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Rebooting the future


April 6, 2016

There was a time, as a young mother, that I wondered if my children would ever know me beyond my role as their caregiver. As devoted as I was to them then, I knew that an important part of who I am was not being expressed through motherhood alone. At some point I had decided not to return to my previous corporate life as an advertising executive. The thought that my kids would never see me going to work in a suit didn’t bother me. It was when I imagined them not ever really knowing who I was, that I was able to give myself permission to explore my other drives.

Recently I was featured in an online article by Linda Dyett titled “Don’t Retire — Reboot” on the website NYCWoman.com. The site is devoted to women “on the right side of 50,” and the article was about women over 60 who had reinvented themselves after a career. It got me thinking about how much I owe my “re-invention” to my part-time life in the Catskills.

It was in this very newspaper that I answered a call for a columnist some 16 years ago. A few years later, I answered my first audition notice in 25 years. The people I met through those two choices are some of the most important people in my life, after my family. And rather than slowing down, my life is ever more varied and vibrant than before as a result of my continued involvement in theatre and writing. Only my retirement account has suffered.

These days, city dwellers are coming to the Catskills to do more than just relax for a weekend. They are finding a way to build new careers and live a different kind of life —even before retirement. Before Marla Puccetti and Paul Nanni opened The Heron on Narrowsburg’s Main Street, they pursued careers in New York City: she as a television producer, he as an executive chef and operator of a catering business. Now they work as hard as they ever did but they own their business and are buying a local home.

Mary Greene, leader of The Upper Delaware Writers Collective, came to the area from Brooklyn to work in a summer camp 25 years ago. She started the Collective after seeing the need for a formal writing group and later became an entrepreneur with her Beaverbrook Cottage vacation rental.