Tag Archives: Transitions

Managing Transitions

I just dropped in to see what condition my transition was in. I have managed to be going through a transition for a few years. One transition seems to be leading into another. I started my blog while in the middle of a transition from having a career to not. External circumstances thrust that change upon me. I felt like I was pushed into semi-retirement without having chosen it. My blog has been part of an exploration of what I am doing next. I have enjoyed being creative with my writing, but I do not want to do it full-time or be a writer of books.  I have been tutoring part-time for a few years. I have struggled with the first transition. Going from a career oriented life to getting oriented to a life with no career. Or at least a job I had not planned on doing. I had planned to transition from a teaching full-time to a part-time teaching career eventually, but my plan did not work out as I envisioned. I never got the full-time teaching position. I worked as a substitute teacher for a while:

Then I started tutoring to see if that would develop into a business.  Although I felt I was doing something good, I decided I didn’t want to develop it into something full-time.  Now it feels like I am coming into another transition. I have been restless for quite a while. It’s just that the unknown makes me feel uneasy. Getting ready to let go of what I have been, and step into…..wherever my path may lead me next. Need to be willing to let it unfold by itself.

But the cacti are still flowering in my yard and I may soon be rolling in clover.  🙂  That’s my ever optimistic voice talking.

Clover in my backyard

Stream of Consciousness Saturday is hosted by Linda G Hill. Prompt word ” man.” Video of Kenny Rogers and First Edition ‘I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in‘ via 2old2Rock on You Tube.  Featured image of Hummingbird on nest by jadis96 via Pixabay.com Video of teacher in class via Giphy.com

Navigating the Transition to the Third Stage of Life

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

Transitions! Transitions! ( sung to the tune of Tradition from Fiddler on the Roof) or Semi-Retirement is Not for Sissies

I have been reading a lot about life after retirement. How our boomer generation is expected to live longer. That we could look forward to 20 or 30 more years after reaching the typical retirement age of 65. There is a large chunk of our age group who will not enter full retirement at 65. Those of us who have been involuntarily unemployed before even reaching retirement age.  I get a kick out of this euphemism involuntarily unemployed. I have seen it used in a couple of articles I have read recently. It is another way of saying your job was eliminated, terminated or you were laid off unexpectedly. This happens to more and more older people nowadays before they get the chance to reach retirement age. They find themselves adrift and scrambling to find another job to get them to retirement. The usual scenario is that they remain unemployed for an extended period and then if they find another job it is at a much lower pay scale or they can only find part-time or temp work. So this makes it hard to prepare financially for retirement at the age of 65 and people then find themselves needing to work for more years.

If you are lucky enough to find yourself voluntarily unemployed or retired you need to worry about what to do with yourself for 20 or 30 years. That is assuming you are lucky to live that long. So another topic that is popular now is what you should do with yourself for those 20 or 30 years. Although you may have looked forward to having nothing to do it can end up being boring and depressing we are told. You could find yourself experiencing “retirement burnout.” So there are blogs and articles that give us advice about that.

For those of us who don’t want to retire there can be encore careers. There is a whole industry out there of advice books, blogs and career counselors that are all too willing to advice us on what to do and how to do it. They tell us we can happily transition into encore careers of great fulfillment and purpose.

Whether you are voluntarily or involuntarily unemployed, you are making a major transition. You are experiencing a loss. A loss of what you thought your last working years before retirement would look like if you were involuntarily unemployed and a loss of your identity as a person with a full-time job or career even if you voluntarily retired. Then there is a period of being adrift emotionally as you try to adjust to the change that has happened. You need to let go of your expectations and past identity before you can form a new one and embrace your new life. Or figure out what you are going to do with yourself. It is a transition we must all go through anytime we experience change that is expected or unexpected according to William Bridges who has written about and had a whole career in the subject of Transitions. He describes the process as occurring in 3 stages. First: Disengagement or letting go of the old, Second: the Neutral Zone, which is where I am now, (Neutral Zone reminds me of The Twilight Zone), Third: the New Beginning where you know where you’re going.

I have found the Letting Go Stage to be a bit sticky. I thought I had let go of my feelings about losing my job and let go of my feelings about not getting re-established in a teaching career. But recently, I found I am still working on letting go or working through the feelings. Bridges says you have to do this before you can go on to the next steps.

I have been in the middle of this transition for the past 6 years. I am one of those who was involuntarily  unemployed (trying saying that real fast 5 times) and then unable to find full-time employment again even after getting a teaching credential in an effort to transition into another job sector. I have been working part-time since the age of 60.  It has been a journey from losing my job, to getting my credential, to trying to find full-time employment as a teacher, to working as a substitute teacher and not liking it, to looking into healthcare jobs again, and now working as a private tutor. I also volunteer tutor at a local adult school literacy center.

I am now at the place where I am thinking about what the next stage of my life might look like, the New Beginning. I no longer want to devote all my energy to a full-time job even though it would give me a better income. I have weighed how much energy I have and am willing to give to a traditional full-time job compared to how important it is to me to have flexibility and free time to do whatever else I want to do. I don’t think I even have the energy for a full-time job anymore. At least not the kind of job that is 40+ hours a week with 2 weeks off a year for good behavior. I find at the present time I enjoy having a flexible work schedule.

I am not done with this transition period yet though. I know that what I am doing now is an interim thing or only part of what I want to be doing. I feel I do need more. Not just filling my time with busy work either. I want to be engaged in something else. So now to find out what that else is going to be.