Life is a journey, but many wonder if it is ever too late to start again? I don’t think so! I am 62 and have began the incredible journey of reinventing my life. Oh, and by the way, I am loving it! However, how I got to this point is an interesting story.
It all started with some uncomfortable feelings. Pain, fear, and anxiety, feelings most of us strive to avoid at all costs.
However, I discovered that the circumstances that surrounded these feelings were what I needed to get me where I wanted to go! Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Let me explain.
Life is a journey of processing your feelings
My husband, David, owned a travel agency for almost 20 years, and I was a travel agent in the company.
When he was diagnosed with cancer and could not work for an extended period of time, I was forced to learn how to run a travel company. This is very different from being a travel agent.
I had to learn everything from how to use QuickBooks, to doing payroll and paying taxes. Then I had to handle problems with clients and agents that crop up in the normal course of business.
To make matters worse, everyone else in the company had been there longer than I had. This meant that there were people who challenged my authority.
All of this was happening while I was in the midst of the emotional strain of going back and forth to the hospital for the numerous surgeries and procedures. I did not know if David was going to be OK.
To make matters worse, as I was learning my new role, I discovered that David was not terribly organized. I had to create new systems and procedures to make the company run more efficiently. Needless to say, my emotional coping skills were stretched past the breaking point.
Discovering my new strengths and reinventing myself
This is when I discovered the wonderful and often unsung strength of women. Many of them either had cancer or had partners who had cancer. I was able to talk, cry, and worry with them. Slowly their collective strength buoyed me up until I was able to regain my own center.
I also asked for help wherever I could find it. Friends who were lawyers gave me legal advice. I asked accountants how to best organize a company. Our employees were an excellent source of what they thought worked, and what they thought didn’t. I asked our sales reps to show me how to read and interpret the sales reports.
Of course, I spoke to many doctors and got numerous opinions about David’s specific type of cancer. Finally, I took online self-help classes to find out how other people had learned to cope with extreme circumstances.
The results of doing the work to reinvent yourself
Something amazing happened. After listening to all the opinions, and sometimes conflicting advice, I was forced to come to terms with my inner greatness just to survive.
We are all born with special, unique gifts that can get buried by the pressure that our parents, peers, and society put on us.
By the time we are teenagers, we have forgotten who our real selves are. Sometimes it takes a crisis to resurrect these inherent gifts that are uniquely ours. There are no rules about how old you need to be for such a crisis. You could be 30, 50, or 62. Heck, you could be even older.
So how does my story end? David survived cancer and we are stronger as a couple because of it. The company is also thriving! I created streamlined systems so the company operates smoothly and is not dependent on one person. We have gotten rid of toxic clients, vendors, and employees.
I created a bigger purpose for our company and every decision adheres to our core values. We connect with our clients on a human level, not merely a transactional level, and create heartfelt travel experiences that generate understanding between cultures. We will only associate with clients, vendors, and employees that share these values so that everyone wins.
I am proud to say that at age 62, I gave birth to a new person and that person is me!