Slowing down is an interesting process. My history, as probably most of my readers, has always been a fairly fast-paced hectic lifestyle, but I would have to say the last ten years were some of the busiest most demanding years of my entire life, for a number of different reasons. Suffice it to say, my train has been barreling along at top speed for most of that time, so this experience of being unemployed, kids grown, grandkids still but a dream, parents off to higher pastures… leaves my days up to what I plan, which isn’t too much right now.
For the first week or so after my job ended, I was busy with a celebration trip to Hawaii, but once I returned home and Rick went back to work, the reality of this new chapter of my life definitely set in. And as excited as I was, I also felt terrified to be without my income as well as the other perks of being employed. I didn’t even get one day into unemployment without beginning to worry, whether or not it was warranted. Man, that inner voice sure doesn’t hesitate to offer up negative imagery. Yikes.
For about a week or so, I felt as if I’d done a truly beautiful swan dive from, of course, an extremely high cliff in some amazing tropical land, but seriously, I was screaming and flailing all the way down, not exactly a pretty picture.
It took about a week for me to settle down enough to realize that this was not a worst-case scenario story. As my defenses let down, I was able to look at the whole picture and realize that I would be fine in the end, and more than that, that I would actually most likely find I that I loved this new chapter.
The conclusion of my employment, as it turns out, has been almost as time consuming as beginning a new job, so many things to figure out, insurance, where to move your 401K, trying to get all your ducks in a row. I’ve spent hours on the phone, and on the computer, at doctor’s visits before the insurance ends, and even finally after 12 years of procrastinating had a colonoscopy … I’ll save the lessons about that for a whole post, without too much detail about the process … blimey.
As this week begins, I only have a few loose ends left, and I find my thoughts quieting down and moving toward my passions. I am marveling every day at the ability to take my time with whatever I am doing. It’s a lovely experience for me, and makes me realize how much I probably missed moving so quickly. And it’s not that I’m regretting anything, just studying life, and enjoying this gift of time I have been given. I hope to use it wisely.
We all are unique beings with different tastes and desires. What I’m being drawn to is spending more time in nature and with my loved ones, also writing and yoga. This morning I took my usual walk over to the lake (really it’s a pond trying to run with the big dogs) and sat at my usual picnic table next to the pond watching the wildlife. The fish were surely jumping, and the sky was as blue as blue can be. I typically stop for only about five minutes as there’s a list of to do’s a mile long waiting back at home, but today, there was no list a mile long. I had a list, but it was manageable, not to mention nothing that needed to be done today, so I took extra time on my bench. The breeze came up, and as it moved through the trees so full with their spring growth, I basked in the sunshine listening to the music of nature, the sounds of our earth. Mother nature’s melody is as beautiful as any notes we humans can create.
And today, coincidentally, I received a sweet gift from my yoga teacher. When we began our class, we were asked to fill out a questionnaire. One of the questions was, if I remember right, to select a word that described how you wanted to feel at the end of the class, or maybe just in general, not really sure exactly how the question was worded. But what I remember writing was “free.” I wanted to feel a freedom that I knew had been missing from my life for quite some time. I remember feeling a little funny about selecting that word, because I felt it could be misconstrued. But nonetheless, it is what resonated with me, so I wrote it down. I felt that the answer could be misunderstood as my wanting a freedom from my husband or my kids, or perhaps interpreted in regard to my mom passing, none of which was what I was yearning for. No, the word simply meant a chance to spend my days exactly like I have been doing the last few weeks, choosing how my day will play out, gravitating toward my passions, opening new doors for new adventures, connecting with people, enjoying nature.
I opened the package from Tess with a note and a bracelet with the word I had selected. “Free.” I smiled to the heavens above, and sent a silent nod to Tess for being so thoughtful, and intuitive as to when that gift should arrive. Life rarely disappoints me.
I know that this freedom will ebb and flow in my future, because that’s just life. But for this moment in time, I will embrace this blessing with great enthusiasm and gratitude.
Endless second chances to take it once chance at a time … Kenny Loggins … the breeze has come to take me and it’s a sweet ride. Thank you also, Kenny, for writing a song that never tires for me. It lifts me, inspires me, and reminds me about what is important.