Pandemic Pearls II

What, if anything, came into fruition for you during pandemic times?

My third book, Transforming Retirement: Rewire and Grow Your Legacy is my fruit of many years’ growth, both before and during the pandemic. When I lost the publisher of my first two books (my editor was furloughed in the pandemic), I had to search for a new publisher. This disappointment evolved into a blessing; I worked on the manuscript that I thought was “finished.” I reached out to my retirement survey participants to discover how the pandemic may have affected their retirement attitudes and plans. Their responses were a concoction of both angst and coping skills. Here is a sample:

  • 71, male: ““I actually had more contact with out-of-town relatives since I started using Zoom…[I] learned that I can still adapt at age 71.                                                              
  • 72, male: “[I] provided e-learning support and childcare for my grandchildren full-time…[it was] an all-encompassing commitment…[an] intense time with one set of grandkids was a gift, but the rest was severely compromising.” 
  • 73, female: “I’m totally responsible for my physical, cognitive, and social health…[I] need to push myself every day to improve every area…resilience is vital to well-being…[I’m] relishing unhurried days and spending more time contemplating nature.”                                                                                   
  • 77, female: Sometimes [I’m] feeling like in a twilight zone. At other times I feel very good and normal because of my work; both consulting and volunteer work continue to engage me, anchor me in qualitative ways with others.”

Transitioning into new territory is not easy, especially when your very survival depends upon staying physically well. Staying emotionally well during the pandemic also was a challenge for most people.

Well-lived years require ongoing rewiring. You edit your life story more than once! Actually, you rewire your bodymind through “rough cut” editing of daily changes. Initial transitioning involves saying good-bye to what you are losing. Was the transitioning your choice or did someone else (due to the pandemic) initiate the ending? Either way, belonging and ability needs may go unmet initially. Grieving often accompanies our endings.

A muddling-middle stage of transitioning is where confusion and angst may pile up. Your body may feel tense. Fearful and insecure parts of your personality can surface. You experience vulnerability when you are lost-in-a-maze of feelings and unmet needs. Your energy may plummet. This is a clue for you to tend to yourself with great care.

In transitioning well from any big change in your life, tend-and-befriend yourself with resilience that is larger than your grieving. For example, you might focus on the resilience of gratitude. Calling upon a grateful part of your personality coaxes a sense of calmness and clarity. Name and frame gratitudes in your mind.

I am grateful that I finally found a publisher for Transforming Retirement (available for online pre-order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble).   

Pearls of Peace (PoP) Quiz

179. What is one upside to your pandemic “time-off” from the way you usually did things?

180. How do you generally cope with transitions in your life?                             

By Janis Johnston

Janis Clark Johnston, Ed.D., has a doctorate in counseling psychology from Boston University. She has worked with children, families, and groups (ages 3-83) with presenting issues of anxiety, depression, trauma, loss, and relationship concerns. She initially worked as a school psychologist in public schools and was awarded School Psychology Practitioner of the Year for Region 1 in Illinois for her innovative work. She was a supervising psychologist at a mental health center, an employee-assistance therapist and a trainer for agencies prior to having a family therapy private practice. Recipient of the 2011 Founder’s Award for her dedication to the parenting education of Parenthesis Family Center (now called New Moms), and the 2002 Community Spirit Award from Sarah’s Inn, a domestic violence shelter and education center, Johnston is an active participant in numerous volunteer activities supporting children and families in her community. A frequent presenter at national psychology and educational conferences, Johnston has published journal articles, book chapters, and two books -- It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent: Stories of Evolving Child and Parent Development (2013, hardback; 2019, paperback) and Midlife Maze: A Map to Recovery and Rediscovery after Loss (2017, hardback; 2019, paperback). In addition to augmenting and supporting personal growth in families, Johnston is a Master Gardener and loves nurturing growth in the plants in her yard.

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