Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Second Half Planning

This was originally posted on the Chicago Moms

We were sitting in the Harris Theatre enjoying “I Bought a Blue Car Today” when star Alan Cumming talked about how old he was. He said something to the effect of “If you think of 80 as a nice long life, I’m currently middle-aged and moving towards the second half of my life.” This stuck with me as I’ve been trying to figure out what comes next for me.

I’m not in that “woe is me. I’ll be fifty soon” zone. It’s more of a time to make plans and do some research. Our girls are still too young to be completely independent, but I see that happening quickly. A few years ago I went back to work full-time, and the transition is a bit smoother now. I work from home, which affords a lot of flexibility to still be involved in our girls' school and other activities.

Still, before they were born I was active in a couple of organizations. I miss that interaction. Part of me wants to get involved in a cause I really want to support. Part of me wants to do something really different just to see if I can do it. Of course, I realize I could do both, but the reality is time is in short supply — both on a daily basis and in the long-term view. I want to focus on one or two things that make me happy outside of my family and work. It’s an important part of my world.

I know it can be done. I recently searched for a colleague I lost touch with a few years ago. There wasn’t a problem; I just lost the time to be in regular touch with all the people in my world once we had twin daughters. I always wondered if she wrote the book she discussed so often. It turns out Ann Saul wrote her book titled, “Pissarro’s Places.” After 25 years of self-study, Ann is now a widely-quoted, recognized expert on Pissaro. She lectures, writes articles and continues to promote her book. All this comes during her “retirement.”

My other inspiration comes from an article I read called “At 98, once-illiterate lobsterman is an author.” The title tells the point of the story, but the details are inspiring. He makes me believe I can do anything my heart desires if I just focus and take a chance.

What comes next seems to be a common theme among the women I talk to lately. Our school district is considering what to do about an old building that currently serves as our Junior High School. I’m sitting on one of the committees. I talked to some of the moms in the girls’ Brownies Troop. One mom volunteered immediately. She said, “I just want to feel like I’m making a difference.”

It’s what we all want, isn’t it? The question for me is how do I do it? With so many options, I’m sure I’ll find my place, especially since I have such great inspirations to keep me on track.

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