I’m A New Me

Donna at Retirement Reflections wrote a post outlining a Retiree’s Job Description.  I think she nailed it perfectly in highlighting the roles, responsibilities, and skill sets to be a successful retiree.

In our comment exchange, we talked about the need for versatility in skills, especially when it comes to handling the myriad of ‘surprises’ that pop up along the way.   I went so far as to suggest that I am not the same person I was 6 years ago when I retired.  Donna of course wanted to know why.

My glib comment unleashed a tidal wave of thought that could only be expressed in its own post.

The Old Me

My entire career was logic-based.

I studied Business in university, became a Chartered Public Accountant, and spent a major chunk of my working life in information management, privacy, and security.  It was a serious world of right and wrong with endless policies and procedures.

Not surprisingly, I was also a highly stressed person who was chronically sleep-deprived.

When I retired, I was OBSESSED with trying to define the next chapter in my life and I felt rudderless without some kind of a plan.  I participated in a newly developed retirement “outplacement” program which included a number of personality tests.

To my surprise, I scored very high on creativity and rather mediocre on logic and organization … the very things I built my career on.

When I challenged the veracity of the results, I was told that creativity shouldn’t narrowly be interpreted as artistic or musical talent, and that perhaps my challenge in retirement was to explore what “being creative” meant to me.

That conversation was a game changer.

The Transition

In trying to embrace my creative side, I took courses in cake decorating and interior design.  I went to Bartender School, discovered photography, and writing a blog about my hiking adventures on the Bruce Trail.

Each new thing I tried became a building block to the next one.  I eventually started this second blog to continue building on a new life of discovery.

The New Me

So, why do I feel like I’m not the same person I was before I retired?

By exploring my creative side, I discovered fun – something I realized I hadn’t understood in my stressed-out, high-octane lifestyle.

I discovered the magic inside the stillness of a single moment – the colours, the scent, the warm feeling of contentment.

The more I’ve experienced those moments, the braver I’ve become in seeking more.

I have a confidence level in myself today that I’ve never felt in my life, including the 14 years I sat at the executive table of a large publicly-traded company.

Six years ago I was sent out to find my creativity.  In hindsight, I realize I was given permission to use wings I didn’t know I had.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Attitude, Memories, Musings, Random Stuff and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

114 Responses to I’m A New Me

  1. traceystubbs says:

    Thanks for this – going through the same thing by starting to exercise the creative side of my brain. Great post.

    Like

  2. Dr Sock says:

    Wow, what an inspiring post! It sent a shiver down my spine. I am standing on the verge of retirement, and feeling some anxiety about it. As you have pointed out, retirement can be a time a blossom and to rediscover fun. (There was very little fun in my work life.)

    Jude

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Thanks Jude for the comment. I think there are so many of us out there who had/have a stressful work life and forgot what having fun even feels like.
      It takes time to shed that ‘skin’ we develop during our working careers, but once it’s done, the potential is huge 🙂
      Hope your retirement experience is a happy one!

      Like

  3. Pingback: A new me or an upgraded version? – Deb's World

  4. Debbie H says:

    Fantastic post Joanne, between you and Donna I am now considering if I’ve changed much and if so how? Very insightful and a great read. Good on you for embracing these changes and sharing your creativity with all of us 🙂

    Like

  5. Chez Shea says:

    What an inspiring and life affirming blog! I love the way you are so open to embracing change x

    Like

  6. Gosh, your posts are getting more and more wonderful. I love this story of retirement and learning and growth. I really hope I get to be retired and can find those wings too x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fab! Just fab, fab, fab and hip hip hooray! Of course, New You is just Normal You to me and she’s pretty cool. I can’t help wondering what retirement will mean to someone who has been so many Mes already but I guess I’ll find out. In the meantime, I’m bookmarking Bartending School….

    Like

  8. Ted says:

    “trying to embrace my creative side”
    Might help, that instead of embracing, let it rise up from your heart. You might be surprised at what comes out. Some years ago a guy named Tom Peters went on about pursuing excellence. Only problem was the nature of excellence is such that it’s always just about half an inch from your extended fingertips – frustrating. Instead I found that if I stood in it, excellence grew, all by itself. Same with creativity.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Interesting observation. It reminds me of the Marshall McLuhan quote “we become what we behold. We shape our tool then our tools shape us”.
      Thank you for this. You’ve given me food for thought.

      Like

  9. I loved this post! While my “discovering” has been set in motion by teens ready to to spread their wings instead of retirement, I can relate to the search. I love all the different things that you tried in your search for your creative side. I haven’t ventured out into taking classes, but this does make me want to try some. 🙂

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Since I have a love for school, the classroom, and process for learning in general, I could happily take classes forever … and I still do take the occasional one.
      However, when I was in a writing class a few years ago, the professor suggested that rather than taking more courses, I simply just start write. A lot.
      I’ve taken this advice and applied it to other aspects of my life. It turns out that just *doing it* is an education in itself, and a lot of fun 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Barbara McBurney says:

    My dearest friend Joanne, having been with you every step of the way throughout the “old you and new you”, I have witnessed the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. Your wings have grown stronger with every new opportunity that YOU have created for yourself and taken so many of us along for the ride.
    I LOVE our catch up lunches and unconditional story sharing and once again, this blog has left me with a smile on my face and anticipation of more cool, funny stories to come…… fly safely my friend!!

    Barb

    Like

  11. Most excellent. So happy for you and your wings. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  12. After many years of directing an international human resources department and being on call 24/7, it was hard to find satisfaction in retirement. But, I’ve figured out what works for me and most days I’m a happy camper. But, it does take exploring, and that’s part of the fun finding out what works and what doesn’t. Great post. 🙂

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      A kindred spirit! Shedding all the negative stuff felt good, but felt odd not to have that adrenaline rush that provided direction and purpose. Finding your own direction and purpose without external impetus takes time and creative energy.
      You’re so right that exploring is the fun part and I’m glad you’re discovering that too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. RuthsArc says:

    Oh Joanne, I had similar results from personality test whilst still at work. Same as you, I thought I was the organised, logically person. But creativity shone through the clouds somehow. Perhaps it was suppressed during childhood, teen years, aimed at finding a secure career. But now, oh let us fly and express our creativity. Love your last sentence! Have fun! Thanks for sharing this post x

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Barbed Words says:

    Great post, very honest and revealing. How wonderful to find out who you really could be and to have the confidence to just go for it. 🙂

    Like

  15. The Widow Badass says:

    Brava!!!! Renaissance women unite!!!!

    Like

  16. Creativity equals joy. No doubt about it. In the creative writing classes I teach, a number of newly retired people sign up. Careerists who always knew they could write, enjoyed writing, but never had the time to do it. During the class, many of them break down in tears. Joyful tears. They feel they have re-discovered themselves in their creativity. Isn’t that fabulous? I’m so glad you love the new you, Joanne. xo

    Like

  17. When I went from full time to part time, I stressed over what I should be doing. My house was spotless, but I did not know how to relax. One day, I gave myself permission to go to the library and get a book, I spent the rest of the day reading. After getting over the guilt of not being busy every minute of every day, I learned how to relax and enjoy life. Taking up hiking was the most surprising and wonderful thing I ever did. I’m glad you discovered your “fun” side.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      That’s a good point about the feeling of guilt when not being busy all the time. I’m just finally getting to the point where I don’t feel guilty about days when I just want to be a ‘slug’ and sit around doing nothing more serious than watching a movie.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. How exciting to be trying new things and letting your creative side come out!

    I’ve been trying to find “my thing” for ever. I’ve tried sewing. Oh the clothes I would have if I could sew. Sadly it takes an engineering mind to keep garment right side out, two steps ahead, keeping the end in mind all the while working on the garment inside and upside down. 🙂 I really have to be motivated or want something to sew today.

    Guitar. Loved it, and did pretty well, but life got in the way so I didn’t play an instrument for a long time.
    Photography was another thing that has been in my life since my 20’s.
    In my late 40’s I started Piano and French lessons. After 13 yrs of piano and still only mediocre I quit. French. Still not fluent, but I read it everyday.
    The only thing I think I’ve come close to mastering is photography. I started hiking again to get some unique, some not so unique images, and found my happy place.

    I’m glad you’ve found your wings! Have fun soaring, and exploring! I’m looking forward to reading about your adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Thanks Deborah. You have mastered your camera and hiking will just become another reason to take photos 🙂

      I could sew if I had to. I was taught at a pretty young age and grasped it quickly… but I’d rather shop 😉
      Knitting? I can, but I’ve never mastered the art of reading a pattern.
      French? Sigh … it’s still abysmal in spite of a French husband
      Piano? Gave it up very early when I realized I had ZERO musical aptitude

      What I have learned is that exposure to many different things – even if the aptitude isn’t there – still provides enough of a base understanding to have a better appreciation for the talent of those who can.
      I’m no longer hung up on trying to find THE thing I’m really good at. It doesn’t matter … I’m really good at exploring 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  19. reocochran says:

    I will always be looking forward to retirement. For me, it will be just another chance to reinvent myself. I love that you found out creative means so much more than music or art, Joanne! Yes, to finding your wings! 🙂
    I have always drawn, painted, read, written, loved children and hiked. Maybe it will be as a bartender or a hostess; but no waiting on tables, ever again. It won’t be boring, that’s for sure!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Every fall when the catalog of adult learning courses comes out from the local schools, I find myself drawn to art classes. I don’t consider myself artistic by any measure, but I would like to learn some basics. I’ve yet to enroll in a course, but maybe this year …

      Like

  20. Margy says:

    I enjoyed reading about your voyage of discovery.
    I’ve found that blogging is one of the most creative things I do! The act of finding things to write about helps me to experiment with new ideas, new practices, new creative activities!

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Exactly! There have been many times over the past 4 years that I’ve seriously considered giving up on blogging.
      … but blogging stimulates the process of discovery and keeps pulling me back. I’ve decided that’s not a bad thing!

      Like

  21. Su Leslie says:

    I love this post Joanne, and reading the comments it’s clear you have really struck a chord with so many people. I got to your last line and had to smile; I have an artist friend who has published a book called “Little Wing” (http://www.clairedelaney.net/home/littlewing), which is a children’s story for adults, about finding our wings. She’ll love that you’ve used that metaphor too.

    Like

  22. Ally Bean says:

    Like I mentioned over on Donna’s blog, what she wrote is an apt description of what it’s like to become a blogger. In some ways, becoming a blogger is a bigger deal than becoming a retiree. The former is something you decide to do yourself, the latter is a given. Love the idea of transitioning into retirement. Good thoughts here.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Lynn says:

    I love this post so much Joanne! I think it is one of the things I find fascinating about aging. We continue to grow & to change, to discover parts of ourselves previously left uncovered. May you keep peeling back all of the layers yet to be discovered!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      There are those who prefer not to peek behind the layers, and others who wonder what’s next. Obviously we’re one of the latter and I think it will make aging so much more interesting. It has to make up for some of the uglier bits 😉

      Like

  24. You discovered “me time” and found joy. How wonderful. I had to smile about the cake decoration and bartending classes. “Useful friend she is,” I thought to myself and couldn’t help but picture you with a cocktail shaker in one hand and a marzipan rose n the other. 🙂

    “In hindsight, I realize I was given permission to use wings I didn’t know I had.” I wish there would be a love button for the last sentence.

    As for the cake decoration, I do have a question.

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Ahhh, yes. I am a whiz with the cocktail shaker, although creating decorative (edible) roses and flowers is considerably harder … at least for me. I just don’t do it often enough and still need the written instructions in front of me.

      You said you had a question, but then didn’t ask it. Ask away!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, then I would like to have a Brandy Alexander when we meet, please. 🙂

        As for cake decorating. My husband will be one year smoke free June 1st. I went to a bakery, thinking they might have a great decorating idea, because surely, my husband is not the first one who will get a special cake for a quit anniversary but they couldn’t offer anything.

        The had a number one candle, that they use for little kids birthdays but besides that…nothing.

        I went online and didn’t find anything good either. Any ideas?

        Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    glad to have fun with the “NEW” u

    Liked by 1 person

  26. If I had access to magic beans, I’d love to see you at work in that bar – I think you’d rock the house. Seriously.
    I’m so glad that you wrote, and more importantly, published this piece. Love getting to know you a bit more!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Thanks Maggie. As you know, I find these pieces hard to write. I’m not particularly comfortable with the whole “sharing” thing.

      I’ve often said that working behind a bar while I was in university was the job I enjoyed the most. I was hired even though I didn’t know one end of the bottom opener from the other (times sure are different today!)

      Liked by 1 person

  27. I love this post …life can be so interesting and I think one of the treats of maturing is that ideally we can keep discovering new things about ourselves and be open to trying those things as well as creating and taking opportunities that come our way. You are certainly a great example of all of this.

    I used to be a preschool teacher, back in the day, but really I went into that profession at age 19 for lack of knowledge as to my true “inner” interests…those skills of course were very helpful as a parent, but today I cannot imagine even being a preschooler for a DAY and wonder “what the hell was I thinking?”

    Thanks for sharing Joanne,

    Peta

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Hehehehe! Peta, I couldn’t imagine spending a day in a room full of preschoolers even when I was 19!!! That would be a nightmare job for me.
      Isn’t it wonderful that we’re all the same, and yet so very different?

      Like

  28. The freedom of retirement is something our ancestors often did not experience. Being able to explore one’s artistic side in all senses of the word is a privilege that even now many people haven’t the means to enjoy. I am so thankful for this “time of my life”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      You are so right!! We complain about the aging process and the indignities associated with getting old, and yet it is a ‘privilege’ that many don’t get.
      … and then there are those who reach old age but don’t have the health and/or resources to do much more than survive.
      I appreciate that I’m lucky and I don’t take it for granted. I hope it continues for a long time.

      Like

  29. Sue Slaght says:

    What a beautiful reflection on your journey Joanne. Isn’t it wonderful when we discover things about ourselves as we ‘mature’? Good for you to be open to the possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. You have such a talent for thoughtful introspection and you express yourself so wonderfully- you’ve really made me think through my pre-retirement/post retirement self too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I’ve often been accused of ‘thinking too much’ and ‘spending too much time in my own head’, so I rarely bring that side of me out to play 😉
      Even while writing this, I wasn’t necessarily comfortable about publishing it … but one thing I’ve learned about blogging is that our sharing of experiences help each other, if only to re-enforce that there are others who feel like we do.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Good for you!! I love this post and your willingness to discover new things about yourself. How inspiring to others!!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I’m trying to find this Zen b4 retirement…. wonder if I’ve got a chance 😉

    Like

  33. Good for you, Joanne. I think that reinventing ourselves or at least finding new aspects is key in keeping life interesting and being an interesting person. Sounds as thought you’re doing well with that.

    janet

    Like

  34. What a lovely and inspiring post, Joanne. Thanks and congratulations on continuing to grow! I read the post to my husband as we are only a few years away from retirement. My husband especially has no hobbies and I’m determined to help both of us blossom in new directions. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  35. nrhatch says:

    Great post. Especially loved: “Six years ago I was sent out to find my creativity. In hindsight, I realize I was given permission to use wings I didn’t know I had.”

    After bartending school, did you consider getting a job as a bartender?

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I did consider it. I was a bartender in university and really enjoyed it. I actually got an interview for a job but then I chickened out. I realized that they were likely expecting a young 20-something year old to walk in and I couldn’t bear to see the look on their face when a pudgy 50-something year old came in instead.
      I cancelled the interview.

      Like

  36. Dan Antion says:

    I’m so glad to have met the new Joanne. I’ve spent my entire career with the logic/privacy/security folks. They’re fine, but they don’t seem to behaving much fun. I think you’ve improved once you stopped filling a redefined role and started being who you are meant to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Donna says:

    I absolutely LOVE simultaneous blogging. It’s like the ‘ultimate book club’ where readers’ comments build upon each other, helping all members to achieve a higher level of understanding.
    This post is truly brilliant, Joanne. I especially love the line “the magic inside the stillness of a single moment “!
    Your post has given me much to rethink, and Janis’s comments have also nudged at, and challenged my original thoughts.
    I now have much to think about!
    BTW – I am highly impressed with how quickly you can write a post and press ‘publish’

    Like

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      LOL … sometimes posts write themselves. Other times it is painful to extract each word.

      I knew that if I didn’t write and post it asap, it wouldn’t happen. Even as I was writing it, I questioned whether this was something I wanted to publish, but I felt that I had made that commitment to you, so I guess you inspired me in more ways than one 🙂

      Like

  38. What a beautiful post Joanne. It has made me examine my retirement and maybe inspired me to find wings I didn’t know I had. Thanks.

    Like

  39. Good for you! You strike me as such a creative person, its hard to imagine you as an accountant!

    Like

  40. Mrs. P says:

    Wow…powerful! I could say a lot of the same things you have said…except the retirement part. I changed to a mediocre, low stress part-time job, one that would allow me the time to express my creative side. Like you, I thought I had none.

    So happy you found your wings! ❤

    Like

  41. I love this! Maybe you really aren’t a “different” person – you’ve just discovered the one that was inside of you waiting for permission to come out and play! Isn’t it interesting that your personality test revealed a different side of you than you expected. And good for the evaluate for pointing out that “creativity” can mean lots of different things. I really like how you built on Donna’s terrific post and your comment string… both of you got me to thinking how I’ve changed – and how I’m just the same.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      That’s such an excellent point about perhaps I discovered the me inside me all along.

      I think we end up discovering a lot about ourselves at various stages of our life – of which retirement is just one.
      I can’t help but wonder if I would have discovered this side of myself without a major nudge.

      It would be interesting to read about your own version of how retirement has changed you and how you’ve stayed the same.

      Liked by 2 people

  42. joey says:

    This is so wonderful! Kudos to you for embracing play!
    I don’t think about retirement ever, or empty nesting often, but when I do, I think of it as a new selection of possibilities.
    All these chapters in our lives, all these facets of our personalities, they all should be explored 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      I like that terminology you used “a new selection of possibilities”. That’s exactly it.

      I think we have a tendency to stay with the ones we know … and yet there are so many others to explore if we’re brave enough to try them.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. loisajay says:

    Bartending school?? How cool is that! Isn’t it great to finally have time to find out who you are, and not particularly who you thought you should be?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Oh Lois – you nailed it … “not particularly who you thought you should be”.

      We get caught up in these roles we’re playing in life, but they don’t always fit comfortably.

      … and yes, bartender school was a blast! Me and a dozen 18 to 22 year olds. The first day was horrifying. The second day I didn’t care. By the end of the 1st week, we were all buddies 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  44. DailyMusings says:

    so wonderful Joanne- a new you, new discoveries, we continue to be “works in progress” and find out new things about ourselves.

    Like

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