One of the joys of staying in touch, through occasional updates to former attendees of my classes, is that sometimes I receive return emails letting me know how life is going, with a lesson for us all. With permission, I am sharing J’s recent response to me.
Thank you for staying in touch…
I took your class at Holyoke Community College with the hopes of finding a way to move on from a bad “break” in nursing job.
Still no job, but I am helping others out as I am able in my community and in my church. I am trying to reconnect with others who have become empty nesters or retired and renew those friendships.
I will start enjoying a book club in the fall which I have never done. I’ve joined the local garden club.
I find myself cooking for others, puttering in the garden and supporting my husband as he begins a new job at age 63. I am happy.
So what I find I’ve been doing has kept me content and I am enjoying not having pressure to “do something”.
I do worry about money, but my husband says not to.. can’t say I listen!!
…. I am open to possibilities. The more I engage with others, I feel an opportunity will present itself.
To me, J’s response is a wonderful testament to the need to take time–the need to engage in a transitionary process and be patient throughout. Time to make peace with a tough “ending” and recover from a very stressful job. Time to explore new activities. Time to be content with who one is, try new things, and pay attention to what satisfies the soul.
Fortunately J has the wherewithal, with the support of her husband, to be able to take time and create space for her process.
May we all.
For information about upcoming fall programs, including at HCC, visit www.meetmarthajohnson.com/programs
Last week, I went to an amazing musical program performed at Smith College–an oratorio created from the The Diary of Anne Frank. Tempted by the title and the novelty of the concept, I went without expectation, and found myself mesmerized by the music of Anneliese by James Whitbourne, sung by two professional choirs, accompanied by 4 instruments and a soloist. But it was the bonus delivered up by my “do what you love” lens that really caught my attention. Continue reading
I’m noticing how my thinking changes/deepens as the years go by. Interesting to track the journey.
Why Not Do What You Love? (the book) was initially produced to inspire and encourage me, as I had been coping with many losses associated with an unwelcome diagnosis of MS in 1997. By 2010, at 70, I was aware I needed to find my voice and take a stand: No matter what, I am still determined to do what I love, at a pace I can manage.
Over several years, through occasional book readings, online sales, conversations and emails, my heart has been warmed to notice that the Why Not? philosophy has also been resonating with reflective souls other than myself, from the young ones to the older ones, actually from 22 – 90.
Currently, I am well into the third chapter of life, which is what I choose to call the years 60 – 90. Although I consider myself still young-old, I’ve concluded that giving planning time and attention to doing what we can’t not do, and to what gives us meaning and satisfaction is only one of the “package” of issues that begin to face us as we age. While staying sane, useful, and nourished, as prompted by Why Not? will always be an important element of our elder lives, there is another piece of the life planning process that warrants our attention.
Some day we will be in the old-old cohort. At some point, perhaps unexpectedly, our end will come. And it’s not too early to think about that. Here’s a link to my more recent thoughts on what I consider an important additional element to this part of the “life” planning process: Over 60: Take Time for “Life” Planning (1).
Best Wishes to all…