Last month it seemed as if every press release, article and Facebook post I wrote in my work as a health educator had to do with making New Year’s resolutions. We love a new start in life, don’t we? And we like making that new start at the beginning of some unit of time – the beginning of the week, the month or the year.
As I began 2012, I promised myself (swore to myself) that I was going to change my work life. I spent more time than any sane person should just contemplating what I wanted in a typical day. Then I spent more time thinking about and listing what I really enjoyed doing in my current profession, what I could possibly carry over into my new life that could earn money and new skills I’d be willing to learn to make money. I do want to continue eating, among other things, in this new life.
The upshot of all that reflection was the understanding that I don’t want a typical day. Now, I am a firm believer in the value of routine, especially when another area of life is in total chaos. But for awhile at least, I’d like each day to be very different. Some days starting with a workout, others with work responsibilities, still others with several cups of coffee, conversation with a good friend or the newspaper.
Writing this blog was step one in my makeover. Step two was coming up with some other possible ways to make money (that are not illegal or immoral, even though that could be really fun). A friend and I have some ideas we are working on now and the possibility of success is looking good! Another friend/former colleague and I are talking about some things we can do together as well. Two totally different options that will get me closer to the “no typical day” work life I want. And I fully intend to try to do both, since I will be in control of my time.
Next up is doing the paperwork to take advantage of an early retirement package. This offer (may also be read as: push to get more of us to leave) is only good until June of this year. My husband and I have crunched the numbers for months, refinanced our home and done a few other things to make it possible for me to make this change. I will be signing the papers next week. I’ve been alternating between thrilled and terrified, but the needle on the emotional gauge is slowly and surely leaning toward thrilled.
So, while my resolution from last year has not been completed, I’m well on my way and for the first time in a long time, I am EXCITED about my professional future. My inspiration, when this process seemed to be crawling backward and progress was nowhere to be seen, came from a little collection of 365 daily sayings that sits on my kitchen table. Several years ago I was in a car wreck. It’s a good story on its own. Some (insert your own descriptive term or use mine) knucklehead made an appointment to test drive a used car, got in the car with the owner, then forced the owner out and took off in his newly stolen vehicle. While making haste on one of our city streets, he decided to go through a red light at the same time I was going through the green light. The result: two demolished vehicles, me to the hospital and he to jail. Fortunately my injuries were not major and my family and friends showered me with love. One of my sisters sent this inspirational calendar and I read the day’s quote/saying aloud at dinner almost every night. I call it “today’s word.”
The entry for January 1 is in the picture. It reads: “People will be more impressed by what you finish than by what you start.” It’s a great way to remind myself that while the starting point of any new venture may be exciting, it’s the finish that really matters.
My wish for you? That no matter how many times you start or restart an effort this year, you will find yourself at the end of this year having finished it.