After 27 years as a school counselor, I should have been able to predict that there'd be days when a major life transition might have an impact on me. But, no! When they hit, I am blindsided. Overwhelmed and blindsided.
Gray, out-of-sorts, growing pains days make me think of my friend Barb. Not that Barb was ever gray and out-of-sorts - far from it - but after she retired, she had a tough time adjusting to life on the outside. Thirty-plus years of education had left their mark, and without a school routine, Barb felt set adrift.
Set adrift has not been in my repertoire, at least not so far. So far - once the decision was made and became a reality - I've more like my friend Sandy. If Sandy had a moment's doubt about retiring, you'd never know it. She is thriving, happy, busy. Fulfilled.
Most days, I am like Sandy. Any doubts or second thoughts preceded the decision, and haunted me only until June when I could finally put closure on what had become irreversible. Once the decision became a reality, I looked only forward, not back, excited about the prospects and possibilities that lay ahead.
I made plans, shored up contacts, set priorities and (mostly) stuck to them. When September rolled around, and everyone went back to school, I congratulated myself on my planning as I headed into the fall with a schedule that was enticingly full, but not bursting at the seams.
But every once in a while, the growing pains hit, and the schedule that seemed enticingly full seems overwhelming. Adding one last thing to the grid - no matter how enjoyable - can nudge everything out of balance and leave me feeling not adrift, but drowning. Self-doubt takes over and I wonder how I'll ever swim to shore.
Momma said there'd be days like this. And in the scheme of things, these days are small potatoes.
But when I am in the midst of one of them, look out! Or please, please, PLEASE throw me a life preserver, for my sake and for the sake of anyone who has to be around me.
Two weeks from now when the craziness (of my own making) has passed, I will probably look back at this post and laugh, asking myself the inevitable counselor question: how can you avoid getting yourself into this mess in the future?
And while I know the answer, I wonder if I'll have the self-control required to say those magic words: "No, thanks. I can't commit to that."
Perhaps I should start practicing on days like this.