I work an average of ten hours a day and It occurred to me other day that I am retired. Sounds paradoxical, however, it's true. My definition of retirement is time in a person's life when she has opportunity to do exactly what she wants to do all day. So, I'm retired. Are you?
There is another thing I truly like about my definition: it changes my attitude towards my work. Knowing that I am consciously CHOOSING to do what I do makes all difference.
Of course, each one of us at some level is choosing what we are doing every moment. It's 'consciously' part we may be missing. It's possible that we spend time complaining bitterly about our lives without ever actually admitting that we've created our perception of it and our reaction to it. Sure, difficulties arise and, with it, stress. What we do then is also a choice. There is just no escaping that 'choice' thing even though we have hundreds of well-rehearsed reasons and excuses to justify and maintain our discomfort.
Yesterday, I was coaching a young woman of forty who recently had her first child. She had returned to work after only nine weeks with her baby. Her husband works out of town all week and they live on outskirts of a major city to make life more affordable. As we chatted, her tears flowed. Why? Because she is running as fast as she can, multi-tasking all way, justifying every decision on behalf of finances. She is exhausted, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. And, for five and half days a week, she is alone. She is definitely not retired by my definition. We spent our session reviewing her choices.
One of greatest travesties of our current culture is that we are constantly being bombarded with advertising and information to suggest we 'should' be able to do it all without pain, stress or loss IF we really had it all together. Unfortunately that often translates to if we cannot manage every aspect of our lives every minute of our lives without distress, we're simply not good enough. Have you ever felt that? The world works hard to keep us believing its true, but, it's not!
We have to take back our lives. Review our position. Reflect on our choices. Re-consider our values. Re-define success. Re-construct our plan. Re-design our use of time. As you read this, are you noticing that you are feeling something like disappointment, a sinking feeling, or a desire to cry? This will tell you right away that you need to step back and do following:
STEPS FOR TAKING BACK YOUR LIFE:
Take a weekend just for yourself. Wear only comfortable clothes. Turn off computer, phone, cell phone. Have a brand, new journal and pen ready. This is your time.
Spend first twelve hours sleeping because most folks are chronically over-tired yet another symptom of our 'be-everything, do-everything, have-everything myth'. When you wake up, luxuriate in knowledge that this time is just for you. Nowhere to go, no one to please, nothing that has to be done. When is last time you could say that? Notice that, too.