Where Should I Start?

A woman seeks advice about how to get her life back on track.

Your Career Coach

Where to Start?

Dear Michele,

I’m stuck. It’s that simple. My life has hit a dead end. Five years ago I got back with my husband after we’d been estranged for two years. During the time we were apart I maintained a weight loss of 100 pounds, had a full-time job for the first time, my own apartment and my own money.

When we got back together I gave up the job to take care of our kids, and since then I’ve managed to gain back over 50 percent of what I lost. I did wind up going back to school and getting my Associate’s degree with honors, but I feel like that’s my only accomplishment. I homeschool my kids, so my career options are limited until my youngest, who is nine, is out of school or at least in high school. Funds are severely limited now, as with everyone else, so going back to school is not an option right now.

I need to lose weight, need to find something for ME, but I have no clue where to start. I love to write, love to create, love to travel but have no idea how to put those to good use in a very small town in Ohio. This can’t be a dead end – I’m only 38!!!

— Aaaack

Dear Aaaack,

OK, I’m going to play it straight. Your life worked when you and your husband were estranged. You lost weight, had a job, an apartment and money. Now, you’re back with your husband and you’re gaining weight, homeschooling kids and have no money. Huh. See a pattern emerging? I sure do. Hey, I’m a huge advocate for marriage — so don’t get me wrong here.

But why couldn’t you come back into the marriage the same person you were when you were away from it? And, by the way, who schooled the kids while you held a full-time job? Can you go back to that arrangement? I’m going to give you some homework: Make a list of words that describe the way you were when you were estranged — and then see if you can start to get any of those words back into your life. Remember, even small steps are important to recapture the you that you were when your life worked.

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