Roll with the changes

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life48 Comments

Photo by the one and only Tara Whitney.

Change is hard.

I say this from experience—from nearly 50 years of living. This half century of life uniquely qualifies me to speak on the topic because,  you know, that’s a chunk of time.

If you’re one of those people who say you love change I am going to be just a tiny bit suspicious at first, and then jealous. Change to me is such an unknown. Unknown to this former control freak is hard.

For a number of years now I’ve been working on changes. Changes in my parenting style. Changes in my relationship with my husband. Changes in how I view the world in general. Changes that continue to be challenging and yet needed. I have made some big changes and some not-so noticeable ones. And there are some things that are quite simply kicking my ass because they’re stubborn and change is the very last thing they want to do.

(They is convenient little smoke screen for me and my attitude. It’s a slippery slope, I tell ya.)

So there’s that in all of it’s vague glory.


But another change, and one that isn’t vague at all, is that my partner in crime, after 27 years with the same company is one week away from being unemployed as he begins his final semester of grad school to become an elementary school teacher. Yep, Dan starts student teaching on February 1 and Mama becomes the sole breadwinner until Daddy hopefully gets a job next Fall.

And even though we have been preparing for this for two years, the fact that it’s actually here is one change that’s a little bit scary because I don’t know what the coming year looks like.

I suppose that’s really no different than what my work life has been since I quit my full-time job back in 1999 after Cole was born. I didn’t know what the future held. The only difference was that I knew where my healthcare was coming from. Other than that, it was pretty much the same type of not knowing.

And if I’m being honest and truly connected to reality, no one knows what the next hour looks like. So where’s the problem?

If I stay in reality, I’ll roll with the changes. (Where is REO Speedwagon when you most need them?)

Yep. Change is hard. But I’m here. I have a life and I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to work on seeing where it all leads.

That needs to be my mantra for when my attitude toward change borders on the childish.

In other words, nearly every day.

Wish me luck.

Except at the end of the day, this isn’t really just about me. I know, shocker.

I need to thank you, Dan Zielske, for such dedication and commitment in a time where that is rare among anyone in business. You have worked so hard for this family and taken care of us for so many years and for that, I am so grateful. Here is to the next chapter. Let’s roll.



Cathy ZielskeRoll with the changes

48 Comments on “Roll with the changes”

  1. #2

    So happy and excited for you both…I think you are both remarkably brave and I am applauding you and cheering you on from Canada.

  2. #3

    Spectacular! You will rock – and roll – this, both you and Dan. (The whole control thing is so hard to let go, but on the other side is freedom. Enjoy!) xoL

  3. #4

    I’m here cheering you on! May the next chapter bring all good things! Good luck to the student teacher, too! What grade?

  4. #5

    I think I may have been at that concert. Okay, maybe not ‘that’ one, but it was m first official real concert when I was 18. With Cheap Trick opening. Definitely had the hair and clothes. But I digress. 🙂

    Go Dan! And go YOU! It’s funny how change all ends up working out.

    I wish I could see Dan teaching and giving his students that mischievous look we often see in photos. He’ll be grand!

  5. #7

    Change is hard but you’ve got this Cathy (and Dan). What Dan is doing is fantastic and he seems like he will be “that teacher” that everyone likes and remembers long after their school years have passed. Best of luck to him through his student teaching semester! And you Cathy – well, you’ve been totally rocking this work at home – work on the magazine thing- – so, as I said, You’ve got this. Go Team Zielske!!

  6. #8

    Scary times! Believe in yourselves! Went through this about a year and a half ago when my husband decided to retire from his secure government job at age 55! Eek!!! And I had cut my hours as a NICU nurse to prn! We have survived and both happier that we did what we did!

  7. #9


    My husband returned to school, leaving the corporate world to become a teacher in 2003- and although there was a small lag in getting that perfect teaching job and the end of grad school..- he could not be happier and his students the greatest beneficiaries of this decision! Good luck with all the changes ahead- but you got this!

  8. #11

    From one sole breadwinner to another – best wishes to you! It’s a great adventure! My husband left a corporate job that he hated just over one year ago to become a stay-at-home dad. And he’s rocked that job like no other – and SO much better than I could dream of doing. It was the scariest time with so many ugly cries, but man, it’s blessed us beyond measure. Cheering you both on!

  9. #12
    Glenda Thorne

    It’s all about the attitude and you have the best attitude around. Change is hard but worth the risk and results. Can’t wait to read all about it!

  10. #13

    My husband turned 50 last year and is just finishing up training to be a math(s) teacher. Good to see guys making good use of their midlife crises, better than buying a sports car!

    1. #13.2

      My husband is a runner and so I call his marathons his mid-life-crisis. I tell him I support his running as long as he always runs back to me. ;O) Way to go Dan! And good job at keeping your perspectacles on, Cathy!

  11. #15

    Hey Cathy, I would like to wish you and Dan and the kids all the best for this new, exciting time. It’s great that he has a passion and goes for it, kudos! That’s what the world needs: people who love what they’re doing. Cheering you on from over the big pond,

  12. #17

    I wish SO much success to Dan in his new adventure. Speaking for my own children, middle school was one of their favorite periods in school ever–and all three said that! Upon reflection, it was because this was the first time that they had mostly male teachers–teachers who taught brilliantly, with so much humor, and a bit of teasing/sarcasm that they loved. Not that female teachers aren’t wonderful too–my youngest happens to be a 2nd grade teacher and she is awesome at it–but kids who are on the cusp of child-adult connect very well with male teachers at that age. 6th, 7th and 8th graders are old enough to “get” subtle humor, and are very influenced by good male role models. Not that Dan wouldn’t be an awesome 3rd or 4th grade teacher too–and I know one or two–but I am secretly hoping he loves 6th grade!! Good luck, Dan!!!

  13. #18

    Cathy, I have so much admiration for Dan doing that – it must have been really hard to make the decision. Best wishes for him in his student teacher semester and for landing that job come fall!

  14. #19

    Best of luck to all of you! As a retired elementary teacher, it becomes a family commitment. He will have wonderful unbelievable days and very difficult days but all are meaningful to someone.

  15. #20

    I’ve been through this Cathy. In 2003 my husband decided to go back to college and become a school teacher at the age of 55. I was the breadwinner the entire time he was in school. He graduated and has been teaching junior high now for 10 years. He loves it and the students love him. You will make it–faith and patience. We certainly had to adjust financially but we have always been provided what we needed–maybe not wanted–but our needs are met. Best to both of you on this new journey.

  16. #21

    Go, Dan!! You’re going to be a great teacher. I know because you are going into this as a passion and you’ve got so much to bring to the job in your other experiences. Thanks for leading the next generation.
    And Cathy, thanks for being the best kind of spouse, supportive and real.
    It’s gonna be better than ok.
    Go team Z!!

  17. #24

    One of my all-time favorite scrapbook ideas was a layout you did (…not remembering the actual layout…seems like it was Cole heading to school…) using the title, “ch-ch-ch-ch-changes”. I thought about it recently with Bowe’s death. And now here you are again, bravely (which doesn’t mean fearlessly) turning to face the strange.

    You will each not only find your new footing, you will thrive in the process.

    It’s the Zielske way.

  18. #25

    As I was reading your post about change, and scrolling down, when about the top third of the youtube video was visible it looked like an ultrasound picture. And I thought, “Dang! That is a big change!”
    So I guess you can be glad you’re not pregnant? Really though, you’ll do great. Life is all ebb and flow and even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.

  19. #26

    What an amazing opportunity Dan has to shape little lives. May he be the teacher they always remember as one of the great one’s. It’s an awesome job, only be held by the most courageous!

    1. #26.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Yep, that’s my hope for him too! I always remember my fifth grade teacher as my favorite. Mr. Heidman. Made me want to be a writer and it always stayed with me.

  20. #27
    Christine K.

    So happy for your hubby Cathy. I have been working in elementary education for 20 years now and I really enjoy being around kids all day. Never a dull day.

    Welcome to the teaching profession Dan. Elementary schools can always use a few good men.

  21. #28
    ruth brightman

    Hi Cathy! Change can be such a scary thing to do. We have had to adjust to the loss of our 31 year old daughter. NOT a change we will ever get used to, a new normal…
    But on a lighter note I have spent the past 4 weeks cleaning out my art/scrapbook supplies. I have given away 75% of all that I have to the local elementary school. What a good feeling to lighten the load, of trying to find things and to not be stressed seeing all the stuff I’m not using. My style has changed so much over the years that I will never use that stuff! To give it to the school where the teacher tells me a lot of her supplies are paid out of her pocket, well I just feel like I’m walking on air knowing they will use ALL those supplies.

  22. #29

    After 18 years with the same company, I left to do my student teaching. Every morning I walk into my classroom, I am so thankful that I changed careers. There is nothing else like watching a child when the light bulb goes on as they learn something new. Good luck to both of you!

  23. #31

    Scary, exciting, full of promise. I taught school for 23 years…there is nothing more rewarding!!! I wish Dan all the best.

  24. #32

    We seem to be half a year ahead of you. My 49 year old husband just finished his student teaching before Christmas. He’s ready to be a middle school social studies teacher, but he got hired for 7th grade science.
    Best of luck to your family.

    1. #32.1
      Cathy Zielske

      You know, Dan hopes to be a 3rd or 4th grade teacher, but his placement in in the 6th grade. Rolling with the unknown for sure. 🙂

  25. #33
    Cathi Thoroe

    I’ve kind of silently stalked you for a couple of years now. After seeing today’s post on IG I followed it here to this page and am compelled to share my husband’s journey. A little over 3 years ago he suddenly left a toxic corporate job of 25 years. After struggling to recover emotionally he landed as an “instructor” (he’s not credentialed, he’s what they call a “walk-on) at a charter High School as the photography and computer instructor as well as the year book editor. It is the best thing that has ever happened to him. He actually wakes up eager to go to work. Just wait until Dan gets cards or notes from his students saying that he is their favorite teacher or mentor. He can’t wait to come home and share them. My husband’s life has been changed. It has not always been easy. I am the major breadwinner and he has no benefits and sometimes we struggle a bit but I wouldn’t change anything. To see the light in his eyes after a good day is worth it all. Good luck to Dan in his new adventure. I’m sure he will be many students favorite. And good luck to you, too, Cathy. It seems Dan has a great partner to help navigate this new journey.

    1. #33.2
      Cathy Zielske

      Hey Cathi, thanks for sharing this.

      I know in my heart that this is going to be such a positive thing for Dan. He is passionate about this direction, something he has not felt for years in his other job. So… yes, I just need to work hard to support him and roll with what comes. 🙂

  26. #34
    Cathi Thorpe

    You will find your own way to support him. I am certainly not a saint … I have bitten my tongue on many occasions. I try to remember that once it has passed my lips I can not take it back. That helps me keep any hurtful thoughts in my head and not become words I’ve said out loud This is a huge change for you as well as for Dan. I know I do not deal with change very well (it’s so scary!) so I wish you all smooth sailing.

  27. #35

    Time = change = HARD as F*(&. What a step for your husband and you into the unknown. I’m sure there will be peaks and valleys, as is life. But two people pursuing their passions as partners. I HAVE to LOVE that. <3

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