Over the last couple of months my life has been evolving probably more then it has in the the last 2 years. I feel like I am entering an entirely new phase of my life, the phase somewhere between “I thought my life was done” and “I am just beginning to live, on my own terms”. And here is how all that happened.
I lost my job. I know, millions of people have lost their jobs over the last several years. The economy is horrible, jobs (at least good ones) are hard to find, and the search and rejection can be depressing and dehumanizing at best. I was afraid, scared to death to be exact. I didn’t know where to turn, what I was going to do and how in the world could I go through yet another disappointment in my life. After all I hadn’t been divorced that long, I had an apartment to pay rent and utilities for, things that already scared me because I was used to having a husband, my partner in life, to help pay for that stuff. Now, I’m a lone. I didn’t want to be back in that place where I am asking my kids for money all the time. I was getting used to being somewhat independant, and I was feeling proud of myself for that. It wasn’t the perfect life, nor was it where I had anticipated being at the ripe young age of 50 years old, but it was where I was at. I was embracing it and moving forward not back. Then, whamo, I lost my job and I felt like I was not only walking backward but I had taken a huge step off of a ledge that led right back to square one. I was depressed and ready to give up. Then I started asking my family if they had any ideas for me.
Guess what..they did. Now, I am not saying that I am getting tons of moolah for any of what I am doing at this point. And, yes I am still putting my resume out there, and applying for real jobs. However, I have begun doing things for my siblings that make me feel so good, like I am really achieving something and by helping them, I have found I am really helping myself.
My brother, Pastor Tim Wright, has written a new book called “Searching for Tom Sawyer, How Parents and Congregations can stop the Exodus of Boys from Church.” It is an amazing look into why boys and men seem to be leaving the church in huge numbers and what we can do to stop it. Author Dr. Tim Kimmel says this about the book; “If we want strong men in our churches in the future, we need to make radical shifts now. Tim Wright has a sure fire cure for you, your family and your church.” Tim has been a pastor here in the Phoenix area for over 30 years. His ministry has been nothing short of extraordinary, and he has so much to share and teach. So, for him I am working on getting him on radio shows, some TV shows, churches to talk about this exciting book. I have found that radio and TV are not the quickest at getting back to anyone about interviews, however, once they do get back they are some of the nicest folks around.
And then there is my sister. Lise is a vocal coach and founder of Redhead Music, a performing arts business that provides voice, guitar, keyboard and drum lessons. She also is the director of a vocal performance group called the Noise. The Noise is a group of teens who do a show every year that focuses on the things that youth go through these days, i.e. bullying, peer pressure, friendships, depression, broken homes. We take these kids on a summer tour and share it with adults and kids alike. (I write the show and direct the drama portion) This year I have been more involved in the actual booking of the tour, booking shows, finding airplane tickets etc. It has been so much fun. This summer our tour goes to Nashville and Indianapolis. I am also helping Lise do some of the leg work to try to get her Performing Arts School off the ground. I have been doing some Grant writing, setting up meetings with realtors to find locals for the school. This has also been a joy and pleasure for me to do, and hopefully has taken some of the load off my sister.
Here is what I am learning. First I really enjoy doing all of these things. None of them are things I have done before, so it has definitely been a learning curve for me. Second, I have learned that no matter what I do Lupus follows me everywhere. Those days when I can totally forget that I have lupus are not many, but when I am really busy, and my mind is active and on other things I do find that lupus takes a back seat to other things. I may get home at the end of the day and be in tons of pain, be physically and mentally exhausted, but it is worth it to me to feel like my life has purpose.
I have also learned that when I feel successful and like I am doing something worthwhile that my perception of being a mom and soon to be grandma has changed. I am working on things that my kids could be proud of their mom doing. I am not just “the mom with lupus” I am the mom who is doing something with meaning, and who feels proud of herself. And that is a good feeling.
Now granted, I still need to find a job that will be steady and a continuous paycheck, but this little turn of events in my life have made me feel like maybe I have more options of things I could do. Just maybe being 51 doesn’t mean that my life is over, that I am too old to reinvent myself. Maybe I am just beginning. Maybe I am going to be okay!