We were weaving in and out of city traffic on our way to a business meeting when my friend and colleague, Fred, asked for an update on what I’ve been up to the last few months. It had been a while since we’d seen each other and he was curious about what I was working on now.
In my head, I thought to say Well, I’m semi-retired and enjoying my life, but I stopped myself before the words passed my lips. Instead, I talked about working on a new book, my upcoming retreat at Omega, and the small, pro-bono coaching practice I maintain because I love helping people.
Fred smiled, “Sounds like life is going well, Cheryl. Glad to hear it!”
We continued our drive trading stories about work and mutual friends and when we settled into silence, I thought about my reaction to Fred’s question and decided to fess up.
Actually, Fred, the truth is I’m enjoying more downtime in my life and it feels strange. I’m hiking every day, working out in the gym, and having a blast with friends. I’m also trying to figure out how to get comfortable with it all.
Who are we when we no longer define ourselves by the roles we’ve played throughout our lives – the Mom, the coach, the business owner, or the boss? How do we make peace with slowing down when we’ve always moved through life like a “human doing” on a mission? What new and exciting roles or identities call to us as we age that we might miss because we continue traveling a safe and familiar path as if we’ll be here forever?
I don’t have the answers to these questions but I’m dancing in the dark with open eyes during this wisdom-years adventure. I’m exploring things like: If I’ve been a helper all my life, what’s it like to become a receiver? What behaviors will I have to change? If I’ve traveled for years, who am I now that I’ve decided to stay home more? Where will I find a renewed sense of meaning and purpose outside of my long-established career? And when I’m challenged by an illness that threatens my belief that I can control my body, how will I make friends with being helpless and in need of care from others?
It’s all part of a deeper conversation that I’m excited to be having with friends, family, and you. Whether it be here in this blog, during retreats, or in my writing, I not only intend to challenge the anti-aging status quo, I want to go deeper. How and when do we make the shift from role to soul? When is it time to let a wiser part of us make our choices rather than the personality who has a vested interest in being seen and valued? How can we prepare for the end of life so we feel more at peace, ready, and grateful?
The questions in this blog are food for thought that I hope you’ll consider, too, because I promise you this:
Open eyes always find the light.