WHEN LIFE FEELS A LITTLE OUT OF KILTER


AM I THE ONLY ONE FEELING UNSETTLED?

Is anyone else feeling a bit unsettled and antsy lately? I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling like my world is a little out of kilter at the time being. I've been thinking about it on and off over the last few weeks and I'm wondering if a change is in the air? A blogging friend told me that when you're feeling generally unsettled it can mean that you're preparing for something new to come into your life - and I'm hoping she's right.

I'd hate to think I was going through this uncertainty for nothing - I like the idea that it's about preparation and being ready for a new phase to begin. Life over the last 18 months has changed a lot for me and I think something inside me is saying "Time to move forward - onwards and upwards - tally ho!" (who knew my inner voice had a British accent?)

WHAT'S GONE BEFORE

For those who read my blog regularly, you'd be well aware that I left my job 18 months ago due to the ongoing problems of trying to work with a very difficult colleague. It wasn't a planned resignation - I hadn't put any long term thought into what I would do if I left, I had no notion that the pressure and upset would finally do my head in and I'd spontaneously decide to leave before I had a nervous breakdown. This was not how I normally do things, I'm a planner, an over-thinker, a person who needs to know where the path is leading - I don't turn my life upside down on a whim......but......in this case I did, and I effectively became jobless in March 2019.

I had plans (yes I do like to make plans!) to take a week or two to recover and then I'd leap back into the working world. I thought I could put the previous three years behind me and move forward with no repercussions - how wrong I was! I hadn't realized how tired and drained I was, how badly I needed a break, and how not-ready I was to return to work. It took a lot of soul searching to finally admit that I needed to stop, take a breath (or two or three) and regain my resilience and mojo.

What if you simply devoted this year to loving yourself more? #positivelifequote

THE INTERIM 

That time I needed ended up being a good six months or so. It allowed me to stop and breathe, to work my way through all the fallout, and to get my happy back on. It felt incredibly good to have all that free time and to be able to structure my days however I liked. Nobody to answer to except myself - absolute bliss! Then Christmas rolled around with all the time in the world for family get togethers, holidays, relaxation, sunshine and chilling out - more bliss!

Finally I felt like I was ready to leap back into life - what would 2020 hold in store for me? Well! We all know what 2020 brought to the party don't we? My world literally shut down - everything stopped, all the little hobbies and activities and interests I'd filled my days with fell away and I was left with months at home. Fortunately I like being a homebody, but the isolation certainly impacted me more than I expected it to. 

I don't think I'm a raging extravert, but I certainly need human contact and interaction - the stimulation of conversation and face to face time with others. I need hugs, and chatter, and bustle - a general sense of engagement with life. COVID-19 threw a big, grey blanket over all of that - it's made me feel edgy about being physically close to people when I'm out, it's made me pull back a little, it's taken away my acceptance that all's right in my world. It's made me unsettled and antsy - and I don't like it one little bit.

WHERE TO NEXT?

Taking away our usual commitments means we are lacking “social rhythm reinforcers” and it causes stress.

The removal of those things that normally lift our mood – like connecting with others, feeling we had a good productive day, getting out and exercising, moving about – when you take those things away … it can potentially have an impact on people’s mood.
Simon Rego, chief psychologist at Montefiore Health System

When I first started feeling out of kilter I mentioned it to some friends and they were full of great advice - obviously I needed something new in my life - a new hobby, a new course of study, a new direction, a new interest, I needed to get up-and-at-'em and find my new "thing". Advice is great, but sometimes I think what we need more is a "me too" understanding, we want empathy - not solutions. Maybe just an acknowledgement that Quarantine Fatigue won't last forever and things will gradually improve. I realized that I was actually feeling "Advice Averse" according to this little cartoon I saw in the newspaper around the same time.


Despite my aversion to advice, I'm now on the lookout for my new "something" because I think change is in the air. I can't stay in this in-between space indefinitely. Even as life returns to its new normal and I've made adjustments, it feels like there's still more that I need to do to move forward - I can't tread water indefinitely. 

Moving on from that awful job, re-booting myself and regaining my mojo, coping with the new normal that the pandemic brought with it, adjusting to life post-COVID, has all been good, but now it's time to see what the future holds - and that's what unsettling me at the moment - but it's exciting too in a new and strange way. What does the future hold? Who knows? But I'm excited to see what lies ahead.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you feeling a bit out of sorts and at a loose end after all these months of lockdown and social distancing? Do you have new horizons opening up for you? Do you have any wise words for me or a "me too" to add to the conversation?

RELATED POSTS


When you're feeling generally unsettled it can mean that you're preparing for something new to come into your life.

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When you're feeling generally unsettled it can mean that you're preparing for something new to come into your life.

56 comments

  1. I can relate to what your feeling. The word I’ve been using to describe myself is “aimless”. I do think a lot of how I’m feeling is because of the pandemic. All the things I love doing, and planned for my retirement, I can’t do. We’ve already had to cancel two trips including going to Italy to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. I have season tickets to two theaters, and both of them cancelled all their show until next year. No concerts, or going to classes, or eating in a restaurant! I find myself bored more. We just made reservation in October to visit three national parks I’ve never been to, and if we have to cancel them, I will be so disappointed. I’m reading more and baking and meeting friends for walks. My husband and I have gone for drives and picnics. But, I feel aimless and I’m just not confident I really can count on making plans. I hope some of your other readers can share how they got through this.

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    1. Laurel "aimless" is a perfect way to sum this feeling up. I feel like I'm treading water atm - not sure where to swim to next - and if I can even be bothered dipping my toes in the water! It's so unlike me (and it sounds like it's unlike you too). I'm hoping that things pick up a bit and I can generate some enthusiasm and find some new inspiration soon - and not just "do something for the sake of doing it".

      It's weird times we're living in, and I'm surprised how much I'm being impacted by it all - I'd love to know if others have a solution too.

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    2. You must have been so disappointed, Laurel. I can relate. My sisters and I, along with our husbands, had planned a trip to Alaska to spread my Mom's ashes and see where she lived as a young woman. We were so disappointed when we had to cancel. Then the theater where we have season tickets, and take turns treating our children and grandchildren to a night out, closed its doors temporarily. I keep reminding myself that this is temporary--everything is. In the meantime, I do my best to embrace the simple joys of daily life and allow myself to feel sad without feeling guilty. This too shall pass. Take care of yourself. Sending virtual hugs.

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  2. You know how I feel about this - I had been battling with the antsy angsty there's gaps inside me that need filling thing so embarked on a wholesale fill every single potential chink of a gap with activity - which isn't the answer. So this is a don't do what I did lesson. Seriously though, I'm of the keep your eyes, ears and senses out and see what keeps coming up and hopefully that thing that comes up again and again might spark joy (oh man, now I'm coming all Marie Kondo on you so soz for that!)

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    1. Hi Jo - I think that's the advice I really need to hear - NOT to rush around looking for a magic bullet just so I can be "busy". I'm also wondering how much of it still stems from me needing to prove myself to others to feel a sense of self-worth? I just had a Bob Dylan moment where "how many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand?" started going thru my head - maybe I've sailed enough seas???? Or have I?????

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  3. I can relate to what you're feeling Leanne, it's like we're in limbo at the moment, just waiting (ever so patiently!) for what's next - well that's how I am feeling anyway. I don't have any answers and don't want to offer anyone any advice, so all I will say is hang in there!

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    1. Thanks Deb - that's probably all the advice I really need atm. I'm still trying to figure out what lies at the root of it all - because I think that will lead to the answers I'm looking for. I'm not even sure if it's a problem or just my inside voices being annoying!

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    2. Hi Leanne, I understand completely! Sharing for #mlstl (the last one).Thanks for all you've done over the years in getting us all connected.

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  4. I agree, Leanne. I had thought that since I've been working from home anyway for the past 18 years the quarantine wouldn't affect me but the last two months I've felt that disconnect. I have a ton of ideas for work in my craft to fill the time when I don't have transcription to do but it seems like I waste time in front of the computer instead of getting in the studio. I've started making lists again in my planner and that usually helps me get back on track.
    Janet’s Smiles

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    1. Hi Janet - part of me wishes I was more creative/crafty so I could start a project to give me a sense of accomplishment when I tackle it and finish it. Unfortunately nothing is inspiring me in that direction either - and I don't want to do someting just for the sake of doing it - I can't even make a list because it would be very short indeed!

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  5. I think you are not alone in feeling a little unsettled and anxious. I certainly have a lot of days where my anxiety level creeps up to levels that were unknown before the pandemic. All the social isolation has not been good for most of us. We will all get through this together. At least we have our fellow bloggers to interact with!

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    1. You're right about the isolation Laurie - even though we have a fair amount of freedom where I am, there's still always the awareness of what could happen if we're not careful. It's certainly made me more appreciative of my online connections and friendships - they make being at home a lot easier.

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  6. Hi, Leanne - You've had a massive change in your life that came after a long period of relentless job stress and was then followed by a pandemic. Put in those terms, your current feelings of restlessness and uncertainly make complete sense. Remember, you are part of a strong circle of women who are there for you night and day. With this magic potion, you can truly do anything! :D

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    1. When you put it like that Donna it makes a lot of sense - I think I keep expecting to just slide into the next phase of life but I keep questioning my decisions and what I actually want this next phase to look like. I am beyond grateful for my circle of friends - the online ones especially seem to really get where I'm coming from and that makes me feel a lot calmer and definitely supported xx

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  7. Oh I know how your feeling...well I think so...as we all feel things differently. I know I feel lost, saddened at whats going on out in the world. This year has certainly shown me what I can achieve and what I just have to let slide. Its also shown me the true soul of people. People who I thought were friends, not just online actual friends. This pandemic has brought out what was always there but hidden or perhaps I chose not to see it. Nasty people and kind people. Anyway I always seem to "waddle on " lol... Im going to miss this every week however I am on the fb group and I hope I have followed all the blogs and the people I love and grown to know. Thank you so much for what you have done xx #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Bree - it's been such a pleasure connecting with all the lovely Midlife bloggers here and to know that I've been part of creating a community. I'm hoping to stay in touch through Sue's FB group and thru Denyse's Monday link party - we need to keep our online connections strong because they definitely fill in the gaps where our real life friends seem to have faded into the background. I'm truly hoping things start to pick up again soon - I need a little more direction in my life!

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  8. Hi Leanne My blog this week was a little along the same lines, although I'm out of sorts because of not working. We've been using our time at home to do more in the garden, I've been cooking more and even started apainting. What I enjoy the most though is time with our friends and family. That boosts my mood more than anything else. Hope you get your mojo back soon, regards Christina

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    1. Hi Christina - yes, job changes certainly throw us for a loop - I think that was the beginning of this strange new phase for me, then recovery, then the pandemic throwing it back into a quandry. I'm very grateful for family and IRL and online friends - I just wish I had a bit of a crystal ball to see what the future holds (or maybe it's better if I don't!)

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  9. Hi Leanne, You have my full empathy. I agree with Donna's comment that you're part of a strong circle of women who are there for you so draw on our strengths. Feel free to let me know if I can be of help. I'd like to thank you and Sue for building and maintaining the MLSTL blogging community all these 2.5 years. Have a wonderful week! #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Natalie - thanks so much for your kind words. I think reading other blogs and seeing other midlifers leading interesting lives just reminds me that there's still a lot more to come. I think I just need to gain a little more patience and let things come to me, rather than trying to push into the next phase before I'm ready.

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  10. I think the out of kilter is probably more to do with COVID and the weird state of the world than anything much to do with you. I think it runs in an undercurrent in all our thoughts (and in NSW, in all our activities - instead of having weeks of tickets to things, I only buy the day before because we need to check 'the numbers' and decide the risk factor). I think that has exhausted us a little. I also agree with you that you should be able to complain or express negative feelings without everyone glossing over them with optimism. When did we get so scared of feelings? They pass quicker if you examine and address them (Obviously any ongoing negative mood needs help, and in these times, the sooner the better- but that sort of rollercoaster where a dip pops up is more a COVID thing, I think - not a dr tho). And you already know my advice - some frantic dancing will pump you up and dispel those feelings of being out of kilter! Thanks for hosting all these years!

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    1. Hi Lydia - COVID has certainly thrown a dampner on everything and it has stopped me being able to look at the future confidently. I feel like we're only one idiot away from becoming Victoria (or NSW) and making plans is difficult. I also find it hard when others have all these "helpful" ideas that just don't ring a bell with me and I feel even flatter as I cross each suggestion off with a "nah not for me" feeling.
      I'm sure things will gradually pick up - and maybe I just need to allow myself a bit of unsettledness instead of having everything tied up with a neat bow.

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  11. Leanne, I think you words are brave, in sharing your feelings and also eloquent. I think that much of what you shared is so relatable as born out by the comments. The "churchy" (forgive me) word for what you are doing is discernment. Carefully examining each feeling, impulse, and experience, paying attention to the clues and direction and a general openness for something new! I ended a tag note at the end of my post to thank you and Sue for the investment and experience in MLSTL and for your encouraging words. Generous to commit to reading so many posts and fostering a community of bloggers. For that, I thank you. Best and blessings, Michele

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    1. Hi Michelle - ohhhh I would love to think of myself as having some discernment! I'd like to be able to put it to good use and find some direction with it! I think it's also about just trusting the future into God's hands and allowing things to be unfold as they will - it's hard to let go of wanting to control everything and to know the outcome well in advance!
      And thank you for your kind comment about the party on your blog and here - I've been so blessed to meet and connect with so many wonderful women over the years of doing #MLSTL - I'll miss it but I'm hoping to stay in touch through Sue's FB page and through Denyse's link party. Stay in touch xx

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  12. I can definitely relate Leanne. It’s been an up and down year for me too. At the moment I’m doing ok since I found my purpose again. I have a feeling there is something new on to horizon for you and look forward to hearing about it.

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    1. Hi Jennifer - when I read about your exercise stuff, Sue's podcasts, Donna's hikes, etc etc it reminds me that there is still more out there for me - it's just a matter of figuring out what that next "thing" is - and whether I'm looking for it for me - or to prove something to other people (a ridiculous reason but a reason that I need to recognize and deal with.)

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  13. I went through a similar thing when I retired prematurely. I decided not to look for another job and if one fell at my feet and appealed then I would take it. Then we had 3 parents pass on and we moved with my remaining parent to the Sunshine Coast. We adopted a non-shedding toy poodle. We explore in our van. I love my new life. I admit there were some aimless years. My advice is to go with the flow, you never know where the stream will take you. Feel free to feel adverse to this lol.

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    1. Hi Jan - I didn't realize it was you until I popped over to your blog! And yes, you're spot on with what you've said. I have this feeling that I need to be more productive, or to prove myself in some way - to justify why I'm not still hammering away on the hamster wheel. Just allowing myself the grace of "being" still doesn't sit comfortably with me and I need to learn to allwo myself some grace. Being available and flexible has been such a joy - and one that would have to be given up if I took on any regular commitments - and I sooooo don't want to lose this - so onward and upward and we'll see what the future holds - thanks for your wise words xx

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  14. I was chatting to my husband this morning about shutting my computer down and then needing to reboot because of some technical issues. This led into a long discussion about our personal need to shut down during these times. I can relate to your piece Leanne - in my own way. But from what I have read in your posts, you also have a strong network of women in your life, family and your faith. All of that will help you through Today for me is a filled with anxiety and butterflies. I have no idea why. Time to shut down for a bit and then reboot. I'm so glad I have met you virtually and look forward to staying connected via our posts. Take care. Helen

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    1. Hi Helen - you're right about having family and friends and I'm particularly grateful for the online community I've been surrounded by. I know things have slowed down, I know the world is uncertain, I know I'm just reacting to it all - but man it's a struggle at times to just sit still and allow things to unfold as they choose to. I want to push and control and steer - and maybe I need to do what you're doing - pull the plug and just rest for a while until I know what's next.... And yes, we need to stay in touch xx

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  15. This year has certainly been an odd one. It's thrown me a little off center but I'm trying to go with the flow. I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I do when I'm leading a Vision Board workshop. I lead everyone through a meditation that has them project a year into the future and imagine what what their life looks like. (That's considering there is no pandemic that forces people into quarantine!) Figure out what you like spending your time on, what you want more of in your life and see if the two lead down the same path or at least can converge onto the same path. You will be fantastic in wherever your next path leads!

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    1. Hi Jennifer - I think this is part of my problem - I've always had a general idea of what my future (immediate and more long range) would or should look like. Right now I'm just at a loss for what to move onto next. I feel like covid is part of it, but so is being thrown into retirement earlier than planned. I LOVE my new life - but is it enough? Is there more? What happens if I go down the wrong path? So many questions!!

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  16. I can just say: "Me too" :)
    I am also done with my previous work, starting a new chapter and balancing this "new normal" and my need to move forward. Big hug from Norway :)

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    1. Marinela - "Me too" is exactly what I need to hear! I think when I hear it from someone who is in a similar mindset it validates what I'm feeling - and makes me think it's not just me having a "moment" or whatever. It's this new chapter that is so tricky - so many blank pages and I have no idea what to put on them! Maybe we'll figure it out together?

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  17. Hi Leanne, I can relate to your feelings of something on the horizon as-yet-to-be-determined. It can be unsettling but kind of exciting, too. My experience was earlier in the year, and once I determined what IT was for me, everything seemed to fall into place. Listen to your heart, be open to possibilities whatever they may be, and wait. xo

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    1. Hi Candi - I need that revelation that you've had! And what you're saying is so true - I need to just wait and see what comes next - I keep wanting to hurry things along, but at the same time I know I'm still not fully ready for any big change to arrive - I'm still a little bit antsy from all that happened last year - I would just like to feel "certain" about something again x

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  18. Leanne, I can very much relate, like many others. The loss of so many of my routines, the things I love to do. This summer, I took on some smaller things - like my simple fun activities list (silly things like drinking iced coffee which I rarely do), reading lighthearted romance novels, and taking a course on line merely for the fun of it. All those things helped. Yes, I still feel there is a void in my life and I am not sure how to fill it. This is definitely an "in between" time... letting go (and grieving the loss)... letting it be (right now) and then eventually let it begin. Something new will come along. It's hard to wait for what is to begin... I'm a planner. But I have to believe something will and I just need to watch for the opportunity.

    I am sorry you're stopping MLSTL. Another loss for me to work through. I've really enjoyed having the space to meet new bloggers, catch up on some folks easily, and just enjoy the camaraderie. Thanks for doing it all these years.

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    1. Hi Pat - you always have a little window into my head. I think the "letting it be" stage is what I'm struggling with - I want to rush into the next stage and I think I really need to sit in this one for a while longer and let my soul catch up with my pragmatic side. Rushing headlong into something that's not right for me (ie: job hunting or taking up a hobby that's too involved and not suited to me etc) just prolongs the process. Patience is still a virtue I need to put some more work into!

      I'm going to miss all my #MLSTL regular visitors - it's been such a wonderful group to have created and been a part of, but I'm hoping you'll follow me (I've already follwed you) and that we'll stay in touch. I learn so much from your posts and they always inspire me - I think we're on a very similar wave length. I'm also planning on checking out the Coursera courses that you mentioned to see if I'm inspired in any particular direction. Stay in touch please xx

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  19. I certainly can relate to this, Leanne. I left a job two years ago and was in the process of setting up my own business when life changed - first with illness and now with the pandemic. Although I'm in good health now, it's time to reboot - and I'm wondering how things will go.
    Good luck to you with your future! I'm certain you'll shine!

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    1. Hi Corinne - I need to find that "next thing" and COVID just seems to have put it all on hold. I'm not sure what's next, but I think there's something out there for me to sink my teeth into - I just need to be patient and let it come to me in its own time - instead of trying to force things to happen on the wrong timetable.

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  20. Thanks for this, Leanne. I have been struggling with this whole shutdown thing. It's nice to now I'm not alone.

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    1. Hi Rita - every person who says "me too" makes me feel less alone and less like it's my problem and I need to fix it. Knowing it's a general dampening of people's lives gives me hope that we'll all eventually move on x

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  21. I can so relate. This whole pandemic, social unrest, climate change, and projection about world ruination is me on a bad day. Thankfully, I practice self-care, reach out to my support system when I'm having a challenging time, and pray for the best. There is so much going on these days that it's no wonder besides personal uncertainty, you may feel communal uncertainty. Good idea to love yourself better and wait for the miracles to happen. Thanks for hosting this fabulous run of #MLSTL. Hang in there and hugs, Nan

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    1. Hi Nancy - I think that you might be right about it being a combination of personal + community uncertainty. It all just feels a little bit "off" right now. I agree that self-care and leaning into our support networks is probably the best way to handle things until the sun comes out again x

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  22. Out of sorts is how I would put it and yes I have reasons to be that way physically right now but emotionally some of which I used to calm, connect and create has been taken away thanks to COVID. We are still living very uncertainly and we humans do not do that well. Let's hope, over time, we can ease ourselves into the now. Thank you for your work for this link up each week, Leanne. A great idea from you and Sue...to share the love from the midlife. Denyse

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    1. Hi Denyse - it does feel a little like the universe has taken things out of our hands and we never know what's around the next corner. For me atm I feel like I need to pare back and I guess that #MLSTL was a casualty of that in a way. I'm so glad your link up is still going strong and I can pop over there to continue to share the midlife love xx

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  23. I can definitely relate to what you (and your British inner voice) are feeling, Leanne. I've been out of sorts and off kilter too. I have a sense of wanting to do something purposeful, but not knowing what that is or having the energy to do much of anything. On top of everything else, I miss my Mom and my dog, who both passed this year. Thank goodness I have my husband, my sisters, my children, and my grandchildren. Also, I have started hiking again. Being in nature brings me a sense of peace, and the physical exertion feels good for my body and soul. Other than that, I am doing my best to stay in the moment, be still, and let the Universe bring me what she will. I will try to be open and aware, so I recognize it when it comes.

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    1. Hi Christie - thanks for the "me too" and you summed it up perfectly with the wanting to do something purposeful, but not knowing what it is (or having the energy to do something about it) comment. I'm trying to be more patient and kinder to myself and just wait to see what comes along - it's hard though when I've been so used to having a plan and a purpose and knowing what the future holds - so strange to be on the opposite page to that atm!

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  24. I just told someone the other day I was feeling unsettled so I can relate to what you’re feeling. And I love your advice averse reference. I don’t think I’m negative but I get tired of being told how to be positive. Can’t we just let the bad mood work itself out without having to try something new? My creative side has also taken a hit during this time but I know it will eventually return. I just can’t let it discourage me, even though it has just a little. Oh well, overall I have very little to complain about. Good luck in your journey.

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    1. I think there are a lot more people affected by the changes in our world than what we realize. We think it isn't impacting us, but it's there under the surface all the time. And, yes, I'm over being told that I just need to find something new to occupy myself with - when in fact I probably just need to roll with it and wait for things to settle back down into an understandable (for me) way. Good luck to us both xx

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  25. I think everyone is feeling this way, especially because there seems no end in sight. I keep waiting for the bigger bomb to drop, I feel it coming. A lot of people do.

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    1. I think we all feel like this is never going to end Amy. Every time we seem to get on top of it, there is another outbreak or a new source. It's a very unsettled world we're in.

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  26. Hi Leanne, I also believe there is a feeling of unsettled and out of kilter in the air. I have also felt this way during periods of my life, when I needed to make a change. Especially when the feeling is pervasive and lingering.

    Okay, another big belly laugh “who knew my inner voice had a British accent.” You took me along with you on this one.

    A great phrase “...regain my resilience and mojo.” And the concept of loving ourselves more. You have brought this into my radar and to the forefront more over the past few months. Thank you.

    On the concept of advice, you remind me how we often just want to be heard, accepted and our feelings validated. Advice is not always needed or wanted, yet we can learn from each other. Ultimately, we have the answers. Like in The Wizard of Oz.........’you’ve always had the power my dear’

    Many great gems in this post, Leanne. xx

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    1. Hi Erica - you were actually "the friend" who mentioned about to me about unsettledness heralding change and also about COVID being a grey blanket over everything - your pearls of wisdom often clarify my thoughts and I'm very grateful that you've become my friend.

      Resilience lies underneath a lot of things for me - the ability to keep bouncing back from the unexpected is something that gives me the confidence I need to face all the uncertainty of life atm. I'm in the process of writing another post about this strange phase of life I'm in - and how I'm going to allow myself the grace to ride through it without being too tough on myself (something else I've been learning!) xx

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  27. I remember us talking about this concept, Leanne. I appreciate how we share perspectives with each other. I also appreciate the belly laughs.

    I love the connection we have on many levels. Looking forward to seeing you soon.xx

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    1. Me too Erica - it's so lovely when you connect with someone on more than a superficial level - blogging brings with it some incredible blessings in the shape of wonderful Midlife women like yourself xx

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