How I escaped pretirement to become a zoomer at heart began by implementing one of the first commandments recited as a 5-year-old in order to attend kindergarten, “Stop, Look, & Listen, before you cross the street.”
Now, to stop has not been one of my strong suits. I am more often, ready, fire, aim.
Rather than enshrining myself with some label, I accept and encourage my tendency to be easily distracted by shiny objects arising in my field of vision. That has always been my source of wonderment for what might lie just around the next bend in the road. Perhaps it’s part of why some folks don’t care what is on TV, they just want to know what else is on TV.
Rather than stop, however, the best I can do is slow down. A productive way for me to slow down is to go for a long drive down some back-country roads while I think. I always feel I am accomplishing something while I am conjugating life. Rolling past fields and woods with little traffic while I think releases some creative potential otherwise not seen by sitting in quiet contemplation. This eyes-wide-open meditative state while taking in scenery has led to many aha insight moments that simply astonish me as to their source.
So, before I stepped off to cross the street in this pretirement journey, I drove and thought for hours and hours. I recorded unabashed thoughts on my cell phone and transcribed them. It became a formidable collection of thought snippets, scribbled napkins notes, quotes from books, messages from friends, and at least a gazillion favorite webpages carefully stashed by topic. Add to that, hundreds of created word documents with poignant titles sorted simply by month and year as well as copious journal posts, blogs, letters to myself and messages to friends. Other writers have confided to me that they too cast a cacophony of notes on a wall and then search for some melody of meaning.
The desired outcome was to arrive at a destination with a cadre of recorded history that would outline just how I had gotten to this point in my adventure. I wanted to look back to determine what goal and activity had led to my success that would benefit other baby boomers determined to reroute their potential.
My goal, in the beginning, was to simply look and listen. To look and listen to how I had gotten to this crossroad in my life. Endorsing that my past was merely a part of where I’m headed, while extracting the good and the bad, knowing that it took both to create the journey thus far. The subsequent goal was to then attempt to predict the best direction forward, making this part of the journey the best adventure of my life to date.
Looking back with 20/20 vision, I can now confidently say I have reached a condition in my life that I consider the best I have ever experienced or even imagined. That comes with some weight because the result I have today is, to a large extent, the payback from the work in applying three words that have formulated much of my life; Clarity, Focus and Concentration.
Initially finding clarity meant deciding what I wanted the next stage of my life to look like. It meant answering the question “what if”. What if the future could start with a clean slate? What if small steps could take me to a destination I had only dreamed of?
I knew for sure I would never find out if I didn’t try. My initial onslaught to a new beginning required taking a break from the daily habits that keep us numb to change. To move forward demands we answer the question, who are you and what do you want?
Have you knowingly stepped off in a totally new direction that required you to identify some part of your potential and then redirect your focus?