At the ripe “young” age of 62, I took the plunge and changed jobs. Before I left my employer of over 20 years for my amazing dream job, I grilled everyone interviewing me about the five-year plan. Because if I could just get three-five years out of this, I would be set to retire. And before I accepted, I got assurances from three different executives that there was indeed a healthy, five-year plan. Not so…after exactly one year to the day (two years ago), I was laid off.
The only saving grace was that I got to go home with a huge freelance project that took me about six months to complete. That helped tremendously. However, once home, as my freelance ebbed and flowed and nearly came to a complete standstill recently, I still have not figured out what to do with myself. Having been a loyal worker bee (and not a vigorous self-starter) for many, many years, it’s been really difficult to reinvent myself and feel at peace with my situation. I’m very task oriented but not so great at initiating…
Unfortunately, I only have a few hobbies (like walking, meditation, reading, yoga, texting my adult son who rarely answers, and container gardening), and they do not fill my days. I have no interest in writing a novel or my memoir; I’m not crafty or artistic, and I hate watching daytime TV—even if it’s HGTV. So I fidget and don’t know what to do with myself.
I’ve looked for volunteer opportunities, but like freelance contacts and recruiters, they do not respond. I guess there are enough of us out there volunteering. I love to read to young kids, but my local library and Vroman’s doesn’t need me. I couldn’t even get through to the librarian at an LA Unified elementary school that did need me. A friend went through these same phases and it took her about three years to find her passion (she realized that she was a Francophile, went back to French class, and is planning her two month language immersion program in Paris.) I guess that means I have another year to go, n’est-ce pas?
So…I make lunch dates, run errands, and shop way too much which is not good for retirement savings! I even tried a library reading group, but I was the only person there who liked the book! I hear my mother’s voice in my head saying “I’m not a stay at home kind of gal,” over and over again. She, of course, worked diligently into her early 70s.
Everyone’s advice is to try different things, look for your passion, and do your research. Take quizzes and delve into articles and published reincarnations of What Color is Your Parachute? Seriously?
Slowly, I’m coming to the realization that it takes time, calm reflection (I guess frantic reflection is an oxymoron), and a tremendous amount of patience. It also takes developing a very strong and practiced “leave yourself alone” mantra. And that is hard work indeed. I know I shall persevere; I’m tenacious about persevering, not to mention just a tad obsessed. And…I’ll even attempt to keep an open mind when I’m not driving myself crazy—which is most of the time.
I hear there’s a Weight Watchers job fair coming up soon. I just have to hurry up and get to my goal weight and maintenance for six weeks in order to apply. And that would only take a miracle!