will reinvention be part of your year?…

by Sharon Santoni

pink blush dahlias

If you have been reading me  for any time at all you will know how much I love a tale of reinvention.

A chance for reinvention can come around for many different reasons:  moving house;  losing a job; a change in family circumstances;  or simply because like me the nest empties out and there is more time available to pursue other interests.

I think we may be the first generation to have so many possibilities laid out before us, so many avenues to explore, such exciting tools available for free.

dahlias and autumn apples

I have reinvented myself twice.  Once when as a young girl I left home and moved to France, leaving behind my family, my friends and any contacts that could kickstart a career.  That was a challenge, and most certainly shaped my life in a way that staying at home in England would never have done.

My second reinvention came when I started this blog.     Starting the blog was a big deal for me, even though as I hit the publish button for the first time, I honestly had no idea of where it would take me, or just how many doors the blog would open for me.

My motivation was simple enough.    Our four children were growing up fast, and I could see that within a few years my role as a hands-on Mom would  no longer be required.    The youngest of my four was 13 at the time, and the eldest was 20, and already a long way from home at college.

cafe au lait dahlias

When you’ve been a hands-on mom for as long as I had, there is no denying that you are very cut off from the traditional workplace.   The idea of applying for a job is pretty scary, and uncomfortable.    As a full time home-maker I had always kept myself busy, but I worked to my own schedule, my own hours, my own rules.   I wasn’t ready to take on  a job that would require me to fit into someone else’s office hours.

The need to reinvent myself was urgent  and  I knew  that I had to find a way to be creative every day.

When a girlfriend sent me the link to her ‘blog’, I clicked and checked it out.    I had never visited  a blog before, and I was amazed by what I saw.   She wrote beautifully, and she had a blogroll recommending all sorts of other blogs written by lively, creative  women all over the world.  Some made me laugh, some made me cry, some were instructive, others all about beautiful photography or amazing flowers.  I was immediately hooked.  I felt as if the doors had been opened onto a huge and fun party, and if I wanted to, I was allowed to walk inside and join in.

I took the plunge seven years ago.    For the first two and a half years I published a blogpost every. single. day.  !   I still don’t know how I did that, but I guess I was enjoying myself, and eager to progress.

Did I  put myself outside my comfort zone?   Yes definitely, and also ran the risk of  appearing ridiculous, or of never having a single reader, but I worked hard to understand what people liked and to adapt , and I loved the learning process, and the fact that the internet felt like an exciting and ever changing playing field.   By pushing open doors, and exploring new territory I discovered just how much I love to create and also communicate.  Through photos, through flowers, through my tales of French life – sharing is so much fun!

I’m not saying that my reinvention path is right for everyone, nor that I’m an example to be followed.    But I’ve noticed how one person’s tale of a new life direction can sometimes inspire someone elses, and I wondered if you have a story or a question that you’d like to share in the comments below here.

dahlias in earthenware jug

all photos available in our print store

62 comments

Colette January 11, 2017 - 8:01 pm

I feel that I am now at a cross road in my life at 67 years of age. Your blog is an inspiration to me. I know the decision is mine and one thing I know for sure is that I do not belong in the U.S. I belong in Europe. All I need now is to make the decision.

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Sarah January 11, 2017 - 8:19 pm

Go for it, no time like the present.

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Sharon Santoni January 11, 2017 - 11:05 pm

That sounds like an interesting path to explore Colette, take care and enjoy

x

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donna lemnouni January 11, 2017 - 11:51 pm

Really look forward to reading your blog, thank you for taking time to brighten and inform. Happy New Year 2017!

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Barbara Novello January 11, 2017 - 8:18 pm

I love your blog and I am going to make 2017 the best yet. I will be turning 70 but I look like 50 and I act like 35! I am beyond grateful for the life I have so I am going to ride my bike more often and get out and walk more often as well. And finally, enjoy all the people around me and continue to be grateful. All the best to you!

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Sharon Santoni January 11, 2017 - 11:07 pm

I love your energy and your confidence Barbara …. “continue to be grateful” sounds like a great mantra for happy living

xx

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Cindy January 11, 2017 - 8:49 pm

While I am thankful for my health and mind, I wish I could reinvent myself and live the life that I know is right for me. Unfortunately my financial status will not allow that. I can only dream through your blog.

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Sharon Santoni January 11, 2017 - 11:09 pm

Not all our dreams and ideas need to cost something Cindy, except for our time.
When I started my blog on blogspot, the first couple of years (working on an old steam-driven computer) cost me nothing at all, except perhaps for a lack of sleep 🙂
I hope you find a way to discover your next step

x

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Julie Bresette January 11, 2017 - 8:54 pm

I am so thankful that I searched for “French Country blogs” on google and found you. You have been an inspiration. I find myself in the same position that you were in 7 years ago. I am and have been a full time mom for over 15 years now. I’m looking for my niche and am sure I will find it eventually. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy all that your blog has to offer. Thank you!

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Sharon Santoni January 11, 2017 - 11:10 pm

Thank you Julie for such a lovely message, I am flattered that you enjoy this blog

Have fun working out your niche 🙂

x

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Our French Oasis January 11, 2017 - 9:02 pm

Like you Sharon, I was and still am a full time Mum, to five children, 5 children in 10 years, my life was all about them and I have loved and still love every second of it. But when our eldest left for University and the youngest was then 8 I found I had a little bit of free time, not much but a few hours. It coincided with our move to SW France and I decided to start my blog. It takes me hours and hours every week, more than anyone probably realizes, but the truth is I love it. I find I often have to juggle family and the blog, there are never enough hours in the day but the children are so supportive. That was two years ago, the youngest is now 10. I remember when I started, the shock on their faces, “we didn’t know you could write” they said! My London executive days were before they were born! So I write for all my readers and I write for my children because I cannot thank them enough for all their constant encouragement. But as you know I also have to say a huge thank you to you for all the help you have given me when I was starting out in blogland. Merci mille fois, bisous

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Botanic Bleu January 12, 2017 - 1:04 am

Susan and Sharon,
Sharon’s blog was one of the first I found around 2011 after I retired and used the Internet for pleasure instead of work. Blogs were a whole new world to me. This past year I discovered Susan’s blog, probably through MFCH. Blogrolls were how I found new blogs, and I am thankful to bloggers who continue to devote some of their prime sidebar real estate to listing other blogs. Thank you, Sharon, for listing Bookmarks on your new blog layout, and a huge thank you for including Botanic Bleu in the Bookmarks. Both of you inspire me to write more elegantly.
Judith

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Tracy January 11, 2017 - 9:12 pm

I seem to reinvent myself in some way every decade, and having recently turned fifty I have done so again. This time with a new life in France; as a writer having published my first short stories, and through creative expression in the renovation of an old house, and learning new arts and crafts. Your story inspired me, and no, of course, it is not always easy but it’s a wonderful adventure.

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tania January 11, 2017 - 9:13 pm

Hi Sharon
I just recently started following your blog. I love it…I too would like to re-invent myself. I’m just trying to find what secret magic I have inside of myself to do just that!

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Jeanine January 11, 2017 - 9:29 pm

Hello Sharon,
I found your blog from Tish Jett’s blog. I also have your beautiful book that is sitting in front of me as I write. I find your photos breathtakingly beautiful, especially the flowers!!!! I love your videos and I thank you for the investment you have made to others’ like me who want a life with more quality verses quantity. I too am working out a plan for 2017 with intention to live my life in extraordinary ways, while simplifying along the way. I am going to be 60 this year and I believe the time is right to bring into focus what matters (relationships , health, etc.). I look forward to reading your blog and I hope to be able to sign up for one of those gift boxes in the more nearer future. They sound wonderfully exciting!

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Ciel January 11, 2017 - 9:37 pm

I can certainly empathize with your story because I was a full time mom to 4 for 31 years. But since they have flown the nest and I now have 3 grandsons, I find that I am still very involved and busy either visiting them, preparing to visit them, or recovering from visiting them! With the weeks inbetween I must busy myself with creativity in my Etsy shop, in the garden or in the kitchen. It is food for my soul!

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Vicky from Athens January 11, 2017 - 9:57 pm

Sharon – I think that I will never reinvent myself but in taking the plunge in to a new adventure from time to time I add a new dimension to the layers of my life. I discover a new avenue to explore or a new door to open. I applaude those who, when given the opportunity to reinvent themselves, take it and run with it!

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Barbara Thompson January 11, 2017 - 10:06 pm

My husband was bedridden for years and passed away this past year. I am 82, and don’t know what I could do, but life goes on and I enjoy your blog and others very much. Your photography is special. Any positive comments from you or elderly readers of the blog would be appreciated.

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Virginia Koffke January 11, 2017 - 10:44 pm

Hi Barbara, I think the internet lacks elderly people with life experience expressing it and writing about it. Maybe you could take the plunge and write a bit about your life, you could be surprised by the support you will receive. Virginia

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Dawn Johnson January 11, 2017 - 11:42 pm

I agree the internet does lack people your age because most of them are afraid of using a computer so you are steps ahead. You would be such an inspiration to others to try something new and find that it’s not hard.

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Nancy January 12, 2017 - 1:50 am

Adding another vote of support to encourage you to consider blogging.

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Sabrina Durkee January 12, 2017 - 3:21 am

I’m adding my vote in as well. I’m young enough to be your granddaughter, but as a history lover and caretaker myself (for my wonderful Gram) I already find your perspective interesting. One thing I’ve learned over the last 9-10 years of caring for my gram (and grandfather until he passed 4 years ago) is that you have to feed your soul. I don’t mean faith, though that’s vital too. What I mean is that you have to take time to “indulge” yourself in whatever activity makes you happy. Whatever it is that you can get lost in, lose track of time, forget the world in for a bit. It felt selfish to me at first, still does at times, but it’s vital to keeping my tank full. You can’t pour from an empty pitcher, so to speak. Oh, and my outlet? I’m the costumer for a local high school’s drama program. (I’m also rather long winded, sorry)

Sharon Santoni January 11, 2017 - 11:13 pm

Hi Barbara, I totally agree with Virginia’s comment; it would be wonderful to have more ‘older’ voices on the internet, you have so much to share.

One of my daugters is home right now, and has spent some time going through old photo albums assembled by her great grandmother, and reading her diaries and letters. She is enthralled by this insight into another era ….. I’m sure that you would have readers too

best wishes

Sharon

x

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Vicky January 11, 2017 - 11:54 pm

Hi Barbara – this is just a suggestion and it may be something you’ve already explored … if you aren’t already in to Ancestry.com I highly recommend getting in touch with your roots and your ancestors. It will open some doors and new interests for you as it did for me. It even led me to visit the small commune in SW France, home to my French ancestors.

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Denise Weninger January 12, 2017 - 2:29 am

I totally agree with everyone’s reply to you! Everyone has a story to tell and we would love to hear yours. You will have much wisdom to pass along to all of us. I’m also quite sure that, like most of us, you feel much younger than your age!

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Stephanie Guillory January 11, 2017 - 10:16 pm

I, too have reinvented myself several times. As a full time and Mom I was also a CPA and worked when I could. Later, as the nest emptied, I earned my Masters Degree and began teaching college courses. That was 12 years ago. Time to move forward. I have learned that I love to write. Maybe I’ll do that! Wish me Luck!

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Linda Mahkovec January 11, 2017 - 10:28 pm

Dear Sharon,
I love your thoughts on reinvention and feel absolutely inspired. I’ll be starting a blog on my webpage this year and I have all the same trepidation you once felt. But, like you, I’ll start small and take one step at a time – and write about what I love. I think that is your secret!
Linda

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Bronwyn Lee-Coward January 11, 2017 - 10:54 pm

I am new to your blog and it is the only blog that I access. I am also at the cross roads turning 65 in May. We have just bought a house in the Blue Mountains that is a region an hour from Sydney NSW. It has the most stunning cold climate garden and I am looking forward to being up there out of the humidity and chaos of city life. We travel extensively as we have both worked in the travel industry and the Northern Hemisphere has always been a priority, especially France. So in 2017 whilst I tend to my new garden I will contemplate what happens now the garden is dictating to me what happens next. Do I share the garden with others or do I keep it to myself? If I share it I would like to raise money for Breast Cancer research, that I think would be a good thing as have lost a friend recently to it. I will take my inspiration from you Sharon as you have so much style and experience.

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Marian from England January 29, 2017 - 7:47 pm

Hi Bronwyn. You may like to take a look at My Mountain Cottage – a lady who uses Instagram to show and talk about her life in the Blue Mountains! She may even be a neighbour to you! If there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting out reading Sharon’s blog, it’s that women all over the world love to hear about other women in other places. Some will never visit each other’s countries and so sharing your lives on a blog is a fantastic learning opportunity. I want to start a blog, my problem is, despite what I’ve just said, I can’t believe anyone would want to hear about my little life here in England!! Never seems as romantic as France or Australia! Good luck.

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Sheila in SF January 11, 2017 - 11:01 pm

A comment above said something very relevent for many. For various reason, we cannot reinvent ourselves, health, finances, etc. but through blogs like yours we are able to dream. Iam glad you write this blog because its a joy for many of us. And you inspire us to take a chance and enjoy the beauty in life by doing what we can to make life interesting and rewarding..
Gracias.

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Karen Cunningham January 11, 2017 - 11:09 pm

For 20 years I was a legal secretary often times a single mom supporting my two daughters. One day I was laid off and married at the time, so I had the opportunity to finally do what I always wanted to do – be an interior designer! It was scary, but I put one foot in front of the other and within a few years, built up a very good clientele. I took care of my parents during that time period and when they passed away, I realized it was time for another challenge – I opened my first store! Another dream of mine. It’s been almost 3 years now that I’ve owned a retail store front – my design business has grown tremendously and my daughter just came to work for me full time this year! If I hadn’t of taken that first step and pushed myself, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And most excitedly, I’m also able to join Sharon on one of her Brocant tours this year in Normandy!!! Another one of my dreams that will come true later this year! Thank you for your blog, Sharon, and for your inspiration! I look forward to meeting you soon.

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AnneHH January 11, 2017 - 11:28 pm

Like others of your readers, Sharon, your question is very well timed for me as I turn 60 this year. I am starting on my 4th reinvention after, first, a career as an attorney in Washington DC, then as a full time mom, then as my 3 kids grew up I started as an interior design consultant. I have retired from that and am eager to see what is next. My plan is to live with my husband for periods in Europe and take classes in needlework, cooking, watercolor and the like but also to spend a lot of time in the US with our adult children. My dream is to still to be determined…

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Josephine January 12, 2017 - 12:22 am

Sharon, you have hit a cord that so many have related to viewing from the responses. Like you I have four grown children and would like to see them often, though jobs take them to far away lands. I reinvent myself often by acquiring different skills and sharing with others. This year I will be acquiring animals, (small farm), gardening and basically getting back to the basics, when most of us fed ourselves, and where more self sufficient. Am grateful for this opportunity and I wish you the best this year.

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Jennifer LIvely January 12, 2017 - 12:27 am

I too am fairly new to your blog and enjoy your examination of reinvention in its many forms. Like you I took up blogging a year and a half ago, just before my youngest daughter flew the nest, and am enjoying the whole process. There was a steep learning curve at first, especially in helping design my website. Now that it’s up and running I feel nothing but pride in my recent accomplishments

You have a wonderful command of the written English language, so it’s always a delight to read your newest posts. I’m also madly in love with your two dogs!! Glad to learn that they have their own Instagram page!

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Barbara Thompson January 12, 2017 - 12:42 am

Virginia, Sharon, Dawn, Vicky, thank you so much for your thoughts! They all have merit. My problem is that I most like to make things with my hands, and am basically not at all outgoing. Yet I have an inherited tremor that makes the kind of needlework I once enjoyed almost impossible. To reach out to people would be a totally new concept, and would have been really difficult even when I was young. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

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Caroline January 12, 2017 - 12:55 am

I would like to share parts of an article I recently read in VICTORIA magazine. It is entitled ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER PLAY by Phyllis Theroux. “…as the room gradually lightens like an empty stage set before my eyes, I am aware that another day, another play in which I will be responsible for writing the script developing the main character, and managing the props, is about to begin. That script, which once revolved around raising children, now turns upon my own life, which is no longer externally directed by the exigencies of parenthood. What I wonder, was I supposed to do with my life? Where, and with whom, was I supposed to go?” She goes on to say that the burden of creating each day from scratch falls more heavily upon those who are not directly responsible for anybody but themselves. She feels it is time to strip down but she is not quite ready for the gypsy’s life. She is, however, attempting to let go of everything that, in scriptwriter’s parlance, is not usable or important to the plot. Whenever possible she tries not to complicate it with people or projects that throw her too far off the point. I, personally, have found Ms. Theroux’s comments very thought-provoking and have changed how I see each day, and the future.

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Taste of France January 12, 2017 - 10:26 am

Thank you for this post. I hadn’t thought about it this way before. I now realized I reinvented myself at 25, joining the Peace Corps and going to Africa. I wanted to see the world but had no money and was painfully shy. The experience gave me confidence and I did get to go around the world. Now I’m in France, the fourth country I’ve lived in. And reinvention is coming this year, as we embark on a business in tourism.
I enjoy your posts–no, I relish them. Thank you for sharing your thoughtful observations.

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Barbara Bliss Thompson January 12, 2017 - 2:30 pm

This is timely as I find myself at a crossroads as well.
After nearly 17 years as an ornamental landscape gardener- whose body is starting to wear out- I am looking for a way to redirect all the knowledge I have gained. Maybe a “how to”- or trouble shooting blog?
Definitely keeping me up at night!

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Nancy Schlossbach January 12, 2017 - 3:04 pm

I was a college,professor, teaching nursing, until I retired in 2013. Two years later, my husband and I took a chance and bought a second home on our “dream island” in the Golden Isles off the coast of Georgia, USA. Deep breath. The island is special, a place full of inspiration and creative urges. I found the courage to pursue my lifelong desire to paint, took some lessons, and have not looked back. I do not know how I ever lived without painting. Reinvention took some effort. There were lessons and overcoming my fear of the unknown. I was stepping out of my comfort zone and into a previously only imagined space. Scary. Now small shops and galleries sell my paintings and while this is validating it is not essential. I paint because I have to, want to, love to paint. I post my creations on Instagram at ssipaints to share them with anyone interested in looking at them.

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Bronwyn Lee-Coward Sydney NSW Australia January 13, 2017 - 11:18 am

Hi Nancy, just saw some of your art work and it is really fantastic. You have achieved the impossible and that is to paint glass. I love your work. Kind regards Bronwyn.

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Nancy Schlossbach January 13, 2017 - 2:44 pm

Thank you, Bronwyn! Your kind words mean so much to me. We are in the midst of another “re-location” on our beloved island; so my painting has slowed down for a bit. However, as soon as we are settled in I will have an actual dedicated space to paint (dare I say studio?) and that is exactly what I plan to do.

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Bronwyn Lee-Coward Sydney NSW Australia January 13, 2017 - 9:58 pm

Hi Nancy, I hope you get your studio and I look forward to seeing some more Art from you. Kind regards Bronwyn.

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Colleen Taylor January 12, 2017 - 4:15 pm

Sharon,you know I’ve been a long time reader here & I love reading some of the comments if I have the time. Being an artist & painting many commissions as the year goes along, I feel as I have to reinvent myself all the time. Reason being,the subject matters that I paint are always different and changing. It’s always a challenge but I love to put a bit of myself into my work.
My husband, a professional songwriter, and an incredible singer/guitar player wants me to start writing lyrics. I do love to write to I might take a dive into that as well.It will be another learning curve but an exciting one.
He’s so gifted and I want to get someone to take a look and listen to his songs that are of the “Paul Simon-James Taylor” prophetic genre. A big hit for him would be great!

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Kerrie January 12, 2017 - 4:23 pm

I took the opportunity to change my life by retiring early and moving to southwest France from Australia. There is so much to experience and learn from my new european life and I’m loving everything. It is so inspiring to hear of so many women who have taken the plunge and reinvented themselves, even in small ways, and blogging about it inspires others to follow. I wonder how many men have been this brave ?

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Bronwyn Lee-Coward Sydney NSW January 13, 2017 - 11:28 am

Good on you Kerrie, that is a very big step and I admire you so much. Now if any other Aussies need a helping hand with reinvention in France you are the one who can be their guiding light.

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Jeanie January 12, 2017 - 5:59 pm

You blog is so enjoyable and inspirational, Sharon. All the comments are interesting too. Now it seems like there are so many blogs out there that one must think in a different direction for reinvention.

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Susan January 12, 2017 - 7:25 pm

At 61 I’m planning on retiring in 3 months. I’ve been working since I was 17 and now have the opportunity to stay home and garden, cook, sew, learn to paint, and whatever interests come up. I have always wanted to live this way, but have also wanted to have a place to live and eat each day so work has always been the priority. (Married once, widowed 18 months later, never remarried again). I find the future breathtakingly excited but also very scary in some ways. I love all the comments and am inspired to take the plunge and enjoy the next chapter in this life. Thank you everyone who shared!

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Darby Callahan January 13, 2017 - 12:46 am

I discovered your blog this Fall after returning from a trip to France, traveling to Paris and through Normandy. I was happy to see that there are other readers who are in my age group, I am 75, who still want to see their lives as meaningful, who still seek beauty,pleasure and perhaps some romance. I am not sure I want to re-invent myself but would like to live these remaining years to their fullest.

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Judi April 1, 2017 - 3:51 pm

Hi Darby,
I decided to go back and re-read Sharon’s post in January and read many comments. I, too, am in your neighborhood, being 72, and not sure I want or am able to reinvent myself but I do want my time to be fulfilling. Sometimes, the ideas are more powerful than my energy. I do know I want to travel to France again. My husband passed away 18 months ago and he was my travel partner and love of my life so I guess in a way, whether I like it or not, I’m reinventing myself! Just not with any great plans of a business, or a blog, or … still trying to figure out where I want to be to go! Let me know if you want a France trip partner 🙂

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Irene Peterson January 13, 2017 - 1:53 am

Dear Sharon,

In July, I shall be turning 80 but my good genes allow me to look 12 years younger and the same energy I’ve always possessed is still with me. My eldest daughter sent me an email suggesting that I begin a blog. As I read your “reinvention” blog, I became inspired. Never too old to take on a new life direction!

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julia ryan January 13, 2017 - 3:46 am

Thank you for the thought provoking post. I am looking forward to the new year and all that it can bring. One of my favorites part of last year was being able to briefly meet you at your book signing in Fullerton, CA. Both of my sisters loved the signed copies I gave them for gifts this year. I hope your speaking tour brings you back to Southern California (hopefully, San Diego this time). I am also looking forward to your new book this summer. A New Year is always a good time to reflect on the last year and look towards the new one with hope and freshness!! I love your blog and one of my resolutions is to let the bloggers I enjoy know how much I appreciate the time, energy, and care they put into their work. I am an elementary school teacher, so I know how encouraging a positive word can be–to both my students and myself.

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carmen January 13, 2017 - 4:25 am

Hello Sharon, thank you for writing about reinvention. This definitely confirms where i’m at right now in my life. After homeschooling my two all the way through, my role change hit me like a ton of bricks. When my role changed during the high school years, I found myself not being in touch with who I was since I poured most of myself into the homeschooling years. It has been an interesting past 2-3 years as I’m learing to take time to get to know myself all over again, I’m reconnecting with my inner child, and I’m having so much fun. Its an amazing journey and its getting easier and better with time. I have a small business making organic and sustainable products but I’m realizing at 55 i’m not sure how long I will be able to continue the pace. I do love to create on a slower paced level. I’m learning that I have many interests and I’d like to pursue, one of them is sharing nature photographs along with helping people reconnect with who God made them to be. This year one of my goals is a desire to blog. I’d love to hear how you started, how you kept going? Did you have a mentor to help you through the process? I really enjoy reading your blog and viewing your photos. Your blog is maybe one of a few that I read. I look forward to hearing more. `warmly, Carmen

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Andrina January 13, 2017 - 6:04 am

Sharon,
I have been enthralled reading all these wonderful comments of women reinventing themselves. I have been a follower for many years and although I don’t comment often, delight in reading your posts each weekend.
My goal for this year and probably the next is to get a book published on my father who was a mid-century modern architect in Perth in the 1960’s.I still work so finding the time is the key.
Andrina x

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Marilyn January 13, 2017 - 8:56 am

Sharon, your post has made me think. I turn 70 next month and feel the need to ‘do’ something with my later years. Constrained by finances and my husband’s health (he is 83 and has Parkinson’s Disease) I must find something for ‘me’. Nothing selfish just mentally stimulating, my health is good and I am not 70 in my head!

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Jennifer Bristow-Smith January 13, 2017 - 10:45 am

Resourcefulness is something many women have in spades….I have reinvented myself several times – sometimes due to very difficult life circumstances. I went to live in Norway aged 24 (and ended up staying for 20 years), moving to Morocco and working as an interior designer at the age of 45, moving to Italy as a diplomat’s wife aged 52, and for the past 8 years, developing my own online antique textiles business. Travelling to France, Belgium and Holland every 6 weeks to buy at antique markets is a joy I love what I do, but it grew out of all the previous experiences I have had in my life. Hurrah for reinvention!

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corinne bertolini January 14, 2017 - 5:16 pm

I am exactly in the case you describe : 3 grown up children who left home the same year , 2012…and I still wonder how to occupy all the time freed…I quilt a lot (and sell some…), I take thousands of pictures, I walk my dog in wonderful places everyday…I try and write a book (a novel?)…so maybe your suggestion of creating a blog is a good idea for me!!!thank you!

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Michelle January 15, 2017 - 7:15 pm

Always a very interesting topic. I agree with the other comment, I too would enjoy hearing how you started out Sharon on this journey and also your insight on moving forward. Your blog makes us think about what is truly important in our lives.
Merci!

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Jean Wethmar January 17, 2017 - 4:06 am

‘Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage’- Anais Nin.. and I totally agree.. we have to revisit those changing seasons continually and often.. Thank you Sharon for this encouraging post.. I’m soo happy you started your delightful blog.. look at where’s its taken you for sure.. your path has been one of great encouragement for others.. keep it going.. x Jean Wethmar – Sydney Au

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Meg Veno January 17, 2017 - 9:22 pm

Sharon, I have written to you in the past, both about my reinvention and my interest in joining one of your Brocante Tours. I had been planning on coming out to see you this past Fall to celebrate my 30th Wedding Anniversary and to shop for my barn business…one of my reinventions. Due to an unforeseen health diagnosis, I have been waylaid and will be having brain surgery next week. This is only a detour in my life, that has caused a digging down deep to find out what I am truly made of. I will be back, once recovered and will continue on my path of reinvention, with a much different perspective, gift of good health and a little more of the patina of life etched on me. Much gratitude for your inspiration! xx

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Virginia January 21, 2017 - 3:32 am

Thank you for sharing your story. You are an inspiration. I retired at the end of 2012. I have been taking Interior Design classes and dabbling in other creative things. The thought of having my own business has crossed my mind. But, I have not fully committed to it. I keep hearing that you have to have online presence. So, your mention of how starting your blog opened many doors is very fascinating to me. Any further suggestions on how to focus my interests and/or determine if starting a blog is for me would be greatly appreciated.

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Gaynor Roberts January 28, 2019 - 2:41 pm

Hi Sharon, thanks for sharing your story – I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for several tears and always appreciate the gorgeous photos of your French life too! Much of what you mention here applies to me too. I ran a freelance editorial business for many years while my children were small. I needed and wanted a lot of flexibility at that point. About 10 years ago they were both at seindary school and I took the plunge and went back to work in a publishing house – first in Oxford, then in London. I’ve worked my way up the food chain, pricing to myself I could do it and hopefully allowing my daughter to understand it is possible and ok to be ambitious as well as loving family life and combining the two. In the last year this exciting ride has run its course for me and this year I took the decision to stop the commute and set myself up in business as a qualified life coach. I’m particularly keen to work with women who are working out what they want to do next, whether returning to an office job or doing something equally rewarding. I think having the structure and the pay of a corporate role can be immensely rewarding and confidence enhancing, but it’s certainly not right for everyone! I’m very excited to begin this new journey, best wishes, Gaynor [email protected]

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Ida Duplechin January 29, 2019 - 2:26 am

I’ve read your blog for awhile and now I’m reinventing my life again. My husband’s death in 2000 rocked my world. I recovered in many ways from that. I’m reminded of him everyday, of course, with our two sons and the grandchildren. My granddaughter and I will be in Paris next month for the trip that was supposed to have been a honeymoon years ago. Unfortunately, he was drafted for Vietnam two weeks after we married . So, this trip will be both fulfillment, sweet and bittersweet. The reinvention has begun. Thank you for your wonderful website and blog. Bisous.

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