It’s time for another of our Second Acts – our new strand for anyone (like me) who’s starting on a new path in life!
I posted my story last week and I really appreciate all your supportive comments and feedback. Change can be hard. But I know that together we’ll all find our own way.
As I mentioned I want this strand to be interactive and to hear the stories behind your own Second Acts. So if you’d like to take part in this feature just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org marking your email Second Acts and my team will send you the questions…
Today’s piece come Kimberly Sims – here’s how she found her new path in life… thanks Kim!
What is your Second Act?
My second act is regrouping after devastating loss, being able to move forward and knowing that everything will be ok. I am no longer a victim of circumstance, but a strong person and able to do almost anything.
When did you realize you needed a change of career or lifestyle?
There were two events in my life that forced me to change. My mother passed away in December 2009, and unfortunately at the time of her death we had not spoken in years. I had a way of compartmentalizing things that were too painful or too tiresome to deal with. I would push them further and further into the recesses of my heart and mind until I rarely thought about them anymore. And my mother was one of those things. I had been hoping and praying that the relationship with my mother would improve, but I did not put action behind it and then one day it was just too late to do anything. No one really understood the level of my grief or my guilt, so no one could help. I grieved in shifts, I am not one to cry in front of people and I tried not to cry in front of my children because I needed them to know that I was okay.
In August, I was laid off from a job that I liked but was no longer challenging to me; I felt that I did not “fit” there anymore. I had defined myself by my job and now that was gone. And to some extent, work forced me to be okay; I mean I could not sit at my desk and cry all day. I had tons of relationships that were tied to my job and the weekend after my company made the layoff announcement, I spent the weekend consoling colleagues about the loss of MY job. On the one hand, I thought “wow, I did not know I had this many people in my corner,” and on the other hand I thought, “could the announcement have been made before the weekend?” I was laid off that Monday.
What was your breaking point?
I think my breaking point was the dog, as silly as it may seem. He had gotten out so many times that I had developed personal relationships with the staff at the animal shelter. I had to make the decision to turn him over. I was so upset and crying the staff did not know what to do. I was upset that I was so upset and breaking down in the lobby of the animal shelter. The dog represented more loss and I wondered, “this has to be it, I cannot lose anything else.”
How did you make the change?
Jeremiah 29:11 became my mantra. I prayed, I saw a therapist and I took inventory. I overcommitted myself to fill empty time. I had to reevaluate the way I dealt with painful situations, no longer could I hold on to anger. I had to get a voice back that I had lost a long time ago and I had to start believing in myself again. I began to look at other women who had been through trying situations and made it out in one piece, even stronger and better. I looked at Rene a rising star at CBS, who was let go from her job just before she had elective surgery due to her family history of breast cancer. I thought if Rene can go through all of this and regroup, rebrand AND find success, so can I. What she went through was far worse than what I went through.
I had a lot of contacts and many people knew the quality of my work so I made plans to start my own business. My good friend, Scarlette was my best cheerleader. We talked through concepts and processes, she helped me to put together a web site, and she helped me to move forward.
In November, I received an email from a colleague about an open position in Fort Worth. I live in Dallas and have never been more than 15 or 20 minutes from work so this would be a change. But, what did I have to lose? I went through a series of interviews and was offered the position! I absolutely love it!
Was it scary?
Yes, it was very scary. Change is always hard, especially when it’s unexpected and unwanted. Here I was working to change a thought process that I had for many years; reevaluating my life, my values and priorities AND embarking on a new career path in a city where I did not know a lot of people. It was like starting over.
What was the toughest part of your Second Act?
Learning to forgive others and especially myself, learning to rebalance work and life, and learning to let go and let God were the hardest things. I liked being in control, knowing what’s going on and having a routine that I could depend on. But sometimes you just have to go with it and figure out the details later. Getting my sense of self worth back.
What did you learn in the process?
I learned to lean on my faith and trust in God more. I spent a lot of time praying for change in myself and for the walls that I had built to be torn down. I learned that it is okay to cry in front of others; that I don’t have to be strong all the time. I learned that I have more friends than I ever thought that I had and I learned to believe in myself again.
Are you happier now than you were in your previous life?
I think I am happier. I am beginning to have closure regarding my mother’s death. I have a new job that I absolutely love, that honors the work-life balance and allows me to be engaged and think again. My relationships are changing for the better. I am finding my voice again and learning to set boundaries.
What’s the best part about your Second Act?
The best part is knowing that at the end of the day, everything will work out the way that it is supposed to. There is no reason to worry about things YOU cannot change. As long as I am doing the right thing, everything else will fall into place.
What would be your advice to anyone looking to make a major life change?
Get out of the fetal position. Pray, hold on tight and exhale. Change is hard, it takes time, and it starts with you. Sometimes we have to go through uninitiated change to shake things up; to actually know who we are, who we want to be and to be present in our lives. If you really want to change, understand why the change is needed and what steps you will need to take. Pray some more, ask for wisdom, understanding, and discernment.
What are your dreams and hopes for the future?
My hopes and dreams for the future include finally moving past my mother’s death, to own my own business, be the best mom and person that I can be and to live life without apology or regret. To live!
Kimberly Sims resides in Texas and is the proud mother of two. She has worked in marketing and communications for more than 10 years and is passionate about the arts and education. Kimberly is an avid reader, loves to write and is a member of DARTAGWHP.