I'm at a crossroad. After 22 years of working at one job or another, I'm reaching the end. And I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. So funny - I never thought I'd feel like this. Every year I worked, I would think of so many projects I wished I had the time to finish. Or even start. And now that I'll have the time, I'm kind of wringing my hands over it.
I've been working from home for the past three years. I have to admit that I didn't totally love the work, but I did love working from home in yoga pants, and the no early mornings. However, it was mostly comprised of tasks that any monkey could do. Not a lot of creative input or innovation - the things that make work fun for me. But it was easy work, and as I've slipped in and out of my fifties, easy started sounding better and better. And maybe that was the root of the problem. We learned that one of the main admins for our Education Department back at the Minneapolis Mothership was retiring. So happy for her. It sounded like she and her husband had a whole host of new adventures to set sail for. Trouble is, as it turns out, the Mothership decided to hire ONE person to do both her job AND my job. That was a nice little surprise that was sprung on me the day after I returned from Arizona. Sweet.
That first day I just walked around with a rock in my stomach. I called L. I cried a little bit. And L was amazing. The first words out of his mouth were "Well, maybe it's just time to retire." And as the days have gone by the past couple of weeks, it's sounding better and better. I'm starting to think of this or that project that I might want to tackle. Mulling over enticing possibilities is a delicious way to daydream. I wouldn't be opposed to working even just part time (because let's face it kids, I love having money) but right now I have nothing in the works, and I'm feeling okay about that. But more than that, I'm anxious to get in touch with my creative mojo, which is something that hasn't happened in a long, long time. Painting comes to mind. Cooking. Doing things that in years long past used to give me such a release and so much satisfaction. Yes, I'm looking forward to reconnecting with that part of myself.
I want to take more charge of my health. I've been reading books on essential oils, and herbal tonics, and homeopathic remedies. Realizing (more strongly) that healing must involve body, mind and spirit. Western medicine certainly has it's place, but more and more I'm drawn to whatever I can do to help myself, relieve symptoms, and walk away from as many of these current medications I'm taking as I can. I will probably always need to take something - Orencia, or something like it - but I'd sure like to at least get off of the steroids and over the counter Ibuprofin. Give my poor liver and bones a break! There are some classes I'm trying to figure out how to take, and I'll figure it out eventually. (They seem take place in a largely inaccessible area of Idaho... no hotel within 35 miles, and airports? HOURS away.)
Besides all of that, my daughter Katie and I signed up for a 6 week fitness challenge. I needed something to kick start me into finishing my weight loss goal. So here we are on Team 7 with 3 other young mothers from Utah that we've never met other than via email. No matter, we are emailing each other once or twice a day with support and encouragement. We really want to win those $40 gift cards, but more than that, we really want to win back some healthy habits and lose some bad ones, shed some pounds, and remember who we are and why we're here. Katie and the other girls are at one stage of life with small children and a hectic lifestyle, while I am at the other end wondering how it all got by me so quickly. At first I felt bothered by all of the emailing and fuss - I'm not used to so much human contact - but now I'm really starting to enjoy it. I'm getting downright gabby in my emails. And I've not been tempted once to cheat on the goals and rules I set for myself.
I'm most proud of that I think. We are a team, and it's one for all and all for one. We are making our individual worlds a better place for our families. We are taking time for ourselves, we are eating healthy, we are breaking bad habits. We are not drinking anything but water. That's right. Not even Coke Zero. We are just in Day 4, but so far, so good. 5 1/2 weeks to go. By that time we should be awesome and completely invincible.
So that's life as I know it right now. Nothing is certain - not even my end date. It is supposedly July 31, but it may be extended, as the new hire is proving tougher to find than anticipated - I mean, who doesn't want to do the work of two people for the pay of one? But sooner or later, I will pack up their laptop and equipment, and reclaim my office as the project room it was meant to be. It will be bittersweet as the past 12 years have been spent with that company in one capacity or another. But I've learned that life goes on. There are new delights just around that scary corner if you can be brave enough to take a peek. And usually, whatever happens is exactly what you would have asked for if you'd only known it was what you wanted in the first place.
So I stand on the brink. Still forming a plan. Still entertaining dreams. But each day I'm getting closer to discovery. I'll most likely start with something familiar. Painting, perhaps. Or, I'd really like to finally get my piano repaired and start playing again. Both of those are long-cultivated, long-neglected talents that I'd love to dust off and polish up. But I feel there are other avenues just waiting to be explored and tested. This could be the best thing to happen to me since... well, since my husband and kids. It's a little unsettling, but then again, what wonderful thing ever happens without some thoughtful angst? Time to take a deep breath. It's go time.