Counting my blessings…

Squirrel Hill, Family Home, Middle Age, Sandwich Generation, Family, Empty NestSo today I am starting the second week of my 55th trip around the sun. It is cold and grey outside and there is snow in the air. These things do not generally make me happy, especially in late March, but despite the weather and my ever-increasing length of time on this planet,  this particular morning I am feeling relatively content. Note…If this concerns you at all, don’t worry…I will revert to my discouraged-mostly weather related grumbly commentary (see my Twitter feed to the right of this post) soon, but for now things are pretty a-OK.

I have much to be thankful for as of late, and now feels like a good time to count my blessings.

There have been some pretty major changes here on the hill over the past two years. Big, scary changes. Life-altering changes that have left me both terrified and joyful – sometimes both at the same time.

Our nest is truly empty now – our youngest moved away last summer – and it is very, very quiet here most of the time. We have completed a few household projects and our domicile now boasts TWO updated bathrooms after several years of hints and complaints on my part. (Go Jim!). We have moved even farther along the path of ‘sandwich generation’ children, taking on more  care-related responsibility with parents and other family members. We welcomed a second granddaughter (and took a trip across the pond to meet her), and got to know a special British toddler quite well during that visit. (We miss you so very much, Fee!)

The biggest change, however has been in my own personal circumstances.

In the fall of 2013, with the love and support of my husband and family, I left the world of full-time employment to focus on more important things. Our family and my health were the two biggest reasons for the change. At the same time I started a new venture – my own business – working in an arena that I enjoy; Marketing (of the Social Media kind, mostly) and writing (particularly of the content creation and press release variety).

These changes have not come without cost. The obvious one, a very real decrease in our family income, has been softened somewhat by a bit of pre-planning and a small IRA. With a little luck and a lot of persistence, I have increased my client load slightly and am ever optimistic that I can continue to operate this way financially for at least the near future.

Another slight drawback has been a change in daily schedules. My husband, who also works from home, has been very gracious about sharing the office space, but I know that he finds my presence here distracting some days. Things get better in the summer when I move to the porch or the deck to do my thing, but it is a little weird when each day feels more like it should be a Saturday.

My personal writing has also suffered…it has consisted of a few essays that will probably never see the light of day, several half-hearted fits and starts of blog posts and a (very long) list of possible subjects in the notes section of my iPhone. If only I could write in the shower, I would be all set. I am a genius in there, I tell you!

Now for the blessings… I have discovered a joy for Yoga. meditation and EFT Tapping.  If you know me at all, you know how strange that sounds. I am NOT by any means, your ‘typical’ Yogi. Although my flexibility has increased, my over-all physical fitness still needs much improvement. Restorative and Yin are my favorites, and I have actually established a home practice as well! Meditation is a struggle for me because of my ever-present Monkey Mind, but I continue to try. The breath control alone has helped me with my nervous energy and anxiety. EFT is amazing – especially for an eternal skeptic like me. It has helped me work through a lot of things, much to my own amazement. These things have all taught me about ME, and that new intuition has been invaluable. I have increased my focus, decreased my propensity for worry and stress and generally learned to live more in the present than ever before. My newly found loves have also led me to many friendships and opportunities that I would otherwise never have known. I am a true believer that we are provided what we need when we need it, and everything has crossed my path for a reason.

When I made the decision to move in a new direction I also made myself a couple of promises. The first was that I would work on my personal outlook and my health. I can say with some certainty that I am getting there. I am surely enjoying the journey, and am lucky to have made the realization that I needed a change when I did. Life IS short!

The second promise that I made was to work on my friendships. As an adult woman who has worked (more than) full-time for the past two or three decades, I have to say that establishing and keeping friendships has been very low on my priority list. Since I made this vow to myself I have found that I have rekindled and developed some wonderful relationships with many awesome and interesting people. Each one has made my life richer and I feel fortunate to have each one of them in my life.

As cheesy as it may sound,  I have to say that at this point I am probably the happiest I have been in years. Who knew this was possible? The opportunities that are out there are endless, and I can say that I am glad that I took a leap to go and explore them. Trust me, it isn’t all as rosy and wonderful as I have made it sound –  I have my days of doubt and sheer terror – but lately it seems as if I have more hopeful, optimistic days than I have in a long time.

It’s a weird feeling and I truly hope it will last. Time will tell.

Thanks for listening! Stay tuned…