new fiancée Marissa, my brother Joe and sister-in law Deb and their other daughter Katelyn and her date Justin, and my son Will, plied us all with enough drinks that we got up and danced, even me with my cane!  The dancing went on for hours and no one wanted to leave, a sign of a fun wedding. We met Joe’s family (Are you seeing a lot of Joe’s in this story?),  saw old friends and met new ones, ate and drank, and then left the newlyweds and made our long way home.

So congratulations Andrea and Joe.  Live a long, happy life.  You were blessed to find each other.

My other purpose in writing about this is to tell you that anyone, any age, can find happiness.  It may not be marriage that you seek, but whatever it is, go after it, don’t think you’re too old, and make your life what you want it to be.  If you want to go back to school, do it.  If you want to change jobs, or quit a job if you are able, do it.  If you want to date, go online and try it. Just be careful. Get a pet, join a club.  No clubs?  Go to http://www.meetup.com and find clubs in your area.  Try a hobby like one of those painting groups that seem to be everywhere.  They walk you through painting a picture and you may have talent! Get out of the house and enjoy your life.  Do stupid stuff with a best friend; eat some junk once in a while. Think positive thoughts, think healthy thoughts, don’t just sit and do nothing.  Our time is so fleeting.  Don’t waste it.