When I retired from a full-time job, life seemed very strange to me. Instead of a heavily scheduled day and the reward of two days off when I completed each week, every day was like a weekend or a vacation. That’s great, right? Well, yes and no. I loved that I was no longer so busy that I forgot to breathe, let alone smell the roses. However, I hadn’t yet adjusted to my much slower pace of life.
While visiting my daughter, I told her it felt like my systems were recalibrating. “Oh,” she quipped with her usual wit. “It’s not retirement, it’s re-wirement!” We joked about it, but that’s how I felt—like all parts of my body and mind were being rewired.
It was discombobulating to have almost no structure to my life. It was scary to have no plans for the future. It was isolating to listen to others talk about their work and not be able to join the conversation. When I tried to describe my sense of recalibrating, I mostly received blank stares.
A few people, however, nodded and said, “Oh, you’re in transition.” But I found that the word “transition” was not strong enough to describe my experience. Being in transition implies there’s a known place to go to, such as transitioning from one job to another, whereas this experience seemed more like letting go of a trapeze bar without another one in sight—and no safety net below.
Yes, I got through this most recent "rewiring" very well. I wound up moving to the seaside and, in many ways, started life anew. Plus, my work as a life coach seems better than ever, with new insight and compassion for those who might be recalibrating from a known way of life to something quite different.
If you are anticipating a lifestyle change—such as marriage, child rearing, divorce, career change, or retirement—where you do not know what the next trapeze bar will look like or if it will even be there, I encourage you to not make light of it but to honor the intensity and breadth of your experience. I hope you will be gentle with yourself, remove the “shoulds” and the “have-tos,” and use this time to practice expanding your 4° of patience (see Nov. 9, 2016 blog post).
I would love to hear about your experience with “rewiring.” Please feel free to leave a public comment below or to contact me privately through “Connect” on the top menu.
Future postings will give Practical Wisdom for dealing with those challenging times when we’re without direction or face a difficult decision.