Wednesday, January 28, 2009

5 Year Plan

I have a five year goal to take early retirement from my reasonably pleasant job and now I need to create a step by step plan to arrive at that goal. I thought I would like to travel for an extended period of time when I retire. Five years or is actually hard to put a time value on this as I have no certainty that I will enjoy travelling for a long time. I would like to come and go until I no longer can. I have no desire to live opulently abroad but rather to live simply and close to the essence of wherever I am. Cooking lessons in China, Italy, and France are certainly on the agenda but I would not be above working for free in the kitchen of a restaurant that would let me watch them work their craft.
I might like to practice yoga in India and learn to meditate. (Right now when I try to meditate my chronic list invades the quiet space and takes over.) The magic of all this is that anything is possible! I can decide to try something or go somewhere and immediately I can go try it. Within reason of course. Swimming in all 5 oceans is a fun thought as I love swimming. The Arctic will challenge me but maybe I will do a polar bear swim up there one day. (5 seconds or less in duration then right into a hot tub.) I have swam in two of the Oceans already-the Atlantic and the Pacific. Three more to go.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Going Forward while Looking Back

I was sitting with my sons this evening talking and I realized how amazing these days actually are right here and now. It is important as I stretch to find the future passion in my life that I continue to be grateful for the joy that exists in the present. They are teenagers now and we are all starting to feel our wings (again). My whole existence has been about them and now I am going to fly again never forgetting that these are the good old days. I have enjoyed every minute of the ride that was bringing them to this point but now it is almost over. How bittersweet the moment. Part of me wants to fly and part of me wants to go back to those innocent simple days when they were all mine and depended on me for everything. And the other part wants to explore the world and see and live new experiences that make my heart sing. Flying through life with only my own needs to think about. Hmmmm....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Taking Action

In my last post I talked about living boldly and for the last two mornings I have seen my message hanging on my mirror when I arose. (I have posted a card on my mirror that says LIVE BOLDLY! )To live boldly I have to specify actions that represent Living Boldly for me. Living Boldly is trying something new every day and making those new things BOLD things. I have to live Boldly in the context of my current life as to suddenly up and change everything would be quite disturbing for the family who depends on me to keep the boat afloat. So I have been doing new things each day. (Since early December) I recognize that they are new because there is usually some fear and trepidation in my approach to them. I recognize the emergence of my avoidance response when I go to do the things that are new and bold. (Could it be true that I am my own worst enemy). On one hand that fear makes me look carefully at the action to see if it will somehow put us in peril. But most of the time it is empty fear disguised as prudence. I have an action list now. I am taking firm steps to start the business that has sat on the back burner for a while, I am planning an adventure with a friend so that I can go to a place that energizes me as much as it makes me nervous. And each day I do at least one small to medium new thing that replenishes my soul and makes it sing. Suzanne Braun Levine(author of Inventing the Rest of Our Lives) says that if you turned 50 within the last 5 years or so, you have a 40% chance of living to be 100 years old. Good data. I want to do that.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Live Boldly

Brian Souza talks about Ted Leonsis of America Online who experienced a life changing moment as his plane crashed in 1983. "He promised himself that if he survived, he would play offense--live as boldly as possible-- for the rest of his life." Live Boldly. I am working to define that for me. It means trying the things that I have been waiting(for what) to do. It means getting my Ph.D.; it means starting that business that I keep thinking about; it means choosing one place(of many) that I had wanted to go and going. I love that phrase--Live Boldly. I am going to inscribe it on a card and hang it on my mirror so it is the first thing I see in the morning when I wake up. I want to live boldly. I want to spend the next thirty years of my life trying new things--new foods, new places, new music, new ideas, and new friends(still planning to keep the old ones). I made my bucket list and it has almost 50 things that I would like to do before I die....50 things and 30 years....I better get started.

Tentative Optimism

I am composing this at my desk as I look out on the blanket of snow that came through the night. Part of my plan for the future involves not spending 4 months in the snow. Maybe 1 month tops. That means my retirement will need to put me in a warm climate three months a year. I cannot decide if that is goal setting or wishful thinking but I will add that to my list of retirement parameters. I am not a snowbird type. I like to do indigenous things in the chosen destination so it would be great to explore that option as part of the plan for my Second Act. Stephan Pollan writes about Second Acts in his book by the same name. He provides some excellent methods for finding exactly what you would like your second act to entail. I am exploring my own options and I have to say it is an exciting journey. Pollan wants you to list your passions and it is only recently that I have the time to realize that I have passions. Define your passions and work to incorporate more of them into your day to day life. It will surprise you how quickly the ball gets rolling and you discover more passions in the process. Once you add one passion to your day, it gets easier and easier to discover and add others. One simple step towards discovering my currently invisible Second Act.

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