Growing Pains Don't Stop After 50Jul 26, 2022
About two and a half years ago, I began writing and creating programs and content for the women in this community. Life Balance after 50 was started at a time in my life where I was busy helping senior parents, wanting to spend all the time I could with children and grandchildren, and wanting to make and take time with my husband.
More importantly, though, Life Balance after 50 was started at a time where I was beginning to think about leaving a career that I loved. And this created anxiety. What would I do with my days? What would my life look like without that in it each day?
My family still needed me, but not like they did when I was raising my children. And, my husband is a pilot and is gone quite a bit. I needed to find something that would bring me joy, keep me busy, and continue to allow me the flexibility to be there for my family when needed.
I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of writing. And, to use my content to help people who were dealing with many of the things that I was at this stage of life made me even happier.
And from there, Life Balance After 50 was created.
Fading Out of My Career
About midway through the pandemic quarantine, I started the conversation with my boss (who also happens to be one of my best friends). I wasn't ready to leave quite yet, but I wanted her to know where my head was and that I didn't want to be given too many new cases.
This summer, about a year and a half later, the company was in a position staffwise where I could really fade out without putting too much on my co-workers. So, I decided to go for it.
And, it's happening! I'm currently working around 5 hours per month.
Yes and no.
I'm not sure what I pictured happening exactly as I entered this new phase of my life. Joy? Happiness at the prospect of working nonstop on my blog and programs and spending time with my family? Not having any more "time excuses" not to exercise daily?
Those feelings and activities are happening. But, I'm also realizing that I was expecting everyone to be calling and checking in to continue to access my expertise at my job.
And they're not! They're moving on pretty easily without me there!
And, my feelings and pride are hurt.
What I'm Learning as I Navigate This
Growing Pains Never Stop, No Matter How Old We Are
When I hung up the phone after having the conversation with my boss/friend about getting serious about fading me out, I felt incredible relief. I cried. Happy tears. I was excited about the prospect of being able to hop down to North Carolina on a whim to see my kids there and to be accessible whenever needed for all of my kids and grands. I couldn't wait to dive full time into content creation for my community at Life Balance. I could wake up each morning and the day would be mine to do with whatever I wanted.
And that has been the case! But, I'm also now dealing with social isolation. And the loss of an identity, almost! Those people I worked with each day were my friends! We knew what was happening in each others' lives. We ate lunch together and caught up. And I'm not a part of that anymore.
I didn't realize how big a part of my life that was. Until it was gone.
It's taking some getting used to. But, the good news is that growing pains happen because I am continuing to grow.
Continuing to grow is a great thing.
The Number One "Cure" is Action Steps of SOME SORT
As a career behavior analyst, I've always been a believer in taking action. Any action that moves you in the right direction. It can be the smallest step.
But, it's a step. And, when we take small steps each day, we build momentum. This, I promise you.
I have a strong desire to be as healthy and physically fit as I possibly can be and am working on habit formation around that goal. I began by setting the goal of walking every day for 15 minutes. I have found that once I get out there, I always walk for more than 15 minutes. And, I'm finding that the longer I've been doing this, the more automatic it is becoming.
Momentum is building around this habit. And, once I'm doing this daily for a month, I'll increase and reinforce my goals and expectations.
This can apply to any role, redefinition, or change that you'd like to make in your own life.
Last month, I found that I wasn't committed to rolling out my Right Side of 50 program which I have launched quarterly for about a year. So, I made the decision NOT to roll it out this past quarter.
Instead, I took two action steps:
- Emailed my subscriber list to see if anyone would be interested in doing some work with me 1:1 on their own redefinition after 50. The response was overwhelming and it's something I'm trying out to see how they and I like it.
- Declared it my "summer of being present." Instead of creating more "busywork" for myself, I've been practicing being very deliberate about being present in the moment. Not worrying about what else I should be doing right then, or the dogs, or my husband flying, or any of the myriad of other things I worry about.
All that worry does is rob me of the joy in the moment. And, I can honestly say that most of the moments in my day are moments in which I can be grateful and joyful.
Not to mention the fact that most of the stuff I think and worry about is stuff that will never even happen.
What a waste!
Change is never easy. Even when it's something that we want. I forgot this when I made the decision to actively fade out of my career and was surprised by the negative feelings and thoughts that came about as a result.
It's an opportunity for me to remind myself that growth does not come without some discomfort.
And a little discomfort is okay.