moving beyond the comfort zone

One Woman’s Story: Moving Beyond the Comfort Zone

Your website seemed to call to me as I have just recently
announced to my Board of Directors and other colleagues that
I will “retire” at the end of my contract in August 2005.
I am, at the same time, excited and just a little apprehensive.
I’ve looked forward to the day when my life would be free from
the structure of a daily job, stress and deadlines. Money is
not the problem – I don’t have a lot and have always lived on
a fairly tight budget. But, I will get along.

My concerns are around continuing to live the “safe”,
reasonably comfortable life that I’ve grown accustomed to.
I see and read about women who have moved beyond their
safety/comfort zones into a second, or third life, doing things
that they have always wanted to do and I think, that’s what
I want to do – but am not sure how.

In a way, I believe that I have been in my second life (life
beyond six children and a divorce) for close to 20 years –
having earned a graduate degree and having a reasonably
successful career in a non-profit organization. But, I’m
close to being burned out. I have continually given and given,
though I haven’t been entirely self sacrificing and I have
worked in a very stressful position for the past 9 years.
I’m also the oldest of ten and have been an overachiever
and peacemaker for years.

When asked what I’ll do after I retire, I immediately answer,
“there will be no problem in keeping busy”. I am going to
attend a Master Gardener Certification Program orientation
next week – gardening has been my escape for the past three
years since I bought my own home. I am learning Tai Chi;
I am in my second year with years of learning ahead of me.
I have a close gringa friend in Mexico who really wants me
to come to live in Oaxaca and become involved in her
business down there. And I am in a relationship with a
challenging man seven years my junior who is remodeling his
home so that we can move into it when I retire. I will be
unable to live in my own home alone with my decreased income.
Though I love my home and garden, I’ve moved about 35 times
in the past 45 years and am not tied to a house.

So, why am I apprehensive? I ask myself at times…. is
this all there is at retirement? I know that it seems like
a lot to some. But there is something missing and I’m not
sure what it is. Perhaps I’m just burned out and don’t
have the energy to look beyond into a different level of
being. I’m not sure. Having moved so many times over
the years, I have not had a circle of woman friends since
the early 70’s. Though my daughter is my friend, there
are things I don’t want to share with my daughter
– although we do share a LOT.

I feel that I need, and want, some help with some direction.
Life has gone so fast, I know that the next 10, 20 or
whatever years, will go even faster. I look back on my
life now with few regrets. I want to be able to move
forward to my new life with a sense of excitement and
challenge. Can you help?



Stepping Stones: Questions to Ask Yourself

Glee’s story is so rich with thoughts and ideas as she begins
a most significant personal journey. Are you experiencing a
major life change? If so, look at breaking your transition
down into manageable parts, moving from global goals to more
concrete objectives. Talking with a friend or writing in a
journal are ways to concretize some of your thoughts and

Retirement is an ongoing process and Glee’s willingness to
begin her exploration ahead of time is a wise decision.
It is apparent from her story that she has already thought
a lot about the practical steps toward her transition:

*** Where are you now in this process?
*** How can you prepare for the next step?

It is easy to understand that Glee is having some
apprehension and feelings of loss:

*** What issues are causing concern for you now?
*** What helps you through times of loss?

There are many ways by which to move toward a “new life
with a sense of excitement and challenge.” Begin by
asking yourself:

*** What gives your life meaning?
*** How can you tap into your passion?
*** How do you keep your attitude positive?

Give thought now to creating a plan that works for you
and begin to implement it:

*** What are your options for this next chapter?
*** Where do you find a circle of support?
*** What do you need to do to begin implementing a plan?


Recommended Resources

You will find it helpful to look at other newsletters
archived on our website, Here
you can read the stories of other women who have faced the
challenges of transition. The Stepping Stones that we
highlight following each story can give you some ideas
about moving forward with your own changes.

We specifically recommend:

Issue #6, “Redefining Retirement,” a playful look at the
first year after one woman’s retirement.

Issue #12, “Exploring a Full Life After 50,” a healing
journey after many life changes.

Issue #20, “Creating a New Nest in Mid-Life.” The
Stepping Stones help you focus on what is meaningful as
you downsize.

Issue #25, “Self Discovery at 52,” one woman’s discovery
of her soul satisfaction.


Our Invitation to You

Do you have your own transition story? We invite you to
share it with our readers for the benefit of women who
themselves may be dealing with similar changes. The skills you
used may be Stepping Stones for others. If you are interested,
please e-mail us.

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