It might be nice if we were born with a user’s manual for our lives. One that has:
- Instructions on how to put our lives together
- A map on how to get to where you should be going
- A troubleshooting section for when things break down
- GPS to tell us we’re on the right path
- Online access to the manual so you can conveniently check it from your smart phone or computer.
If I had one I must have lost it somewhere. I do think I may have an internal GPS and I just have to practice tuning into it more often. That leads me to what this blog is about:
So much is written about issues that face my generation, the Boomers. About ageing and how to slow it down, the empty nest, reinvention ( a hot topic) and the transition from mid-life to the next stage or what some have called the Third Stage of Life.
Lately I have been reading more on this topic of transition to the Third Stage as I try to determine where I am going in my life. There is a lot of advice out there. Many articles and blogs are saying you can reinvent yourself and have an encore career. Others are saying you can be retired but you have to be sure to structure your retirement so you will not be isolated, bored and depressed. I have read a lot of articles from Next Avenue, a PBS website about mid-life issues, and check in with Huff/Post 50. I get turned off by articles that suggest you only need 5 steps to this or 10 steps to that. I think life transitions take longer than a few steps here or there. And we all do not take the same path. But I do make an exception with one I read recently from Next Avenue, “5 Tips to Find Meaning and Purpose in Later Life” by Ed Merck. He doesn’t say do these exact steps and your life will be wonderful. He does say “…we are all wired differently… and the key is to know what works for you.” He does give some tips about tuning into “your internal GPS” to find out what resonates with you and not finding your purpose but letting it find you. And he admits it took him 6 years to go through this transition not just 5 easy steps.
I know from personal experience it has taken me more than 5-10 steps to get from being career oriented and working full-time to where I am now semi-retired and looking in a different direction from having work be the center of my life. What made it a bit rockier for me is that I did not plan to be semi-retired so soon.
It has been a 6 year journey. I am not quite finished with it. I had to go down a few different paths to discover they weren’t the right ones for me. And found there were doors that were closed to me. I have had to change course a few times until I got to where I am today.
Which is, the beginning of my next stage of life. I don’t have all the details worked out yet. I have read a lot about what I should expect and how I should navigate it. Advice that resonates with me the best says you need to listen to your own inner guidance. Unless you want to live someone else’s life, you have to follow you own unique path. You have to discover your own answers.
Image of Winding Path from shanksart.blogspot.com
I agree that in our Post-modern (now it’s called post-post modern–hehe) world, so many of us struggle to find meaning in our lives in the way in which we live, we work, and we spend our time. But with the privilege of having choice, I for one get overwhelmed with the array of possibilities and shapes my life can take. If I choose one door do I sacrifice maybe a better option. Like what if I go to the best Italian restaurant where everything on the menu tastes divine. I may order the pumpkin ravioli, but damn I miss out on the best pizza. Silly analogy I know, but true, I can’t have everything. Yet, all the while staying in this state of choice, I can freeze and then nothing changes. I often find comfort in Joan Didion’s words “Everything is revocable.” So even of I make certain choices, it’s not the end all be all, because every moment is an opportunity for re-invention. And I really don’t like to feed any feelings of remorse or regret.As I was reading through this recent post the idea around community kept popping up. So yes, life is challenging and with the power of choosing and having some influence over my destiny I at least know that I have others around me that are in a state of struggling or at least can relate to where I have been.
Keep writing sagebrush!
Kate, author of “It’s Great to be Under 30”
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Thanks for your comment Kate, author of “It’s Great to be Under 30.” So nice to hear from you again. I was hoping some of those under 30 can relate to this blog because as you say we are all in a state of struggling to find our way at times and we’re in this together even if we may be in different stages of our lives.
We can have all the advise in the world yet at the end it all comes down to how you feel and what resonates best with you. Like you said we have to pave the way for our own unique paths.
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Yes. It is important to listen to your inner guidance. Follow your heart. Thanks for your comment.
I’m so glad to have found your blog on this topic that we will all deal with sooner or later. I’m also a “boomer” and hearing retirement in 10 years. I look forward to reading your insight.
Thanks Dee Anne. Well, my blog is a bit of a mixed bag of the issues I am dealing with and other musings. Glad you discovered me too.
I like the “Related” widget on your blog, Deborah–maybe it’s been there for a while, and I never noticed it before? I have so often wished that life came with a manual; I also wish that my house and my yard did!
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I am not sure how I got the Related widget but I noticed it works but not all the time 🙂 I just managed to set up Categories Menu at the top of my page and Recent Posts. Because I think people missed my post on Chronicle of Aine 😦 I know it is nice to have written instructions. The only problem is, I do not like reading manuals 🙂