I've been chronicling career redos on LifeGoesStrong for a couple of months. As I look back over the stories of men and women at midlife finally achieving their dreams, finding work that truly satisfies, one thing sticks out. They are doing something they love.
The Power of a Passion
Tracy Newman returned to her first love, writing and singing songs; Susan Nolte tapped into her passion of baking by marketing wholesome cookie mixes; Jim Stevens overcame loss of sight to make scrimshaw carvings. They and others find pleasure making a living doing things that might be defined as a hobby.
So if you're searching for a career reinvention, find a passion and chase it. Whether it's breeding Golden Retrievers or raising heirloom tomatoes, it can transform your life. Put your energies into refinishing furniture or hiking every trail in a forest preserve near your home and you'll redefine yourself in your own eyes. You're no longer the woman with the so-so marriage or the boring job; you're a woman on a mission.
The Quick-Change Artists of Reinvention
Hobbies are the quick-change artists of reinvention. Pursuing this kind of passion doesn't have to upend your marriage or deep-six your current career. I talked to a woman who took up tennis in her early 40s; three years later she was playing five days a week and winning tournaments (she also lost 30 pounds). Another finally quenched a life-long aspiration by buying a motorcycle at 42.
At minimum, a hobby can keep you sane while you figure your way out of an awful job. At best, it can point the way to a new profession. My friend Donna put her passion to work; at 45, she began supporting herself for the first time in her life by painting house portraits and decorative furniture. Ten years later she has a thriving business creating murals for 100-foot yachts.
Small Investment, Big Return
So take a few hours out of your week to do something you love. Consider whether your hobby can be shaped into a career. If a major renovation of your life isn't in the cards, know that you can still brighten and enliven it. A well-chosen hobby is a small investment with a potentially huge return.
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