During the past year since leaving my full-time job, I’ve been on a mission to transition from a fast-paced corporate executive to a person who is more balanced, calm, and happy.
Am I all the way to bright? No, no, no.
Am I further along than I was a year ago? Yes, yes, yes.
Am I where I thought I’d be 12 months after saying goodbye to my 30 year career? Yes and no.
The first six months after leaving my job I was still on a treadmill. I traveled to speaking engagements, kept up my blogging and social media, exercised like crazy (to make up for all the exercise I hadn’t done in 30 years), planned dozens of lunches with friends and acquaintances. Every day I was busy, busy, busy. I did not slow down.
I felt a need to prove that I was working – to foolishly please myself or to please others. I didn’t feel I deserved my current freedom or as a new friend said the other week, I didn’t feel “I earned it.” When I really did.
January arrived with mountains of snow. Whoa Judi, what are you doing to yourself, my body cried? My irritable bowel (IBS) acted up after a bout with food poisoning. My menopausal sleep patterns kept me up into the wee hours of the night. My mind, body and spirit began to drag from exhaustion.
The FODMAP Diet Physically Changed My Life
In April, my gastroenterologist suggested I follow the FODMAP diet. Some call it the ‘tummy diet.’ It’s a gluten-free, low lactose, low fructose diet that eliminates foods that cause indigestion and bloating. Unfortunately some of the foods that I consumed most of my adult life – like apples, pears, peaches, high fiber cereals, bagels and artificial sweetened teas — are no longer allowed.
Onions and garlic and any processed products that contain any powdered form of these foods are also off my shopping list. I’m cooking more naturally with fresh ingredients. The positive results override the negatives – my stomach pains are nearly gone and I feel so much healthier. (I cheat now and then, but I’m doing a pretty good job. Yes I am. Yes I am.)
Now it’s time to give myself permission to transition other areas of my life and slow down. It’s time to take my yoga and mindfulness meditation practices off the mat, stop judging myself and instead take moments to stop, breathe and be – to live in the present and enjoy each day.
I just finished reading Life Reimagined – Discovering Your New Life Possibilities by Richard Leider and Alan Webber. I enjoyed the book very much. The authors provide what they call a Life Reimagined (LR) map that I’m using to reconfigure my “what’s next” for my life after 50. As Richard and Alan advise, “The map’s six guideposts are a guidance system that can help each of us find our way forward.” I feel like I’ve experienced all six areas this year:
♦ Reflect – I may not have paused at the start of my journey, but I’m definitely pausing now and intend to keep pausing along the way.
♦ Connect – I am getting feedback from my trusted family and friends, from my boyfriend L, and my therapist Dr. F. I agree with the LR philosophy, a person cannot take this journey alone.
♦ Explore – This step is easy for me. There are so many possibilities I want to test out during my life after 50 – writing, travel, yoga, meditation, reading, volunteering, sewing, decorating – my list is endless.
♦ Choose – This part is where you focus on priorities and do a deeper dive and a reality check. I am narrowing down my choices, but not there yet.
♦ Repack – Here you decide what to let go of and what to keep for the road ahead. Richard and Alan recommend “lightening the load, both tangible and intangible, for the new way that is opening up.”
♦ Act – Ooh, ooh, ooh, the last step is about taking action toward making the possibilities real. Richard and Alan say that “taking action releases energy through the optimism that comes with choice, curiosity, and courage.”
I hope you’ll join me and give yourself permission to transition. It’s not as scary as it sounds. In fact, it’s rather fun. Check out and sign up at LifeReimagined.org. Come on over, it’s full of possibilities.
P.S. – Speaking of possibilities, I’ll be traveling the end of this month on a girls’ vacation with my daughter A and my sister N. Will be sure to report back when I return from my explorations. Unlike a year ago when I visited France, this time I’m packing a smaller suitcase and taking a lighter load. Excuse me, you want to know where I’m going? Okay, I’ll give you a hint – Ciao pescao!
Disclaimer: This post is supported by Life Reimagined (www.lifereimagined.org): your guide to rethinking what’s possible and seizing your “what’s next” in work, relationships, health, personal finance and more. All opinions are my own.
I love all that you are doing, Judi, in this next phase of your life. Plus, I cannot imagine a more gratifying experience than to travel with your daughter and sister – have a wonderful time and can’t wait to hear about your adventure.
Thank you so much for your support. I am excited about my girls’ trip. It does take time to transition from the fast paced world of corporate work.
This was a great post. I did the same…left my job a year and a half ago but I floated in the wind, dabbling in this and that…just following whatever came up. I wrote about it on my blog too. I was busy but lacking meaning.
But here is the thing. Suddenly things started to come into focus and meaning became crystal clear…all without my guidance…just a series of trying new things and 18 months in, I am at a totally different point in my life. A new direction and focus. And fun and joyous and meaningful all at once.
I stopped writing my blog because I needed to get into the current that was sweeping me up but after 4 months I am going to post as people have been asking me on email where I have gone. And in the spirit of trying new things I would like to illustrate an actual amazing outcome that resulted from that!
Kelly, thank you so much for sharing your story. I will definitely check out your blog. It is challenging sometimes to keep up a blog, so I know what you mean. Things are starting to come into focus for me. It’s an evolutionary process.
Enjoy your trip both literally and figuratively! 🙂
Thanks Kelly. Please share the name of your blog.
Your post really resonated with me – big city lawyer for 33 years, medical stuff happens and I am an instant retiree! Totally needing to reimagine life and giving myself permission to do so is hard! All those years of thinking busy/busy/email/conf call/busy/busy is the only way to measure life do have an impact.
Enjoy your family vacation.
Nancy, thanks for your feedback and glad that you could relate to my post. Good luck to you as you reimagine your life. I look forward to following your journey too.
Judy, has the diet made a big difference for you? My IBS comes & goes and I can’t seem to link it to anything but stress. I am not eager to give up gluten since I am a bread baker and I don’t have any specific symptoms after consuming gluten or fiber. Oh, dilemma!
Allison, the diet has made a huge difference for me. When I follow it closely I don’t have any pains. I wheat sensitive and lactose sensitive but I occasionally consume bread, but have stayed away from garlic, onions, any processed foods with those ingredients (which are so many) and it has been a huge benefit. I’m on this journey with my health and glad that this diet is working. Good luck and try to de-stress.
I’m enjoying your blog. And I also just finished reading Life Reimagined. Good stuff!
Thanks so much Kalin. Glad you enjoyed the LR book too. It’s a great guide to make changes in your life.
This was an inspiring post, written by someone who seems now to be fearless, adventurous and heading down a marvelous new path. You have empowered me through your words, Judi. I wish you safe travels and a fantastic trip. How exciting! I can’t wait to hear all about it. Ciao, baby!
Cathy, so nice to know I have inspired you. That’s one of the main reasons I enjoy blogging – to share my journey in the hopes that others will learn and grow as well during their life after 50.
Thank you so much for this…I too am reading Life Reimagined and am about to leave a 25-year career to start my second act. I keep telling myself I will take time to reflect before jumping into anything; however, that will be some work! To help stay focus, I am planning to blog and hoping to reconnect with the creativity of my youth and my “personal legend.”
You certainly are an inspiration to follow….
Dona, thank you for sharing your story. Good luck with your second act. LMK your blog once you get started.