Millie Paul — A Rebooter in Progress

Richard Brandi
Millie Paul
Special introductory note:

Millie Paul is a rebooter in midstream. As this is written, she is preparing to retire from a corporate job and head into a new venture. Her emotions are a mix of confidence and worry, optimism and doubt, determination and anxiety. Millie’s situation is complicated because her husband is also undertaking career moves at this time.

Using the Encore workbook described at, Millie has put down some of her thoughts as she makes this change. She is using Encore exactly the way Alice Faron, the developer of the workbook, intended – as a guide to help her plan her own next steps.

Millie shared her workbook with me, and I was so moved by it I asked her if we could use excerpts in our Rebooter Stories. In a remarkable act of openness and unselfishness, she has agreed to share her thoughts, in the hopes that others making a similar transition will benefit from them. —Lee Callaway

First, here are some of Millie’s readings of her own emotions:

When I’m feeling good, I feel:

Empowered – I feel empowered to know that with time, the right choice will present itself to me. It may not happen all at once, and it may take several explorations to find out what is a good fit for me.

Optimistic – I feel to be leaving [my company] at this point in my life is the right choice for me. It was my original goal and I have managed to achieve it, even though it has not always been easy.

Liberated – In times when I am feeling good, I am excited about the future and how to experience it. I think of all the fun things I will be enjoying, whether it is cooking, gardening, visiting friends and family, putting together albums of my family history and being able to enjoy myself.

Excited – When I’m feeling good, I’m looking forward to a happy future with no worries and am grateful for the many blessings that I have. I think of letting go of anxiety and worry and focusing on the real enjoyment of life—being here now, whether it’s building a building for others, helping others learn, cooking or just being there for someone else.

When I’m feeling worried, I feel:

Uncertain – Why? It’s difficult for me to know what the future is with my husband’s life so uncertain and up in the air. I have always been the anchor, the one giving stability to the relationship, getting the insurance, having the steady job. Now I will be in the same position as he is – it makes me feel fearful.

Fearful – My life stretches before me like looking at a map of Africa and not being able to figure it out. The boundaries will change, the people I know and love will all be gone and, as much as I love exercise and a good diet, I will also become old in 30 years. Is this something to look forward to?

Anxious – I feel anxious about the future, about having to make the right decisions…old tapes.

Ill-prepared – No matter how I have tried to prepare for this transition with classes, books, savings, it will be a huge lifestyle change. I am scared. If my husband had a steady income, it would certainly put me more at ease.

Summing up her feelings in a single statement:

In my life, I’ve had the ambition and desire to achieve my dreams—music, film, owning a home, getting married—and most of them have come true. For the first time, leaving [my company] will allow me the freedom not to worry about money and to focus on what is important to me. Whether it is art, music, food, movies, books, people, travel—or all of the above mixed together in an elaborate pastiche that will be my life for the next 30 years, I want to be able to experience all the things placed on hold for so long.

My goal is to focus on maintaining physical and spiritual health while exploring my artistic passion and my desire to help others.

Her answers to The Compelling Questions:

When I transition, what am I leaving behind?
I am leaving behind a world that is constrained in many ways. It is intellectually challenging and provides me with a compelling salary, but I find my fun-loving personality has morphed into something corporate that is not me. It would be good to recognize that part of me and draw it out once I leave. I will miss the people I am close to and have established relationships with; hopefully they will continue. If not, I will make new friends and will continue to do so anyway.

How do I plan to replace what I am leaving?
Taking classes at school – learning things I need to know – challenging myself instead of constantly being pressured to provide certain things. Last night, I read an interview I had conducted with my father in 1979 – it was so cute. He loved being retired – he was so involved in so many things. My father was a doer and a joiner – he had a huge garden, he went hunting and fishing, he loved the house they lived in. He was a Mason and loved reading – he deserved his good life after working for 41 years for [an oil company], and he passed away at 96, from breaking a hip when he exercised. I hope to achieve the same level of contentment with my own retirement—to make it valuable, to make it mean something.

What do I want to Be?
I want to be someone who makes a difference. It could be in a small way or in a bigger way; whatever it is, I know that I have the drive and persistence to make it happen.

What do I want to Do?
I want whatever I do to reflect who I am as a person…

What do I want to Have?
I want to live in a family that practices harmony instead of strife, that values each other, that cares enough to stay close and spends time together as friends. I want to be able to help educate my great-niece and great-nephew to be happy with the world instead of being scared, fearful and prejudiced about people and places.

Many times life isn’t fair –things happen that we don’t expect, but having expectations about what we think life owes us only hurts us. It’s better to have an optimistic viewpoint about life, no matter where we are or what we do.

Last revised August 2007


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