Humor, John Hughes, Life, Menopause

Reinventing Myself at Almost 50- Choose My Adventure

Maybe I am having a midlife crisis but my life is more than halfway over and it is freaking me the hell out. I turn 50 next April and it’s depressing to think that your life is most likely more than half over but for me, it isn’t really about time but rather things I haven’t yet done.

Like living in a yurt!

Image result for yurt


Does anyone else have days you just want to stop paying the mortgage, save all that mortgage money before the foreclosure hits and you’re kicked out, then buy a tiny house on Amazon on land somewhere where it is warm most months of the year but not too warm.

Or is that just me?


Lillevilla Escape | 113 SQF Allwood Kit Cabin


That house up there is just over $5,000 dollars on, of all places, Amazon.

Look at how happy that lady is! You know why? Because she isn’t paying a mortgage!

Or she’s a model in an Amazon ad. WHATEVER.


Allwood Eagle Vista | 1336 SQF Cabin Kit


Ooh, this one is only $64,000!

Okay, so we will need a mortgage for this one but it will be a tinier mortgage to go along with our tiny house.


But for real, what is it about midlife and crises? Especially for women who, for the most part of their adult years, took care of their families. What will be left for me when Ella is grown enough so that I can start to consider what I might want the rest of my life to look like?

Everyone is different but for the most part, I know I am going to need something other than freelance writing to keep me sane once we become empty nesters.

I have an Associate Degree in Absolutely Nothing Marketable and no one wants a woman in her fifties with minimal education but who can write humorously. That doesn’t look great on a resume.

Trust me, I’ve tried.



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I found an article a few weeks ago about women changing their course of life after 50 and it was, for lack of an overused word, inspiring. The minister who became a doctor in her fifties? To quote Rob Reiner’s mom in When Harry Met Sally, I’ll have what she’s having.

Remember those Choose Your Own Adventure books from our childhood where you got to pick the ending? Do you remember how exciting it was to be the author? To choose the possible demise of your favorite character?


Image result for choose your own adventure books
Courtesy of Flickr

Well, today’s your lucky day because I want you to choose my demise!

Er, future. 

I want you to choose what happens at the end of my book, per se.

I have ideas but I need help guiding me toward what to do because some of them involve money, big balls, and motivation I may not have and I feel like you know me maybe even better than I know myself.

So no pressure, just make the right choice or I will come find you.

Here are my current life plan ideas:

Black Kettle Beside Condiment Shakers and Green Fruits and Plants on Tray on Brown Wooden Table


Idea #1- Take a home staging course with a possible interior decorator side course 

I have, for many years, wanted to do home staging and the only thing standing in my way was the cost of the course. Because it isn’t a degree but rather a certificate and also, I feel like you either have it or you don’t. If you don’t have an eye for decorating, you really don’t have any business helping others do that and a certificate isn’t gonna help you. But you need the certificate to get jobs and hence the vicious cycle.

My plan is to stage homes for families who can’t afford a traditional stager (which can cost upwards of $1,000) possibly doing it on a sliding scale according to how much they can afford. I love this idea but I guess I don’t have faith in myself because I am really scared that it won’t pan out.

I have confidence issues, it seems, and investing that money in myself when we don’t have that much expendable income seems a bit risky. Add in the fact that you are pretty much on your own after finishing the certificate as it pertains to getting a job and I got kind of scared. I mean, we all have seen how well I did with marketing myself as it pertained to blogging, so I am very hesitant even though this feels exactly like what I should be doing.

Paid to move furniture around?



Dining Room Move
Anna took this picture of me in 2013 because she wanted to document that I am constantly moving the furniture around.


Diploma and Square Academic Hat on Grass Field


Idea #2 Finish my bachelor’s degree

I have my Associates degree but I also have close to 90 credit hours total; a typical Associates degree is only 60 credit hours. Many explanations but the biggest is that I have/had undiagnosed ADD and didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do back in 1994 (not much has changed).

I started with Business courses but hated the course Intro To Business. I loved English and Writing but was told by a counselor that it wasn’t marketable and since I was considered a non-traditional student (old), it wouldn’t be a good idea. So I moved on and landed in a Medical Transcription program which led me to take a Medical Terminology class where I fell in love and therefore decided that I wanted to be a Nurse. I took two solid years of nursing prerequisites, took the NLN entrance exam (three times), and finally got accepted into the Nursing program to directly turn it down.

Are you still reading? 

I then finished up my Associates (that took me 13 years to complete, no I’m not lying) by taking Early Childhood Education classes because my counselor was tired at this point and I needed to finish within a year before my grants ran out.

I am trying to narrow all of that down to fit on a resume. Maybe you can help with that?

The good news is that I graduated with highest honors and absolutely no debt. The bad news is that I had a degree I couldn’t use because I think we both know I have no business working with preschoolers.

So I really need to sit down with a fresh counselor somewhere and have them tell me how many credits I actually need that will transfer because maybe getting my Bachelor’s degree is more in reach than I thought. If it costs the same as getting my Staging certificate, I think this would be the option I would rather try.

Or do both?

As you can see, I need help.


Aww, look how happy I am!


Idea #3- Start a John Hughes Movie Tour business 

I know this is the one you all are gonna vote for and I am going to stop you right there because we need to think with our heads and not our hearts.

A few years ago, I shared with you a blog post about this John Hughes festival that was coming to Chicago and that I was asked to be the person who was to stand at the front of one of the buses and use a microphone to point out all the cool John Hughes shit in the greater Chicago area.

Side note, I had to Google “what do you call the person who uses the microphone on tours” in case you’re looking for someone who is dumber than you are on your dumbest day.

Tour guide was the word I was looking for. 

Anyway, the whole festival folded. The guy running it says it’s because of the Hughes family and how they were pissed he was using John’s name. I don’t know if that is true or not but it kind of scared the shit out of me, in the midst of writing this screenplay that had John Hughes name on every single friggin’ page.

Long story long, I would love to operate a John Hughes tour company of his movie locations because there is none in the Chicago area and it’s just stupid. I mean, we are driving people past shit that is really inane and passing by locations used in Ferris Bueller. Like blatantly passing by the Abe Froman French restaurant (oh my God that needs to be a restaurant name) on the way to one of the several annoying Batman locations that the tourists seem to love. And don’t get me started on all the Al Capone/mobster/roaring 20’s tours Chicago has.

Mike and I were driveway-sitting (it’s a “thing” in the Midwest) one beautiful evening last month and we began to formulate the plan: we need to rent a large van, map out the drive, figure out how much to charge, we need advertising, as well as 80s theme snacks and music (we thought of everything).

We wouldn’t title it John Hughes anything as not to get sued but rather just use a generic 80s title.


Buses, Cabs, and Ubers? 

The Brunch Club?

Kickass 80s Tour That Doesn’t Drive By Batman Movie Locations? 


Then, Mike had another brilliant idea: buy one of the hotels used in Planes Trains and Automobiles (where they crash their car into) to run our business out of. Restore it, run it like an Airbnb and rent rooms to sleep in before/after the tour. An 80s immersive experience!

Why this particular hotel, you ask? Well, it is literally 15 minutes from our home.

That’s it, nothing more exciting.

Just logistically reasonable.


Image result for el rancho motel gurnee
Former El Rancho Motel from Planes Trains and Automobiles courtesy of Flickr


When researching our future Kickass 80s Tour Headquarters, I found an interesting Facebook exchange from the guy who either runs it or is the landlord.


Tommy’s last name has been protected. Why? I have no clue.


Sounds like I found the solution to my no mortgage/tiny house problem.

Here is an exchange with an apparent John Hughes fan and the landlord/owner:



So now we totally need to meet Charles…..



AND THERE ARE BARKING DOGS!! I feel like THIS would make an even better screenplay.

So you see that we now need to look into buying this place but Charles and the dogs are totally staying. Hell, I may even employ Charles and the dogs in some capacity.


Pick the ending you most love for me. If I don’t do it, I am not allowed to complain on here ever again.


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48 thoughts on “Reinventing Myself at Almost 50- Choose My Adventure”

  1. Home staging gets my vote, too. I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but around here, people are buying houses like crazy, so I’d imagine a service like that would be in high demand!

    I can feel your pain, because I’m trying to figure out what’s next for me, too. I’ve been a SAHM for a decade, and while I have a BA in English, I know I *do not* want to go back to teaching. Nope. I’ve done a lot of freelance writing over the years, which I can continue, but I want something with more of a stable career vibe. I’d like to go back and get a masters in social work to become a therapist, but degree programs are around $35-$60K, which is insane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Therapist! That’s another one on my list! I have a friend who actually is trained as a therapist who said I’d make a great one. But I still want to do home staging as my first pick.

      As you can see, I have my shit together. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I am a SAHM that has toyed with re-entering the work force too. This school year I am committed to once again babysitting out of my house. (It is not for everyone, but nap-time is a bonus). Anyway I just wanted to mention something I read a bit about on WGN news. Something called the mom project. Not sure if it will help you. I stopped looking at it closely because of the little peeps showing up here in a few weeks while their moms have real jobs teaching. That’s the link. Do you have a blog? I tried to click on your blog and I get a weird rerouting to a thing about anxiety. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmm, since I’m a nurse I say nursing but…I say go for whatever interests you the most. Go for it, you can do it!!


  3. Another vote for home staging. Then I can live vicariously. 🙂 But seriously…the 80s nostalgia thing is going to play out because those of us who were young and alive then are not going to be the target market for much longer. (Also, John Hughes is problematic now. As you know. Just being realistic.) And I wouldn’t get a degree without a plan for what to do with it, especially at this stage of the game. Age discrimination is real, and the people who care about degrees are employers. I know, your post was way more fun than my comment, but fun is not my middle name. (It’s Marie.)


  4. Let’s try this again: I vote for the bachelors degree. I got a masters when I was pregnant with my son, because I like doing too many things at once which is a story for another time, and it changed my life. And I would definitely say do the John Hughes tours on the side. Heck, you can find a way to mix the two honestly. A degree in business would help you run a John Hughes tour business. Presumably.

    Also, submit your writing! Seriously! I don’t know who pays for writers any more, but they must be out there, and you are an awesome writer!


    1. Yay, your comment showed up!

      I used to submit my work all over the place a few years ago but the rejection was hard for my ego to take, so I just stopped.
      There is a lesson in there somewhere. 🙂


      1. I cleared my cookies to be able to comment! Which sounds grosser than it was.

        I get that. I haven’t even tried submitting anything so you’re already a badass in my book. Though there are several instances of your badassery in said book.


      2. I have to do that google search thing on your site to find the clubs. We definitely have a Gilmore girls club. And we must have something cheese related as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So when I go to comment on other blogs, it now says Writer McWriterson but doesn’t have my picture! So these people who normally know me have no idea who the hell this Writer McWriterson is. I LOVE THAT.


  5. That lady in the amazon ad is smiling because she doesn’t live in Illinois with its insane property taxes and shitty weather, lol.

    I was mostly an empty nester when Tim was at NIU and now I’ve officially been one since last Nov. I’ve thought of the same questions you have, but honestly, most of the time I love simply being at home. I have so many interests and things to do, that I actually wish I had more hours in the day. Sometimes I wish I had a job outside the home and then I slap myself.

    But this is too weird that you mentioned the home stager thing because I was looking into that just last week! I’ve had people mention that job to me, or interior designer – but the latter takes a Bachelor’s degree. I never even finished my Associates – I was two classes short and quit! (Another story for another day.)

    I was kind of discouraged when I found the home stager thing requires classes and certification – which also means $$$. And then where do you even start with clients? I suppose you could work for a real estate agent, but then there’s the whole marketing thing and interviewing and…ick. Do you want to start a business with me?! 🙂


    1. You would be SO good at this too!! Let’s do this. For real. Invest in ourselves bc you and I are really good at this.

      Also, my friend Rosemary just became a realtor this winter, so we could all join forces. 👍🏻


  6. This is great! I saw myself in this story on so many levels. You should pursue writing, you are a great writer. I related to you, not sure if it’s the writing style or the story. Either way, it’s a sign of excellent writing. A quick note on the degree thing, I have a degree in business, I got my masters after a promise that it would advance a career I hated. I don’t use the degree and I didn’t need it. That’s just one case though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so sweet for saying that. I love writing and wish I could make money. I have tried for many years but haven’t figured it out yet.

      Thank you for the honest suggestion about getting a degree. I agree completely.


    1. My ideas were: if you go the John Hughes route, I suggest you offer 80s themed snacks like: cheez whiz or soft batched cookies. I remember watching the Bears win the 85 superbowl and I was thrilled with the cheez whiz mom bought. Ok. Now really taking off. More later!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I like the nurse idea because so marketable. Can do paet time, etc. How many more credits needed? My dad wrote me letters in college begging me to switch to nursing. Um, dad remember I passout EASILY? Not happening.

    I like the staging idea. I think you connect with a real estate agent and they refer you. Bingo.

    I would love to figure out how to make a living writing. When I do, I will share my secrets. Sigh. (Still on runway! How annoying is this?)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have my masters and still feel totally unemployable after spending the last 16+ years at home with my kids. I have no idea what I’ll do when my nest is empty but I am really hoping for an anonymous cash windfall that will allow me to travel. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You are, as always, hilarious. I love to read whatever you write. You can make more money with your writing. I know it!

    I vote bachelors as well. Just seems to open many more doors and if you are that close and it’s financially feasible… too, I’m living vicariously through you.

    And I love the small house from your other post. YES!!!! I forgot to tell you that.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Writing? Writing!!! What about writing. You are funny. You are clever. What about writing? And until the writing takes off in a big ($$) way, staging. Love the idea of offering staging services to those who can’t afford to pay top dollar. Hey, I will get certified, too, and we can work together until our writing brings in the bucks!

    Liked by 1 person

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