There’s a definite chill in the air. Last night I layered two wool blankets on top of the summer one. Before long I’ll have to pull out the down comforter. Outside, the garden is making its yearly journey from the sunny yellows of mid-to-late summer, to the richer, more textural pinks, reds, and purples of my fall bloomers.
As the garden makes its turn into fall, and we pile on the blankets, it’s easy to wax nostalgic about the days when there were four of us rushing out the door each weekday morning. But I’m resisting that temptation.
Instead, I’m focusing on what I will make happen — as opposed to what might happen — next.
It’s been two years since I lost my job, and during that time, I have created a framework on which to build my days. Daily walks with the dog, thrice weekly swims, and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons working at a local store, provide the bones for my week. In between each of those activities I work on my blog and other writing assignments.
The transition from the formal structure and demands of full-time employment and parenthood that I’ve clung to for most of my adult life, to the looser requirements of freelance work and empty-nest living, feels like a chasm that I will continue to cross for some time to come.
I don’t know if I will ever feel I have “landed” again. In fact, it’s possible that I’ve never felt that way. Not really. What I do know is that my current writing assignments, both paid and unpaid, feel more authentic, are more satisfying, and bring me more joy than anything I’ve done in the past. And, much to my surprise, this new work and lifestyle have brought me friends and supporters from some unlikely and even far-flung places.
Although I’m still working on how to turn this more joyful work into a decent income, I am grateful that I no longer have to fake excitement or passion when I don’t feel it. I can say what I mean and mean what I say. The ability to just be myself has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my ongoing transition.
This fall, I’m putting on some new shoes, and adding to my my already existing framework. My new DIY structure will continue to evolve. It may never be fully finished, but it will be strong enough and flexible enough to feed my brain and nourish my psyche. With luck and hard work, it might just sustain me through the ever-changing, always surprising, journey ahead.