Accepting the Messy Middle.

March 24, 2024

Accepting the Messy Middle.

May 29, 2023

Chip’s Thought: Who knew a “transgression” could be a positive thing? Hope you enjoy this one from Anderson.

I spent a week in Baja, Reframing my Retirement, so I could Thrive in My Next Phase of Life. It worked!

I am certain there is a more technical phrase than The Messy Middle, but no word in Latin (transgressio?) would be a better description. While I am in transgressio, I am answering THE question:  “So, what are you going to do?” The week has removed the pressure put on me by others to have an answer. The pressure is theirs, not mine. I do not owe them a plan and have learned to be comfortable without one.  

A new beginning, like the first day of a new job, brings apprehension and fear of the unknown. The unfamiliar. The Messy Middle gives us the opportunity to sort through the balls in the air as they come down. When we catch them, we will drop each into one of several buckets: Ignore. Consider. Pursue.  Some of the balls will be mulled over and split between a couple of the buckets. This will take a while, and that’s okay.

I do not want to be pushed out of The Messy Middle (“So, what are you going to do?”). I would rather be pulled from it. That’s what catching those balls is all about.  

Saul the Shaman took us to the beach to write a word or two in the sand. I chose “Grow and Connect.”  Everything I read tells me that relationships are key to longevity. Anyone can live a long life, but if it is not fulfilling, it’s just growing old. “Grow and connect” were taken out by the Pacific tide. I hope to meet those words again, over and over.

To facilitate the growth and connections in retirement, what skills and talents do I possess that I can share and help others with? How can I add value to others? I was president of a charter school in New Orleans.  Someone asked me why. My goal was to change the trajectory of one person’s life by one degree. If I could do that for a fourth grader, her life would be improved immeasurably.

The Messy Middle lets me ask myself, “What can I work toward that would stimulate me and help me build relationships with other people?” It comes back to those words on the beach. The non-profit boards I serve on are good opportunities to connect with board members and grow into the community.

We were asked, “What would we regret ten years from now for having not started it today?” I have a friend who has decided to shotput. Another tries a new thing every week. A good start would be to live an active life and engage in new experiences. I don't have to hike the Appalachian Trail. I can just take in a new museum.

Now is the time to explore “Active Listening” techniques. After all, I know my thoughts. The other person’s thoughts are unknown to me and just might change mine. Wouldn’t that growth be wonderful?

And, finally, the word my Baja cohorts have been waiting for: YET! I was enlightened when I inserted this word to all of my negative perceptions of myself. “Yet” turns a negative into a possibility. It’s up to me to make that possibility a reality.

We were Compadres. All eighteen of us. Co-parents. As explained to us, we were co-parenting, helping each other give birth to our individual next phases. Perhaps this was really the gestation process while in the Messy Middle. When each of us moves to “the other side,” we can all celebrate as proud parents.

-Anderson

Anderson Baker retired from the insurance business in 2024, 42 years to the day after he started his career. He lives in New Orleans with his wife of 35 years, Michelle. They have two grown daughters and a grandson. He is a happy member of the “Better Yet” cohort.

Go deeper with a workshop, in person or online.

wo-baja-24-016

Life Begins at 50: Embracing Your Second Adulthood with Jeff Hamaoui

April 29, 2024
 to 
May 4, 2024
Baja, Mexico
wo-baja-24-013

Radical Transitions: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself with Stacy Peralta, Christine Sperber & Teddi Dean

May 6, 2024
 to 
May 11, 2024
Baja, Mexico
wo-sfe-24-007

Transitions: Finding Your Rhythm in Midlife & Beyond with Michael Franti

May 13, 2024
 to 
May 18, 2024
Santa Fe, USA

Life Begins at 50: Embracing Your Second Adulthood with Jeff Hamaoui

April 29, 2024
 to 
May 4, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Radical Transitions: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself with Stacy Peralta, Christine Sperber & Teddi Dean

May 6, 2024
 to 
May 11, 2024
Baja, Mexico

Transitions: Finding Your Rhythm in Midlife & Beyond with Michael Franti

May 13, 2024
 to 
May 18, 2024
Santa Fe, USA