What you hold on to weighs you down. Whether it is a belief or a possession, a need or a desire, when you question what you are holding on to you will soon identify what you can let go.
The hardest place to change
I’ve moved from California to the Midwest because I needed some physical support from family. I downsized and gave away a lot of possessions simply because I would have to pay by the pound to move them,. I have had to adapt to new living space, new friends and a new climate. I had to take time off for a couple of knee replacements. However, the hardest change I have had to make is the perceived change in my identity. If I’m no longer defined as my business who am I?
Our interests change
I’m semi-retired but I still need to feel relevant. My passion remains – I love to write and to teach – but now I’m ready to learn about, write about and teach what interests me most. In this case, it is how to stay relevant in retirement. A new interest means a new direction. How can I give up all the work I have done in the past? How can I let go of an identity I have held for a lot of years and forge a new place in my world?
Repurpose what you have
This switch in mindset took some time. How do I take what I know and what I love to do, point that arrow in a new direction and still keep the feathers on the arrow intact? I realized that like me, the people I have worked with along the line, the members of my community, are aging. When I shift the focus of my work from business to living a relevant, productive life in retirement, they will have an interest in that too. How I choose to talk about living may or may not appeal to them but since it is based on the same spiritual philosophy as my coaching work, I think it they will be drawn to it. The search for this hook to hang all my work on took its own sweet time coming but now that I see I can keep the parts of my work that I love and simply repurpose it, I can move forward.
How we see ourselves
The search for my own new self-identity is still a work in progress. Rather than see myself as a Content Development Coach, I see myself as a seeker, a seeker who shares what she discovers. My California minister once said there are two kinds of angels, the helpers and the ones who create awareness. I’ve always been one to look for deeper meaning. He called that the Angel of Change. When I tuck myself under that umbrella then what I change is not as relevant as the fact that I do help people develop a deeper awareness and that in turn helps them create the changes they want to make. What is the broader umbrella you can see that describes you and how does that affect how you see yourself?
I have to learn to let go. I kept hard copies of all my plays and the ebooks I had written. To me those were my legacy, my gift to others. I have hard copies of an emagazine I wrote for many years. Do I think I won’t remember the concepts I wrote about? Do I think I won’t come up with a new, better, bigger vision of those topics when I sit down to write from my perspective today? Do I want to keep those pieces of paper to prove my life has had meaning? Who I am is so much more than actions of the past. It’s what I do with today. How I change. How I apply what I learn. How I use the gifts I have been given. Life’s meaning is in the here and now. The rest I can let go. Your past is not your present and it certainly is not your future. Let go of who and what you think you are and begin to redefine yourself as in this moment. What do you want to give next?
Make the decision
Be patient as you move through this process of letting go. I’ve done some journaling and have written a lot of posts like this one that help me figure out what my process is and what I need to do next. It took me a year and a half to be ready to go through some boxes I had stored and throw half of it away. I will look at those boxes in another year and see what else I can let go. When I took many of my business books to the half price bookstore it was a huge letting go for me. When I stopped subscribing to so many marketing blogs it was huge. Now I subscribe to just as many vegan blogs but they are carrying me forward on this next portion of my journey.
Begin now to look for the essence of what you do and see how you can carry that forward into a life of retirement. For me it’s about teaching and writing but my topic has changed. I am letting this next book unfold as I live it and I’ve never done that before. Make your change gradually but begin to start thinking about it more frequently. How can you take your passion and your talents into the next segment of your life and keep on making a difference in the lives of the people who come to you?