My name is Jennifer Koshak and in the second half of my life, I’ve been learning to take chances, embrace my creativity, and step outside of my comfort zone. My successes (and failures) in those areas have encouraged me to do even more.
In the past 20 years, I quit smoking, started hut hiking in New England, learned to cross-country ski, opened a chocolate shop with my husband, left a 25-year career after they closed my office, and took care of my mother through the end of her life, moved to Orlando, FL without a job, found a job, lived there for 3 years and then moved to Bradenton, FL—now working remotely at the same job.
All of the above were either hard or scary, and yes, some were both. But I want to keep challenging myself and expose myself to new learning opportunities. And that’s what I want to do for other empty-nesters: to show you how to follow your dreams, connect with your creativity, and try new things.
If you don’t think you’re ready for it, I’m here to tell you that you are. Don’t worry, I’m not pushing anyone out of an airplane. There are plenty of ways to start small, feel successful, and then build on those successes. That’s how I do it and how I continue to do it.
From Baby Steps to Big Steps
When I started hiking in my 40s, I didn’t go from my couch (and believe me…there was a couch involved) to hiking Mount Washington, which is the highest mountain in the northeast. Instead, a friend dragged me to a local Connecticut hiking trail, then she dragged me to bigger trails, then I quit smoking and we went hut hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Then we completed a hut hiking trip that included Mount Washington.
All these small steps led to a bigger goal. Sure, a friend had to drag me out there in the first place, but that’s how it sometimes works. Find friends to do new things together. It’ll be more fun that way.
If you need some creative inspiration. Get some hints and tips on how others do it, exercises to try, and even learn how to work around creative blocks, then start here. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some prompts to inspire your creativity, then check out Creativity Prompts. Here you’ll find pictures, quotes, first lines, and even last lines to inspire you.
If you need encouragement to try new things, please read the items in Try Something New. Or, if you want to see how people have started over, try my Starting Over Interviews. You’ll meet different people who’ve all had to transform who they are to accommodate changes in their lives, like a surgeon who started losing her eyesight, or a hairdresser who first became a kayak instructor and then a nurse. You’ll find a former nun, a former prison educator, and a survivor of domestic abuse who is now thriving.
I love Vision Boards, I make them, I use them, and I write about them. If you’re not sure what a Vision Board is or how it can work for you, then please see my recommendations for Vision Board products, including in my own Etsy Store.
I hope my blog posts and interviews will inspire you to embrace change, find the courage to start over either out of necessity or desire and learn how to embrace life with creativity and curiosity.