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It's Never Too Late

Wanting to relieve stress and take her mind off of a case she was working on, Jamie Freveletti, a Chicago attorney representing white-collars crimes as well as pharmaceutical, medical-device and securities violations, tucked her children into bed and picked up her pen.
“I really enjoyed it, and decided to treat myself. I signed up for a night class in creative writing at the University of Chicago.  I
started with short stories and I never stopped.”
A marathon runner and martial arts teacher, Freveletti, who is fascinated by the intricacies of Columbia, South America politics and narco trafficking, created Emma Caldridge, a biochemist, ultra-marathoner who is tougher and smarter than almost any guy was a ground breaker in much the same way as V. I. Warshawski, the first woman private investigator in crime fiction, introduced by Chicago writer, Sara Paretsky, more than 25 years ago.
Freveletti’s first Caldridge novel Running from the Devil, was
chosen as a “Notable Book” by the Independent Booksellers of America, awarded "Best First Novel" by the International Thriller Writers, awarded a Barry Award for "Best First Novel" by Deadly Pleasures Magazine, has been translated into three languages and was an international bestseller. This year, HarperCollins released Dead Asleep, her third Caldridge novel and, chosen by the Estate of Robert Ludlum, Freveletti wrote The Janus Reprisal, the ninth in the CovertOne series.
Along the way, Freveletti quit her day job and now writes full time.
Tim and Angie Burton owned a systems integration business where they dealt in technology, but a trip with an employee to tap maple trees led them to resume a family tradition started by Angie’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather Jacob Flynn who had gather sap and made maple syrup on the Flynn family farm starting back in 1810.
   “I got it,” says Tim Burton about his first time out with a family of syrup makers. It included the lost social aspect of family and neighbors coming together to help in the springtime chore of maple sugaring. And so, just like Flynn, the two began tapping the soft and hardwood maple trees dotting the hilly landscape on the family’s farm in tiny Medora, Indiana, an area so rural that three wooden covered bridges built in the 1800s still carry passengers across rivers and creeks as they have for well over a century. Medora has a population of around 600 but the maple syrup made at Burton’s Maplewood Farm is present throughout the trendy restaurants and at farmer’s markets in Chicago.
Stephanie Izard, chef/owner of Girl and the Goat and Paul Kahan, owner of Avec, The Publican, Blackbird and Big Star have worked with Burton in creating exclusive barrel-aged syrups for their restaurants. Many of the Chicago chefs have hit the road, traveling to Medora to take part in maple sugaring. Stories like the Burtons and Freveletti are becoming more of the norm.
Antonio F. Vianna, a graduate of Northwestern University who writes and teaches on the subject of re-careering, estimates that today’s workers will probably change their career four times in their lifetime.
Re-starting your place in the rat race isn’t an age thing though. Marilyn Moats Kennedy, a Chicago-based consultant and keynote speaker, says that 30 percent of those over 50 recareer when they realize that retiring is not currently an option.
“They decide if they’re going to work then they want to do what
their dream of work was at 22,” says Kennedy, owner of Moats Kennedy, a consulting firm. “People are living longer and retiring at 65 doesn’t mean much anymore. You don’t even get Social Security until 66 now. Also people don’t have pension plans like the previous generation, their 401k’s may not have worked out very well, but besides that they also can’t even begin imaging doing what they see the older generation retirees do during the day—taking classes or baby-sitting the grandkids. So it’s money first and stimulation second.”
But following your dream takes some planning. Kennedy recommends what she calls an incubation period that includes taking a look at what you’ve done in the past.
“You’ll see patterns such as that in certain times you succeed your own expectations and you are really really good and other times you sink like a stone and you’re not good,” she says.

“You’ve got to free up your imagination, think about what you don’t want to ever have to do again whether it’s a commute, sitting at a desk, the parts of the job you have that you hated. It’s important, otherwise you’ll end up inanother job you don’t like.”
Asked if she thinks she’ll ever return to law, Freveletti responds, “Anything's possible, of course, but I don't think so. I'm pretty deep  into writing now.”
As for Burton, he says that’s there no better place to be than in Medora producing Indiana’s oldest agricultural crop.

Published: December 02, 2012
Issue: 2012 Philanthropy Issue