“I still say, ‘Shoot for the moon, you might get there.'” Buzz Aldrin

After working for 30+ years, my job ended on January 1, 2016 –  my last day in the office was 12/22. 

I worked at the same job for 27 years (and ten days, no I wasn’t counting). As I worked in advertising, there are always lay-offs when a large account is lost. So, when we lost our largest account in 2015 our office was closed in Atlanta, which was shocking (after being open more than 30 years) A handful of people stayed on to work virtually. I. WAS. NOT. CHOSEN!! At first, my feelings were hurt because after 27 years of good reviews, awards, etc. I WAS NOT CHOSEN TO STAY! 

STOP!!!!!! REWIND REWIND. At the beginning of 2016 I did something I’ve never done before. I had a ceremony saying goodbye to 2015. I reflected on the year, looked at  what dreams came true, what I learned during the year, and how I felt about the year. In doing so, I found I felt mostly stressed and tired from the year. I was READY to move on. I AM READY TO MOVE ON!

Here is a list of some of the things I have done and haven’t done over the past month.

  • I have read three books. This isn’t remarkable, what is remarkable is I didn’t buy a single one of them! I’ve rediscovered my library!

  • I have reconnected with people. In fact, I have met more people for lunch in the past month than I did for the past six months.
  • I have been to two plays.
  • I fell in love with a dress at the High Museum of Art .

    Iris Van Herpen

    Iris Van Herpen

  • I started taking yoga
  • I am taking an experimental drawing class
  • I began posting my images on Facebook with quotes.
  • carl sagan
  • I cleaned all the wooden blinds in the house, as well as the baseboards
  • I cleaned out the kitchen
  • I plotted out a 4′ x 10′ garden area to plant a vegetable garden. I also signed up for a workshop on growing vegetables.
  • I am taking a nutrition class at the local library
  • I signed up for a book club called Pub Fiction, which meets every other month at a local restaurant (I was unable to attend before as I couldn’t get there from work in time).
  • I am cooking more, trying new recipes and eating out less.
  • I have gone to a couple of art openings (again, I can now get to them on time)
  • I took three bags of clothes to a thrift shop
  • I did a three month editorial schedule for upcoming blogs to write (I used sticky notes so I can change them around).
  • I have meditated, but I’m still not on a regular schedule
  • I have started my morning pages again.
  • I hosted a book club with members of the Women’s Caucus for Art of Georgia
  • I’ve spent more time with my mother
  • DSCN0359
  • I have played the piano, starting over with the boring Hanon exercises. The ukulele, not so much yet. (BTW, the sculpture on the left was done by Annette Conison, my mother in law)
  • DSCN0380
  • I have NOT yet established a regular exercise schedule.
  • I have not driven in rush hour traffic (I was spending the equivalent to a full work day in the car on a weekly basis).
  • I’m not listening to NPR as much lately, I’m not in the car as much. I will have to work out a schedule for this.
  • I have painted
  • I have set my alarm only once, to see if it was working! I’m not a late sleeper anyway.
  • I picked out a word of the year – MINDFULNESS

So, as you can see, I’ve been busy, but I’m still working on a schedule. I really don’t know how I had the time to work! Actually, I’m not as productive now that I’m not working – I no longer have to schedule everything I want to do into the weekend.But I am more MINDFUL of how I spend my time and am enjoying what I’m doing without rushing through life as I had been doing for most of my adult life.

It is trading the stress of work for the stress of paying your bills. I’ll take the 2nd stress any day! I’m not “retiring” you see, I’m changing paths. Down the road I will probably seek out freelance jobs, pursue coaching (I have two life coach certificates) and maybe take up walking dogs!  After my decompression is complete, I feel I’m going to start living the life I was meant to live.




  1. Kelly L McKenzie

    Such a refreshing read, Vickie. I am delighted for you. Love how you state that you feel that you are going to start living the life you were meant to live. As for not knowing how you had the time to work – I can relate. It is amazing to me how the day zips by. People often ask me how I fill my days now that my two have left for college and I smile. I wish there were more hours in the day. Thanks for the nudge to reconnect with my library. I’ve been holding off as I’m pretty sure the three of us have racked up some overdue fines … How silly is that. I must face the penalty and embrace everything they have to offer. You sure are.

  2. vickiemartin Post author

    i had that same fear about the library – but it was for naught! In fact, I’ve found a couple of book clubs through them and some free classes too! It is an adjustment – but I’m looking forward to the future.

  3. Amy Erickson

    It sounds like you have found the ability to truly live life! Congrats 🙂 This is so wonderful. You mentioned you felt mostly stressed and tired from 2015. How are you feeling with your newly found mindfulness?

  4. vickiemartin Post author

    i’m sleeping better, dreaming more, and making plans for the future. it feels good – but I’m not 100% rested yet. Getting there though!

  5. Phyllis Heyburn

    Fantastic! And inspiring! Will you help me start my blog? That is a goal for 2016. That and the ukelele!

  6. Lulu Bea

    Congratulations on your new life of inspired passions!! You have already accomplished so much since January began. I am happy for you. Sometimes, life needs to take drastic measures to wake us up to creating a life we truly love :).

  7. vickiemartin Post author

    i’d be happy to help you with a blog – it is easy to set up on blogger – that’s where i started and then migrated to wordpress – and yes – on the ukulele – at least I can spell it now!

  8. vickiemartin Post author

    isn’t that the truth – i have had a fear for years of being laid off. I wanted to retired within two years – this gave me severance and a bit of unemployment to get the ball rolling

  9. Deborah Weber

    Congratulations on your fabulous new life Vickie! May it continue to be filled with wonders and joy and all things that light up your heart. And isn’t that a perfect way to begin a new year?

  10. Naomi

    Vickie, this is simply wonderful! I’m happy for you and all the time you will have to put your energy toward things you love.

  11. Debbie Goode

    How Positively Wonderful! You go girl…..keep walking that new and exciting path because I am so very sure that many new doors will be opening for you to choose from along the way!

  12. SKJAM!

    Good to know your retirement is going well. My father took early retirement from his prison guard job, and has done a lot of woodcarving ever since–never made enough to support himself, but a nice bit of spare money every so often.

  13. Michelle

    Hahaha – Girl! You are a productive retiree! My part time consulting job was “eliminated” in 2011 when I refused to abandon my corporate clients to assume a full-time internal gig. I’m a corporate refugee, which is just fine, since I believe I was born to be an artist and writer. Reinventing oneself is such sweet liberation. ENJOY!!!

  14. Elda

    January sounds like it was a Superb month for you! SO much accomplished, when did you sleep? It was really nice reading how much you are doing the things that bring your joy. Cheers to continuing to FEEL GOOD!

  15. Amy Putkonen

    This is a big deal, Vickie! It sounds like you have many talents that could be used to support yourself, if necessary. Perhaps now you can just work for FUN!

  16. kimberly

    Vicky, I love to see you taking the time to rest. I was amazed how long it took after I stopped workign at the hotel a few years ago how long it took me to settle into a routine totally of my own making. Ahhhh but what a pleasure it has turned out to be. I’m happy we’ll hear more from you.

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