Finding my way

When 2000 rolled around, I was a 40-year-old single mother of two teenage boys, starting over with no education or career. My job had been, stay-at-home mom, helper, maid, taxi service, farmer and wife for a lot of years. Starting over was not going to be a cakewalk.

At the time I thought 40 was old, or at the very least on the verge of old. I was embarrassed to be starting over at such a rip old age. Oh what I wouldn’t give to go back and tell that young lady a few things. Now I’m closing in on 60 and trying very hard not to see myself as old again.

starting over at age 40

It’s interesting to look back and remember what I was like and how I was thinking, and compare it to now, and what I know. On the outside, it must have seemed like I had a lot of confidence. I was in an unhappy marriage and it took great courage to get out of it. I was starting over with nothing. No home or income or savings.

So, I can see how it must have appeared. But inside I was a wreck. I had no idea what career path to take and because of knee surgery, I had to look for a different job. Working all day on my feet as a salesperson wasn’t an option any more.

I was very happy when I found a job at a beauty salon. I was the receptionist who greeted everyone and kept the schedule for all of the ladies who worked there. It was a lot of fun, and I was again working with an all women team.

A part of my job was to call all of the clients on the next day’s schedule and remind them of their appointments. One of the ladies I called asked me how I was doing. I gave her the standard, “Fine, thank-you”, so then she asked what I wanted.

I didn’t understand at first, and then she said “What is it that you want, Loretta? What would make you happy?” Wow, what great questions to ask someone. Without thinking I said, “I want my own house. I want to buy a house.”

And then my next words were, “But I’ll never be able to afford one.” What the heck? Do you do that too; throw out self-defeating statements before you even know the facts?

Luckily the woman I was speaking with was a realtor. She lined up an appointment with a lender so I could see what I would qualify for. After my appointment with her, I stood just outside the door with a piece of paper in my hands.

On it were the words that said I could buy a home, by myself for $120,000. And by the spring of 2001 I was standing at another door, holding the keys to my new home in my hands.

It was the first time in my life I owned a home, all by myself. In that moment, I felt like I could do anything. I was so proud of myself for providing a real home for my sons and our dog. I loved that home and have great memories with my sons there.

Now that I had my own home, the next order of business was to get a career. Looking back, I can see that I should have reversed these two steps.

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