next chapter

After coaching other people on making transitions for the past 4 years, I’m ready to take the next step myself. I’ve had one foot in and one foot out for a year and a half now; coaching one day and a couple of evenings each week. Many of you who are hard-core dual career folks know the drill; using lunchtimes to confirm appointments, weekends to update the e-zine, re-arranging things constantly, so that it all fits.

Then, as I moved into this year, complete with immobilizing snow storms, the other shoe dropped. I felt the itch to write again. I started and was lucky enough to have my first on-line article published by More magazine. It made me bold. I approached a friend and we began writing a play. Writing – being a writer – changed my focus. And coaching clients were calling at the same time! I think when we are on the right path, God clears the brush. I realized writing and coaching are two vital pieces to the portfolio life I wanted to live. They are like the Technicolor scenes in Wizard of Oz, and my job…well it was definitely shades of grey by comparison. It was time to take the leap!

So…I’ve resigned from my consulting job, effective mid-September. I’ve been very open about what my next chapter includes. Now here’s the freaky part. Despite the fact that I intend to really WORK as a coach and writer, some folks are congratulating me on my “retirement”! I can’t even find words for how jarring that has been! I looked it up—“retirement” means: “giving up work, withdrawal from business or public life, retreat, sequestration.” Please note it’s not folks who are a lot younger who seem to need to put me in that box. It’s folks who are themselves over 55. Do we really NOT believe we have the right and capacity to do challenging, exciting, fulfilling things after 55? I can’t help but wonder how many of us are mired in this internalized oppression. No doubt, our youth-mesmerized culture will challenge us to prove we bring something unique to whatever new career or creative endeavor we choose, but we won’t overcome that challenge unless WE believe to the tips of our toes that we do!
My intent, at this point is to share some insights about my journey through this transition—and I’d love to hear yours.

What are some of the insidious ways your dreams for a next chapter get undercut?
Who has been supportive as you’ve tried to transition to your next chapter?

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