August 11 – OMG

by Carol Sanford

I’m sitting here at my computer, looking out the window to the lovely, sunny, Seattle afternoon. What a perfect day to feel terror wrapping its tendrils around the pit of my stomach.

I have only a few months left to begin bringing in enough money to stay put in the 55+ community I have grown to love.

Our community is income restricted, so there are many senior women in the financial weeds along with me. Some have seen their 401K’s decimated; others, like me, have made foolish choices about money.

I have a loving and generous family which helps keep me afloat, but the assistance I receive is coming to an end next March.

So I was thrilled to discover the Older Women’s Legacy Workshop, and the possibility of keeping body and soul together by teaching, something I love doing.

I purchased the OWL materials and have been offering the Workshop here at my residence gratis. I have gained valuable experience while giving my neighbors something priceless . . . a voice to tell bring their personal history to life.

Over the five-week Workshop, as class members got comfortable with one another and the class structure, they began writing from the heart. Some of the stories were very funny; others brought tears of recognition; still others had heads nodding in agreement . . . “Oh, yeah; I’ve been there too.”

With one Workshop under my belt and another one starting in September, I began feeling confident about taking the Workshop public. I created a brochure, business card, and a blog. Lots and lots of work. But I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.

I began making calls in earnest on Monday. It’s Wednesday and I still don’t have a Workshop set up. Self-doubt reared its ugly head earlier today: maybe my brochures are, in reality, pretty crappy; maybe I’m no good at selling myself; maybe the blog is a disaster; maybe no one has any money to spend on the Workshop; maybe no one likes me!

Ironically, I posted this morning about the positive psychological effects of blogging. According to one source, blogging releases dopamine, so I should be feeling calm and relaxed, as if I were listening to beautiful music while gentle waves lap on a sandy beach just outside my door.

Time passes. After my regular Wed. evening bridge game, I compulsively check my email. OMG. There it is: a response from the Creative Retirement Center. I fill out forms, fire up the scanner, send off the requested information.

Now I wait. And write a press release. And look at my Linkedin connections. And decide to advertise in local senior publications.

After retiring from the non-profit arena where I raised money and wrote and designed marketing materials, I’ve begun teaching the Older Women’s Legacy Workshop. I’m also a mixed-media artist and digital designer. You can visit my website:


3 responses to “August 11 – OMG

  1. Good luck with your workshops, Carol! I’ve taught in the OWL program and found it enormously rewarding. And thank you for sharing your concern about finding–and keeping–a community where we can happily and comfortably spend our senior years. We’ve just been discussing this issue on SCN’s LifeWriters’ Yahoo list. It’s obviously a difficult one for many of us.

  2. Good for you, Carol. You have courage and a lifetime of experience. What a great, proactive approach to the situation you’re in. I have wondered how exactly I will manage if my husband goes first, reducing income as well as so much more. It’s encouraging when other women venture forth into new avenues.

  3. Fantastic, Carol. You sure are resourceful. good for you. good luck and have fun with this new adventure. never doubt your worth.

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