I’m noticing things are different, this time, after I retired in April 2012. It’s no longer an “in-between jobs” mindset. I’m in a good place and more settled and connected than ever. I feel as if my heart and head are coming together with purpose and meaning.
Maybe, it’s true that life shows up in repetitive patterns. I had to come back around and revisit this “stay-at-home” place with no phones, meetings, deadlines . . . structure. I think I’m finally figuring it out this time around. At least, I don’t feel the need to chase an expectation or preconceived ambition with conditions.
I was trying too hard last time, when I was in between jobs. I hadn’t put all the pieces together and wasn’t quite content and complete within myself. I was on the rebound, doing what was expected of me in reaction to the loss of a regular paycheck. This time, I’m further along in the process of understanding myself and making sense of it.
My prior 12-year job evaporated in 2002, when the company relocated to headquarters on the east coast and I transitioned by launching my own business ― talking-stick workshops. I registered a trade name with the state, became a sole proprietor and produced a website. I attended leads groups, chambers of commerce, Kiwanis and a number of other business networking groups. In my mind, I was doing all the things you needed to do to get a business off the ground. I advertised and contacted companies, campaigned leaving brochures, business cards, gave inspirational talks, workshop presentations and composed a 4-series program.
I thought this was the perfect opportunity to put out something that would benefit others and, in my little corner, make it a better world. But, obviously I was missing something. After 4 years, I had nothing to show for my efforts except my spinning wheels. It then came time to reenter the structured workplace once again.
I was fortunate to reenter having something to contribute in office skills and a little mortgage loan experience I learned along the way. At least, it got me in the door after being out of a company workplace for 6 years.
I must say, that time around, I felt a little disoriented rejoining the workplace, a little older and not as up-to-speed, technologically, with the latest and greatest web whizzes. I was a little put out with myself and a bit upset with the universe. “Why was I repeating this again after having done this for so many years? Hadn’t I given it my all?” My heart wasn’t in it, yet it was necessary to maintain and help pay bills.
I adjusted and learned new skills and acclimated to the new, fast-paced workplace. It wasn’t so bad.
I made some new friends and, after some self-reflection and modification, I felt like I was finally a part of a team.
That took a span of 4 years and I loved it. I could have worked another 10+ years but the universe had another plan, with another dissolved job outsourced out-of-state. I suppose the idea was not to get too comfortable.
I was transitioning back, again, to staying home. But, this time, I wasn’t looking back and for some reason I wasn’t worried about the future and what it may hold. I felt as if I had arrived and was done with the company, office-type jobs. I had gone back for more pieces to the puzzle and found how they fit together for me.
I knew I wanted to pick up my writing again. So, I started with that and I’m pouring my heart into it like I did the talking-stick workshops. It’s funny. I have a better perspective this time and I’m learning a lot about myself in the process. As I open from the inside and unfold, the writing gets more pure. I sometimes wonder if this was the purpose all along to learn how to become more in tune and how to freely express it.
Isn’t it interesting how we spend most of our lives entering the back door or side window instead of boldly going to the front door to introduce ourselves? At least, that’s how I’ve felt most of my life, always holding back a part of me in reserve.
I don’t know what lies ahead or exactly what course of direction to take. I just know, for the first time in my life, I have the pieces and I’m working on putting them together with a new, fresh excitement. I’m slowing things down and eliminating the chatter in my head and I’m learning to listen and feel what rings true in my heart. After all, when it’s all said and done, what remains is the feeling in the hearts of those you know and love and what you did with the chances and gifts that came your way.
How about you? Where are you on your timeline and what changes would you make, if you could?
Pat from the ol’ kitchen table