“I’ve been a little out of sorts lately. I had some sorts, but then I ran out.” –Friend and author – John Shore
I’m in the middle of a life transition. Uncertainty, nostalgia, fear of the unknown – they’re all here.
Big changes are seriously messing with my head. There are so many things in flux that gaining solid footing has been about as easy as eating a single Lays potato chip.
My emotions are teeter-tottering all over the place, mostly because of my changing Mom role and my omnipresent anxiety about how the hell we’re going to keep the lights lit in these uncertain economic times.
In the summer of 2009, my 23-year, six-figured technical job was outsourced to India. Just like *that*, my established, well-respected career ceased to exist.
Tough luck, huh?
Yeah. But after the initial shock (and tears) subsided, I realized that I’d been given a “do over.” Now, I had a brilliant opportunity to ask myself honestly, “What do I want to do? What am I passionate about? What am I doing when I feel really happy?”
Joseph Campbell describes this process as following your bliss. The idea has always resonated with me, but life had never thrown quite the right “curve ball” to motivate me into action.
…until August of 2009. Since then, I’ve been watching a high-and-insider rocket towards me at breakneck speed. As thrilling as the process can be, reinventing myself is taking patience and a lot of faith that I’ll somehow land on my feet.
I’m working to put Campbell’s idea into action, and find that getting in touch with what I love to do is helping me set some real goals for myself. Having a plan has gone a long way towards creating my map for personal success.
So, the Plan. The first thing I did was take stock.
An exercise I use to help gain perspective and self-confidence is to list some of the personal hurdles I’ve already cleared.
I would highly recommend everybody write up a list like this. I’ve found it helps to see how strong you really are. You may find you’re holding your head a little higher and thinking you’re a pretty impressive human after all, just like I did:
1) 1985- Left my hometown in N. California to start a new life 400 miles away 2) 1986 – Eloped to Hawaii, 3) 1994 – Endured a miscarriage, 4) 1992 – Bought a house, relocated to a new community, 5) 1993/1995 – Gave birth to two healthy children, 6) 1986 – 2004 – Underwent multiple surgeries, 7) 1998-1999, Survived the deaths of three of my closest friends, 7a) 2002-2003 – Went through a really tough divorce, 9) 2005 – Remarried (my soul mate) 10) 2009 – Lost my job of 23 years, 11) 2008 – Helped my teenage daughter through a painful depression and drug rehabilitation, 12) 2011 – present – Approaching empty nest, reinventing myself…and still smiling.
Wow, look what I did. Yay me!
Then, I got into motion.
When I feel I’ve lost my way, or am insecure about how things will turn out, I force myself to do anything – even the smallest task – related to my goals. It’s my experience that taking the tiniest step in the direction of my dreams will open unseen doors.
When I followed my bliss, I discovered a passion for history, and a newfound love for creating websites.
To indulge these interests (and possibly grow them into paying careers,) I began volunteering as project manager and website designer for a historical society.
Additionally, I set two goals. The first was to work more closely with my husband as we pursue our mutual love of history. By helping edit and market his books, promote his lectures and book signings, and help conduct his tours and classes, I’m building a whole new career identity for myself.
And because I set this goal, we were recently able to co-create and host our own silent film festival. How cool is that?
My second goal was to bring in some dough by helping new business owners design and create their first websites. In a short period, I’ve attracted an impressive list of clients, who, so far at least, seem to really like my work!
See what can happen when you move in the direction of your dreams?
I taught myself how to knit hats and scarves, and read over 100 novels–two pursuits I would otherwise have never had the time for.
I’ve also started two blogs – this one (teenparentcafe) and a recipe/cooking blog called Aunt Kim’s Kitchen. I’m becoming re-acquainted with my “inner writer,” who I haven’t heard from in years (who’d have thought that following my bliss would lead me to wordpress.com?)
So, ultimately, losing my job has given me a new circle of friends, a chance to pursue more satisfying careers, and time well-spent doing things I really love to do.
Though I still have my anxieties, on most days, I’m optimistic. I haven’t replaced the income from my technology job yet, but I’m working on it – and having a pretty good time doing it.
Since I’m still in the midst of transition, the final chapter (or blog post) on this topic has yet to be written. Check back to this URL for further updates.
Looky there! I just got some of my “sorts” back.