Monday, April 1, 2013

A new beginning & the A-to-Z Challenge

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After a 14-hour marathon workday last Friday, I transitioned my last client account, cleaned all the emails out of my Inbox, and powered down my work laptop.  I am now on an extended leave of absence. 

Officially, these next 12 weeks will be to care for my mom (who is terminally ill).  Unofficially, though, this will be a test to see what life actually feels like when away from the job I’ve worked daily for the past 12 years.  Will I find more fulfilling activities to spend my days?  Or will I miss the paycheck so much that I re-sell my soul to get it back?

For years, I’ve fantasized about this day—finally being footloose and fancy-free! No more ridiculous, degrading, corporate rigmarole to endure!  But honestly, today, the only emotion I’m feeling is….fear. 

All those negative “what if’s” rushing at me.  What if I never find another (let alone, better) job?  What if I lose all my life’s savings (or my good health)?  What if I regret selling my house (and most of my possessions) to become a full-time RVer?  And perhaps the biggest fear of all—what will life be like no longer having my last living parent, my mom, to turn to?

So, these next 12 weeks will (hopefully) offer a time to transition without fully transitioning yet.  A time to do more giving and sharing of myself to see which direction it might lead my life to next. 

To that point, I’ve wanted to start blogging more often to track my journey through these life changes.  I recently came across the A-to-Z Challenge that sounded like an interesting and motivational way to help me start doing just that.  Quite appropriately timed too-- the challenge happens to start today!

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A-to-Z was the brainchild of Arlee Bird (http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/), who posed this challenge to his readers in 2010:  could they blog every day except Sundays for the month of April, and not only that, could they focus each of those 26 posts on a different letter of the alphabet? 

In 2010, 100 bloggers accepted his challenge.  The next year, a whopping 1300 bloggers gave it a try.  Now, for 2013, there are over 1800 bloggers currently signed up!  Give the list a look around—there are quite a wide variety of blogs represented!  And, if you’re a blogger, why not sign up and give this a try yourself?!!

Thanks, Arlee, for the appropriately-timed motivation!

25 comments:

  1. Lynne, so very sorry to hear about your Mom. It will be very difficult and challenging but wonderful in other ways to have this time with her. I'm not sure whether it will be a good and fair test of how you can live without your corporate job but sometimes life is just what it is. Praying for an easy and fulfilling transition for both of you.

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  2. I came home and took care of my Dad then years later, my Mother. I was always going here and there. I did a lot of free lance temp work so I was able to.

    Your fear is there. It's valid.

    My 70th birthday was this past Thursday and I gave me the gift of acceptance. Acceptance is something that's hard freaking earned. easy to say. but fear is something that can take your freedom away. I've conquered quite a few and I've got one left … doctors. I am stinkin afraid that if I were to go to one … they'd immediately send me to the hospital and I'd spend the rest of whatever time I had being cut on or giving 'em my blood and pee nonstop.

    I just want to wake up dead and be done with it.

    I can tell you that working for 927 years mostly in the corporate world… just gives me the heebie jeebies thinking about it. I'd rather be sitting by a river eating hay than working like that again.

    Don't know how old you are, Lynne but being free from work that you feel steals your soul … is just not to be done.

    fear schmear… hiss

    If a problem has a solution, there is no need to worry. If a problem doesn’t have a solution, there is no need to worry. ~The Dalai Lama

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    1. Well, first of all--- happy belated birthday Carolyn! Hope you pampered yourself silly, and if you didn't, then get out and do it now! Thank you for such wise words. I need to read/listen to the Dalai Lama more often -- he always provides such succinct perspective. And you're absolutely right-- eating hay down by the river doesn't sound all that bad in comparison. It's good and healthy vegan food! Ha!

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  3. You and your mom will be in my prayers. I hope you will make good memories. I'll bet this time was very stressful, getting ready to be free to be with your mom, and hopefully you can relax and enjoy each other now. A day at a time, which is all any of us can do.

    I love the A to Z Challenge. And I look forward to all the posts you are going to do this month! I don't want to commit, but in 2010 I did blog every day for two different months, and once I got into the groove, it was pretty easy. Good Luck! :)

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    1. Thanks Barbara! Yes, I'm feeling more relaxed already-- today, I imitated Millie and took a nice afternoon nap on the sofa beneath the warm sunshine coming thru the windows. I'm looking forward to the blogging challenge but hope I don't bore you all too much when I get to alphabet letters that are really a stretch to blog about!

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  4. What a time of mixed emotions. Good luck with all of your challenges.

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    1. Thanks Judy. Looking forward to reading your posts from the Northwoods soon!

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  5. Sending you lots of positive thoughts and well wishes on this very intentional time of transition you are taking for yourself.

    Our paths are very similar right now. My father is also terminal, and I am here by his and my mom's side through it. And, I am in a time of great professional upheaval with losing my largest client due to a contracting snafu out of our control.

    In the weeks and months ahead, I too will be transitioning to whatever is next.

    My best to you and your mom during this all important time. How blessed we are to be able to focus on the truly important things in life, and know that our nomadic lifestyles present great opportunities and flexibility to ride the waves.

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    1. BTW.. this was from Cherie of Technomadia.... your comment form doesn't seem to like me :)

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    2. As I was reading the first comment, I thought, "wow, this Unknown person sure has a lot in common with Cherie"! Well, thank you for the kind words and positive thoughts. Certainly not paths either one of us want to be on, but it's a blessing indeed to have this time with our parents. I'll be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers in the months ahead.

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  6. Lynne,

    Best wishes for your transition. Your smarts, your planning, and your resourcefulness will hold you in good stead. I'm sure it will be an emotional time, but hopefully a fulfilling one as well. I recently went through some of this last year and totally relate to the fear your are feeling.

    The only thing that keeps the fear at bay, even now, is when I tell myself that today is all we have.

    BTW, painful as it must be, I admire you for being there for your mom. My mom died unexpectedly 10 years ago and what I wouldn't give to have been able to say goodbye.

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    1. Thanks Kim-- yes, one day at a time will hopefully build up my confidence. I am so sorry to hear about you losing your mom so suddenly. Cancer doesn't give you much, but at least you get the time to prepare.

      Can't wait to follow along on the blog posts of your big Spring trip-- hopefully, the buffalo will take kindly to the GDB!

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  7. Lynne,
    Your fear is understandable, and of course you have concerns about your mom, as well. I'll be praying for you, and I look forward to your posts as you enter the fulltime RV life. God bless!

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  8. Lynne, You will always look back at the time you stayed by your mother with a sense of peace and joy. I'm so sorry for the sadness that goes along with this though.

    I gave up a high paying job with the government when I was 44 and never went back to work full time again. After the initial and very short term apprehension, I knew I had made the right decision. I first spent 10 years putting every cent I could in savings so that I would never again have to "owe my soul to the company store".

    If I know you, you have all your ducks in order and there is nothing to worry about. As my Steve said just this morning "I've tasted freedom and now this feels so stupid" (gave up full timing in a MH and now at work to support a house).

    All the best to you and your mom,
    Evelyn

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    1. Thanks Evelyn! Yes, I do fear that I'll be letting the genie out of the bottle here during this break and won't be able to stuff it back in there when the 12 weeks are up...but if I must return, it will likely only be because of the dumb house not getting sold. Fingers crossed we can both be into our homes on wheels full-time soon!

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  9. I have had many of the same thoughts. It has taken awhile, but I have learned to trust that things will work out. We do not have much control over what will happen. As long as we are not foolish or reckless and make good choices and have gratitude for what we have - things will work out. You have a tough road ahead right now and I will be thinking of you.

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  10. I've found that writing can be very therapeutic. It doesn't matter what you write, just put words on the page. By giving yourself an emotional outlet I've found that it can make even the most difficult times of your life a lot easier to bear.

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    1. Yes, that's what I'm hoping for. The words are hard to get out sometimes, and at other times, they seem to rush out in a blobby incoherent mess! But I do hope the discipline of daily blog posts this month will be helpful.

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  11. I will pray for both you and your mother. You will have no regrets spending your mother's remaining time with her and loving her and caring for her. I look forward to your daily blog reports, whether you think they will be boring or not. While you're going through these next 12 weeks or so, your reports will enable your blog friends to pray and care for you. Hopefully you will allow yourself to accept that.

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    1. Thank you Jill. It's still a bit of an uneasy feeling to ask others for help, let alone complete strangers in blogland. But I'm learning that the older I get, the more I must rely on others and through that humility, wonderful things can often result...like all of these heartfelt comments today!

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  12. Lynne, thinking of you as you begin this next phase of your life. Lots of big issues facing you now, but you're certainly someone who is able to think clearly, and, I believe, also able to open yourself to all the emotions that will inevitably come your way. Took me a long time to be able to recognize the difference between thoughts and feelings, but once you do it makes a big difference. So glad you will be able to be with your mom during this most sacred of times in her life, as well as yours. Transitioning from this earthly life to whatever lies beyond is truly a remarkable time--who knows what lies beyond? None of us do, regardless of whatever belief system we hold. But facing it honestly, openly, with the willingness to express fears and concerns will help. I was with my Mom for the last few weeks of her life, after she had been given her terminal dx, and it was a very special time. It is indeed a big question for you about how you will deal with both of your parents gone. Just try to be open to all your feelings, too, and if you and your mother can talk about them together, then by all means do so, including asking her about her fears, questions and concerns. Trisha has spent the vast part of her ministry being with individuals and families as folks have faced their own deaths and deaths of loved ones, and she always stresses the importance of shared rituals. I know you have had many spiritual experiences, what Trisha calls the thin places, so embrace those fully. And don't be afraid to express all your emotions, however negative they may seem, including anger, grief, etc. Trisha always tells people who say they get scared because they feel anger toward God at times like this that God is big enough to handle anyone's anger. So just do your best to be present in each moment of this journey, on all fronts, including your fears about work, where/how to live, etc., and you never know what the universe may present you. I'm confident that you will come through all this well--not saying there won't be times of sadness, fear, etc., but you will do it. I know you will. Look forward to following your journey!

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    1. Jack, what a blessing your (and Trisha's) wise words are to me! Yes, experiencing those "thin places" before has certainly made this transition less fearful and more divine. My mom also came very close to death (rather suddenly) 4 years ago, and being given these extra "bonus" days ever since then has been something we have cherished. Thank you for your comforting words and support.

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