Well, I don’t want to truly revamp myself because I am OK as-is. But changes are in the air so I’ve been thinking about new paths. It’s exciting, and a little scary too, of course.
I’ll be 59 in a couple of weeks. I can hardly believe it. It seems like I met Sandy a few months ago (it was 22 years) and all the adventures, joys, and tears have rocketed past. I got a Masters Degree in counseling in 1997, and that too seems like a moment gone by. Fourteen years at my beloved community mental heath center, and just yesterday I was the new kid.
|Wedding Day: I had something very important to tell my new husband, apparently.
The past is full of ecstatic moments (buying our cottage, graduating from grad school, getting married, visiting the Parthenon, and the Empire State Building) and terribly sad ones (losing my dad and Sandy’s brother to cancer).
|My girl Nola. Being her cat-mom was a highlight of my life for 17 years.
Now at the cusp of my seventh decade (ack!), it’s clear that whatever more I want to do, I best be getting to it. I am reducing my work hours, so that I can do more of . . . it’s not totally obvious! But it’s semi-retirement from the office only, not from living.
Things that are for sure staying in my next chapter are: my husband/best friend/partner in adventure, our beach apartment, sweetie cats, blogging, and mental health counseling in some form. I’m thinking about many other possibilities too, with these guidelines:
- Just because you’ve never done it, doesn’t mean you can’t do it now. I have never written a book, taken singing or drawing lessons, or been to South America. These are all on the table, why not?
- Stay true to your core values. I have to do things that resonate with my core beliefs. I could go to work for Planned Parenthood, but not a tobacco company. I could volunteer to help kids, animals, or trees, but not organized religion.
- All advice is not created equal. It’s important to choose your confidantes well. I talk about my ideas with positive, enthusiastic people, especially those who have taken some risks along their journey.
- Take a freaking chance (expletive usually included). My dad always encouraged my risk-taking, and one of his favorite sayings was, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Then he’d finish with “And if the worst happens, Dad will be here for you.” He’s not here now, but I feel him.
So far, I have applied to be a Red Cross Disaster Relief volunteer. I start orientation in a week, and I am charged up. This project fits my four guidelines perfectly. I’ll let you know how it evolves.
Any crossroads approaching for you? Entering a new field, moving to a new city, going back to or graduating from school? What do you do in retirement, if you are fortunate enough to be there, or what do you dream of doing?
Have an adventurous day, and stay fabulous,