Empty Nest Transition

I haven’t posted anything for awhile, mostly because I have been all over the place mentally and emotionally. I didn’t want to come across as a miserable sot of a person who no one wants to be around, because that is what I’ve been.

If you know me, have been following me on social media, or our paths have crossed, you probably know that life likes to hit me over and over and over again. It likes to keep things interesting for me and remind me when I’m not on the right path. Heaven forbid I get in a rut.

My kids abandoned me and I took it hard.

Losing my kids was my biggest fear, and what I mean by losing them, was that they wouldn’t live with me 24/7. This fear started the day my ex kicked me out of the house and grew when he told my son that I didn’t want him living with me. When I finally got my son back under my roof, I feared he would leave again and take his sister.

I wrapped my whole existence in being their mom. I tried to make friends, date, and find work outside the house… I failed miserably at all three and gripped onto my children even tighter.

I wasn’t a traditional mom, cooking meals, or doing all their laundry. I was a single mom who worked long hours, though I was working from home, and was trying to become a novelist. If I’d been a traditional mom they would be more dependent on me for their care and not in such a hurry to take care of themselves.

In our home, we were a team, working together to build a life. Their chores were different based on what they wanted to do, which wasn’t emptying the dishwasher – I’m not sure they even know how this one works. They did the grocery shopping, their own laundry, and cooked their own dinners. I cleaned up after them, was their bank and their taxi service.

My son is 18 and it was natural for him to want to move in with his girlfriend and friends. That was hard enough. I was getting used to him not being a daily fixture in my life when my 15 year old daughter got angry with me for a decision I made and felt safer living with her brother. Her brother, not her father, is the protective male figure in her life.

I did not take it well. I cried for days and needed some pharmaceutical help, so I didn’t go crazy… I still do and it’s been four months.

I spent days, weeks, months, alone at home – miserable.

One day I was a single mom, the next, I was nothing. I didn’t even have a job, as I’d just been laid off for the second time. I was lost. I had no reason to get up in the morning. I had no reason to do anything and my environment reflected this. A hazmat suit was needed if you were to visit my home.

The main thing that saved me from jumping into the hole of despair was acceptance into a self employment program that has enabled me to start a marketing management company. I’ve gripped this lifeline everyday to stay sane because it gives me a reason to wake up in the morning.

Some days, I even shower and go out into the world.

I’m getting stronger and finding my own way as I build my brand.

My start up business has become my newest child and it is slowly beginning to thrive. It takes all my attention, resources, and love. Just as my children used to. The only thing I know is, it’s my life line and I will build it into something wonderful, as wonderful as my two brilliant, independent, resourceful children.

My kids will succeed in life.

We were a close little family unit and I watched them grow, become young adults, and did my best to be there whenever they needed me – no matter the time of day. I gave them all my resources, efforts, and focus. I made sure they got what they wanted and had as good a life as I could afford to give them, which was poorer than the one I had at their age.

I did the best I could with what I had and it wasn’t much. I was a single parent with no support system and it took three years to get my ex to pay full child support – and a year for my kids to destroy that victory because when they decided to move out, their dad started paying the child support directly to them and it might be 70% of what he’s suppose to pay them – I’m being generous with the math.

Before you tell me he can’t pay the kids the child support directly, I already paid a lawyer to fight to get the child support and I choose not to fight again. Legal battles take more effort and emotional strength than I have. It would also mean upsetting my kids and I can’t do that. The divorce battle is over and I don’t want to open that door again. They moved out because they needed to get away from me and thankfully he pays their rent, if they don’t want the full amount, well that’s their choice.

My son has been accepted to a local University. My daughter is still a good student and will get through Grade 10 with good marks and strong friendships. The two of them are taking care of each other and have each other’s back. I’m very proud of my son for taking care of his little sister and being there for her. He takes care of the women in his life, his girlfriend, sister, and even his mom when he has time.

When your children moved out on their own, how were you effected and did you find a life line?
Baring my soul

Social Media is a Reflection 

This morning social media told me I’m unlovable, not good enough, and not wanted. And it’s only 9:00 AM, give it a few more hours.

Advice and motivation can feel hollow because there is something missing on social media, the deeper story, the complex, the vulnerability, the soul of true connection, and the art of honest listening.

If you are struggling to pay for food and the roof over your head, many posts will tell you that you are not good enough to love, to hire, or even to know. I am cash poor and have no clue how to pay my bills,  no one wants to be me, some fear my bad luck will rub off on them, and I can’t blame them. Hell, I don’t want to be me most days.



Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. She has authored three novels in three different genres. Her company, Shannon Peel Marketing, helps Independent Professionals and Small Businesses define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels. Click to find out more:Shannonpeel.com


A Hiring Company Got it Right

You read a lot about employers making the job search process painful, to the point I’ve given up applying for job postings. Most employers have made this process inhumane and demoralizing for applicant, however, not all companies are cruel.

Today, I want to tell you a story about a company that got it RIGHT!

After I was laid off from my last position for reasons I learned from, I applied for a Digital Marketing position at Pacific Customs Brokers, via Indeed.

working woman

The First Interview

Michel, their inhouse HR recruiter, contacted me excited by my application, which made feel good and boosted my confidence. When someone is excited to talk to you, it inspires you to get excited about talking to them.

Michel and I had an interesting conversation over the phone and this lead to scheduling an interview with their president, Greg, within a couple of days. During the first face to face interview, Greg was tough to impress and I was sweating bullets, however, he gave me valuable feedback to help me prepare for the second interview with the company.

I left knowing I’d come up short, but with the opportunity of a second chance to get it right. I have never had this happen before and I doubt I ever will again. Most hiring managers and decision makers make a snap judgement within minutes of meeting you and give you no feedback, let alone a second chance.

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The Second Interview

Second interview was with four people and myself. Greg was tough & clear about what they were looking for. Something about this man makes a person very nervous, still he was clear and I felt he was rooting for me to get it right.

I left this interview feeling well done and a bit charred from the grilling and not completely confident in my performance. I went and had a few drinks and gave myself a pep talk. I knew I’d answered a few of the technical questions wrong and hadn’t explained what I meant clear enough. In the end, I let all expectations go and moved on to other opportunities, some of which I am still in the middle of their hiring process.

From beginning to end, it took over six weeks. During this time, Michel would contact me to let me know what was happening and what the next step was. I never felt in the dark or disrespected as just a number, commodity, or faceless applicant.

They finally made their decision, and I was not offered the position, however, this is where Michel did the company proud. He called me, explained that they found someone with Custom Brokerage experience and wished me luck in my job search.

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The Result

I came away from the process with a clear understanding that my competition had something I didn’t and it wasn’t personal. The decision was based on experience, not whether I was ‘likable,’ it didn’t feel like a popularity or personality decision. I had a useful fact, which I was able to understand, to help me rationalize not getting the offer.

I felt respected and valued even though I didn’t get the position. If this is how they treat candidates, imagine how well employees must be treated.

This positive experience is rare, at least for me. Most times when a person interviews for a position, they are given no reason why they were not given an offer and after months of silent rejections, this can mess with a person’s confidence and motivation. Add to it the placating comments people make that invalidate what you are feeling, an extended period of time, and some abject failures, it can drive a person to the edge. Some days I swear I stepped off the edge a few miles back.

If managers were open, empathetic, and compassionate enough to communicate honestly with applicants about what they actually are looking for, what they truly want, and why a candidate came up short in regards to their competition, the job process would not be so painful.

At the same time, applicants have to take responsibility for not selling themselves, not communicating clearly, and be realistic about their ability to meet the employers needs.

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Will the hiring process ever be transparent, authentic, and humane?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.


Social Media is a Reflection

This morning social media told me I’m unlovable, not good enough, and not wanted. And it’s only 9:00 AM, give it a few more hours.

Advice and motivation can feel hollow because there is something missing on social media, the deeper story, the complex, the vulnerability, the soul of true connection, and the art of honest listening.

If you are struggling to pay for food and the roof over your head, many posts will tell you that you are not good enough to love, to hire, or even to know. I am cash poor and have no clue how to pay my bills,  no one wants to be me, some fear my bad luck will rub off on them, and I can’t blame them. Hell, I don’t want to be me most days.

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I could believe the posts that make general statements about who is desirable enough to love, who is rich enough to be happy, and who is successful enough to know. For some this road is a competitive challenge to dig deep and make it to the next level in this game called life. For others, this road leads to depression and despair as they believe their worth is measured by other’s values.

I am not a competitive person and I refuse to value myself based on a reflection of other people’s values.

Social Media is a reflection of the shallows of society. It is filled with incomplete stories, misunderstandings, and insecurities. It is the pavement of good intentions and placating advice. It is messy. It is kind. It is cruel. It is supportive. It is ugly. It is beautiful. Social Media is a reflection of life, not life itself.

Life is more complex. People are deeper than the Mariana Trench. They say things they wouldn’t if they just thought a bit before opening their mouths. They react based on their own issues, hurts, past lessons. They have stories that are so intricately woven they create an image you would weep to see. If we took the time to truly listen to people when they are being their most honest selves, we would find the connection we crave.

lock blog

Social Media is not connection, it is connections.

We know ads and marketing messages are tailored to take advantage of people’s insecurities and promise to make you prettier, richer, happier. Social Media is a  reflection of these messages as we try to portray ourselves in the best light possible using the same techniques as professional advertisers. Seth Godin said it best when he called Marketers liars, we are in a way, we tell the best stories and spin the worst into appearing better. We manipulate stats to fit our stories and we strategically make our topics fit what we believe society wants.

Social media is a study of society and the individual’s driving needs. Take a moment to study your social media profiles, what do they say about your values and goals?

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Celebrating Rejection

If you are in your 40s, chances are you’ve been rejected. You’ve experienced disappointment. You’ve felt the pain of not getting what you want. People have disappointed you. You’ve struggled with hope. If in 40 years rejection hasn’t beat the crap out of you, you’re not risking anything, you don’t want anything, and you’ve quit.

In my thirties, I drank the positive thinking kool-aid and why wouldn’t I? People wanted to know me. Employers wanted to hire me. My kids wanted to spend time with me and my husband wanted to build a life with me. It was easy to be an optimist who could see the silver lining in everything and be content.

In my forties, the kool-aid proved to be sugar and food colouring. I lost my job, my husband, some friends, and my children grew up.  My life turned upside down and no amount of positive thinking fixed it.

Rejection begets more rejection.


I’ve lost things in my life, which leads to more rejection because people are wired to associate with those who win and society perceives loss as something to reject. 

When asked questions about myself I need to focus on the gains and hide the losses, to not tell the whole story, which for a storyteller, is nearly impossible.

Attitude Change

Last year, when I got laid off, the HR person tried to give me hope with meaningless positive saying and quotes. However, I couldn’t handle one more meaningless, inauthentic, I really don’t care,”think positive quote.” My insides were being torn apart by fear and anxiety, I didn’t need to hear about doors, windows, and better things. At that moment, I needed understanding, support, and truth.

what-you-seek-is-seeking-you_fotor No one has a crystal ball. We can’t see into the future. Thinking positive, though important, isn’t enough. We must act. If we do not learn from our experiences, our fears are going to come true and placating someone with hope filled “positive thinking” quotes, with no basis in reality, blinds them to the truth. Better to tell a person about their strengths, rather than some airy, meaningless, quote.

Sometimes we fail and the reasons for the rejection can help identify obstacles to success. However, most times, we aren’t the right person for the job, not the right fit for a lover, not the right personality for a friend and that’s life. Deal with it, see it for what it is, and move on.

What are your favourite positive thinking quotes, share them in the comments section. 

Focusing on the positives in your life, remembering the good things about your character, and knowing you are great at what you do, are vital to achieving success after rejection.

Make a list of all the things that make you great. Ask friends to come by and tell you all the things they love about you. When others tell us why we are amazing, we tend to believe it more than when we try to tell ourselves the same messages. You might be surprised by how great you really are when others tell you what they see in you.

Positive messages based in fact and reality are different from delusional positive thinking sayings used to placate a person with hope about an uncertain future.

Life changes, sometimes for the best, sometimes for the worst.
What doesn’t change is you.

I Got Rejected, again

I didn’t move on in the interview process and it hurt. It knocked me on my butt and I wanted to quit, to hide myself away, to drown in the doubt, disappointment, hurt, and fear. Instead, I analyzed what happened and talked to a career counsellor about my interview answers to try and determine where I went wrong.

I needed to find out how I failed to sell myself as the best option.


Knowing I’d messed up, failed, wasn’t perfect, hurt more than the rejection itself because failure due to the mistakes one makes, is worse than being rejected for no reason at all. Yet, knowing an opinion about why I might have failed, is very helpful for the next time.

I need to know why in order to fix it.

Your mind is your greatest tool.

Rejection Tools

The pain of rejection can destroy us
. We must face it, deal with it, and learn from it. The following links have tools to help deal with rejection. imgres

Seek Rejection

Everyone gets rejected. Everyone feels disappointment. A successful person embraces rejection and keeps seeking it out.

The only way to go forward in life is to put myself out there. To be open to the pain of rejection and to embrace it as a sign that I’m living. I may never find success, but quitting is not an option.

I keep learning from my failures. 

Chicklit man hater

Charlie’s date changes his mind

Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

In her new Chicklit novel, Shannon Peel is exploring what it means to be a 40 something woman in the 21st Century. Each of the 5 women are personalities that we as woman are made up of in various degrees. We are too complex to be just one. 

For more about this novel and her YA Novel, THIRTEEN, go to www.shannonpeel.com 

Cleaning the House or Not

Justine is one of the character’s in the novella series, 40 Something. She is a work from home mother of 2 married to a wonderful, loving, perfect man.

Justine’s house

The house is a mess. I’m not exaggerating. There are piles of dirt up against the walls on the floor, food, dust, dirt. The kitchen is piled to the top with dishes and there is no food in the kitchen. I have laundry in various stages piled around me. It’s been weeks since I cleaned.

I look at the piles of crap on the counter, on the desk, in the living room, family room and do you know what, I don’t care. I just don’t.

Instead of cleaning and sorting through the mess I’m working. I write. I create content. I market for my clients to increase the traffic to their websites so they can make money. I am a lead generator. It challenges me. It uses my mind. I have to analyze data. Figure out how people interact with content. I have to engage others on my client’s behalf. This all takes time. Lots and lots of time.

I get lost in the work.

You know how people have junk drawers? Well I have a junk room. When someone is coming over for a visit I’ll run around the house at full speed, completely stressed out, in a panic of epic proportions. I’ll grab everything that’s lying around and throw it into the junk room, then I’ll shut the door. Once that’s done I’ll do a quick superficial clean so the house looks perfect. It’s not. If someone looked close enough they’d see the dust, the dirt, the grim.

My mother looks close and I’ve stopped even trying to get the house perfect for her visits, she is coming over tomorrow and will yell at me. How could I live like this? She’ll go on,

“This is how your aunt Meridith started out, with a house cluttered and messy like yours.  Now it’s so bad she has so much stuff piled everywhere there is no room in her house, no one will visit.”

My aunt Meridith is a first class hoarder, I don’t think she’s ever thrown out anything. I don’t know how she got so bad, mom seems to think it’s because she’s just lazy and there is no reason for it. I’m not so sure. There has to be more to why people end up like that. A deep sadness? Loneliness? A hole so deep that only stuff can fill it?

I don’t shop. I work.

No I don’t think I’m a hoarder.

My mom will come tomorrow, muttering about this and that. She will start cleaning and I’ll start feeling guilty because I didn’t get it done. I will feel inadequate because I chose to work instead of clean the house. I will feel like a bad wife, mother, daughter. I will feel like the failure that I am. All because I couldn’t keep the place clean.

How does one keep up a house with a family running it amuck? When I do clean up, two minutes later the kids have gone through and the place is a disaster again. What was the point? Where is the data that shows me I’m doing something right? That I’m getting somewhere? That each brick I put into the plans is building something?

I have two kids. Do you think they can help out? Clean their rooms? Change over the dishwasher? Pick up their toys? Nope. No way. No how. They just add to the mess. When it’s already a mess why bother?

I give them a list of chores. When I raise my head up out of my work I yell at them to get it done. They never do. The place stays a disaster and I somehow just don’t care enough to make them do it. How does one make a preteen and teenager do anything? When they were little I’d say do this, they’d either do it or went on time out. Now what?

Friends and family tell me to take their phones away, their video games, anything. I just don’t care enough to do it. I mean really. Is having a clean house that important that I have to punish them for not doing it? Where is free will?

I go back to working.

My husband, Gary, he does what he can. He either cooks dinner or brings home take out. He helps the kids with their homework and gets them settled while I work. I work all the time. I start first thing in the morning and I don’t look up until it’s time for bed. I work everyday.

I’m not looking forward to my mother’s visit. She’ll lecture me on how I have to have dinner ready for Gary when he gets home and how I need to focus more on keeping a clean house, an organized house, a perfect house. I know that I’m supposed to. I know that. I just can’t seem to care.

I tried cleaning up this morning. I started in the living room and all I could do was think of work. How to get more traffic to the contractor’s website. What should my next blog post be and exactly how could I motivate someone to stop looking and pick up the phone. That when the ideas came to me and I stopped cleaning.

I started working.

You’d think Gary would get mad. He doesn’t. He brings me coffee in the morning. He asks me how my latest campaign is going. He tidies up on the weekends. Once, he offered to hire a cleaning lady. The thought of it loaded me down with so much guilt, I cleaned for a week. The house was perfect and I barely slept, as I still had to work.

After a week, I got tired. So tired I couldn’t get out of bed for two days. I was sick. Not sick as in cough, cough, puke, puke, but sick in a different way. I didn’t care about anything. Not even work. Every muscle on my body ached and my brain was shutting down. I couldn’t hold a thought, I couldn’t string a sentence together without loosing words and going blank. I couldn’t focus. I just couldn’t move.

Two days later, I woke up and went back to work. Sitting on my ass, at my computer, never moving. I should be the size of Rose by now, but I’m not. Thank you mom for a fabulous metabolism. I am completely out of shape, you just can’t tell that from looking at me.

One day I’ll get it together. One day I’ll be able to do everything. Work, keep a clean house, take care of my self and my family. One day. Just not today. I just don’t care enough to.

Rose is a doer, a stay at home mom, wearing herself out

chicklit novel bedroom sm

Purpose of this Blog

This blog is a look at the characters in a new novel about being a 40+ year old woman in today’s world. The novel, like all literature, draws from real life but embellishes it, changes it, and merges it together with fantasy. You won’t find a 100% true story on the blog or in the novel. I welcomes any parenting or dating stories you would like to share for the book, but please understand the story will only be a jump off point as I’m not about to publish anything exactly as it happened. Email her today at Shannonpeel01[ at ]gmail [.com]

And yes…. Dating stories about women behaving badly are welcome too, as my characters are flawed and handicapped when it comes to dating.

Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?

For more information check out her website.www.shannonpeel.com

80s Weekly Trivia

If you are now in your 40s, you were a teenager in the 80s. Let’s see how much of your teenage years you remember.

Follow the blog for more weekly trivia questions. Answers below.

This Week’s Trivia Questions:

What’s the name of this Game? 

A. Donkey Kong
B. Burger Time
C. Pac Man
D. Pong

Burger Time


What did John Bender Get for Christmas?

A. A teddy bear
B. Nothing
C. Cigarettes
D. A Kick in the Ass


Breakfast Club

Answers are below.

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Answers to Trivia:

B. Burger Time 

The 80s were filled with inventions, some of which changed the way we live and others have come and gone. Video game arcades in the malls were always packed with teenagers and you could find a friend or perhaps a new boyfriend/girlfriend there. Share you favourite arcade experience in the comments section.

C. Cigarettes 

Bad Boy John Bender. Such the rebel and the type of boy mothers warned their daughters about. In Breakfast Club he tells the kids what life in the Bender house was like and it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. The boy with the permanent seat in detention who made a girl want to get sent to the principals office. What was your favourite 80s movie?


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?

For more information check out her website. www.shannonpeel.com