How I Made a Mid-Life Career Switch and Lived Happily Ever After

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Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

Given a choice between spending time with a kid or a grownup, I’ll take the child every time. Children are more interesting than adults. They’ll tell you exactly what they’re thinking. The world still fascinates them; it’s still full of magic. And children are full of surprises. You never know what a 3-year-old will say next.

When my own son was born, 32 years ago, I left the practice of law to stay home with him. Although trading legal briefs for bath toys wouldn’t work for every 34-year-old professional, I was exactly where I wanted to be.

On the floor, singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” to my kid. …

The Reason Will Probably Surprise You

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Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

I am writer, so of course I have a mailing list. There are 300 people to whom I send out links to newly published work in the form of a newsletter.

I’m not particularly aggressive about begging readers to add their names to my mailing list. I don’t want anybody to get my newsletter who doesn’t actually welcome seeing it turn up in their In Box. I prune my list often to keep it current, and from time to time I offer readers a chance to jump back off.

The Benefits of Mailchimp

For years, I used Mailchimp. You compose your email, and with one key stroke it goes out to every email address you’ve loaded onto the site. …

Four Years After I Caught Him Cheating and Threw Him Out

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Photo by Esther Ann on Unsplash

It’s been four years since I discovered that the man I’d loved and trusted for twenty years had a secret girlfriend for over a decade. When I stumbled upon the evidence that Mike was in love with Maggie, he insisted that the affair was my fault.

He had turned to Maggie, he explained, because I had refused to marry him.

Mike was a man with no work ethic who couldn’t hold down a job. He was also a smoker with no health insurance. Because I loved him, I learned to accept these things in order to be with him. …

Who Belongs at the Library?

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Photo by Lachlan on Unsplash

For as long as I worked at my small suburban library, the man in the yellow van was a regular, and for just as long, library patrons complained about him. Over the years, a steady stream of folks came up to the circulation desk to kvetch about the guy.


Every morning, Sam parked his battered van in our parking lot, then spent the rest of the day between the van and the library. …

I Know I Did

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Photo by Chermiti Mohamed on Unsplash

Thewriteyard just wrote an essay about all the names she’s been called in her life. When she was a teenager, she tells us, she disliked her name. So she decided to do something about it:

As a teenager, I hated my name. Why on earth did they call me Carol when I wasn’t born anytime near Christmas? I have no idea why my parents chose that name. I don’t know of any other Carols in the family. So I started spelling it Karrell.

She describes this as a rare “teenage act of insurrection.” Otherwise, she says, “I was generally very well behaved.” …

This One Wasn’t

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Photo by Linda Mynhardt on Unsplash

In my two years on Medium, what I’ve learned is that the posts that get the most readers and earn the most money are the ones that are curated.

Except for this one:

This essay has earned a whopping $567 since it went up last month. (My average take per post is usually closer to $12.)

How did this happen? How can I make it happen again? More important, how can you make it happen for you?

Here’s my best guess about the factors behind the success of He Said He Was Single, in decreasing order of importance:

(l) Although it wasn’t curated, it appeared in P S I Love You, a publication with 266,000 followers. Not every one of those 266,000 readers saw my essay. But thousands more did than if I’d published it on my own. …

Read Joyce Wadler’s “Cured.”

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When reporter Joyce Wadler was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in 1995, friends recommended that she read comedian Gilda Radner’s book about her experience with the disease. It would be “inspirational,” they enthused.

The problem? Radner had died of ovarian cancer.


Maybe not so much.

Wadler’s cancer, in contrast, was cured. She’s been cancer free for 25 years. In 1997, she wrote a cover story about her “ovarian adventure” for New York Magazine, which, in 2013, she expanded into a book, Cured: My Ovarian Cancer Story, with updates that include Wadler’s advice for anyone who receives a similar diagnosis, plus links to organizations where a new patient can find information and support. …

The World is Getting Better

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Photo by 🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

I was born in the 1950s, when gender roles were rigidly enforced. If you were a girl, you wore a dress and played with dolls. Your color was pink. If you were a boy, you wore pants and played with trucks. Your color was blue.

If you resisted these ground rules, you were in for plenty of trouble.

Six decades later, I baby sit for a two-year-old boy who loves the color pink. Too young to know about its role as a gender marker, he’s just drawn to the color. He likes to wear pink clothing and to color with the pink crayon. …

And Does That Matter?

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

At 66, I am in a high risk category for getting COVID.

Still, when I learned that the CDC had determined that a bunch of folks deserved to get vaccinated before I did, I agreed with their decision.

Doctors. Nurses. Teachers. People in nursing homes. People in prisons. Anyone who works with the public.

I lost my library job because I refused to work with the public during the pandemic. Instead? I’ve stayed safe and stayed home. I only leave my house for a daily (outdoor, socially distanced) visit with my sister, and dental emergencies.

My rule of thumb for surviving the pandemic? I don’t go into buildings. Stores. Supermarkets. The bank. My favorite local restaurants. …

Can We Please Not Talk About Bridgerton?

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At a recent (socially-distanced outdoor) gathering, I was seated near a woman in her 70s, who, my hostess had told me, ran a successful business, was involved in both her church and in local politics, and had enjoyed a long and happy marriage.

I was looking forward to hearing about her life, perhaps even receiving some accumulated wisdom. I’m in my 60s, and I figured I need all the help I can get to navigate the next decade. Plus, as a writer, I’m fascinated by life stories.

But all she wanted to talk about was “Bridgerton.”

“Bridgerton” in case you’ve been living under a rock, is a Netflix TV series about a wealthy family in a fantasy version of Regency London. The focus of the first season is on the courtship between Daphne Bridgerton and the (very hot, very sexy) Duke of Hastings. …


Roz Warren

Writing Coach/Medium Sherpa Roz Warren( ( writes for everyone from the New York Times to the Funny Times.

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