Second Act


At a young age she lost her mother.  Her father was left raising four girls on his own.  As the oldest, only 6, she was required to grow up fast and take care of the other girls.  This traumatic event would shape this person’s life for decades to come.  As a young woman, she pushed herself to get almost perfect grades while being a dutiful daughter.  This effort allowed her to graduate near the top of her class and allowed her to attend a high-quality university.

I met her the summer after she graduated college.  Shana and I fell in love, and eventually got married. In this time, my wife’s star was rising.  She worked on a few off off-Broadway plays while we were dating but decided to look elsewhere for long time employment.  It didn’t take her long to get a job a local university as a financial aid administrator.  Shana found a field that interested her.  Her sharp math mind took to the numbers like a fish to water.  It didn’t take long for Shana to move up!

For the next decade or so, Shana worked at various financial aid jobs, always moving up in pay or title.  In that time, she had two wonderful sons.  Then it happened, my wife got a job at the university that I graduated from.  I felt like she had arrived, and the best part is my children could go to a university we could never afford.  For years, she worked, but the dream job stopped being a dream.  Her body was tired and out of shape, and her mind was strained. 

Then it happened, and of course at the worst possible time.  Her job was eliminated, and she was let go. I had my own problems: my hip had been replaced months earlier and the insurance coverage was needed to finish my rehab.  Several days went by in panic and dread, how would we live?  The family melted down and it felt like the end. Little did I know it was just the end of the first act!

The week after Shana lost her job we had a second summer.  For the months of September, October, and several weeks in November, it was warm.  Something happened to us, we played.  It was like camp with my best friend, and we had fun.  Daily yoga, tennis, and even swimming at a friend’s pool.  We had BBQs and date days; it was like we were dating again.  The greatest change came in Shana’s attitude.  She hunted for a job with passion and diligence, but she stopped taking it personally.  Boy, did it work!  First interviews, so many interviews. Every person who saw her resume needed to get her in for an interview.

Then came the job offers.  The neediest people first.  For the first time in her life, Shana had her choice of many jobs, and this allowed her to find the job she really wanted.  At first, the new job required new things from her, now she took the train instead of driving, and there was a moderate walk to her office. The weather was cold, and other things started bothering her.  Somehow she had slipped into the unhappy employee from her last job.

The change happened without a bang or a splash, it happened with one smile at a time.  Shana started loving her job.  She loved the famous glass building she worked in.  Brooklyn now was a welcome place and she enjoyed walking it’s charming streets.  Exercise became fun and meaningful and her tired body filled with life and energy.  Shana had entered a new phase, with a new attitude and focus. 

Things that Shana does now to be SUCCESSFUL everyday:

1.        8 hours of sleep every night!

2.       Keep a healthy diet.

3.       Set an alarm and get up!  Be ready for success.

4.       Take responsibility for your family and be sure they are ready to succeed every day!

5.       Keep a budget, calendar, and a daily “To Do” list.

6.       Attack your job with passion and energy.

Make the beginning of 2019 the beginning of your Second Act.