The Fine Art of Bold Decisions
This year is a big one for me. In some ways, I would say, it's epic. I've considered some major life changes since 2016 began, as I mentioned in this New Year's post. Clarity and change have been my goals for the year. I'll be turning 55 in July. Reaching that milestone comes with a range of options for me, including retirement from my 33-year career in education.
I'm no stranger to bold decisions. Sixteen years ago I boldly followed my heart to resign from my school psychology position, sell my home and leave my beloved San Francisco bay area behind. I headed for Chico, a small university town 150 miles northeast, to create a new life with Scott-- sappy but true--the love of my life. Within a couple of months, I had started a new job, purchased a new home, married and became a step-mother to his three teen-aged daughters.
Bold move, right?
Was it easy, no!
Was it exciting?
There was another time, where I made a bold decision to move for love....
That went down in flames. Ouch!
The truth is, I wouldn't change that chapter (despite the heartbreak), simply because it brought me to my next chapter of life.
I'm guessing you have had to make some bold decisions, too. We all do at some point in life.
How do we make the complex decisions to alter the course of our path?
I'm not talking about where to go on vacation -- though I always love to discuss that question -- I'm talking about the major shifts in life, in love, in career, in location. I'm talking about what we do with each day we are given.
I've been on the career path for so many years, this will be a huge change for me. My to-do list will shrink tremendously, at least for a while. I will have the opportunity--and freedom--to pursue a slice of life that is my passion for the first time in a very, very long time. In some ways, it feels like being 18 again. The sky is the limit and that feels good.
I have worked in education my entire career. I started as a student teacher in picturesque St. Helena, in the Napa Valley. I became a first-grade teacher in Hayward at age 23, and later received my master's degree in Educational/Developmental Psychology in Michigan. I taught 4th grade in La Canada, an upscale community in Southern California, for 6 wonderful years. In another bold move (the one that went down in romantic flames), I returned to school to complete my Pupil Personnel Services credential and become a School Psychologist (that was the upside). That credential drove my move to the San Francisco bay area for 6 years of practicing at West Contra Costa Unified School District. In that position, I ended up meeting my now-husband, Scott, at a conference in San Francisco.
Looking back, I see how everything worked together for me to be in this space, at this time. The last 16 years of working for Butte County Office of Education, for students with emotional issues, have been the most challenging, and rewarding, of my career.
I am ready for a change.
When I began considering the option of retiring from my career this summer, I was ecstatic. Bordering on euphoric. As the possibility became more of a reality, I felt slightly terrified. I've had a few sleepless nights--in a panic--and several weeks of waffling back and forth. How do you change that day-to-day routine, that schedule, that drive to care for and support staff and students?
How do you give up those daily connections with colleagues, friends and students?
What about the finances?
How do you make that final decision?
*Pay attention to the signs around you. As you step through the process of your decision, the signs will get stronger. They always do.
*Make and review a list of pros/cons. Keep it as a reminder of why you made the decision.
*When in doubt, with a major decision, I live a few days as if I had made the decision one way. I pay attention to how it feels. Do I feel regret or relief? I then balance it with "living as if" the decision were made the other way for a few days. This strategy has always been a good barometer of how I feel throughout the decision-making process.
*Keep your eyes wide open AND trust your gut.
*If you are open, you will see your path. I'm seeing my path, and I'm making some bold decisions!
Thank you for reading this personal post today. I plan to share more of my journey into this next chapter of life here on the blog, and I would love to have you follow along.
I'm nervous...and very excited.
Please share any words of wisdom you have on the fine art of making bold choices with the rest of us.