Reinventing Yourself After 50

After years  working in the banking industry, (translation: teller), private schools (translation: executive assistant), the travel industry (translation: failed travel agent) I found myself living in Fort Myers, Florida, wondering what the heck to do, now.

You’re probably thinking, “Go to the beach! Swim! Shop at one of the kazillion outlet malls! Enjoy the freedom of getting up every day with nothing on the agenda!”

Yeah, that worked for about a month, then I got bored. More than bored. I got stale and uninteresting. My mind began to deteriorate. I couldn’t stand me, so how could anyone else? beaches, boats and hurricanes

This isn’t to cast dispersions on those retirees who love every moment knowing they only have to do what they WANT to do. I envy them, in a way.

It just wasn’t for me. When we lived in New Jersey, before “retiring” to Florida, I’d begun a new career; writing children’s stories. The Harry Potter books had inspired me to give it a shot. Who’s to say I couldn’t be the next J.K. Rowling? Other than millions of readers…

I sent my manuscript, Cynthia’s Attic, off to several New York publishers. The best rejection I got was a returned letter with suggestions. “Your concept is very good, but you have too much telling Decatur Book Festivaland not enough showing.” What the heck does that mean?

I fell into a depression. “I can’t do anything,” I cried to my husband. “I’m totally worthless.” Oh, yeah. The Pity Party was in full swing. But, something happened a few weeks later. I researched telling and showing, and a lightbulb went off.

I started rewriting, joined a local writers group, submitted a query to a small publisher that was looking for “Young reader fantasy fiction!” (Thank you, Karen Syed, for believing in my writing and in me!)WOOFers

I had new life. Five Cynthia’s Attic books later, writing had become a career. The fun continued with WOOF: Women Only Over Fifty, a non-fiction humor book on the “joys” of the aging process. Co-written with Diana Black and Melinda Bailey, the reinvention continued.

Fast forward ten plus years. My next middle-grade series failed to take off and my writing and creativity had become stale. I was becoming stale. Life, as it tends to do, turned complicated with unforeseen issues seeming to attack my well-being. Lack of motivation settled in, once again.

Then a handful of silly characters showed up and Andi Anna Jones took off. Andi is a miserable travel agent whose real passion is amateur detective. Her skills are tested to the limit when she gets a frantic, middle-of-the-night phone call from her ex-stepmother. Something about a cruise, a climbing harness, and murder, sends Andi to Cancun to honor her deceased father’s wishes, to “take care of Ruby if I’m gone.”

Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder: An Andi Anna Jones Mystery, will be released this fall!

But, I digress. Although I’m now well past 50, changing my writing passion from children’s books to adult mystery has, once again, provided a path to reinvention.

It’s never too late! Find your passion. Keep those creative juices flowing. Or, plop down in a beach chair and enjoy the sun. Nothing you truly love to do, can be a mistake.

2 thoughts on “Reinventing Yourself After 50

  1. Dot

    Mary, you never cease to amaze me. Good luck on your new direction. I love margaritas, have had my share of mayhem in recent years…I hope it ends there.😂

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