I had reached my mid-fifties with an established career and happily married – everything was perfect. I had a job, a home, a life I had built with my partner.
Or so I thought...
My world collapsed when suddenly my marriage ended. I never saw it coming. I had never expected it to happen to me so I had no plan ‘B’ in my mind and heart. I had married for life, because ‘death did us part’, right?
For me, there were really two options: first wallow in self-pity or second, do something about it. Hesitantly, I chose option two.
My greatest adventure was deciding ‘re-invent’ myself by going back to studying, I had a diploma in social work already. I was working in a very high position in the organisation, but facing tough competition from young people who were more qualified than I was despite my experience. As I considered what was going to be helpful for me I decided to pursue further studies in Theology – something I had always wanted to do. I had met very dynamic women theologians who inspired me immensely.
So, I went...
Going back to studying at mid-fifties when ways of learning had changed a lot – everything was different and no one was going to slow down for me. Computers were coming in at the time I was completing my education so all I knew as far as computers was to send and receive e-mails.
Deciding to further my education in the United Kingdom was an adventure as everything else was done through technology. My first challenge was having to do everything on the computer from issuing myself books in the library, to submitting assignments, and everything in between. Having to navigate my way round “search engines” was a nightmare for someone who had never done that before.
Then there was the challenge of having to learn a new learning culture, as books were hard to come by in Zimbabwe – where I did most of my education, I was used to be have two key textbooks, max. It was not easy for me to have to read a minimum of six book for each of my courses.
In my culture, the ‘learning culture’ was the all-knowing ‘teacher’ and you accepted what the teacher taught, said, or generally thought. When I was faced with having to ‘critique’ what I was learning and not just nodding along taking everything word-for-word.
My going back to studying opened a whole new world! While this had been an adventure, with some difficult challenges, it was worthwhile because it re-kindled a dream I held in my heart: being a writer. Writing assignments got me back to writing continuously. I did not only come out with B.A. with Honours in Contextual Theology, but with an M.A. as well. My adventure paid off!
What seemed like a catastrophe turned out to be a stepping stone for something great, had my marriage not ended I would not have been in the place I am now. Blessing in disguise?
After completing my studies, I then decided to establish two blogs which are helping me to improve my writing skills giving me the confidence to *hopefully* write my own book one day.
Here are some lessons I learned along the way:
It is possible to re-invent yourself after you have reached the end of another career.
A broken relationship can be a springboard of something new and exciting.
Never allow yourself to wallow in self-pity, pick up the broken pieces of whatever is left of your life and start all over again.
Do not be afraid to take risks, you can never know what you are capable of until you take a risk.
By: Mabel R. Nyazika
Mabel is a Zimbabwean national currently living in the United Kingdom. She is an aspiring writer who still has a lot to learn, but never shies away from challenges. She actively has two blogs, check them out below!