50 Shades of Ray (that’s me)

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I know, I know – I’m trying to gain readership because of a popular book, but sometimes you gotta go where the SEO is.

I haven’t read that particular book.  I spend the majority of my time reading blogs in my industry/space, Facebook Status updates, and – if I am on vacation – crime novels. I just finished Plum Island by Nelson DeMille while I am here in Maine – it had a fun pirate twist…

We often think we know ourselves very well, but the longer I am alive, the more I know that I am constantly evolving – hopefully for the better.
At 18, I thought I had the world by the tale, going to college, in love for the first time, and I was filled with the energy of life and the stupidity/naivety of youth.
At 28, I was a mother of two, not sure I knew anything, no longer so naive but still filled with the energy and gumption of youth.
At 38, I was a mother of four, divorced and I had seen the ugly underbelly of human nature.  My energy was zapped and I no longer had desire, but I had Sheer Will.
At 48, I am a mother of two teenagers and two adults. I am in love with Tom and I am in love with life, again.  Sheer Will got me here, renewed energy will keep me here.

I am celebrating Sheer Will

To mix metaphors, in a nutshell at the speed of light, here are my fifty shades…

1. Born in a small hospital in La Mirada, California.
2. Raised in a very strict and religious environment in Southern California.
3. I was a kid with asthma – often.
4. At 10, I rode on the back of a Harley Davidson with my father to Utah and back.
5. Started working at 12, I took in ironing, $.25 an item.
6. I cleaned houses at the age of 14 for $3 an hour.
7. At 16, I failed my driver’s test the first time, two weeks later, passed with flying colors!
8. I shared my first car with my mom,  a 1967 Volkswagen Bus. It drove like a semi.
9. Moved to La Porte, IN at the very end of my junior year of high school, population 20,000.
10. Thanksgiving, 1980 – drove in snow for the very first time, in that same Volkswagen Bus.
11. 1981- Graduated from a huge high school in a very small town.
12. Went to Indiana University in South Bend – drove past Notre Dame almost every day.
13. Graduated from Dental Assisting program at IUSB and started my first big-girl job.
14. Took a four-hour long test in Indianapolis to become a Certified Dental Assistant.
15. Got married one month after my 21st birthday.
16. Worked my first big-girl job for three years until a snotty hygienist said I was a poor excuse for a Christian; I caught her going through the boss’s books.
17. Quit my first job. Got my next big-girl job in Michigan City, 18 miles away – my first big work commute.
18. Started a second part-time job cleaning patterns and learning how to do applique work.
19. Bought a two-bedroom house for $26,000.
20. Had my first baby, a perfect baby girl, and worked part-time out of my house sewing and doing applique work.
21. The dentist at my first big-girl job fired the snotty hygienist and asked me to work for him again.
22. Was pregnant with my second baby, working part-time for both the dentist and sewing from home.
23. Water broke at 26 weeks, second daughter weighed 2 lbs 5 ozs and we both almost died.
24. After 3 months, my daughter who was due May 18 but born February 20, finally came home from the hospital. She was nearly perfect.
25. For another 3 months, this nearly perfect baby had to have oxygen when she ate and slept, as well as an apnea monitor every night.
26. My parents divorced after 38 years of marriage.
27. I had respiratory failure brought on by stress and allergies. Three different doctors asked me if I had an out-of-body experience. Technically, I had been dead for several minutes.  I hadn’t had an out-of-body experience.
28. We moved with our two small children to Southern California, away from allergies but too far from family.
29. Started working for a Children’s Dentist, one month after we arrived in California – daycare was far more expensive.
30. Had a third daughter – ugh daycare!
31.  Had a fourth child – a boy. Do I need to even say daycare was expensive? But, I always worked.
32. Bought a four-bedroom house, was nearly ten times as much as our house in Indiana.
33. Still worked in dentistry but started coaching at our local junior high and decided I wanted to teach.
34. Went back to school.
35. Got divorced.
36. Answered a job ad on the bulletin board at the junior college to work for a healthcare recruiting firm, still working part-time for children’s dentist coaching. Three jobs and 21 units. Whew.
37. Fell in love with recruiting and changed my major to business.
38. After 20 years, left dentistry for good.
39. Got married.
40. Oldest daughter graduated from high school.
41.  Went in-house and became a Corporate Manager of Recruitment and Retention for a growing tech start-up.  15-hour a week commute.
42. 2nd daughter graduated, recession kicked in, and economy sagged and dragged. Began writing incessantly and started playing around with social media…
43.  Changed jobs and worked for contingency search firm, 15-hour a week commute. Gas was $5.25 a gallon.
44.  Got divorced.
45. Went in-house, but my house this time, writing non-stop and helping small businesses learn to use new media in their hiring and marketing efforts.
46. Graduated, after 11 long years…
47. Went to work for Broadbean Technology, a recruiting software company, handling their marketing.
48. Finally moved to where the work was and eliminated my 15-hour commute. Changed my life.
49. Fell in love with Tom. Changed my life.
50.  Moved Bonus Track to Blogging4Jobs. Changed my life.

And life is good…

Truthfully, every shade changed my life and there are far more Shades of Ray than listed here.  Deep, dark shades, as well as brilliant and colorful.  We all have shades we’d like to keep pulled and others, we are happy to share.  The shades of each of us are what make up our lives, who we are, who we become.  We are continually evolving.  We must.  I cannot imagine my life without my work or my children or my Tom.  But each came in increments, molding and shaping the shades of me.

Though I may want to, I cannot forget the painful parts of my past, those were the times when I grew and learned the most.  They are but the building blocks of a life well led, and sometimes, not so well.  But certainly a life lived.

I look forward to the next fifty shades…





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Rayanne Thorn, @ray_anne is the Marketing Director for online recruiting software company, Broadbean Technology.  She is also a proud mother of four, happily engaged to Tom, residing in Laguna Beach, California, and a daily contributor for Blogging4Jobs.  Connect with her on LinkedIn.  

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