Let the Bad Girl Out!

I’m a type-A, high achiever. I am intelligent and disciplined.   I work hard at tasks given and make things happen. And I want to let my (inner) bad-girl out!

I play by the rules. I do what is expected. I was (am) the good girl – the honor-roll student, the responsible daughter, the met-expectations employee, the one who gets things done, without reminders.   And I’m tired of it!

I never rebelled. I never broke curfew; never snuck out after lights out. I listened to my parents, took advanced academic classes, and did all my homework, on time.   I didn’t do drugs, didn’t smoke, didn’t have a different boyfriend every week. And college continued the same patterns. I didn’t party, studied (a lot), and graduated with honors and a great job offer. Oh, did I mention, I was (am) a good girl.

To this day, I don’t smoke, don’t drink excessively, don’t use expletives (hardly anyway), don’t dress provocatively, have no tattoos and just one ear piercing. I am a responsible adult, a loyal friend, a loving wife. I am polite to strangers, pay my taxes, and abide by the law (most laws anyway; really, who drives the speed limit on the highway?).

And I want to let my bad girl out!   I want to break some rules.   Not enough to get in real trouble, but enough to experience that sense of (teenage) rebellion.

Why do I want to do this? Is it because I never did it when I was a teenager? Is there something deep in my psyche that is just missing a check box?   Is it important to know the why or just focus on the how??

So how do you rebel at 50+?   Without ending up in jail or the hospital or divorce court?

I saw a list of things that might help me feel a bit like the bad girl, in a safe way (because even though I want to let the bad girl out, I do have a deep-seated value of safety – go figure!): Wear sexy shoes and sexy underwear.  Ride a motorcycle.   Get a tattoo and a trendy haircut/color.  Wear tight black leather, form fitting clothes, and winged eyeliner. Not a graying pony tail, sneakers and old-lady jeans.   Oh, and red lipstick – red lipstick was a must.

Who’s ready for a mall trip?!? Sephora and Victoria Secret, here I come. Can I learn to create tousled hair and a made-up face every morning? Can I learn to be comfortable in sexy shoes, tight clothes, red lips?

Does being comfortable go with being a bad girl??

 

Picture Credit: Pixabay

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Turn that Frown Upside Down

 

One of the things I have tried to do during retirement transition is to stay positive about the changes happening.   I have to admit, I am more a pessimist by nature and yes, I defiantly have RBF (for those new to that term….resting bitch face).

 

During my work career, my pessimism showed up in my great critical thinking skills. I could quickly see what might be wrong with a model, a prototype, or an idea and find ways to make it better/stronger.   I could think three steps forward and avoid project pitfalls. I always expected the best of myself and of others.  I would “tell it like it is” which was usually hard-hitting.   Of course, I had a manager who told me I would “never be happy” because I always saw the issues with things. And I’ve often been told the way to be happier is to just lower my expectations.

 

So in retirement, I’ve decided to (try &) be a glass-half-full girl.   All the research indicates that being positive is just better – for you and for those around you.   One of my seven mantras from day one of retirement was “keep a positive attitude”!

 

Since this a learning curve, I am using a number of tools to help me be positive:

  • Practice gratitude. I regularly list in my journal what I am grateful for. I did a list of 10 for Thanksgiving and then again 10 for the New Year.   Perhaps I should make it a weekly topic – like Janis’s blog over at retirementallychallenged and her Gratitude-Tuesday.
  • Jolts of Joy.   Way back I created a 31 jolts of joy list – little things that just bring a smile to my face – one for each day of the month.   I’ve brought many of those elements into my daily life.  It’s little things – like getting new, fluffy, mint green towels for the bathroom.  Every time I step out of the shower, they bring a smile to my face!  One woman I met had pink champagne on her list. Now that is her “go-to” drink because, why not!
  • I have created positive mantras for myself, and I use them daily.  Everything from “I am being joyfully creative” to “I am balanced with less work, more play”.   I even gave myself a new morning coffee mug which states “Find Joy in Each Day”.
  • Reframing Life Satisfaction. During my Retirement Options Life Coach training, I personally scored low on life satisfaction. What I realized is I am still being glass-half-empty here. I think I am low in life satisfaction because I am (still) struggling with articulating my Life Purpose!   Luckily, the training has a great exercise to help you more deeply understand life satisfaction. If I look at all the elements of life – Career/Work, Family Life/Lifestyle, Relationship & Connections, Health & Wellness, Self Development, and Leisure Diversions – in every one of them I am quite satisfied.   I either have a plan in activation, or it’s in the 2-3 year plan timing.   This deeper analysis helped me reframe life satisfaction away from just a life purpose articulation.  And now I am actively saying, I am satisfied with my life today!
  • Emotion Monitoring.  At a seminar recently, I got a list of emotions, repurposed from Ask and It is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks. (Yes, I bought the book to read more!)   This list was encouraged to be used to recognize your emotions throughout the day. I’ve been able to identify when my emotions are more negative – discouragement, unworthiness and doubt seem to be my most dominant negatives. Which comes back to thinking of some additional affirmations I’ve added to my day – it’s OK to be a beginner.  Believe in yourself.  And I to look to my jolts of joy list for inspiration in the moment!

Am I the most positive person out there? I don’t think I will ever radiate positivity like some people I know do.   But I am curtailing some of my innate pessimistic thinking.  And life is definitely more enjoyable this way.

What do you do to stay positive?

 

Picture credit: Pixabay

What am I having fun doing in retirement?

 

Inspired by Mr Firestation’s blog on his “spark areas” about what he expects to be doing the first year of retirement, I took a look at what I am having fun doing!    After my recent post on what-do-you-do, this list of things I’m having fun doing was eye-opening.

 

Here are some of the possibilities turned into realties in my own Spark Areas:

 

  • Friends & Connections – regular networking over coffee/lunch/dinner (goal is 10 a month), started mid-week foodie club, local park dog-walks (friends & dog), continue to explore MeetUps, taking advantage of serendipity
  • Play with Words– daily crossword, blogging (!), write book on retirement transition, read (including the classics)
  • Creativity/Learning – pottery class, cooking class, explore spirituality, jewelry making (early days here)
  • Love/Time with Tim – local theater, art & craft shows, food exploration, house-hunting, regular trips to Florida
  • Work – Innovation Consulting LLC projects, YourEncore Expert, Retirement Life Coach, exploring SCORE volunteering
  • Active Movement – Zumba, walking, beach yoga, SUP
  • Travel/Adventure – planning NOLA, beginning to plan an African Safari (hits lots of items on my bucket list – across the equator, luxury trip, another continent, another country & wildlife spotting).

 

There are lots more things on the planned list: learn to swim next summer, learn to play chess, do yoga more regularly, explore Road Scholar (getting travel and adventure really kicking), do a zipline this spring.   I am trying to take my own advice of no longer waiting for someday, but planning and doing many of the things on my possibility list.

Besides just having fun, I am hoping somewhere in here I will find my passion!

Joy in an Empty Calendar?

Learning the joy of an empty calendar is not easy.   Busy is a sign of worthiness, a sign of being needed and wanted, a sign of achievement and success.   I found that a completely empty calendar just made me feel worthless, adrift, and unhappy.   On a recent trip to our beach cottage, this was highlighted this for me.   Our normal warm weather activities were curtailed by cooler, windier than expected weather. I had days on end of empty calendar – absolutely nothing planned.  And I felt adrift again, like my early days of retirement transition.

 

I learned:

– I need to find the right balance between structured-scheduled activities and go-with-the-flow freedom. Will I ever find joy in a completely empty calendar? No. But a couple days of freedom a week feels quite nice.

 

– I need to learn to slow down – find the positive in stillness, engage fully in the present, allow time for introspection, and surrender to serendipity.  Look at an empty calendar as an opportunity to savor the slowness.

 

– I need to watch out on freedom days – not allow passive timewasters to take over that free time. Don’t let free time turn into mindless TV watching, blog surfing, and the FB black hole.

 

– I need to challenge myself on what the activities are that make the schedule. Scheduling activities and being busy is easy. Are the things I am busy doing making me happy? Stimulating my mind? Activating my vision?

 

This year’s resolution is “Find joy in each day”. Details of this now means:

  • Savoring the slowness. Being OK with just sitting and watching the waves on the beach. Taking a walk and enjoying the scenery. Stopping for a coffee or a drink and just sitting. Talking with a neighbor.
  • Having a less rigid schedule. Being OK to move a task to tomorrow, or the next day if something else comes up.  Enjoy the free days.
  • Only checking email and FB once (OK, twice) a day. Not every hour.
  • Doing things for the experience of doing them.   Take pleasure in the doing and not the outcome.
  • Every day do one small thing that moves me forward on my life vision – even if it’s not scheduled (write, go outdoors, shop for healthy food, etc.).

 

How do you feel with an empty day on your schedule?

 

Picture credit: Pixabay

It’s Not an Overnight Transition

I’ve been thinking about my retirement transition a bit lately to understand if I’m done transitioning.   I like being able to check things off as being done.

 

Any transition is a journey, from the old to the new. It’ s one small step everyday. In the case of retirement transition, it’s a daily practice of doing things that say “this is the new me”.

 

How has this retirement transition progressed?

 

The journey definitely feels like I am setting out on a new adventure and finding the “path diverging in the woods” regularly.   All adventures have times to advance & times to rest, things to discover and times to use skills & strengths you already have.

  • I am starting things that align with the new me vision based on my values, strengths, interests. Of course, I’ve named them… things like Out & About, Time with Tim, and Fun with Friends.
  • I am trying to stop the bad practices – watching for toxic energy sources (internal and external), getting out of bad situations and obligations, and understanding bad habits need to break (waiting for someday, focus on food, work as avoidance).
  • I have recognized loses of the old and am looking on how to replace the things I need, like identity and structure.
  • I am finding that transitions can also threaten, as you give up old ways of doing things to take on new ways.   I’ve started to address the fear in the statement “Who will be able to change with me and who won’t? “

 

Am I done with the transition?  Nope.   I can’t check the box quite yet. But I am living every day as an adventure on the journey.

  • Wake-up, stretch and be happy.
  • Every day do one (small) thing that moves you down the path to your life vision.
  • Appreciate how far you have come along the path. You are right where you need to be on the journey!
  • Stop comparing yourself to others – it’s YOUR path. The world does need what you have to offer.
  • Trust divine timing. Some things (like fully understanding my purpose) will come when I am ready.
  • Relish the new opportunities. Try things on. Sometimes it’s about figuring out what you don’t want!
  • Try and remember – the journey is more important than the destination! Enjoy the journey.

 

Picture credit:Pixabay