Unravel to rebuild
Lynda Smith shares her journey of discovering purpose and fullness in her later years
I sat quietly in my home office thinking about how fast the first 50 years of my life had passed by. The year was 2007 and I was reflecting on the roller coaster ride I had been on for the past two years and now all of a sudden it seemed quiet and depressing. I remember the thoughts going through my mind, including, “I can die now – I have done the job I was put on this earth to do.”
These thoughts were a mixture of many parts of my life’s journey all of which I was experiencing at the same time. Probably because I had never really gotten around to processing everything I had been through in those last few years. There had been a divorce, the end of a business I was involved in for 15 years, both my children had gotten married and left the country, as well as a business contract coming to an end. All this as I turned 50! The picture of what my life would look like beyond this point was blank.
I had a bit of a pity party for a few months – something most of us mothers go through after giving our children roots and then having to release them and give them wings. I loved being a parent and empty nest was a major blow to my perspective on the future. I then gave myself a little pep talk and realised that I probably have another 25 good years ahead of me and best I pull myself together and look at how and what I could do with my life. We all have skills, talents and things we are passionate about. I made the decision to take myself on a new adventure to discover what this next journey may look like.
The first thing I did was to move house. I made the decision to move out of Johannesburg to Hartbeespoort Dam. I wanted to live in a secure place, where I could make friends and enjoy a form of community life. I was working for myself so it didn’t really matter where I lived as long as I had my computer and connectivity. This is such a wonderful part of life in the 21st Century – I was close to an airport and a city, and yet I was able to enjoy the freedom and beauty of country life. I am passionate about social change and decided to enrol at GIBS in 2009 to study Social Entrepreneurship. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and engage in a subject that I am so interested in. The journey of discovering what I wanted to do next didn’t just pop into my head one day. It was a path that included reading, prayer and discussions, and walking a road that was in many ways both a joy as well as one filled with pain. I spent quality time reflecting and trying to understand what I wanted to do, as well as considering possible needs in the world around me. From this process emerged the person I am today.
It had been a 6 year journey during which I re-evaluated each area of my life, and slowly put the pieces of my puzzle back together. Finances were a major challenge and I am so grateful to the Chartered Wealth Solutions team for the way in which they have helped me to ensure a sense of security and direction. I discovered that helping people with their transformations is what I love doing, and today I find myself busier and more fulfilled than I have ever been. I started a business called The Refirement Network, helping fellow baby boomers to navigate this amazing journey, and returned to my earlier passion, that of helping to set up and manage a non-profit business that focuses on early childhood development.
It is now close to the end of 2013 and six years on and I am blessed and fulfilled in so many areas of my life. I have four beautiful grandchildren and have adopted the motto “have children – will travel”. I still hate to leave them at the end of every visit but I know I will be returning to a life filled with so many new and wonderful adventures. I love the fact that I can make a difference, make a living and enjoy life all at the same time.