Recently I voluntarily transitioned from a wonderful 30 year career to a “I don’t quite know what yet time” in my life. I am fortunate because I made this decision consciously in my time. It wasn’t thrust upon me, as is often the case in these precarious, changing times. However, it has landed me into what author/life coach Martha Beck calls “Square One—Death and Rebirth” (from her book, Finding Your North Star)
I thought I was prepared, given all the transition, career and midlife change books I’ve read in the past couple of years. Add in many in-depth conversations, several workshops, and other random sources of information, I thought I had it covered. Not quite! I had not anticipated the range of emotions I have felt. It’s quite the emotional cocktail–a shot of uncertainty, splash of eager anticipation, and a dash of fear. The good news–I honestly know these feelings are temporary and I’m already moving through this period. Here are three suggestions I have if you’re going through such a transition time.
- Simply be present in the day. This is the first time in years where I wake up to a full day with nothing planned. At first it was overwhelming. Now I actually am present with myself, tuned into what I’m feeling, and trying on ideas and what feels good to me. I also learned it’s OK if I really don’t want to do much or accomplish anything. I’m trying new recipes, lingering over my morning coffee, and aware of the summer light as it changes through the day.
- Be comfortable with not knowing. I’ve had to let go of my identity as a professional woman, consultant, speaker, and trainer. My role as a mother has shifted as my sons are grown with full lives of their own. I feel naked, yet wonderfully free to try on new roles or varied identities.
- Simple self care is essential. Get enough sleep–at least 7 hours a night. Prepare and eat good food. If you like, have a glass or two of wine. Breathe. Throughout the day, take several deep, slow breaths, being conscious of the flow. Move your body, preferably outside doing something you enjoy. I happen to enjoy running, walking, tennis and golf. Find something you enjoy and move!
Remember, this period doesn’t last forever. It’s a threshold from the old into a completely new place in your life. There’s magic in this time!