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My Midlife | CruncyTales

Saying Yes To My Second Act

4 min read

It is said “When one door closes another door opens”, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us. Fortunately, our reader Jacqueline Robinson, after being made redundant, stepped out of her comfort zone, said yes to her second act, created a new roadmap and bloomed again. 

Turning over and slowly opening my eyes to check the time, the knot in my stomach reminded me that this was no ordinary day. Today was the day I would find out if I would lose my job. Rather than calculating how many more minutes I could stay in bed, I began counting how many hours to my designated call-in time of 3:00 PM.

Ten more minutes, five, two, one, okay, it was finally time to make the call. And the result of the call was that after 27 years, I no longer had a job. I had two options: take a lower position or accept the package, which included being bridged to retirement in 9 months. After a few days of consideration, I chose the latter option, even though it meant stepping into the unknown and out of my comfort zone.

But there was a bonus to the latter. My separation package also gave me one year to participate in a job placement service. About four months into the program, I found myself giving in to what I had been feeling for some time. Throughout the process, I kept asking myself why I was trying to return to a position in the pharmaceutical industry that I no longer enjoyed.

In my heart, I knew that this was my “now or never moment.” How many times did I play “what if” scenarios in my head during the last few years working? This was my opportunity and, yes, the push that I needed for self-discovery and re-discovery. I left the placement service and stepped into the unknown, believing it held the potential for opportunities and personal growth.

 What Do You Want?

I spent countless days and months trying to determine what I wanted to do next. There were days when I harshly questioned myself whether I did the right thing. My advice to anyone experiencing this is to allow yourself, although uncomfortable, to go through the process. If, through the process, you realize what you do not want to do, that is just as important as discovering what you want to do.

In figuring out my next move, I started by listing the skills I enjoyed using the most. Whatever my next move was, I knew it had to be fulfilling and meaningful. Afterwards, I made a list of questions such as:

  • What are the activities that make me lose track of time?
  • What skills do people seek me out for?
  • What am I passionate about?

Over time, the skills I enjoyed using and the answers became my road map to starting the journey to creating my second act.

Be Willing to Take the First Step

Taking the first step led me to work in positions that made use of my transferable skills. Because of my sales background, I worked as an Independent Consultant for one of my husband’s clients to develop an event centre. Even though I knew nothing about starting an event centre, I was able to learn new skills and unleash my creative side. What surprised me the most was that whenever I needed any information or was unsure about something, the right resources or people came along to help me.

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I received a certificate in Interior Design while I was still working. So, I started working for my friend, Sabrina, in her design firm. I also continued to take classes at the New York School of Interior Design.

In both situations, I used skills I had developed over many years. However, these positions also allowed me to use the creative side of my brain. Having the chance to be creative was now at the top of my list in determining what I wanted to do next.

 Sometimes, You Have to Ask

While working at my friend’s design firm, I found out through a contact that Queen Latifah was putting up her home in Colts Neck, NJ, for sale. I asked if Sabrina and I could stage her home for the sell. Not only did we stage the house, but we stayed on to manage it until it was sold.

One day, a friend told me about an opportunity to host a local cable TV show. Sabrina and I went to the studio and pitched the idea for The Life 2.0 Show. We co-hosted and interviewed women who had successfully created their second act. The show ran for over three years, providing resources and inspiration to encourage women to be open to possibilities.

Take Advantage of Being Asked

When someone asks you to do something, don’t overlook the opportunities that come your way. Saying yes is a great way to understand the value you offer to others and also have the chance to learn and grow.

People started asking me for advice because they were considering retirement or feared getting laid off. Their questions inspired me to create a workshop to help individuals plan their next steps in life. I obtained a certification for conducting seminars and established the Life 2.0 Community for this purpose.

A few years ago, my husband asked me to do social media for his company. Being self-taught, I enrolled in an online program and received a certificate in social media. Doing social media became a game changer for me. I can’t tell you how many hours I spend designing posts. My passion for interior design and creating social media posts inspired me to seek creative opportunities. It was the final confirmation that whatever I did next had to involve being creative.

But what would have happened if I had not taken the first steps in asking? Or, had I not been willing to step out of my comfort zone and learn something new? In both cases, I had to step out of what was familiar. Doing so made me realize that opportunities were coming my way, leading me to self-discovery, re-discovery, and personal growth.

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About The Author

Jaqueline Robinson

Jaqueline Robinson is the creator of Life 2.0 Community, The Life 2.0 Show, and founder of Second Act Inspiration, a lifestyle community for women over 50, all of which were made possible by the journey she’s gone through. Through her blog and resources, her purpose is to inspire, encourage, and support midlife women and beyond to remain curious, never stop seeking adventure, and continue on their path of self-discovery.

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