Sunday, August 3, 2014

Transition Lift-Off - Escaping the Gravity of the Past Role

I've been researching my past posts and composing this post for some weeks but needed a nice block of time to sit down and write. 

I'm pretty confident in saying that the process of making my transition from my 'career' phase to my 'next' phase (I'm not quite sure what to call it yet) has achieved the necessary velocity to break free from the past and onto the future.  In so doing there has been a lightning of spirit and real joy to living that has accompanied the change.  It has been something that almost everyone I interact with has commented on.  So I thought I would do a recapitulation of the posts of the last year or so that documented the end game of the process.

I actually started thinking about the 'transition ' process in 2010.  That was when I made some firm goals to reduce the amount of time that I was working, set some timelines for winding down my business, and stopped various business expansion efforts.  Then, the crises with my Father started.  First his house catching fire and his decision to rebuild followed by his illness and year long dying process followed by the estate settlement process.  The time and energy used to support those activities soaked up whatever I had freed from the 2010 changes and then took some. 

So it was in May of 2013 that I wrote the first of my Transition posts.  In that post I acknowledged that I was tired to the bone and wished I could just stop.  I was aware enough to see the irony of the "transition consultant" having to manage his own transition and how different it was to be the patient rather than the doctor.  I also spoke to the boogie men of fear of change and loss of indentity.

Five weeks later in July 2013, I talked about the general process of dealing with transition; the gradual realization you don't want to keep working so hard, that maybe you do have financial wherewithal, and most of all the need to have someone help you with this process

Another six or so weeks passed and in the end of August 2013 I wrote about the nature of filling one's time was a critical factor that causes folks retiring to go nuts.  You devote so much time to work and if you just dead stop, what are you going to do to fill up that time?  Maybe you don't know so you don't do anything and hang on to what you have.  You don't deal with it.  To answer this is the basic concept of transitioning.  You don't just stop.  You reduce the time and energy doing certain things, maybe give up certain things so you can put more energy into other things you want or just acknowledge that you have less time and energy than when you were younger.

In October 2013, I gave a report on how this transitioning process was going and talked a lot about how the world really wants to put you into a box and how I was redesigning my work life to be more the way I wanted it without the outside world immediately saying, "Oh then you've quit.  Goodbye."

Then I didn't post again until April 2014.  And during that interim a lot happened!  I combined these in two separate posts but published the same day.  In the first of these, I talked about the serious spiritual recognition I'd made during our trip to Asia about the ego and how so much of my business persona and life and been tied to it.  I'm not going to go into a long spiritual tirade here as it is not the venue for it, but this was big!  It was a major breakthrough in my understanding of what I was fighting and what I needed to do.  In the second post, I then postulated, "OK, I know what I shouldn't be doing, but what am I going to do!  There was still a lot of work stuff on my list though not the ego driven stuff.  And the last entry related to the big trip that we were making to Europe to test the hypothesis that travel was going to be a part of the new future.

I made two posts, one while on the trip, and another when I got back on that trip.  The trip was a major breakthrough because I realized that I had something I wanted to do.  I had something that could take up a lot of time and energy and that I was passionate about (remember the energy/time algebraic equation).  This was the biggest breakthrough yet.  Now it was no longer a question of understanding there was a role I needed to leave but there was something I wanted to go to!  A colleague of mine is a retirement specialist and I went to a practice presentation she was giving where she talked about if you don't have something you want to do that answers your values and passions, you will either not do anything or you will be miserable when you change.  I certainly could see where I had been in that place.

In the months since this realization, I have jumped into defining my new role with great enthusiasm.  It really helps that the ego battle thing earlier has made me value each thing I'm doing with equal weight without the burden of our societal value that only career counts.  I'm embracing being a husband, grandfather, a person who learns, who travels, who writes, and is deepening his spiritual understanding.  This is my new dharma (duty/role).

Hmmmmm, I think I need to rewrite the 'About Me' paragraph in my blog


alexis said...

wow! I enjoyed this summary very much. At the end of the day though, it's a nice problem to have, how to spend all your money and enjoy free time right?

Tom P said...

Terrific Stuff!

Bernice said...

There was some really good stuff in that post for me to think about.

terri said...

It is fascinating to follow along as you make your way through this process. Coming from a family of people who tend to just wait and see what happens (and then get disappointed when things don't turn out fabulously,) I have never thought about planning for the retirement years (beyond the financial aspect, I mean.) Of course, as I read your thoughts about what you've experienced over the past year, it makes perfect sense to plan how to spend your time when work no longer fills the majority of hours in each day. Really gives me something to think about as I slowly make my way toward that phase of life.

Steve Broe said...

This is really well done, Michael, you have summarized so much of your life journey in a few paragraphs. I hope to see you continue to grow, and embrace the light. Charge into a bright future.