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Sep 23

Seeking a Little More in the Encore Stage

I’m looking for an extra 5%.  As I’ve written before, staying positive takes some work for me.  I “think too much,” make lists, and try to anticipate (and head off) things that might go wrong.  (To put a positive spin on it, risk management may be one of my strengths!)  Like most people of my ilk, I consider myself to be realistic, but not negative.

Fundamentally, I am optimistic and hopeful, but for the past six months or so, I’ve felt as if things are just a little off.  It’s an odd feeling:  When I look at my life portfolio (see earlier posts), I’m still pleased with both the goals and most of the reality.  Frankly, from March through mid-August, I had less work than I’d like, with several coaching clients finishing their work with me, and consulting jobs falling off, but the difference did not create any real concerns.  I used the time to focus on a writing project that I’d put off for too long, invested more time in family, enjoyed a 15-day visit to Great Britain, and pursued a few other projects, including enrolling in a couple of online courses.

A friend suggested that I’m experiencing some adaptation to my still relatively new life.  I love the encore stage, and I enjoy the much improved work-life balance, since I “retired.”  However, my friend probably is correct.  After three years, I have a new normal, and although it is satisfying, I could use just a little more challenge or some new activity to explore.  Life, as they say, has no permanent solutions, and I know I thrive on new experiences.

Fortunately, my study and application of positive psychology leaves me in a better place than I might have been otherwise.  I am a creature of habit, and I have some newer habits that are helpful.  For example, every evening, when I am going to bed, I take time to think of three good things that happened that day.  Sometimes, those good things are small, and sometimes they are more significant, but I never find it difficult to think of at least three things.

I’m much stronger, spiritually, and more mindful of the remarkable blessings in my life.  Although I’m also aware of the fragility of life, I’m grateful for my present good health and financial stability.  I continue to make use of my number one strength—learning—in a variety of ways.

When I say that I’m off 5%, I’m saying that I’d like just a little more fun or joy.  As an extravert, I’m saying that I need more opportunity to interact and play with others.  Still, I feel as if I have a solid base in a good life, and I suspect recovering my 5% is more a matter of patient openness than effort.