More than 10 years ago, I was living in Africa (Lagos, Nigeria, to be exact). My life was pretty much a shambles, but I refused to return to the U.S.
The reason I didn’t want to come back was because I could not for the life of me figure out what had happened. My husband of 22 years had left without warning. The company I was working my heart out for suddenly dumped me. I found myself in a foreign country (and a difficult one) with no job, no home, no husband, and the most incredible part about all of it—to me—was that I genuinely did not see any of it coming.
One day I came in from my run. I was living in yet another temporary apartment that I would have to vacate soon. I was doing freelance work to make enough money to get by (although I didn’t need a lot) and, on this day, I came in still covered in sweat and sat down at my computer.
I typed: People ask me what Lagos is like. I never tell them. It’s easier that way.
Then I proceeded to tell myself (and these imaginary people) what Lagos was really like. I didn’t write the cheery explanations and rationalizations I’d been giving my family and friends (and myself). Instead, I wrote the truth about how afraid and lost I really was at middle-age without a husband or a home or a job and with no idea at all what would happen next.
I don’t know where that writing came from. I’d never done anything like it before. But sitting in my running clothes, about 12 years ago, writing answers for myself, for others, I began something that continues to this day. Those words eventually became a book and this week that memoir—Blue Yarn—has been released.
So, yeah, this is a plug for my book.
But this is also a plug for anyone reading this who might be thinking of trying something new—something scary, something you might not even fully understand.
My sister’s husband is 60 years old and he is starting seminary next month. I could not be more proud of him. He is starting over at an age when conventional wisdom says it is too late—just as I began writing too late.
This is a plug for new beginnings that happen late.
Whether it is upending our lives or just adding some new thing to an otherwise good life, change keeps us alive. Change allows us to direct the course of the second half (or third) of our life in a way that makes meaning of our time. This is a plug for finding meaning—by whatever means, through whatever change is required.
This is an unabashed plug for that crazy idea that gets hidden away, that yen to do something that isn’t particularly logical, that desire to try something new—at an age when everyone will assure you it doesn’t make sense.
This is a plug for doing it anyway.
Or, at least, giving it a try. Entertain the idea. Invite the idea in for coffee and have a long chat. See what the idea has to say and what it would be like if it became part of your life. These changes are scary and they’re usually not easy. But we make them because whatever we have been doing just isn’t enough anymore. We make them knowing people will say we are being foolish or self-deluded. It is humbling. It is frightening.
It is worth it.
Till next time,
Carrie

Carrie Classon is a freelance writer and author and lives in New Mexico. Her columns appear each Wednesday.