A couple of days ago I wrote a bit about a book I was reading that dealt with some women doing things that were outside of their comfort zones. As a result I have been thinking about that – thinking that I need to find something, or things, to do in my retirement time that will push me to the edge because I believe that it’s there that I will discover new things about life and myself. Enter this photo which I found on Facebook today! I commented to the post-er that this was to be my mantra in retirement!!
Nearing my retirement date I am very much aware of the change that awaits, and so when I saw an opportunity to go to Rolling Ridge in North Andover, MA for a day apart retreat on “Change as Invitation” I signed up. Going places where I am not apt to know anyone is something of a challenge for me as a shy and relatively introverted person – but I have worked on this and made progress. Happily the folks leading this program, Margaret Benefiel and Susie Allen welcomed each of us warmly as we arrived in the meeting room and that made me feel at ease. We had a great group of folks who participated fully.
We used a grid-like model to identify what our friends might say about us to make us more whole, more fulfilled, more effective. I identified not doing too much, and finding ways in which to have fun (the latter has not been a large part of my life although I do like to have fun). We wrote a goal that might guide us in our work at making these adjustments in our lives, then identified the things we are doing that keep us from achieving that goal. Next we articulated the “worries” we would have if we stopped those things that keep us from our goal, and then interestingly, the assumptions that flow beneath those worries.
For instance I identified a goal as lightening up about life (don’t take it so seriously) and make choices about what most feeds my soul. Keeping me from achieving this goal is filling my days with too many “to do’s” therefore not having enough time for self or fun. My “worry” was that I might not be capable of being creative – finding new ways to use my time, and the assumption was that if I cannot be creative or come up with new ways to use my time I will go back to bed and sleep my life away... The good news is that we did not stop there – the final task was to identify a safe, modest test we might do to disprove our assumption, i.e. is it really true all of the time? My safe, modest test is to begin making a list of things to do for pleasure, as well as for volunteer plans. I was at the library late yesterday afternoon getting a new book on CD and picked up a flyer about all the museum passes they have. That’s a start! (In the afternoon we did a similar exercise about an organization that we belong to...very interesting - think I will need to try it out with a group!)
At the break in the afternoon we were given some brochures about a long-term program called The Soul of Leadership. It will be held over a period of 18 months at retreat centers in the greater Boston area – 4 days outings four times. Ordinarily I would not have even considered this – but I am! The opportunity may be the universe nudging me to the edge…and who wouldn’t enjoy a 4 day time away on occasion!!
I would add that in the aftermath of the work yesterday I recognized it might be helpful for me to define what “fun” is for me…Another topic for another day :-)