When I retired in 2007, I was terrified. I hadn’t lived yet. And I had no idea how I was going to find a life to live with any profound meaning.
I had experienced a pretty normal life. I was raised in a small town in northwest Michigan; gone to college, got a job, got married, had a child. The only thing a bit unusual was spending 3 years in the Peace Corps right out of college. There were many unhappy times and many happy times. My past seemed like a movie that was PG rated: some interesting and exciting scenes, some sad, some scary. But they were very predictable.
At the risk of sounding over dramatic, I had been living in a desert. There were several oasis but nothing that gave me the confidence to go forward by myself to create a life that would make me feel that I had really lived. For 65 years I had pretty much looked outward to find direction. There didn’t seem to be much inside of me, after retiring from a job and now my daughter out on her own.
So where was I to get that direction? It had to come from inside me. I was angry and scared. I had read a lot of self help books and learned many wise ideas that came from others. But those thoughts were not authentically mine. Did I have any thoughts that were worthwhile and that were authentically mine?
That’s when my writing started and that’s when I was able to begin to write from my authentic self. What a gift! Julia Cameron said, “I write to tell myself the truth”.
Recently, I heard about a book by Dawna Markova called, I Will Not Die an Unlived Life. The title of her book expressed the same thoughts that I had in 2007. I didn’t have a clue then what they meant. I am so grateful that I now have and can read her book and appreciate our similar journeys of reclaiming purpose and passion in our lives.