I was walking with my friend and yoga student, Mary, up from the beach after finishing a class and she said she had been thinking more about how one thing leads to another, and whether that might be a good topic for the Small Group Ministry at the Unitarian congregation we both belong to.
We agreed that it was. It was also too intriguing a statement not to pursue, so I asked her to describe what she meant. And she told me, in brief, how she found her life-long passion because when she graduated from college, she went out knocking on doors looking for a job and found herself at the Library of Congress where they were looking for someone to work with the blind. All she wanted was a job, and it turned out to be a job that led to other jobs, in Beirut where she later lived, and then in Geneva, one thing leading to another, and in the process she found the work she was meant to do.
Why does this resonate with me? 2young2retire, the mom-and-pop I founded with my husband, Howard, ten years ago, helps people at midlife and beyond transition from work they did for a living, to work they do for love (and sometimes for money). Our book (Too Young to Retire: 101 Ways to Start the Rest of Your Life) and course on which it is based, use provocative questions to get at what really matters to people, where they feel they could make a contribution — a different motivation from making the mortgage payment — and then how to proceed to find that next work. This work, usually found in one’s late 50’s or 60, has been called a Next Chapter, a Second Act, an Encore career, but what characterizes this new work is that it feels like a calling, something you simply cannot resist doing.
Transition is never easy because we tend to be creatures of habit. And it’s good to have a plan, a goal, a sense of direction. But perhaps we’ve not given enough weight to the value of just getting started, taking that first step, as Mary did long ago, and then simply letting one thing lead to another. Because it most certainly will.