The “Future”….creating “fields of positive potential” in our lives


the future...a field of potential


I created all of the following pages because I’m confused…I really am quite confused.

And since there may be others out there with similar “confusion,” I’m going to share a few ideas, as I work my way through this confusion.  I can’t be the ONLY one around who’s confused by these particular concerns….well, of course, maybe I am.

I’m used to having  certain explicit “roles” in my life and acting out of the “expectations” of those roles… mother, school teacher, summer jobs, student, etc.  I found it very fulfilling, enjoyable, and mostly easy, to choose activities and live out of those positive and deeply valued role expectations. I didn’t need to access “initiative.” I simply did “what I was supposed to do” …and I usually enjoyed what that entailed! And when I didn’t “enjoy” it, I simply did what needed to be done, because it simply NEEDED to be done!

But now, for what feels like the first time in my life, I don’t have any particular “role” or “external expectations” to guide my choices. I’m not a “student,” not a “school teacher,” not “actively/daily mothering” since our daughter is a young adult now.

And, most challenging… some days, I don’t seem to have very good access to an internal  sense of “initiative”… of getting started.

I chose to stop teaching school in June…also called “retirement,”  a “label” which tells what I no longer do.  I no longer work at a “real, officially labeled job.” There really are some very significant “activities” that I “no longer do.”

 I’m used to being quite “competent,” but, oddly enough,I really didn’t understand the complexity of this stage in life… of transitioning from what I “no longer do” …to what I might now “choose to do.”

I do love, love, love NOT working!  I love NOT having the stress, the schedules, the lack of flexibility. I love having more freedom,  choices and contentment! I LOVE not working at a “real, officially labeled  job!”

I also LOVE reading, studying, thinking, reflecting, understanding, creating these “pages” based on what I’m learning, sharing the pages and  ideas with others by way of several blogs…. and making practical use, in my everyday life,  of ideas I’m learning!  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE doing this and find it extremely enjoyable, engaging and fulfilling! But still… a gap…. a strange, unfamiliar feeling “gap.”

Wow! What a strange term… “retired” ….only what I don’t do! It doesn’t include anything about what else I might now choose to do.  What might that be???  It feels a bit like being 22 years old and wondering…. “What am I going to “do” for the rest of my  life???”  What am I going to “do” in this next year? This next month?  What do I choose? What’s important now? How do I participate and contribute, without overextending? How do I do that?

Note:  I’m guessing that with the HUGE number of BabyBoomers about to retire…. (10,000 BabyBoomers/day are turning 65 years old…. 75 million Baby Boomers are one verge of retiring! per US News) … these challenges that I’m noticing might start to become “societal” challenges… I’m guessing that many, or even MOST, of us aren’t quite “prepared” for this transition…probably having planned and focused on financial aspects, looking forward to “it,” … BUT without the understandings, awarenesses, personal insights, varied interests, skills or resources that might be needed for transitioning out of “real jobs” to more flexible, long term sense of engagement and fulfillment…. so heads up America!  (Canada? Europe? Australia?NZ? etc?) …a whole bunch of us might be facing similar potential challenges!

Here’s another BIG challenge! How do I motivate myself, when there aren’t any “external” or “role” expectations? And how in the world do I get myself going when I’m so “relaxed?”…accessing “initiative”…when there are NO external expectations? …an incredible luxury along with a challenge!

So, I’m confused. Seriously, I’m very confused.  I have this amazing luxury of complete freedom and choice.  I’m used to being proactive, capable and competent, but oddly enough, I don’t really know how to consciously “choose.” Isn’t that bizarre???  I seem to have the opportunity to independently choose and independently create my own meaningful and purposeful life… but I don’t know how to “do” that.

And, even more challenging!?!  I certainly have never had difficulty accessing initiative. I did what I did because it was important to me… and I simply did “what I was  supposed to do.”  What happened?

Of course, I could simply pursue recreational activities…but that’s not enough for me.  I really value contributing, engaging, creating, supporting  others. And strangely enough, I really don’t know how to get myself going to do that, outside of a “job” or “role.” Wow! What a surprise this is for me! Of course, I can volunteer…but I’d like that to be in a greater context, a deeper meaning. And to get myself going?

And so…the pages below… as I ponder, reflect and try to figure out this amazing opportunity that I’m sometimes a bit bewildered by…

Realizing that “the future” is a field of potential…to be created and used in meaningful ways, as much as I’m able…and that the future emerges or unfolds out of this present moment’s choices…so to live in each present moment, as richly and fully as possible.

I’m figuring that I can start by becoming more consciously aware of my own personal deeply held values, start recognizing how I’m living those each day and using that awareness  for jump starting “initiative” … accessing  “initiative”  from my own deep commitment of living out those values.  Here I go…. as far as I’ve gotten…


Figuring out deeply-held values and qualities,
and then learning to live with and through those values



In many ways…the future “is” potential…
we usually don’t know what will happen,
we might feel like it simply “unfolds”…
but there seems to be a  “field of potential” there…
and where there is potential…there is room for some choice…
the future has an aspect of a “field of potential”
“potential” that we can live in the present moment


future field of potential positives


Learning to identify our deeper positive values…
qualities that probably benefit our own lives and the lives of others…
identifying those values and learning to choose activities and interactions
that are embedded with those special values…
Every day life will certainly benefit from those awarenesses and choices…
And….the positive potential of one’s future will probably benefit from that reflecting,too…
And then…. living those positive activities and interactions  throughout each day…
both within oneself and with others…


future field of positive potential some steps


I’ve been reading lots of books, (listed below… I do love to learn about “unfamiliar”  subjects, and I’m living in the midst of a very “unfamiliar” subject now! ), browsing through websites and taking written and online quizzes that help one identify some of one’s own “deeply held values”…

At this point, as an example for people reading… in case others might be figuring this out, too… I really do recommend getting busy on this “figuring out!” (ahead of time!)  I’ve done lots of reflecting and  here are several of my own “deeply held values” …and how I might be able to USE  these qualities or values as I think about choices, options, motivation and, the hardest for me, getting going…

future field of potentials some specific values


I usually start with “image”  pages when I’m trying to figure something out, but, oddly enough, this time I created a chart first…and then went on to create image pages… logical left brain activated first this time, symbols/color/image right brain second. (my husband just read that and commented…”that’s good… left brain first!”… ahhhh, he appreciates a logical approach! )


The first chart might look a bit blurry on WordPress format, so I’ll add a second chart…one that’s not as well formatted or colorful as the first one, but maybe more readable….

The following chart shows how I’m using those “identified values/qualities” to reflect upon and choose “meaningful activities.”  It’s quite remarkable how many “check marks” one activity can get!… living multiple deeply held values within an activity!


future field of potential choosing values and activities

fuure field of potential identifying values


It turns out that many ordinary, rather “mundane-seeming” activities are embedded with a number of these positive values! “Going to the store” got lots of check marks…and so did “taking in the big garbage cans back in from the curb!”  Now, that’s a nice surprise!

And choosing and doing more engaging activities seems to get lots of check marks too… wow…nice surprise there, too!

Here’s a blank chart, in case anyone else is interested in trying this idea.

values and activities blank chart


And so… lots of thoughts and reflections…pondering away here…mellow, relaxed, enjoying and truly appreciating life …

But, trying also to get more insight into deeper values, living with fullness, positive choices, initiative, motivation, choosing and going forward, in a positive manner…within each day and flowing into the “future”.. a field of potential!

the future...a field of potential





This post got so long…it’s probably several posts in one, but I just don’t know how to shorten it.  I really hope those of you who are reading it, no matter what “stage” of your life you’re in,  can pick and choose from the ideas…and I do hope some of the ideas might be helpful to you or others…

Books that might be helpful to others… books that I’ve read, studied and found insightful and helpful…. as I wrote, I love reading, studying and learning!…and I love gaining a deeper understanding of “unfamiliar” subjects…especially ones I find myself in the midst of, without awareness about what’s going on! ….and here I am!… smack dab in the middle of a very (!!!) unfamiliar “subject”…. no longer working at that “real” job…a field of potential, indeed!

Books that might help with learning to live with yourself and others,  and to develop more fully… for everyone, but especially helpful when you don’t have other distractions and are re-familiarizing with “yourself”  ( even if you are still working and busy…there’s no time like the present!…this learning is a “process” over time …wonderful books!)

The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer, Excellent book! learning to come to terms with the incessantly talking “roommate” in your own mind…and how to quiet it down. When you’re not working, you might hear that roommate’s incessant chatter more often or loudly!

The Art of Happiness, A Handbook for Living,  The DalaiLama, with Howard Cutler, Wonderful book!…absolutely full of insightful ideas, suggestions and practical tips for living more positively and fully each day.

Buddha’s Brain, Rick Hanson, Excellent and helpful!  Well organized, practical and helpful information about the brain…easily understood explanations of  neurobiology, neuropsychology,  how our brains “work” and reacts… and how to soothe, enrich and develop in life. Really wonderful book filled with practical, useful ideas! He gives excellent workshops, too…all around the US and World

The 5 Love Languages, The Secret to Love that Lasts, Gary Chapman,  Really helpful book! Concise, well organized, good examples. Highlights 5 main categories of “ways” in which partners and friends give and receive love, learning one’s own and other people’s preferences, and then learning to nurture others and oneself, by respecting and using those preferences. When one isn’t working, there’s lots more time of being with one’s partner… good idea to start positively nurturing the relationship, or else….

The Second Half of Life, Angeles Arrien, Excellent book!  Describes various stages people often go through, from the age of 50 onward. Full of insightful ideas that can lead to shifting perspectives about “aging”…. changing from seeing areas of “loss” to recognizing, appreciating, valuing  and developing areas of richness, fullness and growth.  She offers excellent weekend workshops, too.

Saying Yes to Change,  Joan Borysenko and Gordon Dveirin, Excellent, concise book, full of good insights and ideas!

I Could Do Anything, If I Only Knew What It Was, Barbara Sher
Live the Life You Love, Barbara Sher

Via Strength Finder, huge website,  by Authentic Happiness, Martin Seligman, UPenn…many quizzes that help one figure out areas of interest, strength, etc.  Helpful in identifying and understanding areas that one might want to develop more fully.

A few good books about transitioning into “retirement:” Developing more awareness and understanding of positive possibilities, potential challenges,  identifying strengths, preferences, areas of interest, possibilities, making choices etc

My Next Phase, The PERSONALITY BASED  Guide to your Best Retirement,  Eric Sundstrom, Randy Burnham and Michael Burnham, Excellent book! Identifies important personal “styles” preferences that can help in  choosing “retirement options” and living more fully, when not working. (Good ideas, even if you are working!)  Developing deeper awareness of and understanding about your own preferences (and those of one’s partner) and using those to make more positive,  informed choices:  Social Style, Stress Style, Activity Style, Information Style, Outlook Style, Decision Style, Planning Style

Retire Happy, What You Can Do NOW to Guarantee a Great Retirement, Ralph Warner (head of Nolo Press, “do it yourself”  legal publishing company ), Richard Stim, Excellent book!  Organized, concise, to the point, helpful ideas!
Areas covered in book: “cultivating interests outside work,  leading a healthier lifestyle, revitalizing family relationships,  spending more time with spouses, embracing spirituality or meditation, nurturing friendships and making new friends”  Another quote: “All the money in the world won’t make for a happy retirement unless you’re satisfied with the rest of your life. So start today.”

The Joy of Not Working, Ernie Zelinski, excellent book, concise, engaging, full of good ideas

What Color Is Your Parachute?  for Retirement, Richard N. Bolles, John E. Nelson, excellent book, very helpful questions and ideas

The Third Chapter, Passion, Risk and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50,  Sara Lawrence- Lightfoot


So many “fields of positive potential” available to all of us…
no mater what our age or “stage” in life,
each and every day,
in each present moment…
may we try as much as we are able
….to choose well….


the future...a field of potential


About Pocket Perspectives

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8 Responses to The “Future”….creating “fields of positive potential” in our lives

  1. sufilight says:

    Oooh, Kathy, I think it’s very normal to feel that gap when we are no longer doing what we did for many years especially since it was fulfilling. I was forced to retire young because of trouble with my hearing and for the first year I cried as I missed the connection with my peers, having a purpose. Later on I realized I wasn’t “retired” but in a new stage in life. Nowadays, I don’t consider myself retired (even if I get my benefits and pension) as I co-own an online business with Phil, ( I consider myself free and having like you opportunities to do what I love. However, I admit that sometimes without some pressure I get too relaxed and not motivated enough to do other things.

    Be patient with yourself, it’s normal to have the confusion.. .I went through this stage at first.


    • Marie….thank you so much for your reassurance and advice…thank you! It’s such a surprise to find myself “confused”…. transitions, I guess.
      Ahhh…patience…as you might be aware, being patient isn’t so easy for me…well, now I have a chance to practice it, I guess. And relaxation is wonderful…. just need to be able to re-activate! thank you again, Marie, for your reassuring words and ideas.
      Well, the “good news” is that I have lots to learn about all of this…and there are lots of resources around for doing that.
      I had some helpful advice about these ideas…from a friend…. “is there any need to find a “role” at this time? Isn’t our role at role at this time, “being at this time”…doing whatever we are doing as well as possible”
      and…. “with the right motivation and intention, every potential is equally important”…
      and one more…. “really, it’s the ordinary things done well that become special”
      Good and helpful ideas…just need to shift and take them in.


  2. Baby Boomers have been on my mind this week for some reason. Probably because my hubby and I have been sorting out the details of our own Grand Adventure and identifying what we value for our life. I’ve thought of starting a blog called Baby Boomers Bust Up to encourage and follow what we’re doing with our lives, all of us, who are retiring, or not, who are making plans, or not… This is a great resource you have created here. I always love seeing how your mind works.


  3. Baby Boomers on the mind! What good thinking you and hubby are doing. I think you have a great idea with that blog…love the name….I’m guessing that some/lots of people are going to have a few unanticipated surprises as they transition, to whatever degree people do so…well, of course, life transitions are often full of surprises.
    I hope some of the ideas or books in the post might be helpful for others. I got somewhat lost in the midst of the varying ideas…but I’m guessing more clarity will come with time.


  4. nrhatch says:

    I no longer ask myself what I want to do for the rest of my life. How could the “2013 me” possibly know what the “2023 me” wants to do . . . or is capable of doing.

    Instead, I ask myself what I want to do TODAY. Now. In the present. If I do what I love today, then I’m in a positive state of mind to do what I want to do tomorrow . . . IF tomorrow arrives.


  5. Robin says:

    It takes a while, Kathy, to get in the swing of things once the roles we are used to are gone. I take it one day at a time. Or sometimes a week at a time. lol! Another good book is “Claiming Your Place at the Fire: Living the Second Half of Your Life on Purpose,” but it sounds as if you’ve already done quite a bit of reading. I think the main thing is to enjoy what you’re doing whether you’re active or relaxing. 🙂


    • Thank you’s so helpful to get ideas and insights from others who have experience with this transition.. and more books?…I love books and gain so much deeper understanding from reading…thank you for that suggestion!!! I always appreciate suggestions for books others find helpful!
      As I just commented on your post, I’ve been fascinated by expanding my thinking about concepts of past, present and future…the idea of the “simultaneous” aspects of time. I just finished a 6 week class about “time”…. if you scroll way down in this link to the description of “Mind in Real Time”…the description…there’s a bit there about this…really fascinating, intriguing and potentially “freeing!”…. Now, I’m taking “Seeds of Understanding” and repeating “Revelations of Mind”… about opportunities!


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