Why have my blog posts been so few and so far between? I gotta admit, I’m having a tough time lately and haven’t been able to find my voice. I love writing. I love sharing my story. But, when difficulties find their way into my life I struggle finding a way to share it or deciding if I should even share it at all. I mean, who really wants to hear about a little identity crisis? But, when I consider what the subject of my blog has been, I feel drawn to share this aspect of transitioning to a new country. Because that’s why many people enjoy reading about my adventure, right? I’ve always been very open and have shared so many things about my experience and this struggle that I’m facing right now is not unique to me. Everyone goes through transitions. And, redefining oneself isnt a subject that’s new to anyone.

Redefining oneself after moving to a new community, a new country, even just a new city is not always easy. If finding your place in a new location is hard, add to that struggle, retiring from a career that pretty much defined you and there’s bound to be a point in time when the dust settles and the hard, deeply emotional truths begin to seep in. For most of this year I’ve begun to quietly process my new place in the world. To be totally honest, its been hard. I’ve been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I read back what I’m writing and I’m feeling quite insecure about just how much of my current adventure I really should be sharing. But, I’ll keep going…

I’ve tried sharing this struggle with various close friends. It seems to be something most sorta brush aside, smile, acknowledge the difficulty but really have nothing other than that to offer. What do I expect? After all, It’s my struggle and Im realizing there really are no words that anyone could possibly offer me to make it all better. The answers are mine alone. I know so many people who have retired from rewarding careers, people who have finished raising kids and have experienced the end of what may have been what defined who they were for much of their adult life. I’ve watched clients, friends and family go through life transitions with varying degrees of grace and confidence. This struggle is not only mine, no, its a period of time that most of us find ourselves facing at some point along the way. The question, “Now what?” is one that I think many people face after retirement. And, its exactly what I’ve been attempting to process in my own way for a while now.

Some might say that I might be over thinking it? Maybe focusing a little too much energy on figuring it all out…But, I’ve thought a lot about so many of the transitions I’ve traveled through in my lifetime and here’s the thing… not one time did I ever take the time to really process those transitions. Never did I allow myself time and space to really make intentional decisions about my path. Life was always too busy, too fast, too stressful and there were too many others who depended on me to be strong and hold it all together. This time I get to travel through this particular life transition and take the time to do it with intention.

When I think about all the major milestones in my life…choosing my career path, deciding on a life partner, becoming a parent, becoming a home owner and an independent business owner, all the many transitions that set me on a particular path and really determined so much about my life I dove in without much intention. I feel like I didn’t have the life experience to realize it might be a good idea to take my time and really consider what I really wanted. I was impulsive with so many really important crossroads. Not that being impulsive was all bad, but right now, during this particular life transition I’m actually faced with the wonderful reality that I’ve got the time to be more intentional with what direction I go next. There’s no hurry, no timeline and no reason what so ever to rush into what direction I take next. That being said, I will be honest and tell you that the word ‘adrift’ continues to enter my head.

I’ve just never been in a place in my life where I get to focus on me. Holly has a tendency to blend into those around her. Its a bit daunting to be in this unfamiliar place. A place where I don’t have a ton of heavy responsibilities resting on my shoulders. No people looking to me to be any certain way. And theres a peace of mind just being in a place where its okay when I feel unproductive at times. Of course I often wonder ,what will feed my soul? What am I doing with my days to make myself feel satisfied with the day? How am I making a difference in my life or in the lives of those around me? Do I matter? I’ve always had so many people who needed me to do something to help them feel good about themselves. I gave so much of myself to everyone around me and right now, I’m not quite sure what to do for me. Is that silly? This is my current state of mind. This is my journey at the moment. My Adventure is Truly Continuing …down a path less traveled. At least not traveled by me before.

And so, I’m finding that I vacillate between telling myself I need to just chill and stop trying to find all the answers and then I look around at this incredible place I live and I wonder if I should be doing something more. What that means, I have no idea. But, if there’s one thing I do know without a doubt, it is that right this minute, I’m right where I need to be. And that even though I’m struggling right now and having a personal crisis of sorts, I always hold firm to this one truth, that every single difficult, agonizing, painful, experience I’ve had in my life, the hardest ones have been the ones I hold most valuable because those hard experiences have made me who I am. They make me strong, wise, patient, loving, forgiving and most of all confident that its all just a part of my story. This darn adventure has many facets , not all of which have to do with adjusting to a new culture, building a house, learning a new language, making new friends and building a new community. The hard truth is that now ,as much of the more expected parts of my adventure are well and truly moving along, there are unexpected challenges which are not as easy to share in my usual cheerful, optimistic way.

So, there! Now you know where I’ve been and what’s been going on here. Well…I’ll keep you posted, and yes, there’s still lots going on with our construction project . And, Oh! Did I tell you that my lovely and loving, mother in law, Pat, has moved here with us from California? Yes! I’ll tell you more about that next time, but I have only good things to tell you about this new turn of events as we love having her here with us! Our Adventure is truly continuing!


About hollycarter184

Life is Good! But it's time for a change, and more adventure! I'd like to share the whole experience of preparing then actually making a reality of expatriating, and moving to a new country. It's an exciting, and slightly scary move full of possibility . I'm looking forward to learning a new language and making new connections with the people who share our spirit of adventure. This blog is my way of continuing my connection with my friends and family in the States. Sooooo here it goes! :)

16 responses »

  1. Love your post, sorry i didn’t get to see you when you were in california, i didn’t have your phone # and left a post on facebook, but hey! you had fun and family to enjoy. 🙂 hope to see you soon. xo-debbie

  2. You are incubating, and when that period is finished, you’re going to be twice as strong and better than ever!! We all have times when we go inward, and that is just as important or maybe even more important than those always-positive times! You’re going to soar, Sra Phoenix!

  3. You definitely matter!!! I don’t believe a person has to do, just one thing. There are so parts of you that make up the Holly, we’ve come to get to know and admire. So try doing what makes Holly happy, and fulfilled. And I am sur that what ever you, do , all around you, and all who you give a chance to get to know you, will benefit. And be better off, for being a part of you journey.
    Now go kick some happiness butt.

  4. Hello Holly… So happy to read your note. I see you are getting lots of loving advice. I will only suggest looking at how you are being. It’s not about doing, it’s about who you are being… Also, looking at what brings ‘purpose’ to your life. I love you, girl!

  5. Hello Holly, thank you for sharing this post. It will be so helpful to many people, women in particular.

    In the morning of our lives we are occupied by ambition – achieving professional success, raising families, acquiring material possessions, saving money, setting goals. . .

    In the afternoon of our lives we still have ambition but it is ambition with meaning. What feels like a low point for you now is really you generating energy to propel yourself to a higher calling. You are becoming more compassionate, softer, more thoughtful. Sometimes we get quiet during these shifts.

    There is no need to force the answers to your questions. You can simply let go and begin receiving from a Universe that fully supports you. Be gentle with yourself, everything you need is within you. 💛

  6. I’m just reading your post a few months later .. I find it both inspiring and a little scary. Like you, we all move quickly through so many changes in our lives, without ever having enough time to really think and plan .. it’s “do” and then adapt to it as we go. I’m retiring and am thinking of moving to Panama, so now I am focused on HOW MUCH there is to do … downsizing, finding replacement at work, planning the move, etc. I haven’t even considered the part of my life AFTER all this happens. I have only gotten as far as … “sitting (somewhere) looking at the beautiful view and enjoying a cup of coffee …. ” so it’s a little scary to figure out from that point on. Especially when there hasn’t been time to develop any hobbies, which they all say I should have by now. My hobby is keeping on top of all the stuff I have to get done on the weekends. I wish you the best, and maybe our paths will cross some day in Panama.

    • Hola Cathy! Thanks so much for your comment. Im so glad to hear that you can relate to this dilemma. I think its true for so many of us, no matter where you live. Retirement is a time in our lives that we put so little thought and preparation into. Im finding it to be a time that takes some serious, thoughtful navigation in order to find a purpose to my days. I’d like to update you on my current state of mind, I have been meaning to write a blog post but I just have gotten so busy…yep! I’ve really been making some mindful steps to be in the moment and to embrace new opportunities that seemingly fall in my lap. There are a couple of new things Ive embraced in my days, one is watercolor painting. Specifically Plein air painting. I had never even heard that term before but I was introduced to a group of women artists who gather together every two weeks in different beautiful outdoor locations to paint. Oh, man! This is a group of like minded women who both enjoy the outdoors and art. My kind of people. Ive never been a painter per say, but am enjoying the experience of learning. Then the other new thing that just sorta popped into my life is a new volunteer opportunity at a school for indigenous children. Its a little known organization, not especially catered to by many expats that really needs people to help in any way they can. Im working my way into figuring out exactly what I can do but for now Im just showing up and giving the kids much needed attention and they in turn are smothering me with their love….this feeds my soul! So, as you can see, Im slowly figuring out this next chapter and even though I can’t say Im completely where I feel I want to be, I can tell you Im settling into a comfortable flow and letting myself explore a few things that I think in time will prove to be extremely satisfying in many ways. One day when you find yourself in Panama please do contact me. Cheers! Holly

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