Finding a career at 56

I came to Columbus having no clue as to what I was going to do with my life or who I was going to be.  After finding about the affair, him walking away, my trying to figure out what I was doing with my life in Calgary and finally leaving Calgary and driving across the continent to Ohio, my mind was a bit jumbled.  I just didn’t know what my next steps would be, or how I would support myself and make a living. 

I have a degree in microbiology from The Ohio State University.  Got that back in 1980.  I worked as a microbiologist for 14 months.  It wasn’t my thing, at all.  Then I got into the fitness industry, and spent 18 years teaching aerobics, opening 2 studios, and becoming a personal trainer.  When I got out of that business, though I still loved to work out, I was just exhausted on the teaching and darker underbelly of the fitness industry.  And honestly, it was something that I was good at, but it always felt a bit off.  Again, I believe it just wasn’t my thing.  So what was my thing?

I spent the next 10 years or so playing with different odd jobs.  I worked a seasonal job at a bookstore.  Love books, but not the job.  I worked with Fox marketing for a while, and was in charge of stocking movie CD’s on shelves.  Totally not the job for me.  Then I got a job with Peter The Plantman.  We looked after plants in office buildings and gardens.  I enjoyed it, as I learned a lot about plants and met some awesome people as I went into offices every week.  I met one woman who connected me with a job working as a hostess for a builder in a new community.  I went for the interview.  I hit it off with my boss immediately, and she hired me.  This was right at the beginning of the economic slow down in 2008.  Not the best time to get into the housing industry.  She ended up getting sick within 6 months of my being there, and suddenly I was a new home salesperson.  And I found out I could sell, even though the market was slow. 

I continued to work for builders in Calgary.  My job was basically to sit in showrooms and wait for potential buyers to come in, and then to connect with them.  I became successful, and was even nominated for a top sales award.  But once d-day hit and I found out about the affair, there was no way I could just sit in an empty house waiting for someone to come in.  I took a leave of absence.  And I never did go back. 

So for a year and a half in Calgary, I took the time off to just get myself together.  Yes, in the aftermath of an affair that you don’t see coming, it can take that long.  Fortunately, my then husband did continue to pay for the house and bills, and I am grateful for that. 

Once I got to Columbus, my life was completely up in the air.  We weren’t divorced yet and didn’t have any kind of settlement agreement.  I continued to use our joint credit card, but was always totally stressed as I never knew when it would just be declined.  I had to find something to do, a way to earn some money.  I thought of some odd jobs.  Working at a bookstore, bartending, becoming a barista.  But the thought of all of these for me just didn’t seem right.  I knew I had talent and creativity, but I didn’t know how to use them, at all.  And I wanted to finally be able to do something that just felt right for me. 

My neighbor is a realtor, and I was talking to her husband one day and he suggested I get my real estate license. After a lot of conversations, I decided to go this route.  And it has been great.  I now work in my next door neighbor’s brokerage.  It is within walking distance of my home, in a beautiful old building.  My office has brick walls and great energy. 

I have now had my real estate license for almost 16 months, and have been very successful.  I have already made it into the Ohio Association of Realtors Presidents Club and will be a Columbus Board of Realtors Million dollar club recipient.  But most important, I have really happy clients, many of whom have become good friends during the process.  That is where I truly excel, in connecting with people and listening to what they are saying, and then getting them into the right home.

This is all something I never dreamed possible for me.  To have a successful career.  To feel good about a days work.  To be financially independent.  To be able to walk into a room of colleagues, many who have been in the industry for many years, and to know I belong, that I am good enough to be in a room with the big players.  It is not always easy.  The ups and downs of selling can be stressful and exhausting.  Though sometimes fearful, I also find in exciting.  I am learning to trust the process, and to have faith that everything will turn out exactly as it should, as long as I continue to move forward. 

And now I see that my dreams were just way too small.  My dreams always involved my ex and my family and were never truly about me, my possibilities, what my heart and soul craved.  Now it is my turn to live full out, embrace my fabulous self, dream wonderfully huge dreams that fill my soul, and find new dreams that had never entered my previous reality.  And to keep striving towards having that life, or something even better.  And truly if I can do it, you can as well. 

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