“What do I want with my life after X?”
“X,” for you, might be retirement, getting through a medical issue, leaving a corporate career, or re-entering the work world after staying home with children. Thinking of veterans this month, “X” might also be entering civilian life after service. From veterans to young mothers to the disabled to retirees, there are 6 questions to ask in life’s transitions.
1. What is my identity? Is your identity tied up in what you do? Begin to focus instead on who you are – that is, who would you be if you were not at your job? Once you figure this one out, the next five questions fall into place much easier. One excellent resource: Marry YourSelf First! (book and workbook) by Ken Donaldson, LMHC.
2. What will give me a sense of purpose? Remembering times in our lives and careers when we felt the biggest sense of accomplishment can guide us to this. Write a story about a time when you felt the biggest sense of accomplishment and purpose. Where were you? What were you doing? Who else was involved? Repeat and repeat. See any patterns?
3. How will I maintain socialization? One of the biggest determinants of our happiness is the people we spend time with on a routine basis. Who brings you joy?
4. How will I manage my time? Corporate and military organizations force time management – going in or out of these environments can be disorienting to some.
5. How will I maintain my sense of status? Depending upon the organization and/or groups you are transitioning to and from, remembering your self-worth outside of a title or rank is crucial. Develop new groups where you find fulfillment.
6. How will I manage my money? Life transitions often involve a change in finances. For better or worse, being prepared can make the difference between looking back with pride or regret on how you handled it. Seek out professional help if you lack confidence in your decision making.
More resources on building your life’s next chapter will be coming in the next edition of the e-letter, “The View from the Porch.” Sign up at www.hollypthomas.com.