Walking in Texas

Clematis bloomed for the dogs
Aren’t they scrumptious! I wish everyone, not just the dogs, could see!

The weather is beautiful!  It’s about time.

The sun is bright and the wind is fair, so it’s time to walk.

In Texas, a walk at certain times of the day will almost always include mosquitos. The little jiggers just think they belong with someone who is trying to work up or sweat…or not.  They buzz around one’s head until you feel like you will fall over from swatting. I guess they actually help increase your heart rate. That could be a blessing in the long run.

I try to remember to wear something dark so just maybe, I can hide from them.  I always use the Skin So Soft products to ward them away naturally. You know, I read the herb, jojoba, is a natural repellent, so apparently that’s why the bath oil works so well.  I put a 1/2 cap full in the dog’s bath water to help her fight them off.  It’s not a product for outdoor-in-the-sun use! It’s OIL. Duh!  If you plan on being in the sun, around the water and require protection, look at the other Skin So Soft product, Bug Guard with SPF!

So during our walk, before I got off point, I noticed beautiful blooms in my garden! Everyone knows I have a brown thumb, so I was so excited I had to take a picture. Any beautiful thing that I don’t kill is a miracle to be sure.  So, I hope you love my picture of the clematis growing in my yard… on a trellis… facing the dog’s yard.  Ugh!

That’s right. The one thing I planted myself, that’s growing beautiful, only faces the dog’s yard! No one from the street can see  it.

 

Even if they are in the driveway, they can’t see it.  It’s the one plant I planted and grew successfully and my dogs are the only ones to enjoy it.

Except me.  Except you.   I hope you enjoy your walk… without any pesky tag along flying blessings. Enjoy the view.  It’s a great way to live better!

It’s a Process

Stunning photo! by Patty Black on unsplash
The time it takes to change to a beautiful creature, with a peaceful purpose, is for me!

It’s a process.

Trying to find balance in a world that was created around family and work and responsibility.  To renew beliefs that have always been there but not fully explored while off doing other things.

It’s a process to be comfortable doing nothing, or having nothing required of you except what you determine.

Photo by Patti Black on Unsplash   (beautiful, huh?)

As a young mother, the days were ordered.  Get up at the first whimper, place everything in order before the full-out assault to the morning and get everyone and everything done before running out of the house to work. After work chores included a time schedule to get everyone to bed on time and ready to repeat the morning ritual.

Hopefully, everyone leaves in a great mood, ready to attack the day with a positive attitude.  That, too, takes it’s toll.  It can be exhausting to take on the responsibility of everyone’s happiness.

As I’ve aged and they are raising their own, I see the challenges from a different perspective. I see them accepting the responsibilities with more grace than I.  I think that’s a positive thing. They have a clear direction for their families and goals for the future.  More positive to enjoy.  I see God’s blessings as they move forward with their lives.

My mom and dad retired. I mean, they actually did not work or even think about having anything else to do after they retired.  They fished, she quilted, he watched tv, they gardened, took long drives, played dominoes with church friends, helped others and they took turns bugging us on the phone.  It was sweet and I loved those little phone calls about the weather or the mosquito population.

I don’t know anyone doing that anymore.  I just don’t know them.

Everyone retiring has something else to do.  They trade stocks, write blogs, sell handmade crafts, sell antiques, sell a used car or two and some even work part time at local businesses (where they probably have a trusted connection) that need a little extra help now and then.

I have an 80+ year old friend that continues to care for one infant in her home, until  the baby can crawl.  Then they move on and she takes another for some lucky working mom who needs a grandmother to nurture her newborn while she is away. What a great job!

Many sign up to sell something. It’s the easiest thing to do.

Some just want to sell a little product they believe in.  It’s a good way to earn a little and stay sharp with business skills.  It’s a good way to contribute to social causes, too.  Selling the products that benefit the American Cancer Society, for instance.  Those who sell the products earn a little here and there and enjoy a personal discount.  Usually, 20-40%, based on their volume of designated products.  They purchase materials and pay shipping from those earnings (so take about 10-15% of those earnings away) and the sales taxes collected benefit the communities where the products are sold.

The problem is the recruiting.

Most direct sales companies have realized that using the MLM model is a money maker for them… and their top recruiters. So, why wouldn’t they offer that to everyone?  The truth is, very few recruit. Most sell and will take a recruit if they walk in the door or sign up under them.  They’ll get a small bonus for that effort and possibly a 1099 to go with it.

Those associates who choose to pursue the dream of success, using the MLM stream, are flooding the social networks, emails and all other phases of communication. There’s so much of it that now  many potential customers will not even look at the products (which could be smart purchases) because they don’t want to get flooded with opportunity reminders… over and over and over again.   I don’t blame them.

The saturation of consultants in MLM’s is great. I have seen, from experience, that there are so many more non-successful at reaching their dreams, than there are those who reach the top.  But, then… where is the “top”, for you?  HOPE.  That’s their magic.  Offering hope. Because anyone CAN, but few DO.

The saturation is so great because they tout  “start your own business” for such a small monetary investment and the “freedom to work as you please” while the newbies dream of posting on the social medias and waiting for the orders to flood the carts!  NOT! When the big offers of success disappoint, they quit.

Because the company forgot their new associate signed up to sell a few good products to their contacts and that WAS their dream. Then the companies brainwash those well meaning sales associates to buying into the HOPE.   And, the MLM label killed their initial dream.

It’s a process.

As I enter this new stage of life, I really want to sell some great products I believe in. Having worked in the industry as an employee, I have learned the value of the products and their ingredients.  While I’m not actively recruiting, I’ll gladly help anyone who does happen to sign up under me.  I’m not goal-reaching, other than buying and selling at a good return. It’s something I love to do and I hope the MLM aspect of my company will not hold me back.

This is truth. And it took me a time to come to this point.

When I first started, I went all out. I worked it like a business.  Every day I made 5 to 10 contacts and every day I posted or wrote posts for scheduling. I gave up weekends for events and spent a portion of everyday in self development.   In the first six months, I signed over 20 new associates. I earned bonuses and even a trip. It was fast and furious.  It was fun, getting to know my team and helping them get started.  Within 3 months, all but 11 are gone. Because they only wanted to sell a few products, not recruit. Because selling just a few products doesn’t make the money all the video’s and training talk about and everything the company offers as incentives, is focused on the recruiting.  They only wanted to sell!

So I asked myself.  Do I want to retire with the stress of working it like a business?  Or why did I come here?   I know, first hand what must be done.  I came here to prove a point.  I wanted to show them they chose wrong. I could do it better than most.  So, I did.   I took their bonus money, their rewards, even the trip and now I have confirmation that I don’t want to retire with the stress of working it like a business.  I want to sell a few great products.

And, I still love some of the products. And, I really like some products my friends sell.   I want to speak honestly about those products, and if someone orders from my affiliate website, I could earn a bit, but I want them to not be afraid of receiving too much spam. Did you know you can buy and then unsubscribe? A customer has a choice!

When I started blogging, my goal was to document the discovery process of my unplanned retirement.  I’ve looked into affiliate links, cottage industries and the printable market.  The thing they have in common is that they are selling something.

What I’ve learned, is it’s the same.

While it’s not a designated MLM, numbers do count.  They earn by recruiting others to their affiliate or t-shirt business or download or membership site!  It’s the same thing – without the label.  Getting attention to your site or the proper link is recruiting. It’s selling.  The payoff doesn’t come with a pre-paid trip (but you can buy your own without paying income tax on it) and you don’t need a fancy title to find your success.  The dream is the same… hope.  We hope to find joy in writing and recruiting to our affiliate(s).

It was a process.

I choose to sell a few great products that I believe in. Those products happen to be sold by some companies who also offer the MLM stream of income  – but those companies  are more than an MLM and, personally, I believe they do themselves a disservice by not finding a better balance between the earning opportunities and the product offerings.

The associates who represent the products should not be punished or held back because of that lack of balance. After all, they came here to sell a few good products with a good name to some good people who have supported the company for years and years.

I hope the MLM description of the companies that sell my favorite products, won’t kill my selling dream. My dream is about living better.  What’s yours?

 

 

The Magic of Adulthood

Something happens when you are a young parent.  Every baby seems a bit brighter than the last, more talented than the neighbors child and more calm than the kid at the day care.  Oh, and those eyes! How adorable and did you know her poop smells sweet?

I remember one evening after work, sitting in my mother in law’s den after dinner talking about all the important lessons I wanted to teach my newborn.  Music, (classical, of course) books (Chaucer, thank you) and museums (art!).  I went on and on about what was available in our large city and how important it was for my baby to know all of them.  She said (probably in an effort to get me to stop talking), “I’m sure you’ll give your baby a wonderful life and then, you’ll have to enjoy the magic of adulthood”.   I didn’t understand.

Every child has challenges and rewards… even the golden and seemingly perfect require special attention that keeps a mom busy from daylight to dark.

Teens stretch the boundaries, practicing what we taught them as babies, to see if it will get them to adulthood at a quicker pace.  Letting them (and encouraging them) to reach a little further with each experience may be a little tough, but necessary.

How else will they learn to properly react and to make those secondary decisions? Tethers like rules, curfews, dress codes, speed limits, allowances… all are about living better in the future.  They are the seatbelt that keeps our children safe in the traffic of life.

Then the true magic happens.  They live to adulthood.  They graduate, make a few decisions, regret a few choices and reboot to survive nicely… without you.  Making that adjustment is easier for some parents (and children) than others.  It can be a sad time or a glorious freeing time.

Some however, must be stuck in the middle for a bit.  Being stuck in the middle can be an obvious bother to the new adult and the parent… that’s where I was for a long time. Stuck in the middle. Between their childhood and their adulthood. Between guiding and nurturing and helping them move on! Eventually, they move and finding your place becomes a little more difficult.

Stuck in the middle is like being forced to live the life of a wall flower. With emotions swelling up when you (think you know) know the answer, they won’t listen and both are afraid to take that step out – for fear of offending someone or being outdated and just flat wrong, or being ridiculed for a belief.  After spending years as the teacher, all of a sudden they can think for themselves and you wonder… “who told them they could do that”?  It’s humorous when you think of it.

Just recently, I discovered the magic of adulthood means someone else can plan the menu for a get together, take a dare and live through it, purchase clothes for the grandkids and be the helping hands this world needs. These magical adults can have their own opinions, disagree with mine, change their spiritual direction and move away!  They can move into a house, mop their own floor, fix their own car, shop for food and stay away for months, if they like.  They’ve learned the magic of adulthood and are living it.

So what does this magic mean for me?  freestocks-org-547542-unsplash.jpg

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

The magic of adulthood allows me to move forward, pretend they aren’t sneering at my suggestions or political views, and enjoy their children and their futures from the side.  The magic of adulthood is not just for the children, it’s for all adults.  Music, art, museums without the diaper bag, road trips, laundry for two instead of for five is a snap, and trying new dances or walking paths can be an adventure. Enjoying the passion of entrepreneurial fun for profit, practicing music again, sharing free time as a local volunteer may be rewarding for some.

It’s looking pretty bright out there.

So, here’s to the magic. Here’s to the babies, now grown and gone from my lap. Here’s to the freedom to have beer at breakfast or champagne with lunch.  Here’s to time… to walk, to visit, to read and write.  To play dominoes and cards, to create beautiful gardens and clean guest rooms.  More music, art and museums, too!

The magic of adulthood awaits us, one and all and it’s definitely living better!

Play in the Traffic to Build Your Business

Building a business?

Whatever you do, MAKE A PLAN TO PLAY IN THE TRAFFIC!

We learn to make friends as children. Usually with our cousins or siblings, first. Then at day care or primary school. Remember, the teacher reminding us to be kind, to share, do our own work and to be fair?   Those rules in relationship building still work today, especially in business.hannah-rodrigo-320734-unsplash.jpg

So remembering those lessons, let’s consider our business contacts.  What type of person do we want as business partners?  How many new business partners will it take to make a positive change in your business?  What will my new business partner act like in our relationship?

Photo by Hannah Rodrigo on Unsplash

Having identified the type and number of similar behavior-ed partners needed, it’s likely you’ll identify their traffic pattern.

Where do they play?  Do they spend time at ball fields, on running trails or online?  Do they eat at great restaurants, shop at finer clothing stores, travel to places you love?  Do they love a great deal and wear your brand?

Where do they work?  Do they work in offices, dressing trendy? Do they work outdoors and have sun-kissed skin and calluses?  Are they tech-smart or tech-challenged?

Where do they live?  In apartments, with lots of people around them or in single residences, maintaining beautiful yards and entertaining others at dinner? Are they rural, soaking up the peace and quiet or in the hub of controlled chaos or excitement?

Discovery is important as you intentionally plan to Play in Their Traffic!

After you PLAN to create new contacts, build your strategy for meeting your new business partners. Having friends as business partners will definitely be a better way to live.

Practice giving compliments.  Genuine, beautiful statements of truth.  Take a couple of hours to play in their traffic.  Where are your ideal partners sitting on park benches? Where are they having coffee, what are they reading, which walking trail do they visit, which events will they attend and very important… may I join them in social media groups.

That’s where you meet people.  For every person you make eye contact, find an amazing attribute and compliment it!    “You have beautiful eyes”, “you should wear blue everyday”, “what an adorable bracelet”,  “precious children”, “I love the way you wrote that post”, “thank you for helping me understand” – –  be real!

When you make eye (or private message) contact,  your door is open!  

Now practice those relationship building lessons you learned as a child.

Be kind, polite, share, do your own work and be fair in all things. 

So… PLAN.   Choose a time and be prepared with information, conversation starters and yes, your short 30 second blurb about your business (in case the opportunity presents itself) . Enter your plan on your calendar and highlight it when you completed your task. Share your calendar with a partner who has agreed to ask you about your day.

INTENTIONALLY, sit in the traffic until you have met your goal of contacts.    That means you started the conversation, received their contact information and have their permission to contact them again!

How will you continue to build the relationship?

Connect through Social Media… text a “hello, I’m glad we met… here’s my link”, text.

INTENTIONALLY, revisit the traffic area, you’ll know them the next time. If there’s interest in the beginning, you may choose to visit the traffic weekly, monthly or maybe more. Go with your gut. Can this person be my friend, my business partner? Should I introduce this person to another partner?

Follow the rules of your youth: Be kind, polite, share, do your own work and be fair in all things.  BUILD the relationship from contact to friend.

Email or text:  ” I wondered if you’d like to visit when I see you at the coffee shop tomorrow” “I’m thinking I need to buy some new running shoes, do you mind if I ask what brand you wear”. “The friend I mentioned yesterday will be running with me next week, I’d like to introduce you”…  “I don’t know if I mentioned, but I …”

Mail:  Send cards for holidays, birthdays (it’s on FB), etc.  Write personal notes to your new friend, share experiences.

Consistently, work the plan to build contacts.

Consistently, work the plan to build the relationship with each contact.

Change, the “contact” label to “friend”.   By really getting to know your new contact, you’ll build a friend. We never have enough friends.

I’ve read that people find more jobs and opportunities by networking with those they know.  I personally find this to be true.  Every team member I have personally recruited started as a contact and progressed to acquaintance and then friend.  Sometimes it’s months before they need my business, sometimes it takes years. But, always, we are working on the progression of contact, acquaintance and friend. Maybe, they’ll choose me as a partner, maybe I’ll choose them by  being kind, polite, sharing, doing our own work and fair in all things. 

So, go Play in their traffic.  Remember the childhood rules of relationship building and enjoy building your own team… and growing a group of friends that fit in your life, and business, in a most comfortable way. It’s about living better!

 

 

Running Out Of Time?

How many days do you run in circles?

Today was my day. I had three items on my Bling list.

  1. Change the beds.
  2. Schedule social media posts
  3. Listen to 2 development webinars.

Have you used Bling? It’s a fun and Free Messenger App that helps me stay on track… if I keep my phone close.

I find using a digital calendar and keeping the deets in the notes section to be a grand help. Every evening before I retire, I check my calendar, lay out everything I need, enter the quickie notes in Bling and wash my face.

The few minutes that little routine requires, allows me to sleep peacefully and wake up confident. There’s nothing like an organized mind and a clean face on a lavender scented pillow case!

To make it even easier, I have beautiful containers labeled by day. Each time I schedule a follow up or delivery, I place materials in the coordinating day container, schedule any tasks I need to complete before the appointment and relax. When I schedule every step, I know the meeting will be a success because I consistently plan. By the time I’m ready to prepare for that day, I can usually find it already assembled. Just grab my materials for the day and go!

Each week I take time to prepare 30 sets of handouts. Sometimes it’s labeled samples, sometimes postcards, some are brochures or flyers. Each morning, as I enter the office, I pick up five or six and determine how they’ll be distributed. Maybe they go in the day container or the mailbox. However it gets done, the day is not done until I’ve made the contacts. How can I follow up, if there’s nothing to follow?

As your own organization system takes shape, you’ll be finding extra time for fun or work. Just remember… leave some white space so you can join an impromptu lunch with friends or a video call with the granddaughter. Networking with friends and business associates is never wasted time.

Take it one step further… Here’s an example: Monday I work from home – no scheduling of errands, but it’s a great day for changing the beds, etc. Tuesday is volunteer day, errands are scheduled before and after. Wednesday mornings are a great time for recruiting, as long as I get home to be with my granddaughter by 3. See, you may find breaking down your days for maximum efficiency helpful and while it takes time to get in the habit, it’s well worth it!

Hint: if you prefer a paper schedule use a pencil for flexible appointments, ink for the unchangeable. Using a white eraser keeps it neat. On my digital calendar I end each flexible entry with F (flexible).

Granddaughter’s are not flexible and she loves gingerbread cookies-they go in the Wednesday container!

Becoming the organized master scheduler of your time allows more flexibility for you! Believe it or not… creating an intentionally organized life is… a matter of living better!

Today Could Just Be Different

Today COULD be the day that everything changes.

When I awoke and stepped on the cold tile floor, I thought… “why am I doing this?”

For just a few dollars, I could purchase a small rug that would make my feet warm when I wake up in the mornings.  For a few dollars more, I could probably buy some new house-shoes and for just a few hundred, purchase carpet.   So, “why”?    I’m waiting.

I’m waiting to make the right decision for the new flooring. Of course, the decision hasn’t settled on me yet.  So my feet get cold.  I don’t want to buy a rug, because when I settle on the flooring, I won’t need it.  Same with the shoes.   That’s why.  I’m waiting.

When I started my Avon business, I had waited about 6 months from the first time I thought about it.  In that 6 months, I didn’t make any extra money and I didn’t meet any new friends and I didn’t add any new skills to my life that could make a difference.  The price of the start up kit changed and the incentive offers changed – but I waited.

FINALLY, I moved in the right direction… starting my business with a sweet lady with an English accent that really kept my attention!  I met new people, banked some cash and best of all… added some skills to my life that changed me forever.   It was a gradual change, but it began with that first decision.

If you are waiting on something to ‘settle’ on you before you make an important decision, let me encourage you to move toward the ‘decidin’ part’, as my grandmother called it.  Get on with it and enjoy meeting others, earning extra money and adding skills to your life.  It will change you.

I hope you’ll choose to join me at Avon.  But, first… I’m off to choose a rug!

It’s a Girl Project

I finally settled on a project.  Well, I’ve chosen several.  Visiting with my friends, the other night, I learned it’s pretty common to “bite off more than you can chew” when you first decide to retire.

So, I’ve backed up to regroup.

Three months ago today, New Avon gave us notice and I had to decide what my future would look like.  I’ve always had a plan and always known what my DREAM was, but not necessarily when it would happen.  So, I have had the opportunity to reflect and rethink the dream.

So, now… while returning to direct sales for my “gig”, I have time to complete a few projects that will lead to that picture I see in my future.

To have what I desire, I need a pretty back yard.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just neat and comfy with very little maintenance required.  I really do not like yard work, but enjoy the benefits… whether I earn them or buy them.

I called a friend that loves to do outside work and has some great ideas.  She’s known me for 35 years, so she knows my likes and dislikes.  She listens to my concerns and my goals and encourages me in a different direction when she knows there is upkeep on the horizon.

The message I left her went a little like this: “Hi, Sherry. I hope you are ok today. My yard and my future well-being require your assistance. I hope you are free to visit soon.”

THREE DAYS LATER, she got the courage to call. She knew it meant work, because she knows about me and outdoor work.

She asked lots of questions and I found the answers. She has another friend who loves that work and would like some extra bucks, so she can help.   It’s a girl project!

Day one comes and goes… no one shows up  – not even me!

Day two arrives with the overgrowth being yanked from around the house and add-on.  Progress.

No more overgrowth!
No more overgrowth! Only the hydrangeas will remain. The rose bush will be moved and the grapevines come down tomorrow!

They decided to save the rose bush, and use it in another area. The hydrangea stays, the monkey grass is relocated for a bit.

The numbers of critters in the garden are the main reason I don’t like gardening.

I watched with goose bumps as the spiders (of all kinds) scampered across the house, tools and ground to find a new dwelling.  The King snake had to relocate and the lizards were moving quickly to the other side of the house.

We picked up the soapy water bottle to allow the bees and yellow jackets to crawl away and find a new home and I hate to admit it, but we sprayed that huge nest of wasps from under our chairs!

yellowjacket
Imagine! Sitting on the rusty old chair and a baby yellow jacket lands on your knee. Then another, and another. I turned over that chair and discovered their hiding place where all the little fellas were handing on for dear life! Soapy water, wet their wings and allowed them to scamper off to another location. I don’t like them, but they have a purpose.

The mosquitoes are another story, so we grabbed the Bug Guard and the Skin So Soft to be fully prepared.

Our brick has so many colors, I’m excited to shop for ground covers, plants and “littles” that personalize an area.   But, that’s another day.  For now… I feel comfortable walking outside where the plants used to reside and see the cleaned area with the weeds slowly giving way for a future oasis that is lovingly referred to as our girl project.

Success is about the WHATEVER

I’ve found that retirement is a time to do more than you possibly did while you were working!

One day I overheard someone mention that they wondered how they ever had time to work a “real job”.  I just laughed it off… until now!

I love selling Avon. Mostly, I love helping people solve their most current issue with their skin and sometimes assist as they choose gift items or daily care products for family and friends.  Since I love helping people, it stands to reason that the best part of my side gig is the face to face conversations and relationship building.adobe-spark-post (2)

Through Avon, I’ve met women who want so badly to become their own person, so to speak.  What I love to show them is that THEY ALREADY ARE!  It’s their perception of what they would look like, if they “were their own person”.  I think what they mean is if they were energetic enough to work to become the person they see in their dreams.

When I decided to go back into direct sales, my friend asked…”Are you going to do whatever it takes to achieve (the incentive)?

WHATEVER is a big word, folks! I know, better than some, that it takes fortitude to build a direct selling business to the scale from which we would love to earn.  Replacing a salary takes work… and if you want to “retire” at the same time… one would be fooling oneself!

At the same time (within days) of our notice of downsizing, three tragedies struck my personal world.  ‘Overwhelmed’ is not even a big enough word to describe my life. Poor hubs. He’s so loving and loyal and knows when to get out of the way.  So, I did not do the WHATEVER.  I couldn’t hardly move. Or eat. Or make a phone call.  It was like life had ended during those days and weeks.

Then, a former customer called.

We had no relationship outside of Avon.  But, she remembered, that I knew the product she needed.  She remembered that I could find it for her, even if I couldn’t sell it to her.  We were both excited to visit and renew our talk about our children, her skin care need, my return to direct selling and her own plans for future retirement.

She was the reason I moved passed the disaster.  My relationship with her was one of helping.  I helped her meet the needs she was experiencing at that moment.

I felt great helping someone else, rather than feeling sad and overwhelmed by the responsibility and loss in my own life. She became my impetus.  Our relationship made me move.

Now, we have a team. We are working a local county fair this week. We are meeting new people again and doing the WHATEVER.  My calendar is full and my floors need sweeping. The landscaping team I hired need answers and the dogs need baths. I have an Eastern Star meeting to attend tonight and my wonderful up line has stepped in at the fair.  I need to print more tickets to my workshop (for fair follow-up) and I have a 2:30 appointment with a young woman preparing to be a stay at home mom.  I’ll be starting two new team members this week, just like I did last week.  We will be counting the money together in 3 weeks!

How would I ever have time to work a full time “regular job”? Or for that matter, retire!

Success in direct selling … mine happens to be with Avon… is about the WHATEVER. Being a personal shopper is about doing what makes YOU feel good.

Being the business owner is about serving others!

I love being the owner… how about you?

Friday… day

Fridays (before retirement) meant the end of a hard working week… at some places I worked.  My last job – not so much.  When you work with lots of people, encouraging them and answering their questions, facilitating their actions… you work when they need you.

When their work is also their past time, it normally involves some weekend contact.  So, Friday’s take on less meaning.  There is no end to your week when you work like that.

So, after a time, I managed to lose my work/life balance.  It wasn’t intentional… it just occurred.  It wasn’t even what the company wanted for me… it just happened. Even the team members  apologized every time they called on the weekend.  I was tired, not clearly focused and in the end, less motivated.

So, really… being available 24/7 didn’t do anyone any good.

I missed the grandchildren’s school programs, trips with girlfriends, seeing my sisters when they all got together, a musical at the local college, the birds building the nest at the edge of the porch, game day at church, my old friend’s funeral, time at the piano, organization meetings and local events I had loved before and most important, meaningful time alone with my love.

Balance is a fleeting skill.  When you don’t exercise the core muscles, you lose your balance.  If you don’t visit, go see the masses, have a drink with a friend, or watch the birds, your core muscles get weak. You can’t stand straight. You can’t carry on a current-content conversation, and you can’t listen to soGorgeous Purple flowersmeone who needs to talk… because you are not there.

So, while I search for that elusive balance in my retirement, I have made a plan.  Every Friday… with intention, I will visit someone I haven’t seen in awhile.  Since I know it’s easiest to start in one’s “warm market”, I’m choosing my friend Dianne for today.  Last week, I stopped to visit my long time friend, Lou, at her volunteer station. We had a great visit and I felt so good when I left.

Today, Dianne… who is a former co-worker and now, friend, has lots of interests. I love to hear about her travels, the music concerts she attends with her husband, her adorable grandsons and of course, her new business interests.  I’ve made a list.

As usual, I am reminded that I don’t think I am through working yet… but I’m exploring the realms of retirement – on my terms – in balance with the rest of my life.