Reflecting on the last 10 years

June 6, 2022
Woman reflecting

Woman reflecting

Reflecting on the last 10 years has required a lot of thought and soul searching. I’ve tried to do it openly and honestly but without oversharing too much. I hope I managed to get the balance right and I hope you enjoy the read.

What happened 10 years ago?

It was 10 years ago in May 2012 that I walked out of my corporate job in the middle of a work day and ultimately (though I didn’t know it at the time) didn’t ever go back (my decision).

It’s confronting knowing that it has been 10 years. 10 years and what have I done with myself? What have I achieved? 10 years and how are things different now?

I know that some readers might wonder what happened 10 years ago to make me walk out like that, but there’s nothing to be gained by rehashing the detailed story of ‘why’ I walked out that day. In a nutshell, it was a toxic environment where my loyal and hard working self was being taken for granted and taken advantage of, and there was a very strong sense of betrayal involved which was the straw that broke the camel’s back. That workplace imploded soon after I left so it was a very good thing that I left when I did.

What happened after I walked out?

I was not well. I had been living a life where I was trying to be everything to everyone for many, many years and I was burning the candle at both ends trying to keep up with it all. After I walked out that day, I remember walking to the train station but I couldn’t feel my feet touching the ground. It was disorienting and I had to really concentrate to walk. I remember sitting on the train with my head resting on the window, sunglasses on, the odd tear trickling down my face, and I was feeling numb. I got home, crawled onto my bed, curled up in the fetal position and cried day after day after day after day. I couldn’t function. Quite obviously there was a problem. There was a deep hurt from a betrayal I had felt, a dreadfully bleak sadness, and an inability to do or even want to do anything. Eventually I went to the doctor and asked to be sent to a hospital where I could be left in peace with no responsibilities so I could heal, and so I went to a hospital but I only stayed there a week. I wanted to be home for my birthday so as not to upset my kids. In hindsight, I needed to be there much longer. The doctors told me that the state I was in was as a result of living with chronic stress for far too long. Once I stepped off the treadmill, I crashed and burned. I didn’t have time to when I was still on it!  

Since then, I’ve been rebuilding myself I guess. I participated in a 365 Grateful Project in the hope it would help me find some joy and re-engage/connect with life. I started my first blog in September 2012 to share each of my 365 Grateful photos. I then became interested in photography and did an online course which resulted in a Diploma in Professional Photography. My blogs (first one and this one) have reflected my journey and interests since then – mindfulness; self investment/self care; balance of mind, body & spirit; obtaining a sense of zen (my Gems of Zen series); ageing positively (the Gorgeous 50’s & more); rediscovered a love and talent for crochet; becoming a foster carer for neonatal kittens; and more recently my 100 Day Project and my art. My blogs have also tapped in to most of my life experiences over that time, like turning 50, the loss of my Dad, the global pandemic, etc.

What has changed in the last 10 years?

  • 10 years ago when I walked out of my workplace, I was 47 (nearly 48), my twins were at University and my daughter was in Year 12. My Mum & Dad were healthy and well.
    Today I’ve turned 58, my twins will turn 30 in November, my daughter is 27, my Dad has sadly passed away, my Mother has deteriorated somewhat and now needs our care.
  • 10 years ago I suffered with chronic stress and wasn’t even aware of it. I was constantly BUSY. I was on a treadmill of doing what I thought was expected of me, juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, and trying to be everything to everyone. 
    Nowadays I’m more selective in how I spend my time and who I spend my time with. I know myself much better and where I can, I avoid situations that will cause me stress as much as is possible. I understand myself better and have adjusted my life to better look after my wellbeing, and I have the tools to help myself keep my stress levels under control.
  • 10 years ago I had no time for hobbies and I had no idea what I enjoyed or was good at.
    Over the last 10 years I’ve been exploring what interests me, what I enjoy, what I might be good at. I’ve been blogging (it will be 10 years in September), I’ve studied photography, I rekindled a love of crochet, I’ve fostered kittens, and more recently discovered that I enjoy art and am actually quite good at it!
  • 10 years ago I had no tools to manage my stress.
    These days my lifestyle is very different. I no longer have a 2 hour commute per day, a long day in the office with all the personalities and issues and stressors that come with it. I no longer arrive home late after a long day at work having to cook dinner only to then get on my computer at home of an evening and continue to work in order to help myself get ahead of the workload. I’ve made lifestyle choices to support my wellbeing. What I do have is a daily morning yoga and pilates practice (thank you Merrybody), a good understanding of the advantages of mindfulness and meditation, a better understanding of who I am and what I need to avoid and what I need to do to help myself when I am feeling stressed and/or overwhelmed.
  • 10 years ago my parents had each other and were doing well.
    On 1 December this year it will be five (5) years since we lost Dad. Since mid-late last year Mum has declined quite a bit, spent a few weeks in hospital, and now needs a lot of our time and care. I spend every second week staying with Mum. I take my yoga mat with me and my morning practice continues regardless. I often take some art supplies too and if I find time I’ll do a little art.
  • 10 years ago I was in early stages of perimenopause.
    Today I have STILL not yet reached menopause (that is when you’ve had 12 months without menstruation). This has been a very long and difficult experience for me. I’m not surprised though because menstruation has been a painful and difficult thing for me since I was around 11 years of age. A mid-life adult diagnosis of Adenomyosis and PMDD has helped explain this – a little late though!  
  • 10 years ago if someone had’ve told me there would be a global pandemic I would’ve laughed and said yeah maybe in a movie!! 
    Today the effects of living through a global pandemic are very real. I’m hyper vigilant about my hygiene when out and about. I still wear a mask if amongst crowds of people in closed in spaces. I choose where I go very carefully and in fact spend a lot more time at home than I ever used to.

What have I learned about myself?

These are some things I’ve learned about myself. There are probably more but these are what come to mind at the time of typing this.

  • Where once I was a social butterfly who loved to party and dance and loved crowds and noise and late nights, I now am polar opposite! haha  I like quite a lot of time alone. I do get lonely with too much of it though. I like my social activities spaced out. I don’t like going out at night except for a quiet dinner out with friends.
  • I am very sensitive to noise and cannot stand loud noise. It actually feels like physical pain to me – like jack hammers in my head.
  • I don’t like being stuck in crowds. Maybe the fact I suffer with claustrophobia doesn’t help nor the fact that I’m vertically challenged, but it’s worse now (more anxiety inducing) during these pandemic days.
  • I like going to musicals but only matinees (see first dot point). Luckily I have a friend who is exactly the same and we enjoy going together.
  • I don’t like having to make quick decisions. I like time to mull it over.
  • I’m not shy but I’ve become more introverted as I’ve gotten older.
  • Being out in nature, around beautiful views and sunrises and sunsets uplifts me.
  • I learnt from losing my Dad that there is a strength within me I never knew I had. I surprised myself. Where did she come from? I couldn’t bear to be with my dogs Shaddi and Chelsea in their final moments as I thought it would be too painful for me to cope with (I hugged and kissed them, said my final words and left the room in tears), yet I was with my Dad right to the end and I provided comfort and love to the very edges and extremities of my being.
  • I’ve learnt that I’m a highly sensitive person and most likely an empath. I feel things deeply. I get hurt quite easily. I love very deeply. I’m very loyal. I absorb the moods and pain of others. I worry a lot. It can be exhausting and draining.
  • I can have very deep mood dips and need strategies to help me with this. Catching up with a friend, getting out in nature, getting away somewhere, being creative, for example.
  • As I age, I can’t do as much in a day as I used to. I need my load lighter and I have done this as best as I can.
  • I still have work to do on the voice in my head that tells me I’m not enough. I’m very self critical. I worry people don’t like me. I don’t fit the typical ‘popular’ mould. I’m a little different and I like that actually. And even though someone might say my art is good, I see only the faults. So yes, I do still have quite a bit of work to do in learning to accept myself, not care what others think, and stop being so hard on myself.
  • I’ve learnt to accept that change is inevitable. Nothing ever stays the same forever, and I think I’m more adaptable to change than I ever realised, because we have to be!

BACK TO THE QUESTION: 10 years and what have I done with myself? What have I achieved?

I’ve done quite a lot over the last 10 years, but as for what I’ve achieved – well this is where I get hard on myself. I’ve explored my interests. I’ve shared my thoughts here on the blog. I’ve cared for my parents. I’ve run a household. I’ve parented three young adults. I’ve cared for abandoned and vulnerable neonatal kittens. I’ve cared for my dog ‘Ava’ and the two foster kittens that I ended up adopting ‘Axel’ and ‘Amaya’. But … I still do not feel that I have enough to show for those 10 years. Where is the success? The inner critic says I have not been enough. 

To be honest, I often feel a sense of panic as the years speed by, that I’m running out of time or that I’m wasting away my life. I have this ongoing need to be productive and to achieve.  At the same time, I want to keep stress to a minimum and I know that I don’t ever want to return to the workforce (especially not the corporate world). My wellbeing is top priority – physical, mental, spiritual, emotional.

I often feel a pressure (from myself) to excel in areas where I may have some talent. First it was the blog and photography, then it was crochet and now it is my art.  I tell myself I should make something of these things, create a business, earn some money from it. Be productive. Achieve. Succeed. Like others I see! But something always holds me back. What is it? Fear of failure? Fear of getting too busy? I’m really not sure. It’s interesting. It’s frustrating, and it’s something I would like to get to the bottom of.

Grief and aged care is something that wasn’t a part of my life 10 years ago and so I need to consider this when I’m being hard on myself. I’m still grieving the loss of my Dad, and I’m very busy caring for my Mum. These fall into the category of ‘unavoidable stresses’ in life but I feel grateful that I left work when I did so that I had time to heal from the consequences of years of chronic stress and be in a better place to cope with these things. I’m also grateful that I’m not working so that I have been able to be there for my parents.

I think the last 10 years have been great for me but also difficult. I am blessed that I could have this time for ‘me’ – to heal and to explore and discover who I am. It’s not been easy though being the only one in the household who is not going off to work each day. It has meant that I have felt a need to prove my worthiness, and I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself as a result.

In two years I’ll be 60. That is hard to believe but I’m glad I’ve got time to get used to the idea. I hope I can love and accept myself more by then and have put this need to ‘achieve and succeed’ to bed in one way or another once and for all.  

Cheers to the next 10 years – may they bring more understanding of ourselves and a wonderful sense of peace and joy – for all of us.

DO YOU RECOGNISE YOURSELF IN ANYTHING I’VE SHARED HERE? I’D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS & EXPERIENCES!

Ciao for now,

Linking up with Denyse Whelan for #LifeStories

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26 Comments

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid June 6, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    I loved this then and now post – so interesting. It’s made me reflect on my own then and now. I can really relate about the grief you must feel about your dad now that I’ve lost my mum. I miss her every day. However, I do think you’ve achieved so much in the last few years – I for one, am in awe of your creative pursuits, especially your art and photography. You really do have skillz. Achievements are not just about status or career or money – I think you just need to redefine the word achievements. You’ve acquired new skills, found balance in your life, learned to manage stress, raised good humans and triumphed over adversity. And that’s just for starters! Can’t wait to see what you achieve in the next decade!

    • Reply Min June 7, 2022 at 6:39 am

      Hi Sammie – yes I know you’d relate to the grief. I understand now that it will never go. It’ll always be with me, it’s just I’ll get better at living with it. Thanks for your kind words on my creativity and what you see that I have managed to do over the years. The next decade will be interesting for sure! xo

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au June 6, 2022 at 2:30 pm

    Hi Min – I sooooo understand the burnout and sense of defeat from having to leave a toxic workplace and the recovery time needed (although your burnout far outweighed mine!) I also completely understand the need to prove our ongoing worth in a society that values busy-ness and career above all else. I’m still waiting to arrive at a point where I know that I’m “enough” without comparing myself or pushing myself to prove something (I’m not even sure who I’m proving it to!!) I think your art would be a great affirmation of time used well – I’d love to be more artistic – but I do wonder if there ever comes an age where we stop asking ourselves if we’re worthy of this lovely life we now live. I think it’s a personality thing (and an over-thinking thing) and maybe we need to listen more to the ones who love us and are happy for us to live life pleasantly rather than “powerfully”? Great post x

    • Reply Min June 7, 2022 at 6:44 am

      Hi Leanne – I’m so glad you can relate (but also a bit sad for you that you can too). It makes me feel less ‘strange’ or ‘different’. I’ve written so much over the years about the inner critic and loving ourselves and self care and how we are enough etc but I’m still not there myself. I’m pretty good at self care in a lot of ways but the inner critic is my biggest challenge. I think you’re right – it must be a personality and over-thinking thing. I do over-think a lot! lol And I have a perfectionistic kind of personality. I really do hope that the day will come where I am happy to live ‘pleasantly’ rather than ‘powerfully’ (I love how you phrased that)! Thanks Leanne! xo

  • Reply Joanne Tracey June 6, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    I nodded a lot through this – especially when you talk about burnout you’re too busy to have, increasing anxiety and claustrophobia in crowds and absorbing the moods of others. All of that. Especially though I recognised the editor in your – the one who dwells on the imperfection in the art – as one creative to another, when you work out how NOT to do that can you tell me?
    Fabulous post…

    • Reply Min June 7, 2022 at 6:49 am

      Hi Jo – I didn’t know that you would relate to so many aspects of what I’ve written so that has been a surprise and also kind of comforting to me! I always think I’m such a unicorn! Maybe I’m not as weird as I thought. Maybe the things I grapple with, many others do too, if even you who has written so many fabulous books has those same struggles. Thank you for reading and commenting and I’ll make a deal – I’ll let you know if I work out the cure to this problem if you’ll let me know if you work it out!

  • Reply Jo Castro June 6, 2022 at 4:12 pm

    Hi Min, I really enoyed reading this piece and wow you have achieved so much in the last 10 years, not least the ability to be unbusy and try new hobbies that are not necessarily career oriented. I remember connecting with you way back when you had your first blog and we commented via my first blog ZigaZag! How the years have flown by. Love your truth and honesty.

    • Reply Min June 7, 2022 at 6:53 am

      Hi Jo – it’s so lovely to hear from you! Thank you for saying you think I’ve achieved a lot over the last 10 years. I wish I could think the same! Yes we connected a long, long time ago and have nearly met in person a couple of times (BUPA functions and when I visited Perth that one time) except for bad timing. The years sure have flown by! I’m glad you like my truth and honesty. It was another thing I wasn’t sure about. It’s hard putting yourself out there sometimes but then that’s real life and it’s real life that I want to share. Take care and stay well! xo

  • Reply Jennifer Jones June 6, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    I loved reading your introspective, reflective thoughts on your life. My first thought was how most of us are so hard on ourselves. In the past I thought that was just me. You’ve done amazing things in your life. I can identify with how your grief for your Dad and the worry for your Mum has you feeling. We lost Dad in 2013 and I still grieve for him. My son was taken from us in 1995 and that grief is as fresh toady as it was when it happened. I tend to hide my grief really well, but every now and then, all that denying blows up and I just have to take time out to be with my feelings. I’ve found as I’ve aged, that I feel more comfortable in putting myself first and at age 67, I’ve finally realised that it’s ok to be kind to myself, and even selfish. Really great thought provoking post.

    • Reply Min June 7, 2022 at 6:58 am

      Hi Jennifer, it’s not just you and it seems it’s not just me either! Why are we so hard on ourselves when we would not be so hard on others? I’m so sorry for the loss of your Dad and your son. I cannot imagine the grief you’ve endured. I’ve learnt that grief never ends, it becomes a part of our life and we get better used to living with it. I hide my grief publicly mostly but privately I have my moments. I think I have become much better at saying no to things I don’t want to do and yes to things I want to. I’m kind to myself in the way of self care but the voice in my head, the inner critic, is very very mean to me and that is my problem that I’ve yet to solve. Thank you so much for your lovely comment!

  • Reply Lydia C. Lee June 7, 2022 at 9:44 am

    This is very raw and honest. There’s a lot to cover but I just want to point out what you have achieved. You got to know yourself properly. You know what is good for you, what you like to do and I’m guessing you now are comfortable turning down invites (& pressure) to do things for others expectations. That is an achievement. Living your life to your best (for you, doing what makes you happy and gives you pleasure each day) is actually all that matters. For some reason for half our life we seem to get lost in expectations based on society’s false narrative. A dying friend once said to me ‘It’s very liberating when you realise nothing really matters. You can just enjoy what you do.’
    As for menopause. People need to talk about that more. I can’t begin to tell you all the crap I’ve discovered. I’m like some person who never had sex education suddenly learning about it ALL at the same time. It’s wildly perplexing how much I don’t know. But that’s for another post.
    Really great post. Def the winner for me in the last few days.

    • Reply Min June 9, 2022 at 11:55 am

      Thank you so much Lydia for such a thoughtful & kind comment. I have done a lot of self development over the 10 years! It seems to be so ingrained in me, the need to be productive and a worthy contributor to the world etc. I would really like to just enjoy what I do and let go of all those expectations I place on myself. As for menopause – it has been a taboo subject for far too long meaning that so many women suffer in silence having no clue how to help themselves. I’m pleased to see that it is started to get spoken of a lot more these days. Why has it taken so long? Thank you again xo

  • Reply Patricia Doyle June 7, 2022 at 11:51 am

    I nodded through a lot of this also. I too have had a significant shift in the last 8 years. I wasn’t as chronically stressed as you but I was a pessimistic, cynical, critical workaholic with absolutely no hobbies, no exercise program and few friends. I look back and wonder who that person was! Thanks for sharing your insights into you shift. And if you figure out why we feel compelled to turn our “playing with art/craft” into making money, but never do it…. please do let me know!

    • Reply Min June 9, 2022 at 11:58 am

      I’m so glad you could relate Patricia! Very pleased you’re in a much better place now and if I do work out how to stop trying to turn my arts/crafts/hobbies/talents into some form of success/business I’ll be sure to let you know!

  • Reply Denyse Whelan June 7, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    Oh Min, I admit I read this on the day you posted and could feel the hurt and the sadness of the event that changed everything for you. But I also can see the ‘you’ that emerged from this…and is likely still emerging. I am “glad” you wrote this post for YOU really and I can imagine there was quite a bit of memory happening but also some congratulations for how things changed and that you made them happen. Covid certainly gave us all lessons of many kinds and for some of us, not being able to get out socially meant a downturn in mood. I know I had to really work on that. You are the best daughter to your mum in her ageing years and I reckon your Dad would be awfully proud!
    Thank you so much for linking up your blog post for Life’s Stories this week.

    As you probably know, the last link up date here on Denyse Whelan Blogs is Monday 20 June 2022.

    I do hope to see your post there too. Of course, if you cannot link up, I so understand and want to thank you for the support of my blog and the link up over the years.

    I know you are having your surgery and hope all goes well. I will keep an eye out (ha!) for any future posts.

    Warm wishes, and take care.

    Denyse.

    • Reply Min June 9, 2022 at 12:04 pm

      Hi Denyse – I had a lot of hurt and sadness from events back in 2012 way back then but I have zero now. I rarely give that time a thought and I don’t dwell on it at all. I decided to reflect back though when I realised it had been 10 years! How did 10 years go by already? Thanks for your kind comment on my care of Mum. I try my best and I really do hope Dad is proud! I’ve realised that sadly I won’t be able to link up with your last link up as it’s the day of my first eye surgery and is an early start. I will probably look at the posts linked up when I can though and I’m keen to see what your plans are too! xo

  • Reply Debbie Harris June 7, 2022 at 9:24 pm

    Hi Min, this was a very honest and reflective post. You lost your dad just a few weeks before mine and I totally understand the grief you are still feeling every day. I also feel for you in dealing with caring for your m um, it mustn’t be easy. I have to day I think you are VERY talented in all you do and love your artwork. I think we are hard on ourselves , I know I am at times and I’m still working on dealing with that at age 61. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, you are a breath of fresh air!

    • Reply Min June 9, 2022 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Deb, thank you! Yes I’ll always remember we lost our Dads very close to each other so you would know the grief I feel. I think of my Dad and miss him every single day. Caring for Mum is a no brainer – you only get one Mum. My sister alternates with me which helps. But yes it isn’t all easy.Thank you for your kind comments on my art. I do feel happy with some of the pieces I do – just not all – and yes I know I’m very hard on myself! It’s reassuring though to hear that others (like yourself) also do this so I don’t feel quite so much like a unicorn! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me – it’s so very appreciated! xo

  • Reply suzanne June 7, 2022 at 9:48 pm

    Min, ten years must seem like yesterday in some respects and eternity in others. Life has some defining moments and ‘stepping off the treadmill’ is one that you should never regret. Reshaping your identity after being an imposter for so long is a hard process. You are doing that work, which begins with awareness and is followed by action. Draw on the things you do well to build confidence and don’t worry about how others perceive you. The need to be ‘compensated’ for our productivity is a cultural thing. Society tells us that our worth is tied to the ‘product’ we produce, and that simply is not true. That part took me the longest time to accept. Wishing you well on your journey. P.S. Getting through menopause was a godsend. Between PMS and Menopause, it’s no wonder our brains get scrambled!

    • Reply Min June 9, 2022 at 12:22 pm

      Wow Suzanne – such an intelligent comment and such a comfort to read – thank you! Ten years does feel like ages and yet like it was only yesterday. I am so happy to be OFF the treadmill. Your comment on the need to be compensated for our productivity being a cultural thing has really got me thinking. As you say, society seems to tell us that ‘our worth is tied to the product we produce’ and maybe then we feel ‘worthy’ if we are being productive and earning. It’s a bit sad really that this is what we’ve been programmed we need to do to feel worthy. And yes – add in PMS and Menopause and so forth and it’s been an interesting 10 years! lol

  • Reply Christina M Daggett June 8, 2022 at 3:27 am

    Hi Min. It’s so interesting that so many of us, in our 50’s and 60’s, have so much in common. Many of us went through some traumatic events, that finally led us to really finding out who we are, later in life. I don’t mean to make it sound like it’s the end of our lives, because most of us, like yourself, have found some very creative pursuits, at this point in our lives. I found that getting creative, in my 50’s and 60’s, has helped me heal, in ways that I didn’t know I needed to. I enjoy sculpting, and am currently making trees out of paper mache. They’ll be tall trees, and will have green, crystal, prism leaves, so that when the trees are placed in our living room, they will reflect the light. I’ve seen your beautiful paintings, on FB. You are an extraordinary artist. I enjoyed your post, and look forward to reading more. xxx

    • Reply Min June 9, 2022 at 3:22 pm

      Hi Christina – it sure is interesting how many of us do seem to have a lot in common in what we think about, worry about, feel etc. It’s interesting too how by being honest, open and vulnerable we find this out! I was so nervous publishing this post. It was sharing a lot of my ‘inner’ self and it made me feel very vulnerable to judgement etc. It’s been so refreshing though to have had such positive and wonderful feedback and to know I’m not alone in a lot of how I’m feeling these days. Isn’t it also interesting how we find our creative talents at this phase of life and that it brings so much joy too! I guess in younger years we simply don’t have the time between working and mothering etc. I’d love to see your sculptures and paper mache trees! Thank you for your kind words about my art and thank you for taking the time to comment on my post. xo

  • Reply Christie Hawkes June 9, 2022 at 4:07 am

    Thank you, Min, for sharing your story of the past 10 years in such an open and vulnerable way. Looking through the comments, you can see that many of us relate to your experiences or emotions, proving once again that we are more alike than different. I turned 60 last October, and there are definitely times when I experience a flash of panic that it is all going by so fast and that I am not taking full advantage of this life. The fear used to be centered around accomplishing enough, now it has shifted to not experiencing as much as I should. There’s a fine balance in my mind between wasting time and doing too much. In the end, maybe the most important thing is to be in the moment and present for my own life, whatever that looks like. Sending love and wishing you well on your journey.

    • Reply Min June 9, 2022 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Christie and thanks so much. I enjoyed reading your comment very much – to know I’m not the only one who can have that sense of panic about life going by so fast etc. But your comment on first worrying about not ‘achieving’ enough and now not ‘experiencing’ enough really struck me. At this point, I worry about both! I do agree that being in the moment and present in our lives is important and I am so much better at that now so that’s something. I just don’t feel settled and content. It’s a restless and sometimes panicked feeling that I should be doing more that hounds me. Maybe this is just a process we all have to go through and peace and contentment will eventually come. Loved your comment – thank you!

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan June 13, 2022 at 11:04 am

    You ask if your readers recognize themselves in anything you have written. I recognize so much of my life, so many of my struggles and worries and stressors in everything you have shared. I had about 2 months to adjust to the fact that I was going to retire before I walked out of my school library for the last time. Then had surgery and had to recover from that. But then I was lost. No one I knew was retired. I had no family close and my husband was still working so I had many long, lonely days trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing.

    I have become more introverted, like you. Less tolerant of a lot of noise which I discovered in substitute teaching this year. I have arts and crafts I love to do but when I finish a project, what am I supposed to do with it?? How many collages do I need? I scrapbook but even that feels futile. Is anyone ever going to look at my scrapbooks? Does it matter if anyone ever looks at them?

    Anyway, I could go on and on. But I can certainly relate to this post. I feel like we all lost 2 years with Covid. And now we are all scrambling to make darn sure we make the most of every moment. I want to travel and be with all my family and make memories but all of that takes money that we don’t have. And when we do take time off to travel, we feel obligated to visit our aging mothers.

    Going to stop writing here and take a deep breath. Consider yourself understood and hugged. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us are feeling.

    • Reply Min June 15, 2022 at 9:01 am

      Wow Leslie, thank you for sharing as you did. I can very much relate to the long, lonely days trying to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing and it’s amazing to hear someone else list off the same things as me like becoming more introverted and less tolerant to noise! Thank you for understanding and for the hug and please consider yourself understood and hugged back! xo

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