Retirement Transition and Change

“Now I Am Headed in the Right Direction” by Kathy Dunning

By March 31, 2011 No Comments

When I contacted Bev, I was at a loss. What comes next in life for me?  Where was I going with my life?  Living day to day and doing whatever I wanted, proved to be not terribly workable in practice.  There were too many ‘now-what-do-I-do’ moments, feeling guilty and unsettled. 

I’d worked a long time with satisfaction, but my desire to keep on keeping on kept diminishing. So I stopped doing that work and tried some things which were okay, not bad, and at least gave me something to say when asked what I was doing now. But those subsequent, post career activities while pleasant, and which filled in the time, just didn’t work out, and weren’t going anywhere. I felt as if I had stalled.  I had been stalled for a long time which ate at me and annoyed me. I drifted….and drifted some more, engaged in some activities, traveled—all good.  But it really bothered me not having some sense of internal direction.  I felt I was wandering aimlessly too much. I spoke to friends about feeling quite lost.  I had no idea of how to find what I had so obviously been missing.

 I’d heard about The 3rd Act program and asked about doing sessions on line since I live overseas.  Over a number of sessions I was given a series of readings, exercises and questions to consider and answer.  I’d send my responses to Bev then we would talk in coaching sessions what I had written and my thoughts and reactions.  The readings and questions were deeply thought provoking.

 The aim is to consider these ideas and apply them to MY LIFE, RIGHT NOW.  And it wasn’t just thinking about the questions, I wrote down answers.  The questions are important ones I often hadn’t thought about in quite this way or stopped to consider, let alone really answer.  To answer them once, to yourself, can feel daring, but to send them on to someone and then discuss what you wrote, makes for deeper thinking.  I highly valued having a personal connection. Bev’s feedback and sharing of relevant experiences, and her impressions and insight about what I had written or said were especially helpful. A direct one-to-one connection is one of the special features of this program.  It goes way beyond do-it-yourself-help books.

I found that the reading, writing and personal discussion initiated a powerful journey of self-discovery and review. The in-depth reading was especially relevant for me, leading me to consider issues in much greater depth than a hand out would.  I was shocked at how much cultural stereotypes of being “too  old” had colonized my thinking. Through the program I experienced myself questioning, revisiting, rethinking, culling and adding new knowledge.  I especially enjoyed the numerous food-for-thought quotes of collected wisdom, inspiration and humor. This re-searching process is confronting. 

I particularly valued the spirited, pragmatic, sensitive and undeterred, it-will-happen approach of The 3rd Act.  You are directed to notice things that you’ve overlooked and encouraged to persist, aiming for genuine flow and growth and change.  You actively consider taking a risk.  All of it together is a potent catalyst, motivating, mobilizing and rewarding. Doing it online meant I sustained my endeavors over a longer time.  Sometimes workshops really grab you on the day but end up in a file that you keep meaning to come back to.  I liked the scaling and ranking exercises which tend to sort and focus all the information I had been digesting and generating. At times I was surprised by both my answers as well as the consistency of many answers.  Another thing I learned is it’s best to not have too much of a gap in completion because, in my case, I stalled and then had to go back, find where I was and retrieve what I had discovered.

So at the moment things are happening.  I’m not sure I’m “there” yet but when I think about some of the stories that I have read of other peoples’ journey, it seems to me that sometimes it’s only later, when I look back, that I will see that I’ve arrived.  I am confident that I am heading in the right direction.

I would love to hear from you and your stories. 

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Kathy’s Bio:  I’m Kathy, 60 years old, born and raised in Chicago but living (for the last 25 years) in Tasmania, Australia.  I’m the oldest of 5 which gives me a big extended (USA based) family.  My life has centered on my work as a therapist and as a university teacher, and mother of four, wife of one.  I love languages and am studying French again.  I sing, read, am interested in understanding political conflict and I love to travel, entering and exploring new worlds which give me an expanded sense of self.  I have loved living in another culture–the immigrant experience.   The rest (of me) is yet to be discovered, although more is coming into view. Merci, The 3rd Act!

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