Jane Pauley: AARP's "Your Life Calling" Ambassador
Betsy Lee McCarthy: Professional knitter and author of Knit Socks!
This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Jane Pauley: Hello everyone! Welcome to my first Live Chat as part of my new role as AARP's "Your Life Calling" Ambassador. These chats will follow my monthly Today show appearances where we'll be featuring people in mid-life who are reinventing themselves in new and different ways. Today, we have Betsy McCarthy with us, a former health care executive who left a six-figure income to pursue her passion for knitting. During the next hour Betsy and I look forward to taking your questions and comments on reinvention.
Comment from Linda T.: WMAQ editor 1975 to 1989. Got a Peabody, got my daughter through college, took a buyout from NBC-General Electric, bought an historic house in Key West, became a tour guide and living happily for 20 years in paradise. Hi Janey!!!
Pauley: Linda! Hello old friend. I picked your comment to go first because it made me think about my beloved Aunt Martha. Aunt Martha is my reminder that my generation did not invent reinvention. She reinvented herself over and over again over the course of her long life. She lived to be 95 and she's my role model, though, unfortunately, of all of the genetic characteristics in my family, her confidence and ability to learn new things is probably not in my DNA. When Aunt Martha was widowed in her early 50s, with a young teenage son to support, she got a job in retail sales. When she decided she could do better in real estate, she learned how to sell real estate and got a license. At some point she decided she would have more workable hours in banking, so she got a job in banking, and before long she was a bank manager at a local savings and loan. When Aunt Martha turned 65, she faced forced retirement. And another reason I took your comment Linda was because she literally walked across the street, presented herself at a travel agency in Indianapolis, and worked as a tour guide for the next 10 years. She got to go to Hawaii. She saw Europe. She finally, officially, retired at age 75, but only because the company's owner had retired. Aunt Martha made reinvention look like a way of life. I think we can learn from her generation. They just did what they had to do.
Comment from Cathy in Vancouver: Jane, I'm so happy you're giving a voice to the over 50s who still are in search of our life's calling. Jobs, kids, parent care and the burdens of life are tough. We need to wake up every day jumping out of bed with excitement for a new day. Thanks for getting the dialogue going. Betsy is a friend of mine and she rocks! I'm thrilled to see this segment and looking forward to more in the months ahead.
Pauley: Hi, Cathy. I'm going to turn this over to Betsy in a second, but first I'll make a general observation. Women often experience their lives through the eyes of the people they look after, whether it's their parents, family, friends. When it comes time for reinvention, women often have to be reintroduced to themselves, so I encourage women to take time to do that and not expect all of their dreams and options and possibilities to line-up clearly in front of their eyes.