Can you think of a time when life handed you a lemon?
It usually comes in some form of loss. The job ended unexpectedly, someone's health took a turn for the worse, you were passed over for that promotion you felt you deserved, or you lost your best girlfriend.
In each case, the unexpected happened. Or what was hoped for - even planned for, didn't happen. You have suffered a loss. A loss you didn't see coming.
It is that element of surprise that makes the lemons we all get handed in life sometimes well, suck.
How did you overcome it?
Here are a few things I've learned along the way to a successful retirement:
1. Love of Money is the root of all procrastination. When your heart says go and your body says enough already, listen to its wisdom. I've interviewed a lot of people who chose early retirement over the golden handcuffs. Not one of them regrets missing out on the promised cash flow. The ones who waited often regret the lost years they could have been building the life of their dreams while they still had time.
2. Your Negative Imagination is out to get you. When you find yourself justifying why it's not that bad, or you can tough it out, or at least it's a paycheck...step away from the drug of achievement and look your soul in the eye. If you have to defend an action or inaction, it may be time for a change.
3. And I Love That I had the opportunity to work closely with Kyle Cease last year. Kyle is a comedic transformational speaker and New York Times Best-Selling Author of "I Hope I Screw This Up". His authenticity and unique approach broke through my defenses in a way that brought me back to the life I longed for but had ignored for too long.
4. Meditation isn't Magic, but magical things happen when you do the work of listening to that still, small voice within. We were born with an inner guidance system and then trained not to listen to it. Consider how much of your paycheck goes to distract you from the feelings that come from doing what you don't want to do every day. You may not need as much money in retirement as you think.
5. Find a Mentor you can relate to who is able to lead you past your fear to the heart of your soul because they have navigated that personal transformation themselves. That is where your freedom lies. There are a lot of coaches happy to take your money and deal with your symptoms of distress. What you need is a soul surgeon. Don't stop until you get the best match for you.
The people who come here have lived through some shit. They have superpowers they don't recognize. They are heroes to people they didn't even know were watching. They have learned the hard way when to wait and when to act; when to hold on and when to let go.
When we walk out the door of an old life that no longer fits, it creates waves of change we can’t always see coming. It can be harder to leave an acceptable situation than a bad one. We are shining a light on a path to freedom for all who follow. We are leaping out of our ego and into our hearts. It is scary because we can't see the good that lies beyond the prison we know so well. But the beauty is there. Even in our leaving, we exhibit a key leadership skill for anyone who wants to lead a bigger life.
Dream a new dream. The more we put it all on the line to follow our dream of something better for ourselves and our children, the more we deserve to party with others we meet on the road. This is not a pity party for what you lost in the shift. This is a celebration of all you gained that you couldn't see when you took that first step of faith to become more of YOU!
Dreams reside deep down in the heart of every one of us. Sometimes they get buried by shame, or clouded with ambition, or shrivel from lack of attention. But they remain. Deep down. Buried alive. Waiting for you to come back and find joy in the only place it can truly be discovered. Within.
Sometimes leading means leaving - with style, with grace, and with Heart.
You're here, you're safe, we've got you.
Every little girl in my generation had dreams of what she would one day become, how her life might look, and how happily-ever-after she expected to feel. It was magical.
Then life happened. We grew up and began the process of trying to measure up to society's agenda or everyone's expectations. The hats we picked up varied greatly depending on upbringing, hometown, family dynamics, and media access. And they were many: be a good girl, a career woman, a doting mother, a sexy wife, a responsible citizen, a contributing member, a team player, a leader! So many hats, so little time.
In a woman's life, it is not uncommon to set aside our needs and wants so we can care for others. We start a family, we put a spouse through school, we assume the family business as our parents age. We set our dreams aside and imagine we will get back to them when things settle down. When the children are grown. When the degree is complete. When the parent passes. When we lose enough weight or have enough money. Then the magic will happen.
Life can be so filled with the good stuff that we forget to save space for the best. The dreams we set aside until we could get back to them eventually die from neglect. If life was particularly taxing, we may have even forgotten why those dreams mattered in the first place. We become anxious or depressed but cannot put our finger on why. Don't we have it all? People call that magical thinking and encourage us to be practical.
I call that settling for less. Deep down, dreams never die - they just get buried alive.
Dreams not Drama
Sometimes the clamor of daily drudgery has left us so far down we forgot where we left our cherished dream. We may have tucked it away so deeply into a corner of our heart that we need to go into the cave to reclaim it.
Don't be afraid of the dark - it is where your treasure is buried.
When I realized I would be living alone again, I was both exhilarated and apprehensive.
While I love living with people who love me, I'm not a fan of staying for the sake of (the children, the money, the church) or any social construct that can be reduced to a list of shoulds.
There are worse things than living alone. But there are some skills that will come in useful. Like cooking, for example. I decided a long time ago not to live my mother's life. The down side of that is I never learned even rudimentary cooking skills. If it didn't come in a box or freezer section, I was eating out at restaurants.
So I decided to try those 'delivered-to-your-door' menu items. I won't talk about the ones I disliked or why. But I will share my experiences of the ones that have added value to my life. Home Chef is one of those (link below and yes, we both get $30 off an order if you purchase.)
Watch the videos on YouTube or Facebook
Some people describe themselves as serial monogamists. I suppose that could apply to me. When I fall in love, I fall hard and by the time I come up for air, the water's deep and I'm usually in over my head. By the way, did I mention I can't swim?
After multiple marriages and repeated cycles of divorce drama, I came to the realization that I am the only one on this planet who will never leave me nor forsake me.
Judith Viorst, in her book Necessary Losses, promoted the idea that the first half of life is about acquisition and the second half is about letting go.
In my twenties I acquired 2 husbands and 3 children. In my forties I managed to find two more husbands and experience the joy of blended families.
All I ever wanted was a 50th wedding anniversary like my parents had. Please understand that I did not want their patriarchal marriage, I just wanted the accolades of making it together that long.
Do you think in church when they ask who has been married longest, they're looking for 'to one person' or a cumulative total? Shit - even combined I can only lay claim to 37 years of marital conjugation. Now if we were talking about married in the biblical sense, I could probably make it work.
My timing was always a little off. I married too soon and stayed too long. Every time. Every woman I have interviewed about the divorce experience affirms one thing: We know in our deepest soul when it is time to let go. The problem is, we rarely follow our heart the first time we know for sure this isn't working.
Here’s a tip I stumbled on that I wish every woman with diamond wedding rings knew about. There is a website out there that is not a scam to help women like me resell fine jewelry (and no, I don’t get a spiff for recommending them). www.worthy.com was respectful, honest and prompt in dealings and delivery of services before, during and after the sale. Start to finish it took only eight days and funded my travel for the rest of the year. It was a win-win.
My last step was to repurpose the smaller diamonds by gifting them to be reset for loved ones. In fact, I got rid of every gift of jewelry from every previous love of my lifetime in order to start fresh.
This week I bought myself the beautiful ring you see above and repeated the vows I have so faithfully taken in times past. Only this time, I am the object of my affection. With this ring, I Me Wed. And I vow to give myself all the love, attention, pleasure, compassion and acceptance I have cheerfully bestowed on the husbands and children who have had the pleasure of my company.
Why? Because I'm worth it. And so are you.
What advice would you give a friend who is in the process of moving on after a divorce? Do you wish you had done it sooner? Please join the conversation.
I am an entrepreneur living in the leap from the life I was programmed to live into the life of my dreams.