I have a strong personal identity and all my worlds tend to collide in to each other with a distinct lack of clear boundaries. I don’t mean I am boundary-less, more that I am Anne, the wife and mum, strands that are bound around identities as a worker, a nurse, a digital nurse, a patient, a friend, a pet owner, and someone who wants to try to leave the world a slightly better place when I go. I see the many strands of me bound together like a strong rope. I completely love working with people and gain huge amounts from comradeship and social contact, these too are strong elements of my rope.
So here I am having finally handed in my notice and technically moving away from my existing role as Chief Nurse at NHS Digital. I am so proud to say what I do now, yet I am walking away from that title in May. I am not sure how much of the rope needs to unravel as part of that process.
I am, I admit, a bit scared.
I know that I am not ready to stop working and think I have at least another decade where I want to do ‘stuff’. I just can’t see yet what that means; what the new strands will be and how they will join my experiences and the other existing parts of my strong rope. The thing is, I have worked since I was 16 years old; I only took 14 weeks off as maternity leave and I have had no other substantial periods of time off. From the date I started work, to the day I finish this job will be 14,121 days. Of those days, 12,892 of them have been working as a nurse. Those are big numbers. No wonder my work identity is a strong component that runs through my life.
So, if now is a time for re-creating myself, I am worried that the rope may be bound too tightly.
I think I need to face a period of letting go. I can’t be the same thing forever and it’s time for change, hopefully in a good way. Then I need to face up to some new choices and new directions. It should be the most exciting time, but the truth is I am already having sleepless nights, not worrying exactly, its more of a nagging anxiety about letting go.
I guess it’s normal, but I am finding the waiting time excruciating. I am terrible at endings and this one seems a mighty big one! I usually ignore them and sort of slide into the next thing, avoiding goodbyes. I would prefer it to happen now with no extended waiting times. But patience and preparation are the name of the game right now, finishing things too.
I hope to blog about my new adventures, assuming they come to pass and want to get my writing juices flowing again, so my apologies for the self indulgent blog.
If you have made some major life changes in retirement, let me know and send me some words of encouragement and your tips! I feel sure this is a common life stage problem!
“Since when,” he asked,
“Are the first line and last line of any poem
Where the poem begins and ends?”
Poem by Sophie Sabbage, The Cancer Whisperer, Thank you.