And I really have enjoyed my stay/But I must be moving on. ~ Supertramp

On Wednesday of this past week, I gave notice to my employer and work colleagues that May 1st will be my last day. I must be moving on. On Friday of this coming week, I will celebrate fifty-two years of living on this good Earth. As you can see, some biggies in the span of a few days.

The expected response from my work colleagues has been “Gosh. What are you going to do?” My possibly unexpected response has been “I’m not entirely sure.” That is the truth. Now, I have work in front of me, some freelance jobs centered around writing and editing, plus I’m to start coaching a few CrossFit classes beginning in April. So I’ve some idea for the immediate future what I’m going to do. But the meatier question, one I think my work colleagues are curious about as well, is “Gosh. From here on out, what are you going to be?”

Gosh indeed.

I have some stirrings, even some dreams, that I’m excited about chasing while I still have my wits about me. I will continue to write, and as I’ve mentioned here before, I’m open to opportunities to speak, I guess because I feel I’ve something to say. There are wagonloads of people talking these days, but I’m not always certain they’re saying anything. Actually, I take that back. I am certain, they’re not saying anything. The fancy word for that is logorrhea. The unfancy definition being “diarrhea of the mouth.” I know, that’s crude, but I bet you won’t forget it. By the time you’re fifty-two, you’ve lived long enough to have seen a few things, and maybe even learned a few. If nothing else, hopefully you’re a little better acquainted with yourself, or as I like to say, “You’re responsible for your own face.”

In anticipation of moving on, I’ve been reading a lot of David Whyte, a trustworthy guide for such midlife reinventions/rebirths. Plus I’ve read a little Pressfield, but just a little. At the end of the day, I put most of my eggs in the poet’s basket. And while I’ve always had great respect for those who’ve stayed at the same post their entire careers, I confess I’ve always gravitated toward those with a more colorful résumé, one where the road is somewhat less taken, crooked, one that follows a wanderin’ star.

Excited? Yes. I’m also scared, but good scared, the kind that by fifty-two years old you know is evidence you’re alive instead of merely housing a pulse. So here we go. Gosh.

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  1. Michelle on March 17, 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Wow! Sounds great. I’m rounding on 50 this year. Your words resonate with me. But I feel like I’m on the other end of the spectrum. I’ve spent 25 years moving from place to place, job to job, country to country. I feel ready to stay put for more than four years at a time. But part of me still is looking for the next move…… It’s a hard habit to break.

  2. Ed Funderburk on March 17, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    How exciting … congrats to you as you embark on this new journey … good days ahead!

    I actually understand to a degree as I made a similar choice two years ago at the age of 55. I felt a bit like a teenager on a roller coaster. Both excited & terrified as I awaited the journey. After 35 years as a pastor on staff at a local church (with a steady income), I decided to do “what was in my heart” & I launched my coaching & consulting work to serve pastors & churches. Some 18 months into this faith ride, I can say it has been the best & worst of times … good days & bad days for sure. However, I have exercised my faith muscles like never before. I had no idea how much those muscles had shrunk … atrophied … from lack of use. Though sore, I am stronger than ever in dependence on God.

    I pray you have great success & even more so … great fulfillment in the days ahead!

    I look forward to reading whatever you write. You are gifted with words & I love your perspective & non-religious approach to truth-telling.

    Blessings to you & your family!

  3. Diane on March 17, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    John, I relate to you so profoundly and want to encourage you as someone who’s farther along the same spectrum (by about a dozen years). When I was 51, I became eligible to retire from my job as an FBI agent. I didn’t know what I wanted to do at that point – I knew I could never duplicate the FBI experience and anyway, I was a creative at heart. I still had to put my daughter through college, so I worked part-time as a corporate security investigator for several years at a giant insurance company in Chicago. The money was good and she graduated without my having to take out a second mortgage. Eventually, though, I had had enough of criminals and crazies, so I returned to my first (pre-FBI) love: writing. I did a lot of editing, blogging, even co-authored a couple of books with a pastor friend, and wrote a generous amount of poetry. I thought I might go back and get an MFA, do some speaking, take on freelance work, but none of that really rang my bell. I finally realized it was the outdoors that settled me – kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, photography . . . even tiny peeper frogs. I still write because I want to, but now I’m pursuing certification as a Blue Ridge Naturalist in Western North Carolina. It will take a couple of years of science courses and I’m not sure what I’ll even do with it. Maybe lead kayak tours down some lazy river? Give talks at a national park? Writing could figure into it, I don’t know; I’m not worried about it. For now, I’ve found what makes me feel most like myself, I know it honors God, and I’m going after it with all my might. God goes before us all, which is enough for me. Courage! And good luck~

  4. Elizabeth on March 17, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Congratulations! I too submitted my retirement lett last week, but I’m 75. And looking for direction. But the first priority is to work on my house’s deferred maintenance, because it’s become clear that I will not be able to live my days out here. And while I do that, I will think hard on what I want to be now that I’ve had to grow up. I know you will succeed, and continue to have a happy and productive life.

  5. Beth Baswell on March 17, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    Best of luck to you and your sweet family. I love reading what you have to say. I will be somewhere off in the balcony of your life cheering you on! God BLESS you!

  6. Debi Nottingham on March 17, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    The Best is yet to Come…. Wait somebody already said that. I will say that the 50s and 60s are great decades for a redo. At 62 soon and a 4 time cancer survivor, I will give you the words I have given to friends, newbies to cancer, and work colleagues. “If you had six months to live, would you be doing what you are doing now? If the answer is yes, keep at it. If the answer is no, what would you change and what would you remove from your life? And DO IT!”

  7. Gretchen on March 17, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    You’ve so got this. Excited to see you launch these dreams.

  8. Roslyn Bourgeois on March 17, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    Proud of you John. Letting go of one thing not knowing if there’s a safety net.

  9. Karen Stoller on March 17, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    You were made for such a time as this. Journey on John. Excited to see where you go….

  10. Diana Trautwein on March 18, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Gosh. YOU GO, JOHN.

    More power to ya.

  11. Annie B on March 25, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Good for you. We’ll be waiting to hear your thoughts from along your road. Travel with love.

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