notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Letting Go

In April, I retired.

Six weeks later, I un-retired.

Well, not really. Here’s what happened.

I worked for the last ten years as the Controller of a large(ish) mail-order and online business. It was a terrific job, especially after fifteen years at an exciting but extremely stressful gigantic media organization.

For ten years, I had interesting work, but not crazy-stressful. I had a small nice staff in Accounting, and all my co-workers were cooperative and smart and friendly.

But at 65, I was ready to retire. I wanted to spend more time on writing and other creative pursuits. I was just plain ready.

So a very capable replacement was found, and I was finally – after a year’s notice – on my way to my next self-invention.

When I left, the staff accountant was expecting. It’s a tiny Accounting staff – a Controller, an accountant, and an accounting clerk. So maternity leave for one-third of the organization is tough to cover.

Instead of trying to train a temp in a short amount of time -which certainly can be done, but it can be hit or miss – the new Controller called and asked me if I would be interested in covering for the accountant for ten weeks or so, while she was on leave.

And because I liked the organization, and I liked the accountant and the new Controller, I said yes. They just needed me a couple of days a week, since they didn’t expect me to take on a lot of projects – just cover the bases and hold the fort (a mixed metaphor of sports and cowboys, but I like both).

So, just as I was getting used to being home, I went back.

And I am so glad I did.

Because I learned something really, really important.

I no longer have to be in charge.

You see, one thing I loved about being a manager is this: I loved being listened to. For me, the third daughter in a very smart family, I have always felt just a little unimportant. Oh, not that my parents ever, ever treated me that way. It was just my own insecurities. I felt slightly invisible.

I was smart enough, but not brilliant. I was attractive, but not beautiful. I was nice, but not adorable. To me, anyway.

So as I worked my way up the ladder of success (an expression which always reminds me of a lunch bag a friend bought me when I got my first management position, emblazoned with these choice words: ‘As you climb the ladder of success, Don’t let the boys look up your dress’), I found that it was amazingly gratifying to be a little bit “important”. To make a suggestion and have it taken. To make a decision and see it enacted. To find a solution to a problem and see it work. To matter. To be asked what I thought. Most of all – to be HEARD.

But going back to my old workplace – but not be in charge – was a revelation.

The first time the President walked past my temporary desk and into my old office to discuss an issue with the NEW Controller, I thought, “OMG. She isn’t going to ask me what I think.”

And then the revelation.

I wasn’t feeling jealous. I wasn’t feeling left out.

I found myself feeling:

LIBERATED.

Not snubbed, not unimportant, not dismissed.

RELEASED.

I do not have to solve someone’s problems. I do not have to be heard. I do not have to be taken seriously. And most of all:

I DO NOT HAVE TO BE RIGHT.

Throughout the ten weeks of this temporary assignment, the sensation of freedom continued to grow. Freedom from that constant need for validation.

And THANK GOD or Thank Karma or whatever.

What a sweet freedom it is.

I’m done with work now. For good. (I think.)

But not done with my new liberation.

How much easier life will be –

knowing that I do not have to

  • review every book I read
  • rate every purchase I make
  • respond to every single post of Facebook
  • be clever with every Tweet
  • impress with every Instagram
  • convert everyone to my political beliefs
  • top everyone’s story
  • make every decision
  • handle every crisis

Unless of course, I WANT to.

But I may never want to again.

truelovewithkisses

 

 

 

45 Comments

  1. But you could if you wanted to!!!

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  2. Welcome to retirement and real freedom! Do what pleases you!

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    • I liked my job – but yes – now I will do what pleases me.

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  3. I loved this post.. I am 46 and feeling a lot of the same things about letting go.. I just don’t worry about it anymore.. 🙂
    Robyn

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    • I may still worry about acceptance and validation once in a while … but not much,.. and not often.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Balance is everything!

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    • Yes! It’s like “I want you to like me and respect me – but it doesn’t matter all that much if you don’t.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

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  6. Liberation of retirement is wonderful! Suggestion though, be sure to have things in your daily routine that get you up, and occasionally out. Never thought I could NOT work, but I love it. I’m always scouring the press for opportunities to give time and talents to worthwhile causes, and not paid with dollars but with gratification. Everyone has a niche that their life experiences can be useful. I’ve never felt so fulfilled. And you can give as much time as your willing to give. No timeclocks

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    • I may do some volunteering at some future date, but right now I am focused on me-time. Maybe selfish, but I think perhaps I am due just a little bit of self-centeredness. And then I will turn outward again.

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  7. that’s a great lesson to learn in only ten weeks!

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  8. Even before retirement, there is much to be said of being in one’s 60s.
    “Liberation”-much, indeed!

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  9. That is the most wonderful revelation!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. As Jo Nell the Coastal Crone says. Welcome to retirement. I love being able to do what and when I want. Have no staff to control, no reports to write. Hooray and welcome

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    • I love not having to have all (or any) of the answers.

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  11. Sally Habib

    When I retired at first I felt guilty like
    I didn’t deserve to retire … But now 3
    years later I love it ! And I feel sad for the
    people who never got to … Unless that
    was their choice … Glad you went back
    in a different capacity and got a different
    view … Love the pix ! Happy second
    retirement ! You deserve it

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    • I’ve had a bit of guilt too… was it selfish of me to give up a good-paying job that I actually liked? But I want to try something new – before it’s too late.

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  12. That’s great – pleased to hear of your recent liberation, and long may it continue

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    • I am hoping for a very long retirement… but the days go by so fast!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Enjoy your retirement, wherever it may take you!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Very similar to how I felt after retirement. My replacement did not have an HR background and I had misgivings as I thought there was a better candidate. However, I learned that it wasn’t my problem and I moved on. Now I periodically have lunch with her and although there was a greater learning curve, she seems to be doing fine. When I hear of some of the new issues, I am glad I don’t have to resolve them. I go home afterward and do something I enjoy doing and there’s no stress. I’ve been back a few times to teach and coach public speaking. I love the short duration and of course the paycheck.

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    • Sounds like a really nice situations. I wouldn’t mind popping back in once in a while, on a project basis. But it really doesn’t matter. And another thing I learned… the department is already doing things a bit differently from the way I did – and you know what? It’s okay. Even if they change absolutely EVERYTHING… what in the world does it matter?

      Liked by 1 person

  15. After I retired, I found myself eager to take direction, not give it and was pleased to let others make decisions, not be the one to decide.

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    • You are so right! Back for those few weeks, I felt perfectly willing to just do what I was asked as well I as I could. No decisions felt nice. After all, I was raised to be a very obedient person, and it was a pleasure to just comply.

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  16. I have to say…I’m a little green with envy. You were very luck to be able to experience that in that way. I’d say timing had a lot to do with it. A few months earlier and you may not have been ready to learn the lesson. A few months later and you may have passed on the opportunity. Sometimes things just work out right.

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    • I think you are exactly right – timing had a lot to do with it. I was ready. Ready to relax and listen. To take direction instead of give it. And it felt good.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I totally relate to your post. It’s good knowing that you are capable and have proven it, but no longer interested in being the boss or the expert. In future volunteer work, you may find yourself having to lay low so people don’t know what you could do so you don’t start feeling guilty about not taking charge.

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    • Interesting point. It might be easy to fall into the “leader” role again, when I really want to leave that behind. I think low-key is the way to go.

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  18. Get OUT. You can’t possibly be 65. I am turning 65 in a couple of months. I thought no one on Earth was as old as me. But, darn it, you are. And you look about 45. Sheesh. The bar is very high here in BloggerLand. (Seriously, tho. Not to be all age-y…I really liked this post, and applaud you for staying the game and having fun.)

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    • Yes 65 – six months ago. I have my Medicare card to prove it. I am happily aware that I look younger than my age, but honestly, I have lots of photos where I don’t look quite so young – but no one will ever see them on this blog! I did go to the county fair recently, and they had a senior admission ticket. I had not brought my wallet with me and I told my husband that the ticket guy may not believe me and might not give me the senior price. “Don’t worry about that,” my husband said. Wrong answer, dear!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yup. Wrong answer, dear! I may need to use that line too (!)

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  19. You can walk away when you want to walk away, which is the good think I think many people like working and if they are in a job they can do then why not keep working if that is what you want to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a pension from my other long-term employment, so I always knew I had a little freedom to walk away. That knowledge – that I was not “stuck” and that working at the job was my choice – I think made the work even more enjoyable.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. how wonderful! It is such a free-ing experience to not have to do any of those things, isn’t it? I keep saying I am semi-retired, and yet, each time I prepare to rejoin the work force something happens and I stay put. I keep thinking of that poem by Jenny Joseph, “When I am Old”. I keep looking for something purple and a red hat. Enjoy this time. You have earned it and as Stuart Smalley says, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

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  21. But if you don’t do all of those things, how the heck will you keep busy in your retirement??? 😉

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  22. Marvellous, and it totally resonates with my release this year from my own business. You see, I had a business partner for the last 10 years. The liberation was a revelation. I can do exactly what I want, my way, no matter how crazy. Don’t need to be “professional” in every move. Like you I had no clue that I’d felt so restrained, ring-barked and restricted. But one look at my new so-called “logo” (thrown together joyously with a felt tip, notebook, and morning glory) says it all. Yay for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Claire @ bletheringbylinley

    This is such a fascinating post, and great insight. I went though something similar when I transitioned from training to direct films to writing them. As a director – especially a female director – you kind of have to throw your weight around a bit because if you’re not in charge things go south fast (a film set is a bit like an antsy racehorse – put a nervous jockey on it and it’ll bolt!). And that just wasn’t me – I have no problem giving my opinion, but I discovered that I’m not comfortable in a world where I can’t say “actually I’m not sure – what do you think?” I always tinkered with writing and the moment I made the transition to something that still gives creative control but is (or can be) collaborative, I was on to a winner! (Err, I hope! ;-))

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  24. That is fantastic!! I’ve had a similar revelation in returning to school for my Masters, something I NEVER thought I’d do — it’s so nice having someone tell me what to do, and then -get this- I can say what I want in an assignment without fear of getting fired! FREEDOM!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right! I really wonder now what my life would have been like if I had turned down that 1st promotion and the others that followed. My mother turned down every promotion she was offered – she said she just didn’t like telling other people what to do. She has always been a very happy woman.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I’m so happy for you. Its a great story ❤

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