04/13/2015 05:00 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

My Life After 50 and the Circuitous Route to Reinvention

As I approached the age of 50 my personal and professional life began to collide after deciding that I'd somehow reinvent myself. The chapter of being a stay-at-home mom was coming to a close and I needed to ask myself some hard questions.


What do I want to do for the rest of my life that has purpose and meaning? What am I passionate about? What moves me? What makes me feel good? What satisfies my need to help others? How can I monetize what I love to do?

Getting back to doing what I've always loved to do since childhood, writing, would lead me down a path of discovering new and interesting ways of using what I'm passionate about. The first step was to create and carefully cultivate my new blog, An Empowered Spirit. And so began the next chapter of my life.

Yet I've faced many obstacles while walking along my new path and sometimes I'd stumble.


Trite cliches that urge people to live their hopes, dreams and passions can sell a lot of books. They can inspire popular Oprah-like movements that millions of people subscribe to. The reality is it's not really all that simple. It takes a lot of planning, tons of hard work and a whole lot of good luck.

And even then it might not happen.


Try as I might to work on my goals I've been invariably kicked around by illness. That's the biggest of all roadblocks. Living with a chronic illness such as multiple sclerosis, and now being diagnosed with multiple kidney stones, I don't always get as much work done as I'd like. My goals begin to slip away.

Wellness takes over as my top priority.

Sometimes the obstacles I face seem almost insurmountable. When you're sick, it's a scary and isolating little island where you don't want to be. Trying to keep up the momentum of being creative and productive is in your mind's eye, but your body has different ideas.

As sad and frustrated as I've felt during difficult times I always believe in my heart of hearts that, as my father used to say, this too shall pass. I'm determined to build on what I already began, and that is the thought that keeps me going.

We do what we can, when we can by always trying to do the best that we can. It doesn't ever have to be perfect. It only has to be our personal best.

So I'll walk around my tiny island for a little while longer, until this current setback with kidney stones literally passes. I can't wait for it to be over and I'm gravel free again. I desperately want to re-join life in time to see the flowers bloom and feel the sunshine on my back.

If you're looking for me I'll be walking farther along my path. I can't wait to find out what's coming up next.

NOTE:To learn more about kidney stones (what they are, how to prevent them and what to do if you think you may have them) take a look at The National Kidney Foundation website.

To learn more about Multiple Sclerosis take a look at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's website.

This post was previously published on Cathy's blog, An Empowered Spirit.

Cathy Chester is an award-winning writer and health advocate who has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for 28 years. In her blog An Empowered Spirit she writes about finding the joy in life despite disability. But MS does not define her, so she also writes about living a quality life in midlife, social good causes, animal rights, book and movie reviews, and the importance of using compassion and kindness as a way of making the world a better place.

Follow Cathy on Twitter at @cathyches.