After 30 years of working full-time in a successful, rewarding career, I’ve dialed it back…way back! I can’t quite say “retire” out loud, yet I suppose that’s what it really is. Unlike someone with a full-time position, as a consultant I can elect to reduce my client base, not take on new projects, and slow things down. So, it wasn’t one day employed, the next day unemployed. It has been gradual. I’m lucky because it is my decision. Several of my friends and colleagues had “retirement” thrust upon them in recent years, not by choice.
Fortunately, I have been a “student and facilitator of change”, both professionally and personally. I have worked with client companies in various stages of transition: start-ups; growth; layoffs; or mergers. I’ve also counselled executives, managers, and employees with career changes to help them maneuver through the myriad of emotions and challenges inherent in change. You’d think with all this knowledge, I’d float through my midlife transiton with ease and grace. Not so much!
I’m experiencing the full range of emotions as a result of ending my career and upon entering this new period in my life. Interestingly, I’m able to be both a participant and observer of these times which I’ll share in future blogs.
I’ve made a conscious effort to slow my daily life way down right now. Going from a fully scheduled day to an open calendar feels weird. I also feel anxious and edgy, doubt my value and usefulness, question my decision, and feel like I need a midday nap. Yikes! It also allows me to leisuraly read the morning paper, create wonderful new meals, sit and enjoy my garden, do nothing, and allow the day to happen.
Contrast this with a friend of mine who retired a couple months ago. No sooner did she deposit her last check, she moved and has redecorated her new home, signed up for several classes, has taken three trips, joined 2 meet-up groups, and started online dating. Oh, and did I mention, she’s constantly exhausted.
Where am I going? Who am I becoming? What’s next? And what is a normal pace? I have no idea nor any answers. I do know for sure by allowing myself to move in life’s rhythm will bring forth new and interesting ideas, people, and experiences. It already has….