I am entering the fourth chapter of my life. The first was a mostly lousy childhood, the second was a glorious rebellion that only a wild child in their twenties can really accomplish, and the third was of motherhood and careers, including over 15 years being self-employed in an accidental career choice. This fourth chapter is about me finally getting to do what I want to do and doing it my way. I am turning 50 years old in a couple of weeks, I am in grad school working on a doctorate in clinical psychology, and my nest is almost empty.
Like many people in this stage of life, I am too young to retire and too old to tolerate a lot of unnecessary negativity in my life. I value those things that money cannot buy more than ever and I have recently been feeling a strong pull towards some unknown delightful future. I cannot say that it is about career, love, friends, family, wealth, or whatever else. I also cannot say that it is not about one or more of these things.
I feel a new journey is forming as I travel down this path towards a new career as a psychologist and as an empty-nester. I have noticed over the last couple of years a lot of, “I’m done!” followed by, “I’d rather enjoy life than continue putting up with…” There seems to be less of a desire to compromise to the point of putting everyone else’s needs first and more of a desire to say, “Hey, what about me and what I need?” I am not angry and I am not sorry for all that I did. I loved my work, I still love it. I am still working towards being of service and helping others to improve their situations, to find their own flavor of happiness, and to feel that they are worthy of something better. And I still love my children despite looking forward to being more than just someone’s mom.
This new journey has been teasing me, taunting me to spend more days at the beach and less days chained to a desk and computer. It seductively tells me to imagine having enough free time to actually begin dating again and to maybe fall in love after over a decade of being much too busy to even consider such things. And I see myself learning so many new things and getting to add a great many tools to my toolbox of skills and techniques to use when helping others to heal, grow, and thrive. I am really quite distracted by this new journey and the next chapter of my life that it is leading me towards. It feels adventurous, fun, and free of negativity and drama. I am quite excited to be on this new journey.
However, this new journey means saying goodbye to my old journey. I look back on where I have been with nostalgia, pride, and exhaustion. My old business and websites took a tough beating when the economy tanked a few years ago and it has never fully recovered. To be honest, I have also grown tired and bored with it. So, in that “everything happens for a reason” kind of mindset, I am both sorry to see it go as I once loved it with everything in my being and happy to be moving on to something new and refreshing.
This time, it will be simple and easier. Last time, I spent 70-80 hours per week building it with no income and no social, financial, or emotional support beyond what my then young children could provide. I gained 50 pounds from endlessly sitting at that desk and I lost my ability to have a life outside of work. Once it finally took off, the business model was such that I had to work 10-15 hours per day without breaks in order to keep up with the orders and even then I had to tell people that they would have to wait sometimes up to 3 months before I could begin working on their orders. Being financially successful meant having no life. This time, I will do it differently.
Last time, I fought with people’s spam filters and could not get my weekly and monthly newsletters to those that had asked for them. I spent endless hours stressing and hassling over mailing lists and trying to find what email someone originally used to opt-in to the mailing list while they were using a different one to opt-out and getting angry at me for not magically knowing that. This time, I will simply post what I have to say in this blog and make an announcement on Facebook that it is available and allow people to go look at it if and when they please.
Last time, I had to teach myself how to build, design, and maintain websites. I had to figure out how to get the almighty Google to like it and send traffic to it. That was a whole different time consuming battle from hell. Then when I finally figured it out, Google changed their rules again and again and again. Finally, they wanted me to figure out how to make the website work for hand held devices but also for laptops and desktops. This time, I will let Blogspot figure it out. I don’t care if Google likes me or my work. I am simply sharing what I am thinking, learning, and experiencing with my Facebook friends. Search engines don’t matter anymore.
Last time, I was trying to build a name for myself and so I walked on eggshells trying to say things in a way that never offended those that might disagree and I always had to weave in some kind of stupid sales pitch because I was trying to support a family on my one little income. This time, I can just speak my mind and not worry about finances and pleasing overly opinionated, grumpy, or demanding customers.
This time, I can talk about news, research, life, or whatever is on my mind without concern for how it fits into a business model. I can just say what I have to say and then go back to living life. This time, I can share diet tips, recipes, psychology related tidbits that I have found fascinating, and whatever else seems cool and applicable to those of us that might be interested in learning new things and heading off towards new horizons.
I am simplifying my life so that I might be available to say, “Yes!” to the possibilities beckoning.
I would love it if you came with me.