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The Second Half

Real moments. Real life. That’s what I want this blog to be about… not just art, not just creativity, but life. And yet, as I sit here contemplating what my next blog post should be about, I am stumped.



You see, all my life I wanted for nothing more than to be that stereotypical 50’s housewife portrayed in television shows like “I love Lucy” or “Bewitched”. I wouldn’t even have minded being Caroline Ingalls, from “Little House on the Prairie”, if it meant I could still have modern luxuries like a running toilet, washing machines, and a functioning kitchen. And, thanks to a very understanding husband, my Prince Charming, I got to be that.

Even when the entrepreneurial bug beckoned me, and I started a homebased freelance business and online magazine, I was still able to put that business on the backburner any time it interfered with my ultimate dream of being a 50’s housewife and mommy.

Then my children grew up, graduated high school, and moved on with their lives. And there I was, in the second half of my life, with no clue what I wanted to do with the rest of my life or who I wanted to be.

On top of experiencing the "empty nest syndrome", life wasn’t being so kind. My mother (the only parent I’ve ever known) passed away, my husband was laid off from work due to corporate restructuring, I experienced 2 bouts of Bells Palsy (on both sides of my face and each lasting 6 months), I began the early stages of menopause, and after several years in this “new” state, I had no friends to turn to for support. Eventually, depression set in; followed by an anxiety that was sometimes so debilitating I couldn’t even leave the house. As a result, my business suffered and eventually, I had to let it go.



Then one day my husband made an astute observation that helped turn everything around. He said, “When we owned our own home, you were always creative: crafts with the kids, art on the walls, gardening, baking, dinner parties, gift making. I’d come home and never knew what to expect: what colors the walls were going to be, what the furniture was going to look like, how the rooms were going to be changed, or what new thing you were going to add to the yard. You don’t do any of that now. You haven’t in a very long time. I think what is missing in your life is your creative outlet.”

I didn't believe him, of course. But, I listened.

Every time I felt a panic attack coming on, I went into my craft room (the basement) and got lost in the act of creating. With each piece of art I created, I began to find myself again. The stress became more manageable, the anger outbursts lessened, my self-esteem increased, the irrational fear that had been stifling me for so long began to subside, and most importantly, I began to find my happy place—a place outside of being mom, wife, and entrepreneur.

With my newfound confidence, I began gifting my art to strangers... the mailman, the UPS gal, the appliance delivery guy, the librarian, the bank teller, basically anyone who would graciously accept my art. I even mailed my art to distant relatives and long-lost friends.

But as much as I loved creating, it was only a temporary fix.



I still had to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. So, with the support of my husband, I took a year off to focus on me and to think about where I've been, what I've loved, and where I wanted to go. I got back on a regular sleeping schedule (good-bye insomnia) and I got a part-time job. My goal ... conquer the debilitating social anxiety that was preventing me from living my life to the fullest. And for the most part, it worked. Getting out of the house and meeting new people on a daily basis (in a safe environment) really helped to lessen the anxiety and totally helped me say good-bye to the depression.

But as helpful as it was, there was still something missing.

I thought I wanted a more challenging job, a full-time job with some ounce of prestige. But once I got that job, I was miserable. Most likely because of circumstances on the job, but also because it wasn’t in a field I was passionate about (even though at the time I thought it could be). During those first few months on the job, I became an emotional spender. I had no idea that stress could do that to a person, but there I was. My husband told me to quit and go back to running a homebased business, but I insisted that I had to stay and clean up my mess. The longer I stayed, however, the more miserable I became and the harder it was on our marriage.

When I finally quit, I was told that I needed a hysterectomy and a 2 month recovery period, so I put off looking for another job. I took that time to think about what I enjoyed most at my previous jobs and what I enjoyed most from my business, and then I thought about what skills I could bring to a company and what type of job would make me happy. By the time I started to look for another job, however, nobody wanted to hire me. I couldn’t even get an interview. Six months into my job search, and I’ve only had two interviews. One postponed hiring and the other felt I wasn’t a good fit.



So here I am, nearly 50 years old (YIKES!) with two grown children, in a state with no friends (thank God for cell phones, instant messaging, and video chats! Love you Cali friends & family!), trying to decide my next move.

And I thought, what the heck, let’s take ya’ll along for the ride.

Copyright, Alyice Edrich. www.CreativeAlyice.com / www.AlyiceEdrich.com

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