Q Dear Miss Abigail:
I am eligible to retire but cannot get myself to “drop my papers” as they call it in my business. For one thing I am afraid. I have no life. I cannot get any of my friends or acquaintances to bike ride, canoe, go for walks in the woods, etc. People my age just rest, watch TV and eat. Needless to say, I am carrying ten extra pounds because I eat with them just to have company. I do have a lovely family but they live in two other states, Virginia and Maryland. No one seems to understand my fear and some people are jealous and think I am ridiculous. What is your advice please?
Ann in Buffalo, NY
A Dear Ann:
Although Pots and Pans and Millions: A Study of Woman’s Right to Be in Business was written in 1929 for women entering the workforce for the very first time, the following excerpt should inspire you to take charge and get on with your next phase in life. Author Edith Mae Cummings would have been very proud to see you’ve had a successful career, and I’m sure she would absolutely insist you take pleasure in your much-deserved retirement!
How easy it is for us to deplete our strength and lessen our chances for success by lying awake nights, worrying over our problems of tomorrow! And if we will analyze the things we have worried about in the past, we can see now how little alarming they really were. Worry never adds anything to our income, our health or our comfort, and fear never solves our problems or helps us in any way, and we all know, if we will stop to think about it, that the greatest secret of success and happiness is to have faith to face life with courage and confidence, and not to anticipate trouble.
Scientists tell us that fear may be conquered, that it has at last become possible for large numbers of people to pass from the cradle to the grave without ever having a pang of genuine fear. There is no doubt that fear and worry, those terrible evils that have so long cursed mankind and held back the development of the race, can be absolutely driven out of our lives. And you will not get very far, my friend, nor climb very high, until you rid yourself of your fears and doubts, of the worry and discouragement which are blighting lives, strangling aspirations and obscuring ideals. Many really able women are struggling along, barely making a living, getting nowhere near the realization of their dreams, because they listened to the whisperings of those traitors, the fears and doubts and worries which held them back from doing what they were sent into the world to do!
Instead of picturing trouble and misfortune ahead, brooding over the difficulties that confront you, and fearing you will never be able to get past them, flood your mind with success thoughts, with the thought of the power that is stored in the great within of you, always wanting to be used, always more than a match for the giant fear that tries to frighten you with unrealities that have no existence outside of your troubled imagination.
Source: Cummings, Edith Mae. Pots and Pans and Millions. Washington, D.C.: National School of Business Science for Women, 1929.
~ pp. 327-28 ~