It’s been just over a month since I “retired.” That word doesn’t feel accurate – especially since I’m just as busy as I ever was. Graduated might be a better fit. I’ve transitioned to a more creative lifestyle with more freedom and flexibility. But old habits die hard.
My stress level is still higher than I want it to be, higher than my intended lifestyle would require. The technical aspects of self-publishing are challenging, but I’m working through that process one step at a time. My stress level might have more to do with the self-imposed deadline to have my book available by Valentine’s Day. I’ve said that I’m taking my own advice and trusting the timing on the release date, but I still feel like I should be able to at least have it available to pre-order by then. There’s that retched word: should. I should be able to figure out the self-publishing systems and meet that deadline.
Never mind that my father died less than three weeks ago while I was out of town visiting my grandchildren, and that I am/was his closest family member, that he was the strongest and bravest man I’ve ever known, that his death carries more weight than I might want to feel, and that yesterday I started the long process of going through some of the stuff in his house located an hour away, and it was exhausting.
I should still be able to meet my deadline! says the relentless hero child in my head.
Why do I do that to myself?
I should know better. I taught stress management and relaxation skills for at least 20 years. It was my favorite part of my old job. Maybe it kept me somewhat sane in an insane system. But I haven’t practiced those skills lately. Maybe I should. Maybe I will. Gently
For 30 many years, I pushed myself to comply with expectations that were often unreasonable. It’s a habit I want to release now. It no longer serves me. So what if I don’t get the book out by February 14? It would be nice, but what’s the point of graduating to a more creative life of freedom and flexibility if I’m going to stress myself out with my own expectations?
It’s okay that there is still work to do on me – that I’m still learning to relax and let go. Old habits die hard, and it’s only been a month or so since I graduated.
I will be kind and gentle with myself.
I will allow myself to enjoy this new adventure.
I will allow myself time to grieve.
I will trust the natural flow of my life.
I will trust the timing.