Friday, October 26, 2012

Transitions Suck or Forced Early Retirement

Take your pick.  Either title works.

I am in transition.  Kind of stuck in transition.  At least, I hope it's transition.  I hope it's not my new life for keeps.

I worked very little before I got married.  I got pregnant almost immediately after getting married, was incredibly sick, and became a stay-at-home mom.  We made lots of sacrifices to live on one income so I could be with my kids.  My heart and soul were devoted to them.  As exhausting and difficult as it was sometimes, it was totally worth it and I don't regret a minute of it.

As my youngest child approached school age people started asking what I was going to do with all my children gone.  I joked that I'd probably sleep the first year.  After that I might consider working.  We're old fashioned.  My husband believes it's his responsibility to provide for our family and I believe it's my responsibility to raise the kids.  We've each pitched in a bit in each other's realm, but for the most part we took the traditional route.  My husband left my choices about what to do with my life after the kids went to school entirely up to me.  Work or don't work.  My choice.

Kindergarten was only a couple hours a day, just enough time for me to run errands and get a few things done.  But when our baby started first grade it opened up six hours a day for me.  I wasn't looking for work, but as it happens a wonderful job fell into my lap.  A job I was perfectly suited for and excelled at.  A job full of wonderful people.  A job that helped others.  A job that was very personally satisfying.

I worked there for three or four years.  There were ups and downs as I tried to merge my work life and my family life.  I got to a point where I felt like I had it worked out.  Balanced?  Maybe not quite.  But well shuffled.  I was happy and content and fulfilled.

Then my health fell apart.

Long story short, I had to make a choice.  I only had enough in me physically to work or take care of my family -- not both.  It was a traumatic time.  I didn't want to give up what I'd gained through work.  But my heart told me to go home.  Many other people could fill my position at work.  No one could take my place at home.

So I quit my job and went home.  I'd been a stay-at-home mom for about fourteen years before that job.  I knew how to do it.  The transition back should be easy, right?  Not so much.

I didn't have little kids any more.  The world I left and the one I returned to weren't the same.  I was kind of lost.  Still lots to do in the morning and after school but so much empty time during the day.

Which should sound beautiful and appealing and free.  But it's not.  Because I don't feel well.  Really ever.  So I have six hours a day trying to force myself to do something even though I don't want to get out of bed.  I'm still searching for a purpose.  I would love to have a schedule and plans.  I would love to volunteer or create or make a dream come true.  But each day I don't know if I am going to be able to get out of bed.  I can't plan my day because I don't know if I'll be functional.

I keep thinking I'll find a routine, a rhythm to my life.  I'm still searching.  It's been five or six years.  I spent the first three or so going to doctors and doing everything I could to feel better, hoping in the back of my mind that I could go back to work some day.  Expecting that one day I would feel good again and go back to being the over-achiever I am in my heart.  I still go to doctors and try to feel better, but I now accept that I won't have that life back again.  This is the life I have now.  I need to figure out how to live it and feel fulfilled in it.

But I still feel like I haven't found my footing.  I still spend too much time floating from this distraction to the next trying to find what fits.  Bored and frustrated.  What works one day doesn't work the next.  One day I have a little energy but my mind won't work clearly.  The next day my mind is okay but I can't see well.  And then there are the days that I don't get dressed until just before my kids get home from school, having spent the whole day in bed without actually noticing that time passed.

I'm trying to create a life that fits me.  But I still struggle to know who I am now, in this new form.  I'm still wandering.  Hoping I'm still in transition.  Hoping I'm not just lost in my own life.


Dawnelle said...

Liz said...

Beautiful post. I wish you health and peace in your journey!

Rubye Jack said...

Well, I still haven't gotten dressed and it's after 1pm, meaning I kind of understand. I wish I had some advice to give Robin but I know you know more than I do about you.
Writing is sometimes the best tool we have.
Peace be with you.

Classic NYer said...

Transitions do suck. But you'll find yourself. I promise.

Grown and Flown said...

You have some real challenges to your health so its no wonder that it is difficult for you to find your footing, as you say. Hope that you will find some answers and treatment that help. BTW, I can't help but notice how beautiful your family is and with your youngest 2? at home you must still be very busy with them. Take care.

Anonymous said...

I can't relate well enough to say much at all,but maybe it's enough to say that maybe this is just you, and it's okay. You may be your hardest critic??? You are loved. That says a mountain!

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

I pray you find what you need to get your rhythm back.

Unknown said...

What a heart felt post. I hope you find your rhythm soon.

Corinna said...

I am certain that you will find your rhythm. Keep your head up!

Suz said...

Love ya!
I say write..... you're good at it.

Unknown said...

I am so sorry you are going through such a difficult period. It sounds like you are working very hard to carve out a new role for yourself. It will take time, but you can do this.
So nice to connect with you in this blogging world!

Barbara said...

I hate transitions too. I hope it all works out for you.

Unknown said...

Transitions, or the inbetweens as I call them, are brutal. I hate feeling unfocused. But I'm with the previous poster, maybe consider transitioning into writing. You have a true talent for it.

Lyn said...

Maybe, just maybe, THIS is more than just your outlet. Maybe your blogs and beautiful, honest writing and sharing your story with others are a big part of your purpose.

Someone out there reading your blog could be profoundly inspired/changed by something YOU WROTE.

Love you!


Shalhoub said...

Really great life! I love it!

dressforgraduation said...

Nice Posts, Thanks for sharing.

cutedresses said...