Reimagining….

So, it’s been a week since my “retirement” from Whirlpool. Note: Unless the Universe has other plans, I won’t be retiring. It’s more like a readjustment. I sort of like the word ‘reimagining’. My brain needs something to imagine or I’ll go crazy. My mind is like a super-highway for imaginings of fun things to do, catastrophes that might befall me and planning, planning, planning. And when I’m working, it’s always strategizing. My team used to get really nervous when I didn’t sleep and a 1:1 showed up on their calendar. They knew that I’d woken up in the middle of the night and had some new plan of what I wanted them to do. Meditation helps me manage the traffic flow, but my mind is a very busy place.

Now there’s nothing to plan. I got up Monday morning and felt super disoriented. I suppose I could start having 1:1s with my pets for planning purposes, but they don’t really listen to me. Monday was the first day that I felt like I was in a ‘readjustment’ with no real goal in sight. I know that I may as well rest a little. I have a couple of short camping trips scheduled with friends for the next couple weeks, so I’m not going to throw myself headlong into looking for employment or starting any major projects. All day my brain was nudging me. What should I think about? Is there a catastrophe I should worry about? I mean, other than a global pandemic and being ‘readjusted’. What about jobs? Remodeling the house? I jumped from one potential stream of consciousness to another but nothing was particularly urgent or absorbing. Like I anticipated, I feel untethered.

It’s Blueberry season!

I decided on Tuesday to structure my day a little. That helped, and I established a better rhythm for the rest of the week. But it still feels super weird to not have a hundred things to strategize. I spend my time breaking up cat fights, going to farm markets to buy fruit, planning menus and exercising. I’m talking to a few people about future job opportunities but nothing super intense at the moment.

Ashok is very happy with the current situation. I’m home all the time, and we are walking more than once a day. On our evening walk yesterday, I was struck by a neighbor’s garden of daisies. That lovely little patch made me smile. And since I have nowhere to go and don’t have to get there fast, I stopped to enjoy that beautiful happy spot. As I walked away, I heard myself saying out loud, “I love it here. I really don’t want to leave.” Now I know I’ll do whatever I have to do, but I felt committed for a moment to an unlikely place. On that corner in January with the wind howling about me I might not be so mesmerized with Michigan. But in that moment I wanted to stay in the Mitten surrounded by friends, that beautiful lake and that specific little cheerful patch of daisies. In the moment I’m happy for the future to percolate, but I can’t wait to see what happens.

If you could reimagine your life, what would it look like? What small things speak to you every day? Where would you be, what would you do, how would your days unfold?

12 Comments on “Reimagining….

  1. Even after 2 years and with no plans to work a full time job again, “retirement” just doesn’t seem to fit to me, but I love the idea of reimagining! I think I’ve been stuck in the mindset of society’s norm of retirement and reading your words this morning shook all that loose. Thank you for sharing the wanderings of your beautiful mind with us!

  2. Thank you for sharing! So many things you say resonate with me. (Btw…met you about year and a half ago at the winter Runner Girl event)

    • Well hi again! Thank you for reading. Maybe we should get together for a hike or something sometime now that I’m less scheduled. I’d love to hear more about your re-imagining.

  3. So, I follow Elizabeth Berg on Facebook. She has a friend who is not published, but she writes incredible essays. Thought some of these would give you a little structure to your day. I especially loved prairie-music…but it moved me to tears. So maybe not that one.

    https://www.phyllisflorin.com

    Have you applied for unemployment? That’s the first thing I did after being laid off from a company I loved after being there for 13 years. It was so hard on me. It was devastating and felt like a death. I gave myself some time to do other things (I had a nice severance package) and to just calm down. Two months later, I started networking with friends vs. applying to ads. To keep the unemployment coming, I did respond to job ads so I could show the unemployment folks that I was actually looking for work. I also did a few “information interviews” with companies I would like to possibly join. The networking worked, and I was offered a job as a marketing manager for a small energy efficiency services company. The low salary offer made me swallow hard, but I figured I could look for something else while earning a paycheck. This job turned into an amazing path that eventually led me to a CEO position for an energy efficiency non-profit. Great salary and benefits. The only drawback was a 25-member board! I would still be there (I worked there for 9 years), if we hadn’t relocated to Idaho. Turns out getting laid off was the best thing that ever happened to me.

    I did a lot of writing, researching companies, taking walks with my dogs, and reading. I spent more time with my friends, and my husband and I spent more time with couple friends.

    It’s hard to be in the moment and not “fix things.” I went through that as well. I did a lot of meditation and body calming (I think this was before yoga became a thing), and I did a lot of cardio via videotapes. Richard Simmons (he cracked me up), and Jane Fonda with her leg warmers and leotard kept me active when it was over 100 degrees in Phoenix. I also did a lot of cooking. I drool over your tales of cooking and photos. I love my husband, but his digestive system is a nightmare. I have to stick with basic dishes (no garlic, onions, mushrooms, no fish of any kind, no fruit except apples and bananas…you get the idea). It’s a good thing he had other fine qualities. I got my fix when we dined out.

    I have no doubt you’ll make this time valuable for you and for where you are right now. You’re a talented marketer and writer. Someone out there is looking for you. Give yourself time to recover and heal.

    Hope this helps,

    M

    • Yes, this was very inspiring! Thank you for sharing. My plan is very similar to what you described so your experience will help me stay on the path!

  4. I would probably be a civil engineer or work in Public Health.
    As a kid I loved building road and bridges in my sandbox and still love heavy equipment. There’s nothing like the smell of wet concrete and freshly cut wood!
    Every time I go to a conference on Public Health I get excited. These people are full of passion and are on a mission. No one goes into this profession to get rich, unlike healthcare.
    These people do amazing work with few resources. For short money they have eradicated horrible diseases. Now they need money to address Social Determinants of Health (SDOH).
    For small sums of money they can make huge strides in addressing SDOH which will benefit all of us.

    • That’s interesting. I guess I never thought much about public health as a separate enterprise from hospitals. Maybe I should check that out. Should be good potential in the next decade.

      • Yes, they are totally separate. Some hospitals are funded by the government, but most are not. And most doctors are not public employees.

  5. I LOVE being semi-retired (read: self-employed but no work because of pandemic)! Meditation, gardening, blogging, cooking, walking, time with friends, hiking, resting (mmm, siestas), daydreaming etc. Love it. Have you thought about a volunteer job? With animals perhaps? Or Meals on Wheels? Giving time to others less fortunate is a very valuable experience. Or how about some study? I just took up Spoon carving, and love it! Blessings, G

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