Transitions are Hard

“Tis a fine spring morning here in Ohio, and I’m in yet another life change. I’ve known this was coming for a while – a little over four years in school seems like a long time, but in the grand scheme of things it’s really not. For some reason, I thought that as an older pers – ahem – a non-traditional student, I’d be a bit more immured to having to deal with yet another life change. I’m not twenty with this having been a significant fraction of my life to date. But the transitions really don’t get any easier to deal with as you get older. It’s not that I was in a rut, either, I’ve done enough changes in the last five years to keep anyone on their toes.

I find myself both excited for, and very nervous about, the new contract. This one is longer than the last – a year, rather than mere months. That helps to know I’ve got stability to look forward to. And this time I’m walking into a similar role to what I was doing, so I don’t have the sheer unknown looming before me. It’s still not easy. It’s never easy.

It is, on the other hand, good for me. Learning new skills, facing new challenges, these are the things that keep the brain active and flexible. Had I taken a somewhat more traditional route, I’d be mid-career and pretty settled. Which sounds good, and it’s definitely a goal, but there’s always that element of ‘what if?’

I’m finding out what if… what if I went back to school? Done that. What if I bang my toes against this wall of ‘new career, no experience’ long enough? Eventually, you kick a toehold. Long, long ago, when I was a much younger and more athletic (yeah, really. Don’t look at me like that. Just because I lost my plaque proclaiming me the fastest female cadet in NH…) woman, I learned how to rock-climb. Much of it is finding toe-holds. And then you reach up, feel around, and find something to hold onto… slowly, one hold at a time, you work your way up.

I’m not climbing a career ladder. I’m starting up a sheer cliff face, and trying not to look down as I go. Ladder implies smooth rungs and predictable distances between them.

I do have ropes. I have a writing career that is smouldering like a campfire banked for the night. Some serious effort (and a bit of capital) could bring it back to life again. I have the skills to restart the now-defunct Cedar’s FaceArt & Balloons, and this time I’d remake it to incorporate my daughters. I’m not free-climbing up this cliff. If I fall, it will be unpleasant, but it won’t be the end. Even without those ‘ropes’ on belay, I’d have other alternatives. After all, I’ve proven to myself, and others, that yes I am smart enough to be a scientist.

I’ve got no idea what’s at the top. Heck, I’m not even sure where the top is. I can’t see that from here. I can see ledges, and what I think are safer routes… and some of them I’m deliberately not choosing. I could go the easy way. But I want to try this route, first. And I’m not alone. The First Reader and I have talked about it, and I have some time to keep looking for toeholds and climbing before I have to call it quits – or call it a route that leads to something.

It’s all very exciting, and yet the day-to-day remains the same. I’ll try to blog more, but I don’t know much about the new schedule, other than I won’t be working weekends now. And while the last job was very physically demanding, this one might not be so much? Who knows. That’s still up there in the fog.


13 thoughts on “Transitions are Hard

  1. I can empathize with your situation. I’m starting a project that could be a great boon for me or end in pathetic failure, but I have to have a go at it. It’s scary, and self-doubt creeps in…”are my skills good enough?”…”I’ve never done a comic book before”…”no one else has made this script work in the 15 years since it was written”…etc…
    But failure is assured if I don’t tackle this.

    1. Precisely. You’ll never know until you try. And frankly, you have the skills. I don’t doubt that in the slightest! I want to know when the book is ready…

  2. Sounds exciting to me. OTOH, my German friends were appalled that I was going back to college after a career as a techie… That I was majoring in business made it even worse after being an electronics type for 25 years or so…

    Nowl though, I’m retired and subbing today for one of my friends who’s recovering from being sick last week.

    Being able to teach business and computer skills classes instead of crawling under desks running cable opens up a lot more enjoyable opportunities. (NOT working on equipment that could misdirect and crash aircraft if I made a mistake is kinda nice too… after 20 years of being responsible for that type of gear)

    All the best, but I DO hope you find time to keep writing

    1. I will *make* the time to keep writing! And this is, in a way, my third career. My first wasn’t a choice, but I learned to love it (and miss it now that I’ve retired). The writing career wasn’t supposed to fully launch until later, after the science gig. But I’m thrilled it has taken off like it has, and it gives me options.

        1. Oh, I’m with you on the growing constantly. I plan to never stop learning (which leads to growth) until I’m dead. But I also feel like I need some down time here and there. A few months of boredom. LOL

  3. The fastest woman in New Hampshire? And here I thought you were a sedate and moral woman, not a hellion like I was. πŸ˜€

  4. I suspect that those folks who know what the want to do with their lives are a very small part of the total. I know what I have done, I know what I like to do, and yet sometimes when I try something new I find I am good at things I thought I had no talent for.
    Having the family supporting you is a huge plus. If your children learn that they can rely on their skills, hard work, and talents to make money in a business then that will reap benefits throughout life.

    Blogging. (I am writing this in my Marlon Brando Godfather voice) I will make you an offer, If you write something I will read it, and if you write more, I will read more, if the press of life means you write less, then I will savor what you write all the more.

    I finished Tanager’s Fledglings. Loved it. Please sir, may we have more?

  5. What he said.
    I first noticed you in reading your posts at Sarahs’ blog, then followed you here for more of your writings.
    I started your books with Pixie Noir, and I was sure that I was strong enough to stop with just one, but no. Since then, I have bought MORE of your books, read them and still I must buy yet more.
    I have infected my wife with your books and writings, and she is as attracted to them as I am.
    Congratulations on your graduation and new career, bonne chance, but please continue writing, both at your blog and in all of your series of books. Short stories too, of course, I will take what I can get. πŸ™‚
    Thanks, JPDev

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