Failure + Girlfriends = New Directions at Age 66

Valentine's Day Brings New Beginnings

Feb 14, 2012 by

The meme of our time is failure.  In fact, the folks at the HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW are all worried about Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership at Facebook since he hasn’t as yet failed and therefore not proved he has what it takes to come back

Well, I got really lucky there.  In 2003, I lost it all, ranging from my executive communications boutique to my mind.  Nine years later, sure, I agree it was the best thing that happened to me.

At the very least the fear of failure is gone.  That in itself breaks us open to using our talent instead of blindly following some rules we grabbed onto chasing success.  And that in itself is a lot.

But it wasn’t enough to help me move out of hiding out inside myself.  The missing piece was the trust to make – or more accurately try to – make a life on planet earth.  The models I had been presented with hadn’t been so hot.  My family was nutty, most of members checking out through passive suicide.  The Catholic Church had all the answers and that I sensed wasn’t the way to find a place for myself and peace of mind.  Professional relationships – given the Darwinian competition since 9/11 – are alliances and that might be an overstatement.

Then last Valentine’s Day I was inducted into All The Single Girlfriends.  Virtually, the encounters within this community were the sleepovers I never had attended. My family wouldn’t allow us to go into the world.  You bet, it was a closed system. I stayed intact, until ATSG.

In All The Single Girlfriends, I got to observe, talk with, listen to, and receive feedback from other human beings who I shared something significant with: we are single and female.  That was both, at least as I saw it, our common curse and opportunity.  I loosened up.  That’s because the deep shame about – horror – being single vanished.  I had come of age before the women’s movement so marriage was a must-do.  Don’t get that right and you’re out of the game.   I sat it out turned completely inward.

Little by little, throughout this year, I came to accept myself.  That was a prerequisite to reading “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach.  At that point, I could park myself on the couch and do the meditation exercise provided in “Radical Acceptance” to forgive myself and everyone else.

Yeah, one thing leads to another.  At age 66, I know that I am just getting started in my new career as a financial writer.  To my surprise I am a contract blogger for financial information powerhouse Motley Fool.  Investors around the world read my opinings about the health or tragic flaws of companies.

In the other parts of my life I am not chasing anything – not people, places, or things.  That lack of emotional desperation tends to bring good stuff towards us.  No longer with a chip on my shoulder I am treating a girlfriend in my complex to dinner and a movie tomorrow night.  No, it’s not a date. It’s a human response to months of kindness by her.

In addition, I have plans.  When telecommunications is totally standard in my line of work, I want to relocate to Ecuador return to Barcelona, Spain where I had worked in the 1970s.

Can we in ATSG bring what we have learned to others?  That might be our mission this second year.  We fixed each other.  It’s right out of “Seabiscuit.”  Now we might reach beyond our circle.  A lot of things in the world need fixing.

About the Author

Jane Genova Has Written 24 Articles For Us!

I’m a coach, book author, and lecturer on careers, specializing in transitions. When I was 58, I restarted my professional life. That was in 2003. Since then I have I have muted into one of those renaissance folks who keeps multiple lines of work going. My latest book Over-50: How We Keep Working has helped thousands of people realize that exciting careers don’t depend on your age. I write four blogs: Jane Genova, Law and More, Career Transitions, Over-50.
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  1. ATSG is a multi-purpose tool. Every single woman over-40 should learn to use it.

  2. Jane, thank you so much for sharing your story. You inspire. And you touched my heart when with your kind words about All The Single Girlfriends. Looking forward to more virtual “sleep overs.”

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