Thursday, October 23, 2014

Change: How Much Is Enough And How Much Is Too Much?

Experimenting with "sunbursts"
I'm one of those individuals who when faced with a dilemma or challenge is likely to wallow in the muck for a bit then rise up and take the bull by the horns so to speak. Maybe the wallowing part is the time I spend thinking (okay perseverating) about what is wrong, prior to taking action. Once I take action, I think I may be a bit short on patience, wanting to make things happen right away.

As I enter "my third act" (something I first heard from Jane Fonda at an event here in Seattle), I find myself contemplating a "re-invention" of who I am and what I do. Primarily this focuses on what I do professionally (40-60 hrs per week, for a good salary that I need to maintain) and what I do for "love" (as a single gal of 60 who never expected to (a) divorce or (b) to still be single 20 years post divorce).

I am currently tackling both these issues at the same time.  Am I tackling enough? Too much? Too little? Just right?

The Capital Building in Denver, Colorado
On the "who I am" front, I clearly am focused in being someone who is in a committed relationship with a man. In the last four weeks I've met one nice man in person (twice), another man several times via Skype. and one gentleman on a phone call. Pleasant conversations, however I am not feeling "swept of my feet" yet.

On the "what I do" front, I've been #2 in two job searches this year.  People say to me "that's great", "at least you are interviewing", "it wasn't the right job". All well and good.  Frankly, it would be better to be 1st Runner Up to Miss America!  At least then you still get some scholarship $$$.

Hiking in the Colorado Rockies with another "sunburst"
View from the beginning of Guanella Pass, Colorado
I am finding myself struggling with what I am calling "role loss".  My parents died in 2007 and 2011 and thus I am no ones daughter.  My relationship with my sister has its challenges, and I am not behaving as the sister I want to be.  I have a brother, we don't speak, and I am definitely not able to fulfill a sisterly role there.  My daughter is 30 and married, and while she will always be my child, she no longer turns to me first. She's not had children yet, and so the role of "Grandma" looms in the future, and challenges me to think about where I want to live....1500 miles away from a grandchild?  I do not want to be the absentee "grandma".  My son is 27 and really needs to be launched and on his own.

This year, I've developed some girlfriend relationships that I haven't had for a number of years.  They are complicated relationships and so very important to me.  Yet, in my insecurity I wonder if my girlfriends think reciprocally? Am I important to them? Do I bring value to the relationship?

Trees, sky, clouds...what could be more perfect?
Professionally, the role loss is related to having been a CEO of two different organizations and now being a direct report to the CEO.  I miss the role.  I do not want to be the CEO of my current organization, but I would like to be in the role elsewhere. And here's something else I've been thinking about.  I started my current career path in 1978 working with abused and neglected children and youth. I was and still am passionate about this.  In 2006 I made a job change which took me slightly outside of that world into the world of children's mental health....not a quantum leap at all.  For all of the "right" reasons, children's mental health is now intrinsically related to healthcare.  Yet I for one, do not want to be a healthcare worker. I'm just not interested. I want to care about and have empathy for children who have been abused and neglected.  I get the connection, however I don't want to do the healthcare work.

I think this happens, perhaps more than we want to admit.  Over the course of a 30+ year career, things change.  When I started we kept paper charts. Now everything is electronic. Before we built relationships with kids and showed them trust and positive regard through our relationship with them. Now it is evidence-based practices, and "hands-off" policies because we might get sued. Apparently I haven't kept up.  The world has changed.
Typical Colorado scene...grasses, young aspen, pine trees

Is this different than it was for my parents? I don't think so.  But they aren't here, I can't ask them.

I find myself at 60 as confused as I've ever been. One of my favorite websites ( for us "women of a certain age" wrote recently about gratitude, and spoke about Brene Brown.  I've heard Dr. Brown speak and read her books and her story and message are powerful.  And this year (if you have been reading my blog, you are aware of "One Little Word"). Mine is JOY. And yes, it works. I have found more JOY than I thought I would find in my life and the experience has created positivity for me. I have a big heart and big feelings and many thoughts on nearly everything. However I choose to experience it all - the positivity along with the challenges, the fears of success and failure, of love and loss.

This post only introduces you to the chaos that is my life.  A life I am dumbfounded to be living.  I guess I thought by sixty I would finally be settled in and yet I am not the least bit settled. Have I bitten off too much change all at once? For me, time is off the essence, while I have the rest of my life ahead of me, I recognize that I have less of a lifetime today than I've ever had before. Granted it's probably 20 years or more, but still less of a lifetime than 10 or 20 years ago.

Are you feeling similar feelings even if our circumstances are wildly different?  Do share a comment.

I've not posted for a while.  My most recent reason, a trip to Colorado to see my daughter & son-in-law, my sister (turning 50) and my friend of 35 years Lou.

Pictures today are all mine, from the Colorado Trip.

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