I knew it would happen, but I didn't know why...or how to fix it!
In July 2013, after 30 years of service as a licensed clinical social worker in a high stress job I decided to opt for an early retirement at 55, accepting a much lower pension with free health care, and I thought I had prepared myself adequately.
After all, I had a supportive spouse, was living in a gorgeous lake community in NW CT amongst many seasoned early retirees, meeting diligently with my financial advisor and an EAP counselor, who incidentally kicked me out of her office because I was the most stable, resilient, driven she ever worked with--I played in a local symphony, sang jn a professional choir, was an accomplished visual artist and poet. I also skied, cycled, kayaked and ran; "never let the grass grow under my feet", my counselor would say, but I was admittedly SCARED and no one was willing to listen!
I blissfully plodded through the first summer twitching each time I spoke with, or met a former colleague from work which convinced me that I had made the right decision.
However, as the days grew shorter I could not bear to bring myself into my studio to paint or write, I continued to sing and play flute as much as I could, and even worked and became certified as a alpine ski instructor--a dream job of mine.
But I still was deeply dissatisfied with myself for not using my free time to create. It took some time for me to learn that despite having been pegged a lone-wolf who challenged the status quo with spectacular results for clients and special interest groups at my former job I was NOT a self-starter.
I needed a strong boss to hold my feet to the fire in spite of my resistance. And subsequently discovered that when no one is paying you to do a job, no one really cares if it gets done or not.
This line of thinking set me spiraling down into a pattern of unproductive habits and poor choices in relationships which I am sifting through as I write. A mid-life crisis driven by avoidance and fear of losing my health, looks and status.
Your thought and feelings are most welcome!
Wendy: Yeppp, it happens. I always told co-workers I can easily retire and work my online business. I had "discipline"-- and I DID when i worked weekends or after work hours.
When I suddenly had all day free, I started thinking, well I could wait for tomorrow... unfortunately. that brings you to a never-ending "tomorrow" syndrome.
Figure out what you want to do -- and just do it. One tiny baby step at a time. Decide what you want to paint -- start a bit the next day, put music on and dive into your creativity. When you start to find that Sweet Spot again, its sooo good, time flies when you are in the creative moment!
Get back to the choir, or the symphony, or your art...
don't waste another moment, just jump in with both feet and make a plan.
Life is waiting for you!