WHEN YOU'RE IN A SEASON OF WAITING

What do you do when you're between things? When you've moved on but haven't arrived yet? You are in a season of waiting and growing. Don't settle - just wait. #midlife #change #waiting

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU'RE TREADING WATER?

It's been 9 weeks of "gainful UN-employment" for me now - that's 9 weeks since I left the work drama behind after giving my 2 weeks' notice and walking out the door for the final time. In some ways it seems longer than a couple of months, but at the same time, it's the longest I've ever been "between jobs" - previously I've gone straight from one job to the next without a break.

It's a strange time of treading water and waiting, a time when I still don't know whether I'm looking for work or whether I'm never going to work again. It's been easy to fill my days with my usual activities plus a few extra inclusions - family Easter visits and also catching up with people who I missed seeing when I was working. Part of me wonders whether it's enough to just fill my days with pleasant occupations, or whether I should be endeavouring to find something that gives me a label when I'm asked about what I "do".

WHEN YOU'RE WAITING FOR THE NEXT STAGE

I'm sure others have experienced this No Man's Land of being "between" when you're neither one thing or another. When you've stepped out of one persona, but haven't quite decided who the next version of You is going to be. There are so many possibilities and yet there also seems to be so few real choices that encompass what I want my next decade or so to reflect.

I don't really know what this time means. Is it a time of self-discovery? Is it a down-time where I get to rest and recuperate? Is it a stalemate where I've come to a cul-de-sac and need to turn around and head in a different direction? Is it me idling my time away and not being proactive in deciding where the next road is that I need to journey down? So many questions and still I wait....

EASTER SATURDAY

I read an interesting article by John Ortberg over the Easter break that discussed the concept of Easter Saturday - that day between the sadness and loss of Good Friday and the joy of Easter Sunday. A time of waiting and a time when you don't see a way through the tough experience you're currently facing - where you don't know whether something good lies ahead, or if it's just more of the same. He says it beautifully here:

"This isn’t Sunday. This isn’t Friday. This is Saturday. The day after this but the day before that. The day after a prayer gets prayed but there is no answer on the way. The day after a soul gets crushed way down but there’s no promise of ever getting up off the mat.

It’s a strange day, this in-between day. In between despair and joy. In between confusion and clarity. In between bad news and good news. In between darkness and light."


It sums up for me this time of waiting that I'm experiencing. I've gone through the upset and chaos of work followed by the decision to walk away, but then there's this time now - of unknown length - where I wait and wonder. It's a time where the darkness has been dealt with, but the end result hasn't revealed itself. I wonder what the future holds and what it will look like when it finally arrives - because there's no guarantees. That's scary, and exciting, and interesting, and out of my comfort zone - all rolled into one.

DON'T SETTLE

One thing I'm sure about is that I'm not going to settle. I'm not going to go back to where I was before because going back to the 'scene of the crime' is never a good idea. I'm also not planning on putting myself into a similar set of circumstances where the behaviour of another person impacts on me to the point of disturbing my own mental health and well-being. I'm not going to rush into a new stage of life where I settle for "good enough" when there might be something better waiting for me - something I deserve rather than something that is just "okay".

People who settle are never truly happy. They may feel safe, but they're not living their best life. I want Midlife to be a time of fulfilment and growth - not a stagnation in the quagmire of "better than nothing". That's what settling becomes after awhile, a quagmire of disappointment and regret - and I'm not going there again. I plan to stretch my wings, take my time to see what really resonates with me and then step into the next chapter with confidence that it's the right place for me to be.

A SEASON OF GROWING

Morgan Harper Wells calls this a "season of growing" in this beautiful quote:

"If there is ever a day when you feel tired of saying “good for them” and you are wondering when things will be good for you, take heart with great hope, and consider all the things this season of growing will lead into. 

Like an ocean that awaits many miles way, you may not be there yet, but you are surely on your way. Take your time while journeying, travel light, be safe. For there will come a time when you arrive on those shores and you will be so glad you did not settle. You will be so glad you did not give up. You will be so glad you did not sync yourself to someone else’s pace and you chose instead to anchor yourself in the steady rhythm of grace. 

After everything you went through, you still arrived where you needed to be right on time, and everything will be fine. Not perfect, but fine. For every beautiful thing will happen in its time."


For there will come a time when you arrive on those shores and you will be so glad you did not settle. You will be so glad you did not give up.

BE PATIENT AND WAIT - JUST WAIT

I don't know about you, but I find it hard to just wait, to not be pushing forward, to not be forcing an outcome, but just to keep waiting and allowing time to take its course. There is so much uncertainty and yet so much peace when I allow things to just be what they are. I'd like to share another great piece of wisdom from Morgan Harper Nichols:

In between where you are and where you want to be, there is endless, boundless peace. There is an opportunity to be still, as you find yourself in the gap between the past and the future, knowing that this is the space where you were called to come alive. 

And it’s okay if you feel uncertain here. You don’t have to have it all figured out. You are free to take this moment by moment, and see the wholeness of it all: some things will be difficult. Some things will be easier. Some things will make sense, while other things leave you with questions. But all together, these mountains and valleys create a landscape, where somehow, through it all, everything finds its place.

In between where you are and where you want to be, there is endless, boundless peace. There is an opportunity to be still, as you find yourself in the gap

WHAT DOES THIS SEASON OF WAITING MEAN FOR ME?

So where to from here? Who knows? I think at the moment it's all about being in the moment. Allowing this in-between time to be all there is, not trying to bypass it or speed through it, but rather, taking the time that's necessary to work slowly through it and see where it takes me. Being at peace with the process is the answer, trusting the process, being present and allowing life to progress at its own pace. It's hard for me, but I think it's going to be so valuable if I let this "Easter Saturday" of my life play out without trying to control the outcome. Who knows where I'll end up? Exciting isn't it? One thing is for sure, I'm going to do all that I can to enjoy it, rather than letting it slip by without having savoured that peace and tranquility it offers.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you experiencing a Season in your life? Is it a time of waiting, or growing, or changing, or becoming, or hurting, or celebrating, or......? Life isn't stagnant, it's full of changing Seasons and all they bring with them. I hope you embrace your season and have the patience to see where it takes you  next.

RELATED POSTS


What do you do when you're between things? When you've moved on but haven't arrived yet? You are in a season of waiting and growing. Don't settle - just wait.  #midlife #change #waiting

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What do you do when you're between things? When you've moved on but haven't arrived yet? You are in a season of waiting and growing. Don't settle - just wait.


53 comments

  1. Hi Leanne, I can't believe it is 9 weeks since you left work but I think in that time you have grown and are really utilising the time well. You might not think it but I can hear it in your writing. You might be impatient at times for something to happen but you sound like you are finally feeling at peace with your decision. We never know what the future will bring and that can be exciting. I love the idea of the Season of Growing. This was a much needed post for me this morning so thank you. xx

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    1. Hi Sue - you really know how to encourage me don't you? You're right about me wanting things to be cut and dried and sorted out quickly, but I'm also coming to see this as a journey of discovery too. I love that I'm coming to terms with different aspects of not working and some of it is totally unexpected, but also better than I'd hoped.
      I love the autonomy I have now, I love that the days just flow and life keeps moving forward - I'm almost having to jog to keep up (if only it burned calories like real jogging!) I'm also glad the post was meaningful to you today too. xx

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    2. I like to think I encourage you BBB! You are sounding happier each week which is great to see. Also good to see is another well attended #MLSTL! I'll be sharing on social media. xx

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  2. Hi, Leanne - I agree with Sue. I can hear self-growth in your writing as well. You're absolutely correct - we are dynamic beings and not meant to be static. I love reading your posts and getting glimpses of your journey.

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    1. Thanks so much Donna - I can't seem to stop myself from writing about what is going on in my brain through this transitional phase. It swirls around and then pours out - and it's interesting how many quotes or thoughts jump out at me and fit closely with whatever is currently in the foreground. The Easter Saturday one really hit me because it was something I'd never really thought of before and was so pertinent to my stage of life (as well as 2000 years ago!)

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  3. Talking of retirement, recently I met a friend of mine who has just retired. He was telling me, how people had warned him that life would become so boring during retirement. But he told me, he is enjoying the time he now has for himself.

    Since I am close to my mid-fifties, I am looking forward to stepping aside into the slower lane of life, and enjoy the journey better.

    It is a good idea not to settle. Because that will make us complacent and lethargic. That's what I have felt.

    I look at each day as a fresh beginning. You are right, life is not stagnant. It is full of changing seasons. And we should embrace each season warmly as we look forward to the next.

    Enjoyed reading your post, Leanne.
    Good luck.

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    1. Hi Pradeep - thanks so much for your kind words - and your friend is absolutely right, there is plenty to keep busy with - and it can all be stuff that's enjoyable rather than all those days each week of going to work for someone else. You're going to really enjoy it when the time comes to kick back a little.
      Settling into being old and dull is always a risk, but I think when we're aware of the drawbacks of that way of retiring, we can put things in place to make sure it doesn't happen - and retirement just becomes a whole new chapter to explore.

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  4. What an interesting place to be...in between. Neither here nor there, but everywhere! I hope that you find exactly what you're looking for, whatever that might be. If it's a job, then may the perfect position find you. If it's to explore your world, then may the road rise up to meet you. I'm envious of this place you find yourself...my circumstances are such that I'm not always able to get what I wish for, but there's still contentment with where I am.

    All the best to you!

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Pamela - and I'm so sorry that you don't always have the choices available to you that you deserve (life can be sucky sometimes). I find it strange to be in a place that's a little bit vague - to not have everything cut and dried and laid out in an orderly fashion is so out of my comfort zone - but also really freeing if I allow it to be.

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  5. Hi Leanne, you are in an interesting but very beautiful time. I didn't quit my job but went through a similar transition in my personal life where nothing seemed satisfying anymore. It started about 3-4 years ago. I was in the same boat of not knowing what I wanted, but knowing I wanted something different. What I did was got to book readings, networking events, take classes, talk to people that I normally wouldn't have engaged with. I spent over a year just trying things and seeing what stuck. I used an app called "meet-up", you can find groups that you can meet people with similar interests. The great thing is, there is no obligation. You can go once and never go back, and you don't have to explain why. I found a great group through this app that really helped me define my future. It is a confusing but very beautiful time. You will find your way. I love your blog, I write a similar personal account of my journey if you are interested. If I may a suggestion, you don't need the quotes from others, I am more interested in you. Go deeper...

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    1. This comment is from Peta Sklarz, www.womanwhy.com, for some reason it didn't come across

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    2. Hi Peta - thank you so much for your reassuring words. You're right about it being confusing and beautiful at the same time. One moment I can be at a bit of a loss, and the next I'm at peace and settled and happy. I keep wondering if this is it for the next 30 years, or if there's new discoveries to be made. I'm hoping it's the latter because I definitely think there's more out there.
      It's interesting what you said about the quotes - I find them very reassuring to think that others have walked similar paths and shared succinctly the stuff that is banging around in my head. Maybe I'll start thinking about making my own quotes to share in the future xx Now I'm off to read your blog - I can't believe I've missed it!

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  6. How lucky are you to have this time? I would see where it takes me. Be content and don't look at it as waiting. Chart your own course. You will find it.

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    1. Thanks for that - I get caught between wanting to rush ahead and reminding myself that it's okay to just rest, recover, and re-evaluate. The need to always be "doing" is gradually getting replaced with finding a different pace to life and enjoying this time of being "in-between".

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  7. I hope your new season unfolds itself to you! Several decades ago my job that I loved was eliminated and my new job with the company was in another state so I had to relocate. I could not do it. So I knew I would get another job but in between I did lots of fun stuff like I took up roller skating! Now I am in the process of retiring and I can't wait. The pressures of my company will not be there and I can have lots of fun and maybe more rollerskating?

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    1. I saw that you were closing down your company Haralee (and your super sale! It made me wish I was in the US for postage!) I don't think I'll be taking up rollerskating any time soon, but I do love that I'm not dragging myself off to a job that was taking more from my life than it was giving. To have my headspace back and the extra freedom is just blissful - and I'm okay with waiting to see what's next.

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  8. I don’t think that there is ever a time when we just turn into something else. I think it’s more of an ongoing process always evolving.

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    1. I love that idea of evolving Rena - I think I tend to rush from one stage to the next without allowing myself any down time. I'm making a concerted effort this time to not run around trying to find a job that I don't need, or a "purpose" for the sake of appearances - this is my quiet time and I want to make the most of it.

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  9. Leanne - In a transition there is always a neutral zone. I wrote about it early on in my transition: https://retirementtransition.blog/2015/08/02/learning-to-let-it-be/ I found it unsettling, and eventually I did move into the activity of the next stage.

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    1. Hi Pat - I just read your post and it sums up where I'm at perfectly - I really liked "I am learning to balance my to-do list nature with allowing time for reflection, spontaneity and serendipity." That's me to a tee! I think I'm at the "Let it Be" stage atm and I think I probably need to dwell here a while and not leap off half cocked into something that I'll regret in a few months. I tend to rush into things so that I can maintain the status quo but maybe my status quo needs to change rather than be maintained because it wasn't working too well towards the end!

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    2. Back from #MLSTL.... and BTW, I still have to open up in Chrome to comment. [I might need to switch from Safari, but I have so much bookmarked there!] I was in the Let it Be stage for a LONG time. I dabbled in some things, took a class here and there, experimented. I realized I was almost afraid to make a Let it Begin commitment! I realized that for me, short term or low commitment activities was what I wanted at this stage of my life. (Nothing to regret in a couple of months. ) It's a hard stage to be in because of our culture of busyness and job title as identity! But don't rush it; spend time in figuring out what Let it Begin is right for you.

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    3. You're so right Pat (of course!) about finding short-term things atm. I'm thinking of doing some more volunteering, but I'm deferring it til next year - I just want this year to be about centring myself and leaving all the rubbish behind - finding out what really resonates and focusing more of my time and energy in those areas. Your advice has been really helpful with plotting my course.

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  10. Hi Leanne,

    I am not good at waiting or being goal-less. Yet, when I have a "fallow" period, where I don't appear to be getting a lot done with respects to tasks or activities or working towards a particular goal, I actually come out of that time re-energized and full of creative juices and ideas. I wish the same for you!

    Deb

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    1. Thanks Deb - I'm hoping I come out re-energized. What I decide to do next in the journey is still pretty much up in the air, but I also don't HAVE to know, I can just let it slide for now and breathe in deeply and just "be" - something I'm not good at, but can probably use this time to improve on!

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  11. I am enjoying seeing you unpack this special time Leanne, and I can just see your mind churning around. It's an interesting time and you are doing it the way that's right for you. I also enjoyed the comments which show that others are with you in this and your thoughts resonate with others. The quotes are useful for sorting out your thoughts. Really loved reading this and all your posts showing how you're thinking things through.

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    1. Hi Deb - I think that's what blogging does for me (and why I started in the first place) It's somewhere to clarify what is blowing around inside my brain. When I put it down in a cohesive way I find a lot more perspective and direction. Also the feedback from others (like yourself) who've been there has been beyond helpful and so reassuring!

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  12. I can hear your thoughts, spinning this way and that, sometimes dulcet, sometimes loud, and I can sense the rumblings of uncertainty always bubbling just beneath the surface. I loved your sentiments and the comparison between Good Friday and the Resurrection (although I don't regularly go to church). I totally 'get' that the period of waiting is such a fallow time, and yet it's so full of possibility and we must just be positive that good things and opportunities will arise. We just have to be fully awake to recognise them. I also love the saying, "It is what it is," and that's life really. We don't have power to organise our lives to how we'd like them to run. We are not in charge. God didn't just say, "over to you now." So we wait. And we hope. And we must be positive. Right now in England with little hope of health improvement with the olds, I'm in between, keeping memories alive while hanging on to small threads and small happinesses and also wondering what, after this, will the world feel like. #MLSTL and Shared on SM

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    1. Jo, I feel for you so much - being over there and knowing that your Mum doesn't have forever anymore. The distance thing for you must be so difficult - and the waiting and trying to do things on their terms and not the way you'd necessarily do it. This in-between time is so difficult when we're in the middle of it - great to look back on, but so hard to navigate through when you're a person who enjoys certainty!
      I'm just hoping that when I look back, I'm content with how I used this "fallow" time - hopefully I renewed and replenished and grew and moved forward. I don't want to waste this precious time of rest, but don't want to stay here forever either!

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  13. It's the unknown that's hard.With the HSC, it wasn't so much the exams or the mark, but the not knowing or being able to plan when you needed to be around to start the following year...#MLSTL

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    1. Yes, I remember that Dec/Jan waiting time for our results Lydia (those were the days!) And you're right about it being the unknown that's the hardest to deal with. I have no idea of the timeframe for waiting or accepting or moving in a new direction - so tricky, and yet a good lesson in just letting things "be".

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  14. Hi Leanne - If you're satisfied with your 'in-between' time then that's what matters. You'll know when to make changes to your current phase. #MLSTL

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    1. I think you're right Natalie - I need to just enjoy the moment I'm in and wait for the new direction to present itself. It's such a change of pace for me to not be pushing forward straight away and I think that's the struggle for me.

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  15. Beautifully written Leanne. Using this "in between" time for some reflection and evaluating what you want and deserve out of life is such a great move! Best wishes for whatever it is that comes your way!

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    1. Thanks so much Veldene - I'm trying to remember to make the most of this "in between" time and enjoy the peace and the ability to be able to rest and recover before deciding what my new direction will be. It's the unsureness of the future that probably messes with my head a little - having to make a new plan and for things to change is exciting and scary all at the same time.

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  16. I can very much relate to the stage you're in now. It was 7 years ago that I left my workplace. That's a long time. Mind you - I have had a series of health issues thrown in to add complexity to my situation. I have dabbled in this and that since then, and the blog has been a huge part of my time during these years but currently I'd say I'm in the 'floundering' phase. I am not fulfilled. I feel embarassed about not filling my days with more purpose and that I'm not really earning. I think a big deep reassess is in order for me. Good luck to you - I'm sure you'll get to where you feel you should be much sooner than me!

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    1. It's the "earning" thing isn't it Min? We place so much importance on that and it really isn't what our focus should be, but it keeps cycling back to that. If I'm going to work I don't want to do it for chicken feed money, if I'm going to be paid to blog I don't want it to be for diddly little products, it's either good money and a job I love, or I'd rather be home enjoying the freedom and peace of not catering to anyone else's needs. I'm still working on all that, but it's definitely something that I know you totally understand.

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  17. I've shared this post on my Social Media. Thank you for all of the work that you continue to do for #MidlifeSharetheLove. It is GREATLY appreciated! #MLSTL

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    1. Thanks Donna - I really love that you show up every week and that you're so supportive of our Midlife tribe xx

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  18. Hi Leanne, I'm enormously proud of you for having the strength to walk away from a job that was causing you such undue stress. Always thoughtful and giving, you have taught us all, through your words, to always treat ourselves well, and to never sacrifice our emotional well-being, for a job. I wish you peace as you continue through this transitional process.

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    1. What a lovely thing to say Christina - thank you so much. I'm hoping that as I write about the stuff that has been swirling around in my head since leaving, it will not only clarify it for me, but also be a bit of a help to other people who are trying to figure this stage of life out too.

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  19. Hello again Leanne. Learning to be still and wait is a challenge. I often feel guilty, like I am wasting time. Of course waiting is not the same as being idle or stagnant. While you are still, growth is taking place. I wish you well on your journey. #MLSTL

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    1. That's a great way to look at it Christie - much nicer to think of it as a still and growing time rather than a stagnating or treading water time! I can really feel a sense of settledness as the weeks go by - so different to what I had expected this time to be. I'm certainly not rushing off to repeat the same issues again!

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  20. I think in-between / unplugged times are vital when going from one "relationship" to another, and if you have the means to do it, it's a gift. I' have had one such time, and I remember the joy in being open to everything, and finding the more things I explored the more certain I became of what would work. and it did. Good luck to you in your in-between, and I know the right course will map itself at the right time.

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    1. Thanks Agnes - and you're right about it being a between "relationships" time. I need to make sure I don't go running back to what hurt me and not to repeat the same mistakes in a different environment. It also fits that it's better to be alone than to be stuck with someone or something that is toxic to your soul.

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  21. None weeks already Leanne! That surprised me. This is an exciting time for you where you can just ‘be’ and see what the universe provides. It really is a time of growth for you and I’ve enjoyed tagging along. #MLSTL Shared on SM

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    1. I know! I can't believe how quickly and easily time has slid by Jennifer. I thought I'd be applying for new jobs, chasing after new things and generally pushing myself out to try to fill the gap of not working. That hasn't been the case at all, instead it's been a time of rest and reflection and something I'm enjoying to a surprising extent.

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  22. Enjoy the gentleness that you are discovering...it's a delight. Denyse #mlstl

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  23. I feel excited for you - having the time to really imagine, and discover, and plan, and experiment. A long time ago I left the 9 to 5 life and finally moved to my island. Am still loving the life I discovered. As a matter of fact I wrote a book about it. Best wishes for your time out, and your new journey

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    1. this should have been identified as Judith (judibicho@gmail.com)

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    2. Hi Judith - I love that so many other Midlife women have had similar journeys and come out the other side flourishing (and writing books about it!) I admire you all so much and it's what reassures me that this isn't the end or a decline, it's the waystation leading on to a new journey and hopefully one that's so much better than what I've left behind xx

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  24. Hello!
    I am using a different computer and my comments will go through finally-yay! I certainly don't like being in limbo and I think that's where you are-but not for long. I'm glad you can write about it because I feel that really helps get in touch how you feel
    I see great things ahead of you and can't wait to see what your future holds! Keep us posted! #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Theresa! Yes, I've found that people can't comment on blogspot blogs with Safari atm - you probably have Chrome on your other computer and that's why it's working. You're right about being in limbo and I'm not good with the "not knowing" part of the journey, but if I let go of the need to know (and control) every aspect of my life, and just enjoy this time of "being" then I think I'll have learned a bigger lesson than I would have by rushing into something else and playing safe.

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  25. Above comment from Theresa at fabinyourfifties.com!

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