Picture you are driving on the freeway, about seventy miles an hour. All of the sudden there is a major accident in front of you and you have less than a second to react. You slam on your breaks with every ounce of your being. You avoid the accident. As soon as the car finally stops, it takes a beat for you to realize you are still there and yet another beat to catch your breath and to accept that you are ok. Your adrenalin pumps through your body and every ounce of you shakes out of control. You force the feelings of fear into submission as you take a deep breath in feel a warm rush of gratitude caress you. You feel blessed, you think about your life, your loved ones and the things you love to do.
After you pull away safely you begin to take stock in your life mentally. Analyzing details and scenarios. Reminding you of things you need to work on, people you need to see more or maybe see less. The jolt from the near death experience of the accident is the catalyst of some serious life evaluation. One of those moments in life that forces you to take inventory.
My retirement was the catalyst of some of the most unpredictable experiences of my life. Just like avoiding that accident. Personally I was facing a career change that also included the adjustment of somewhat of an identity change. Professionally I had committed to retiring from being in front of the camera, but I still wanted to be active with my name, my fan base and myself. It was a lot to process, just like that moment you realized you avoided the accident and you can go about your day.
There is no way I can deny the transition from one life to another wasn’t easy, but it was magical. Yup, I said it magical. See what I realized during that transition that while everything and everyone was drastically changing around me, I was still exactly the same. I knew I would need a little adjustment strategy.
These are the 3 basic steps I took to really reconnect with myself. They were simple, basic, peaceful and needed.
Step 1: I committed to take time learning more about what I am putting into my body and why. The foods, the vitamins and as you may know, I started to eat paleo. Starting with my health first was the obvious choice for a positive focus while I was having some ups and downs adjusting to my new life. I started to use my gym app to keep tabs on my workouts, plan my week in advance & look back at it as the week ended. I had to remind myself I was NOT in a hurry; I was no longer rushing anywhere. So, I started to not just use the gym to work out, but use the amenities, steam room, spa etc. Changing my workouts to an experience really upped my desire to go and left me feeling fresh & better than ever.
Step 2: Learning. I committed to reading a book a week my first year of retirement. I read a lot of books about habits, mindsets, studies, and patterns, business, entrepreneurs & autobiographies. I was enlightened and inspired by making this an important step in my adjustment. That quiet time, thinking time, discovering time, gave me a comfort and a calm that I now know is always there. I still often schedule time in my day where I will sit out side, technology free and soak in some sun while I get lost in a good book.
Step 3: I took care of my things. I decided to take everything I owned out of everywhere it was, sort, donate, throw away, rearrange, you get it. I dedicated months on months for this. I didn’t rush it & I didn’t let it create chaos, I am too obsessively neat for that, but little by little I handled it all! There is something very interesting about taking time for your things, to properly care for them and know where they all are. Every other thing I touched had some sort of memory and after 24 years of traveling, knowing I had not been in the same pace for more than 30 days for those 24 years, this was the first time I really felt at home. This was also a chance for me to take stock in everything I have. There was also the reality check that someone may need some of these things more than I do, so there were endless trips to good will. Things accumulate over the years and I also can clarify that yes, I have enough shoes. Lol. I also loved the trip down memory lane going through things from clothes, to photos to old VHS of footage of young me. NOTE: This was before I watched the Minimalism Documentary on Netflix, so you know, watching it was confirmation I was on the right path with what I had already accomplished.
The unexpected twist of the levels of success I found by taking these steps was the magic I spoke of earlier. I feel great, that is my health, and I am taking more time to do the things I love. I have a much greater thirst to read from that I feel like I have a little more to say & a lot more to learn. Finally, I feel totally organized. I only have the things I need and that makes my life feel very simple, easy, nice.
My retirement was the easy part; my transition needed a serious game plan. J