When I began to contemplate the idea of retiring from my career, I experienced anxiety around the idea of not working every day. What would I do all day? How would I spend my time?
I was lucky enough to have been in a career and with a company that I absolutely loved. However, my job as a behavior analyst working with children on the autism spectrum and their families was becoming less joyful for me for a variety of reasons. I was experiencing chronic back pain. And I was at a point in my life where I wanted to spend all of my “kid” time with my grandchildren.
Still, seeing the grands was not going to be a daily event. So, how would I spend my days if I left my job?
I reflected on this question and decided that this would be the time for me to do the thing I’d wanted to do since I was a little girl. I would write.
Specifically, I would create content for women like myself who were trying to figure out who they were and what they wanted to do on this side of 50.
I started Life Balance After 50 and began writing blog posts and live content centered around:
Although this content and these topics were helpful and of interest to my community of women, this summer I took a different turn. I called it my “summer of being present.” I made it my goal to live “in the moment” no matter what I was doing. To see the joy and beauty rather than to worry about all of the other things I “should” be doing. And my community loved this.
Because, many of us in this community of women aren’t necessarily looking to make huge changes! We are just looking to find our joy and passion in each day and spend at least part of our day doing the thing that brings us just that!
Many of us in this community are just looking to have some structure and control over where our days take us. We often spend our days “reacting” to the needs of others in our environment.
Carving out and scheduling “me” time that you honor can help with this. Scheduling time each day to reflect, mediate or journal. Time to take an outdoor walk every day. Time to read for pleasure.
Creating or changing a new habit can have a domino effect on our days and weeks when we honor it and stick with it.
For these women, reflecting on how our priorities and values may have changed through the years is helpful. Maybe you want to think about what your mission statement is on this side of 50. This can provide you with a big picture look at each day as you move forward.
Having a good idea of what your priorities are can help you decide who and what to say “no” to so that you are spending more time on the things and people that matter.
Taking quiet, focused time to really reflect and journal out your ideas is key during this process. As you consider the reflections listed, it is important that you do NOT censor yourself. Write down everything that comes into your mind. This will provide you with invaluable information.
I encourage you to take time to reflect on how you’d like your days to look as you move forward. Not all of us want to make major life changes, but we do deserve to have time dedicated each day to do something that is just for us at this stage of the game.
What changes in your days and weeks would you like to see happen on this side of 50? Big? Small? What small habit change would you like to make? What is standing in your way when you think about making these changes?
Tags Reinventing Yourself
Getting used to home and chores when I previously worked, and fulltime with my fantastic husband, has been challenging. We budget well but but that is a must. At this point, I would like to see family more as they are local but working and raising families. I would like a new camper so we could be on the road more. Ps. While we have our health and joy. Not going to happen anytime soon. I know how to sacrifice very well.
Hi Jackie! Yes, the days are definitely different. I hope you get that camper VERY soon and can start to travel. Are there any awesome day trips in your area that you could do, either alone or with your husband until that happens?
Looking forward to spending the first days, weeks, & months of retirement to decompress from a lifetime of working & the demands of raising a family.
Sounds like a great plan, Jeanne! Enjoy!
I took early retirement from healthcare because of Covid threat and my husband’s health. Now I’m at home with this disabled spouse that isn’t fully mentally there. I feel very alone and sorry for myself. My 3 sons and grandchildren are at least an hour drive away and they are mostly disinterested in visiting. They have busy lives. Social media has become quite important to me as it fills some void. Money is very limited. We moved out of the city to a smaller town 3 yrs ago and I love it here, but don’t know many people. My church is an hour away in the city, so that too is limited. I’m into plants, plant-based cooking, and our pets, but things I would have wanted to do during retirement will likely not be happening. I guess the thing I miss most is camaraderie I would have liked to have with a spouse.
Becky, I am sorry about your situation with your husband’s health. I definitely plan to create more content around people taking steps towards finding some joy when life’s circumstances are less than optimal. Is there a caregiver group on FB that you can join if you haven’t done so already?
I’m sorry to read about this. You’re in a difficult situation..
A suggestion, which may or may not be something you’d be interested in doing. In the early eighties, my mother moved to a new small town and, when it came time to attend church, she decided to ‘try out’ the three different churches there rather than just continue attending the one she had been attending elsewhere. Not sure why. This annoyed the people of this town, but she didn’t care. After 3 months, she made her choice and settled into one of them. My reason for mentioning this is because it’s possible your city church isn’t represented there. But, God is everywhere. People are more flexible in their thinking now so youd be welcomed wherever you decided to go. And then youd begin to find a community.
I know that you’re likely already feeling swamped with responsibilities and this may not be possible for many reasons besides this, but I do know how difficult it can be to keep adult children and grandchildren connected with one another and us. Would it be possible to send out a group text/message to them and ask if they’d be interested in coming for a short, no strings attached type of family dinner at your home. This doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It could be even be served on paper plates and laps if dining space etc is limited. The point is to get together briefly, for the grandkids to get to know their family. This could be a wash. But might be worth a try. And the idea isn’t to force future Sunday dinners but occasional get togethers.
Love these thoughts and ideas. Thank you, Lori!
It’s funny. I’ve been pondering these questions lately myself. I’m not sure where to go from here, but I’m staying open and curious. I took a month off of my volunteer gig working 2 days a week making food and delivering the meals to the homeless. Some of the people I worked with were toxic and I felt grumpy when I left that kitchen. Like an outsider. And my husband resented the time I spent away from him. So now I’m re-evaluating things and meditating on the situation to feel better about it all.
I love that you’re meditating on it! Also love the words “open” and “curious.”
Love these truths. Thank you for sharing.
I’m so glad it resonated, Shelly! Thank you!
I am a single divorced woman with grown children and no grandchildren I pretty much live to work because I don’t have enough money to retire.I want to travel and see the world which is out of reach to me. I don’t have friends to socialize with out of work and the young women I work with are 40 years younger then me so they don’t want to hang out with an old woman and I don’t blame them, I would have felt the same way at their age.I don’t have any hobbies and nothing in life at present excites me. I moved from a beach town to a city in a different state to be closer to my sister and I have found out I don’t like cities and miss living near nature.I am not trying to be a Debbie Downer, I am just calling it like it is.
Not sure how I can turn my life around unless I win the lottery,
Hi Gretel. I’d love to see you try the “ideal day and week” reflection just to see what it looks like for you. You may not be able to turn your life around as you say, but there are always small action steps that can be taken towards any one thing that you choose. But don’t censor yourself. Otherwise you might miss out on some good information from within!