At the suggestion and genuine encouragement of my long-time partner, Steve, I left my super-stressful day job on June 1, 2012. It was definitely a big adjustment, after having had various daily go-to-the-office jobs for 40 years. I was never a job-hopper; I’ve really only worked for a handful of companies. The company I left, had employed me for 17 years. For many of those years I worked 40 hours per week there plus up to 30 hours per week on my art business.
There were things to work through on so many levels. Guilt was a biggie – for not bringing in as much money as I had previously. I bristled at people telling me I had retired. They kept explaining they meant I retired from my former job. But the word retired still irritated me. I was still very busy day-to-day, but in new good, not-stressful ways.
As I tried different avenues in my new life, I felt like I was floundering – something was missing. I finally went to see a psychic that a good friend had gone to and liked. I’ve always wanted to go to one but was afraid. I think most people feel that way. I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t even know what question I wanted answered – I just felt something was missing. I was hoping she could cut through the noise in my head and figure out what I was trying to figure out.
Cutting to the chase, after listening to me talk for a bit she suggested I make lists. To-Do Lists. A huge wave of relief went over me as I told her I used to be a huge list-maker. I used to be so organized that I sometimes felt the need to “tone it down” in front of others. It’s a running joke in my family that even as a kid I would make lists in triplicate, on my clipboard.
She thought perhaps I’d gotten out of the habit because my former job had been so overwhelming at the end. Bingo! I used to laugh/cry to hear my mind think, “I don’t have time to be organized!” Of course that’s ridiculous but I’m sure many of you can attest to being in that mode sometimes, where you are juggling so many balls that if you even slow down for a minute, all of the balls will fall and you’ll never get them going again.
I don’t remember what I paid the spiritual healer (she prefers that term over psychic, understandably) to tell me something as simple as make lists – but it was worth every penny.
Over the last 6 months, I worked to regain my long-forgotten organizational skills. Now I had “permission” to return to my organizational and list-making ways. It was a process, not a switch that was flipped. But now that the new year is in sight, I’m full-on my old self again.
Steve and I recently took a vacation and our trip to the destination resulted in us not being able to sit together for the 2 flights, for various reasons. Since I had no one to talk to, I became a manic list-maker! My mind was rapid-firing on a variety of subjects.
Steve and I both love technology so you’d think I’d being using the coolest app on my iPhone and iPad to makes these lists. Steve is a project manager so he micro-manages his to-do lists with timelines, reminders, categories, subcategories – the works. I’ve tried the Things app too but always go back to the Reminders app. I just like a simple list of line items.
I have always loved the turning of the calendar to the new year. It always feels like a fresh start, a clean slate. By the time my last art show was done, on December 7, my mind was well into the new year. That, plus the Florida vacation, has my head very confused that we haven’t even had Christmas yet.
I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts by Leslie Saeta, from her Artists Helping Artists series. I high recommend them (you can subscribe through iTunes too). As I go through my notes that I’ve taken while listening, I want to share my experiences here as I try new things in 2014.
Please let me know what’s on your clean slate for 2014!