Meet Susan, our midlife reinvention poster child. How do you say “allllllrighty then!” to midlife curves in the road?
A while back I sent a shout out on our Facebook page to my midlife horse friend, Susan, for following a new dream, a somewhat hair-raising event called Cowboy Mounted Shooting. Barrel Racer Trades Barrels for Balloons: Cowboy Mounted Shooting [HQ]
I bring this up here today because apparently that was only part of Susan’s Midlife Reinvention Story.
I just got back from her wing pinning ceremony and wishing her well as she takes to the friendly skies as a returning member of a group of 46 flight attendants who have been called back to work for American Airlines after an eight an a half year furlough.
She flew for TWA for around 17 years before it was bought by American Airlines, then flew for American for two years before furlough. So boom, one day after nearly 20 years of flying, she’s done for the forseeable future. What did she do?
Taking the midlife threshold at a full gallop, Susan returned to her cowgirl roots by using that check from American Airlines to purchase a new barrel horse, Shawnee, and a snazzy truck and trailer. In addition to returning to barrel racing competition (although maybe not on the level she envisioned – midlife has a way of reshuffling your priorities), she then parlayed her lifelong love and knowledge of horses into become a buyers agent for people looking for a good horse (that’s how I met her), and then she moved on to giving lessons (that’s actually what got me back in the saddle and in the middle of many adventures you’ll read about in The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife Horses) and then, tapping on her own childhood dreams of barrel races, playdays and O Mok See competition, set out to teach aspiring young cowgirls how to ride fast, compete well and develop their own understanding and enjoyment of horses.
Then, over the past several years, she discovered and explored her love for mounted shooting. She trained her own horses, bought a pair of pistols and, starting at the bottom, climbed surely up the ranks to higher and higher levels of competition, culminating in her Level III win at the 2011 Oklahoma State Shoot.
So when the call came from American Airlines advising Susan that she had been recalled, you can imagine the mixture of emotions. She loved flying. She loved travel and interacting with people. But what about her horses? Her students? Her quest for Level VI?
Do what did she do? Did she huddle in her barn and say “no way!” Too Hard I can’t make this adjustment? Nope. Well maybe a little, But in the end, she put on her little suit, went to training and just today, got a shiny new set o f wings pinned to her as she soars into a whole new opportunity for reinventing and revisiting her old dreams of travel and meeting people from all over the world, and renewing friendships with those she flew with 20 years ago.
No she’s not selling her horses. She’s not quitting her shooting. It’s all going to work out somehow, and no, she’s not sure how. But isn’t that the bonus prize of reinventing ourselves with the full knowledge of who we are and what we want means?
Tell us your Reinvention Story! Answer here, post it on our Facebook page or send me an email! How did you negotiate a life curve reinventing yourself or rediscovering and renewing an old dream? Tell us how you found the courage to let go of your comfort zone and say, in the immortal words of comedian Jim Carey as The Mask: “Well allllllllllrighty then! “