I sold my successful software business in 2007 and almost immediately began feeling a lack of purpose and direction.
Never one to sit out the dance, I sold my house, moved out of my beloved community, bought an ocean-going sailboat and set sail along the east coast of America.
I found the immediate shift from being deeply invested in helping clients create new futures to looking for a fresh identity while living out on the ocean both exhilarating and deeply challenging (all described in my book, Sailing the Mystery).
Although I now have a whole new and exciting life four years later, in retrospect I wish I’d given greater thought to creating a more easeful transition.
2. Downsize. Lighten your load in all things tangible, whether that’s your house, your car or the vast array of things you’ve collected over the years. Downsizing feels truly liberating and will offer the added bonus of saving you money. In addition, the fewer the distractions you have, the more you’ll be able to focus on what really matters.
In my house, the rule is: When something comes in, something of comparable size or greater needs to leave. I can honestly say I now have about half the possessions I did two decades ago.
3. Make intelligent lifestyle choices. The latest research tells us that the lifestyle choices we make regarding diet, exercise, stress reduction and developing a supportive social network affect the health of our DNA gene pool and, in turn, influence the quality and length of our lives.
Two lifestyle choices are now non-negotiable for me: I swim two-thirds of a mile daily and nothing goes into my mouth unless it’s fresh, organic and (mostly) local. When I take care of my organism, it takes care of me.
4. Learn to meditate and practice it regularly. As doing decreases, being increases. Increasingly, as we age, our inner landscape is where the action is and meditation helps us activate those new capacities such as empathy, compassion and long-term memory. Meditation is also your best bet for reducing stress and staying focused.
My morning routine includes a half-hour “sit” — which is one of the more “active” and beneficial things I do all day. When looked at from the standpoint of a potential return on investment, this is where the “smart money” goes.
5. Experiment with alternative health options. Choose what works for you from myriad modalities such as yoga, massage, Rolfing, Qigong, Tai Chi and energy work such as Reiki. I love them all. These practices keep me healthy and just feel so good.
6. Make at least one new friend or deepen a relationship with an existing friend. You’ll need someone you can totally open up to in sharing your joys and fears. I’ve been amazed at how easy it is to start making friends once I start to reach out. The longing for connection, in my experience, seems universal.
7. Identify volunteer opportunities and choose one or more. They can be local or global, conceptual or tangible. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is giving back and enriching the lives of others. Magic happens when we take the focus off of ourselves.
I offer yoga and meditation classes for free. Not accepting compensation always feels like a gift — to me.
As a birder, it always amazes me how delightfully lost I can get viewing our flying friends. The audio and visual focus I need to identity a bird 150 feet away helps keep my brain sharp.
9. Join a men’s or women’s support group focused on helping each other through life’s transitions. If none are readily available, start one. I moved to Martha’s Vineyard not only for the unsurpassed beauty of the island, but to gain access to the abundant intentional community there.
Ed Merck, author of Sailing the Mystery, is a former software entrepreneur and chief financial officer who retired at 63, set sail and began his journey into life’s remaining chapters. He can be reached at www.sailingthemystery.com.
I am a certified advanced rolfer and have been rolfing in annapolis for the last 20 years. I have been an advanced Rolfer (practitioner of Structural Integration) for slightly over 40 years. I was one of the first 50 rolfers trained by Dr. Ida P. Rolf who developed the work.
My other teachers include Judith Aston, Joseph Heller, Jan Sultan, and Peter Melchior
I have practiced in 9 U.S. cities and 23 countries of Europe, the Caribbean, Asia, Canada, Mexico, and Central and South America. jacobsonhealth.com I can be reached at 410 224 4877. I'm in zip code 21401.
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