The Limbo state, no not doing the Limbo.

I mentioned in my first post that I am now retired – realizing I am retired took some time.

Not only am I retired but I also mentioned having back problems. There are other medical issues I won’t get into here. Just suffice it to say I can’t just go out and get a job but really wish I could.

Having worked for about 40+ years of my life I’m quite used to having those lovely corporate challenges to deal with. I am quite used to the quarterly and annual objective lifestyle. I like that lifestyle. I am an over achiever type. Give me an objective and I will take that mountain.

I’ve had all types of jobs over the years from short-order cook, secretary, office manager, active duty in the U.S. Army Reserve, bartender at a biker bar (yep, in my younger days), executive assistance, production analyst, facilities and territory manager, internal consultant, project manager of all types of large national projects, negotiator, contract manager, security director, crisis manager,…well you get it, the list goes on and on. I love dealing with things that make other people crazy. I’m great in an emergency. I tend to thrive in a brain-storming kind of gig. Details are not my thing but give me a project and I’m flying high.

Luckily I’ve worked for several amazing people, also for a few not so great people, and I’ve learned from them all. I had the opportunity to team with remarkable people and luckily friendships gained across the years have been incredible. I’ve truly been blessed.

Over these 40+ years, a few unique situations or opportunities stand out. Then the not so great stories I could share with you include things like:

  1. A gun fight at the biker bar over a July 4th celebration – real fireworks – not so sure that happens to everyone.
  2. My house caught fire one night and my cat saved our lives, yes my cat!
  3. I was mugged dropping off a date in D.C.

Ok, those were not so fun but they were exciting. The following were lots more fun.

  1. Finally got to be a mom! I knew at the age of 5 that I would have a son – but it took a really long time to achieve this incredible goal.
  2. Got to testify before Congress
  3. Was quoted in the Washington Post, and a book
  4. Got to watch my son learn to surf this past year and was telling all the Ecuadorians on the beach how great my son was in English and they just smiled and acted like I was a crazy Gringo – I was.
  5. Got to join Nick on his very first dive ever this past year off the coast of Ecuador! (This one is bittersweet as I am hanging up the scuba gear due to my back but it was so much fun to get to do with my son.)

But back to this transition thing. Now unable to work I have been a bit lost without the normal focus my past jobs provided. As I said, I’m quite used to the normal business objectives one has complemented by personal goals.

I have found I needed to redirect myself and spend several months developing a whole new set of goals and objectives which are all totally personal. I’ve never spent so much time focused on just me. It’s been strange to have to recast life just around me and my son without worrying about work at all. For the first time in 40+ years, work is totally irrelevant. How totally strange that is to me.

To be honest it was not easy to transition thinking just personally. I was somewhat lost. Let me frank, I was completely lost. This lost/limbo state has not been easy to shake off for a bottom line oriented, business type A like me. Probably for people not ready to retire I expect this is what happens to them too. I had planned to retire in 2 more years not now. And I had not planned to completely retire but to continue to work part time. But my job was eliminated and now being unable to work – that plan changed. The change was out of my control.

Sometimes life throws curveballs our way. Or at us.

I just shared with a friend of mine how I have learned no one is guaranteed their next breath. I am remembering this more often as I stop, breathe deeply, and remember to be grateful for what I have, even if things are not what I expect…or, what I exactly wanted either.

Just typing “I’m retired”… relatively easy enough to type, or say now…but it took me 4 months to figure it out. Yes, 4 months of deliberation, anger, frustration, meditation, prayer, my son’s and close friend’s love and support, sadness and a few cocktails. My control and focus was gone. I felt lost in transition. In Limbo – no, not doing the Limbo. Although in retrospect that would have served a more useful purpose perhaps.

Having a focus for one’s life or goals….no matter if they are corporate or personal is an illusion of control – remember, that guaranteed next breath? The illusion of control is becoming clearer to me – it is only an illusion. Things can change so quickly. Life can change so quickly. And so many times the change is out of our control.

Maybe all this has all really just been a lesson in letting go.

I’ve certainly had to let go. I’ve let go of a lot of things these past months. Hum….something to think about as I keep dodging those dang curveballs.

With gratitude, I am hopeful the lost in transition stage is truly over and I can more easily say I’m retired with a bit more ease. And if this whole transition has been a lesson in letting go, or in recognizing my own lack of control or in focusing on self or others or perhaps in simple gratitude

I am thankful this stage is over, at least I hope that it is.

And though it has been hard to get to right here, this moment in this presence……I take this breath in thankfulness, peace, and with gratitude.

But first there is that little matter of proving my son is really my son.

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