When is it too much?

I am back to a more normal retirement journey conversation this week.

My current life quandaries: When does it get to be too much? How do I keep track of all the new people I’m meeting and who likes what?  Do I publish controversial blog posts? When will I feel comfortable enough to begin doing some of the things I love? (In other words – will there be a post-Covid?)

I’ve started on posting some controversial blog posts (and a few more will come), but this week I have looped back into something that is more about living my retirement journey: when is it too much?

I feel a bit like I’m new to retirement and saying “yes” to everything. It was a watch-out given to me when I first retired… don’t over commit too quickly, don’t get busy for the sake of being busy.  At that time, I was trying to figure out what my lifestyle vision even was.  I was trying things on.  Some stuck and some didn’t.  I thought I had learned the balance between being and doing.  Now?  I need to take a step back to figure out what I’m searching for because I’m feeling an imbalance between doing and being.  And of course that means I am doing too much.

I am planning Out & About activities.   And yes, they are (mostly) things I really want to do.  I’ve accepted, even embraced, my “designated planner” role.  And folks who join in are vocal with their being thrilled with me taking the initiative to plan things.  So far this year, I’ve planned a range of things from attending live theater to beach shelling to belly dance class to trying an Escape Room. I even did some thing solo, when it was something I wanted to do but others were not interested.  I’ve got a list of things to plan in February.  My challenge – there are so many things I’d like to do, but how much is too much?

As I search for someone who I can talk about the psychological and spiritual exploration I am doing, I’ve got lots of new people now in my “acquaintance zone.”  [I’m calling that someone a soul-connection conversation partner.] I’m meeting new people all the time via St Pete Ladies Meet-ups – hikes, lunch dates, happy hours. I almost feel like I have too many new connections.  Many, I’m not feeling much commonality with and nothing has hit that soul-connection (which I know takes time, but not even a spark has been lit).  Should I be searching for like-minded people or pushing myself to have a broader diversity of connections?

I do have a few wonderful friends I connect with virtually that meet that need for a soul-connection conversation partner.  Do I just accept that those are the ones?  Why do I feel the need for an IRL connection?

Then there’s question, how many of these new folks in the acquaintance zone do I stay connected with?  Do I try and re-connect after meeting them at an event?  If I’ve reached out to them a couple of times and they never re-engage with me, do I just drop them from my planning-invite list?  As someone who never had a wide range of social acquaintances, I really don’t understand how this works!

Yes, quandaries. How much new connection exploration do I continue to do? Who do I try to stay connected with? How many activities do I join?  How many things do I plan?  Do I even enjoy having a large acquaintance zone?!?  I am working through the answers to these questions to find the right answer for me and find a better balance between being and doing.  

Have you faced any similar quandaries?

picture credit: me – best sunrise this week, a perfectly calm and cool morning

25 thoughts on “When is it too much?

  1. SO much I nodded with…and yes, I too have been an “over doer” and it’s taken a virus or whatever it was for me over the past 2 months to know I really want to DO less…and as my words for 2022 say, Be ME. However, this is a big shift but already with some really interesting reading and learning I have some ideas and my post in a few weeks will outline more. Suffice to say, I have STOPPED offering to do this, that and everything else for now…and maybe into the future.

    It’s been great to see your post in the link up for Life This Week at Denyse Whelan Blogs.
    I look forward to seeing you again next Monday if you have a post to share. Thanks so much. Denyse.

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    1. Denyse, I find it hard to say no to things and then not feel guilty for not doing! And comparing myself to others who are doing so much more. I know – the dreaded Compare and Despair. I tell myself not to do it, and then find myself doing it again and again! However, I did take yesterday and today to simply BE. A few house chores, but nothing out & about. My body and soul both needed that!

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  2. When we met for lunch, I was amazed at all the things you said you were doing. You certainly didn’t sound like someone who was lacking friends!! So maybe you’re just going through the motions but not finding it to be satisfying? That’s tough and maybe necessary until you find what works. You are definitely better at that than I would be!! Guess you just need to be patient and have faith you’ll get there. I don’t doubt that you will!!

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    1. Linda – it was ironic but our talk made me realize that many of the other folks are not that much of the kindred spirit I was looking for. You mentioned in your post that we talked for 2 hours and yeah, we probably could have gone longer (but I was actually getting cold – damn I’m becoming a Floridian!). Those are the conversations I love – we connected, we talked about all kinds of things. Many of the others I’ve met, I couldn’t talk like that with. So acquaintances. But Suzanne below used the term playmates… and that’s what I’ve found. And that’s good, too. Like I did when I originally retired… I am trying on lots of things and some will stick and others won’t. I will let friendships grow organically or not – and be happy with playmates, too.

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  3. Pat, I’ve enjoyed your exploratory posts of late. I’m of the opinion that our websites are our own and we should write about whatever we want to write about as long as it’s not hurtful to others. I like posts that make me think a little or talk about something with which I’m not familiar.

    As for the friend thing…. such a dilemma. I miss having close IRL friends where I’m living now. I’ve had a couple of people I’ve been close to but they’ve left or things have happened in their lives. I have several friends and lots of old school friends, Uni friends and work friends from past lives, including best friends from many decades ago – none of whom live close by unfortunately. I’ve enjoyed catching up with Jo (Tracey from And Anyways) when she visits as I feel a bit like a kindred spirit in terms of some of our interests and I think that’s an important connection. Whether it be in person or online.

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    1. Deborah, I’m glad you liked the exploratory posts. A couple more at least will come…. i’ve been doing so much, I have not had time to synthesize and craft posts that make sense. That stuff takes time and focused mind-space!

      I like the term you used – kindred spirit. It’s hard to know when you meet folks if there’s really a kindred spirit there. A few folks I felt the beginning of a spark, but then my additional attempt at connecting has not been received that well. Based on everyone’s comments (I love this community for that), I need to stop stying to force things, listen to my gut (hard for me to do) and slow down a bit on the craziness of do-do-do. Yes, everything is new and there is so many fun things to do! I need to pick a few and not try and do everything. I need to let new friendships evolve organically and appreciate the kindred spirit ones I do have, even if they are virtual!

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  4. Pat, after many years of ‘retirement’ I have learned to just go with the flow. You are in a new place, with lots of folks who want to fill their days by doing interesting things. I was in a similar position when we retired. I did the ‘dance,’ as we call it for years, trying to nuture multiple relationships and hoping for just one person that I could truly connect to. It is exhausting. I actually got ‘burned’ a few times before I figured out that most folks at this stage of life aren’t looking for a best friend, and would prefer a playmate. You will be fortunate indeed to find ‘that person’ and I sincerely hope you do. Until then, trust your instincts and don’t try to force anything.

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    1. Suzanne, thanks for the perspective. I like the term playmate…. and maybe should just view some of the acquaintances in that camp. One of the things I adore about this community and posting on topics like this is the insight I get to hear that really helps me answer the quandaries! And yes, while I’m not the best at trusting my instincts (intuition is not my forte), it is what I need to focus on here. Taking a step back, appreciating the connections I have even if they are (all) virtual these days, and letting things evolve and grow more organically.

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  5. Well, let me start with saying that I am not at all shocked that you are now overbooked and maybe have too many acquaintances! I knew it would take you no time at all (once Covid allowed) for you to find friends and activities. My first thought is that as much as you might like for people to reach out to you and to plan things as well, because you are so good at it I think you attract those (like me) that need that planner in their lives. So, I say, “Plan away!”. Please continue to be that person! I miss you so much for lots of things (our conversations) but also because you were always getting me to do things that I would never have thought of otherwise.
    You probably will find that these acquaintances will weed out a little over time as you figure out which are ones that you really love (at least like a lot) being around. And perhaps it’s a little different in Florida were most are retired, but having many that might be able to do something with you I find to be a blessing. Better to have that than have a list of things you want to do and no one to do them with. Right?
    As far as having so many things to do and overbooking yourself, you might need to find that limit of what you’re willing to schedule per week or month. I wonder as you do all these things if your calendar will lighten up as you do them all and don’t have as many new things to do. Anyway, maybe right now do a lot and then start to ween off the things that bring you the least pleasure?
    On that “having a IRL” person, I think face to face is important. I believe there is something to actually being with that person is important whether it’s chemistry or what, that closeness is necessary. You’ll find that person.
    So, keep planning! Maybe a little less, but better to be too busy than bored to tears.

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    1. Candyse, Like the awareness I came to awhile back in Cinci, I am OK with being the “designated planner” as the folks around me are very appreciative of it. And a bit of a shocker (wonderful shocker)… I had three women reach out to me yesterday to do something with them! Different things, and yeah, busy calendar, but still – they reached out to me.

      I’m looking at February and trying not to overbook. You are right – the list of things is really long, as everything here is new. And we haven’t done things in so long, I feel like a kid in the candy shop – eye’s bigger than my tummy.

      Oh, not to make you feel bad…. I did a belly dance class (with 4 other women – it was fun, but I’m really not a dancer!) and an Escape Room (with 4 other couples). Yeah, still finding those fun things to do (Groupon!)….if you haven’t tried an Escape Room, it was more fun than I expected!

      We will talk in February as a start on your 2022 plan… so when I’m there we can finish it up for you. That’s one of my things to book in February!

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  6. Hi Pat – it’s a tricky one isn’t it? Last year I was feeling that my online and offline lives were out of balance. I had a lovely group of blogging friends and several others who I felt a commonality with, but fewer and fewer IRL close friends. I’m not good at constantly contacting people who drift off, and I noticed that several of my IRL friends had drifted away once I stopped work and wasn’t slotting them into a lunch break catch up etc. I’ve come to see that it’s time to let those connections go – not to say they’re not my friends, just that their lives must be taking them in a different direction.

    I had a similar feeling with several online friends, they have big plans and big dreams, and my life is small and simple – I just don’t seem to have enough to offer them to maintain engagement. I’m learning to come to terms with that too. I’m just going to be incredibly grateful for the handful of women who have stuck close, and let the other connections ebb and flow.

    I think you’re really fortunate to have met so many people – even if they are acquaintances. I find I don’t meet many women my age at all these days. So at least you have a good pool to fish from!

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    1. Leanne, There are Facebook Groups locally here on lots of different topics that I’ve linked up with – from dining out food groups to museums goers to spiritual consciousness. The two I’ve found most events to join in are in the local Ladies Meet-up and Ladies Plus 50 Meet-up FB groups. I was amazed at how much was out there when I started to look. That’s part of my challenge… there is a huge pool to fish in (using your metaphor) and one I wasn’t even aware existed a few months ago. New friendships take time and I think I need to stop fishing and focus in on the friends I’ve “caught”… OK this metaphor isn’t working anymore! LOL. But yes, like you found, It is time for a rebalance and coming to terms with what fits for me.

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  7. Oh Pat so many questions which I hope you can find answers to down the track. I don’t have any advice to offer except to say ‘do what feels right to you’. It’s a different time of life isn’t it?

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  8. I’m looking forward to reading responses to your questions as we now seriously consider buying a second home in Naples. Do we buy a condo I don’t particularly like but in a community that I do? Or do we buy a house where I will have to work much harder to meet people with shared interests. Plus on the healthy living side – face the fact that if I have to drive to exercise, I will likely not exercise versus water aerobics is in walking distance in the condo complex. Kinda like when I was working, do I stay in a department where I like my coworkers knowing that in 5 years many will have moved on. As people age, will the activities I enjoy now still be available and enjoyable. Where is my crystal ball!!??

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    1. I didn’t realize you were in Naples. We are headed there this week to link up with some snow-birding friends from Cincinnati. My first visit there.

      One thing I can advise you, get very clear on what is “must have” when buying something. Why don’t you particularly like the condo? Is that something that can be fixed (individual condo)? Or is it the complex and what about it? I’ve really promoted the big factors in a home are 1) location 2) lifestyle and 3) what does a home “mean” to you. For some folks, a home is an entertainment center. For others, a storage unit (hubby!). For others, a base camp, a museum, a studio for crafting, a family retreat. There’s a whole chapter on my book about location! If you get clear on what the space need to have, you’ll probably find it. Now affording it is another whole topic!

      For me, I’m realizing that people come and go in my life a bit. You can’t control who moves on – whether they move to new location, move to new lifestyle (back to work full time!), or move on completely. In this place we are living now, new people are coming all the time. Yes new friendships take time to develop, but I’m working on it. We also acknowledged that this might not be the last place we live either. It fits our lifestyle right now!

      I’m sure I’ll post more on this as I sort through things. In many ways I feel like a newbie at retirement!

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      1. Thank you for your very thoughtful response. I definitely struggle with buying something isn’t a lifelong commitment!! We have lived in our Ohio home for 30 years! We drive the same car until it breaks down rather than proactively trade it in.

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      2. Believe me I get that. It was a huge mind shift when we moved to Norwood knowing that downsizing was only a 10-year house and that ended up being 4 year! But if you go into the purchase with that mindset, it’s easier to not worry about the long term crystal ball…. just what you need for the next 5-7 years!

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  9. As someone who has been retired now for about a year I can empathize with your transitional stage and feelings. I moved to a new area shortly before retiring and met so many new friends and acquaintances. The dynamics of those new friendships continued to evolve and change over the next year, but certain ones have gotten stronger and these are the one that have proved most beneficial to both them and us. I think you will find your new ‘tribe.’ But it takes time. I jumped into a whole lot of new activities and slowly worked out a new routine of the ones I wanted to continue with. I am still working on that and fine tuning, as Covid has interrupted that to some extent.

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    1. Thank you so much for your perspective on this. When I first retired we were in same location, so had different connections challenges and worked though them. It’s a bit unnerving to be dealing with connection challenges again. (Yes, I know I modified my blog to be about retirement life as a series of transitions!) I need to allow the dynamics to evolve. And listen to my gut on not over-doing, not staying engaged in something that is not satisfying, and finding a new routine.

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