Pivot? Me?

If you’ve ever seen the Friends pivot scene, you know how difficult it can be to pivot when moving a sofa up a too-small staircase. Pivoting is hard work, whether you’re “pivoting” a sofa, or a life.

For twenty-five years my life and my writing career have been centered on sheep, and on our farm. When we sold the farm eighteen months ago, I decided to stop writing about it, concerned I couldn’t move forward if I kept looking back. (However, I am taking a quick peek back for one last memoir.)

Pivot means to rotate, turn, swivel—but in which direction should I turn? Where am I supposed to point myself next? (Given how many people have truly suffered during this pandemic, I’m privileged in that I’m able to focus on something other than rent, food, a job, and protecting my health.) Yet I still need a new direction.

Have you ever had to pivot your life? Any advice? How do you build a new life entirely different from a previous one but still manage to feel like yourself?

The conclusion to Ross’s pivot problem in the Friends scene? He ended up back at the furniture store with the sofa, exasperated because they wouldn’t let him return it. The camera panned back to show that, when the “pivoting” didn’t go well, Ross cut the sofa in half.

I need to figure out how to pivot without chain-sawing my sofa in half, and I hope you’ll check in with this blog now and then to see how I’m doing. (Send a quick note and we’ll add you to the list that notifies you about occasional news, book news, and giveaways.)

21 thoughts on “Pivot? Me?”

  1. Pivot. I decided to do things I’d never considered before. I read books on new subjects, tried art projects, did Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way (book) with a friend, went to the ballet (didn’t enjoy, but it was new to me), tried bird watching (and loved it). Basically figured if lots of people liked it and I’d never tried it (or scorned it), I’d give it a try. Learned a lot! Your journey will be different than mine, but it can be a great adventure!

  2. No suggestions as I’m only 54 years old. I hear you don’t figure out these answers until you’re over a hundred. Maybe I’m just lazy. I did have to leave a comment, though, because this is one of my Susan’s favorite episodes.

  3. Yes, Pivoting is hard. I found the same problem when I retired. What to do now. So, I pivoted into exercise, every day. I’m enjoying it trying to find news ways of torture. The pandemic mean I moved into the virtual for company and that is working.
    Good luck!!!!!

  4. Looking forward to whatever you write.
    Best wishes on your pivot. Like in a maze, you may encounter your old self along the way, though that path is behind you, but that doesn’t mean the new path will be totally different either.

  5. One of the many things I’ve loved about your writing, is your ability to share day to day life- struggles, joys, challenges, adventures, etc. Many are struggling with the need to pivot at this time – how to pivot? should I pivot? where do I pivot to? Your messages, whatever they may be, will have an audience.

  6. Retirement meant a life pivot……a pivot that I’ve enjoyed for many years now. I now can use my free time to do the things I want without having to worry about a time frame. I’ve returned to cross stitch, I read a lot more and, until covid, I visited my granddaughters often. Pivoting is wonderful with many new paths to discover.

  7. In all these 83 years I haven’t changed course very often, but we did get caught with a box spring in a stair-well. We had gotten a new mattress set at the farm, and we were planning to take the old set to the lake. We started down the stairs—Uncle Kenny was at the bottom pulling and I was at the top pushing. We were making pretty good progress, when suddenly it would go neither up nor down. At one point I crawled under it to “help” with the pull. It was very tightly lodged. No amount of pushing or pulling brought results. Soooooo I suggested that Kenny get his saw to give that old box spring a little “give”. He sawed one cross piece—nothing. He sawed another—nothing. He sawed another and another until every cross piece was cut. It finally got loose and we hauled it to the dump. We have often wondered how that box spring got upstairs in the first place!!!

  8. Always be kind. That especially includes being kind to yourself.
    Learn something new. In my case, I purchased a “cursive writing workbook for kids Jokes and Riddles.” I am learning to hand write with my right hand, one page a day. I thought it would be difficult, and it is, but it opens my mind, and requires concentration. It’s refreshing. “Learning something new” doesn’t have to be quantum physics.
    Perhaps my next learning activity will be posting a page of my workbook. HA

  9. My Covid pivot was/is writing. After always considering myself a non-writer, especially when around “real” writers like you, I started a blog last year in an attempt to curb my Covid hum-drums. Between the text and the photos (mostly mine) it is providing a creative outlet. Just a bit of retirement re-making.

  10. Myself and others hoped you would write this book. Hit by a Farm needed Sheepish. Sheepish left an unfinished story. You are a writer. Writers need to write. Undoubtedly, other books will follow Pivot. Maybe a fantasy/history adult novel or young adult? A setting to follow Peru, London, and St. Augustine. Perhaps a shepherd on a sheep hacienda in the American Southwest or a Mayan spiritual leader? Time travel initiated by a DNA test? Whatever, I am looking forward to reading it.

  11. Well, I haven’t done a whole lot of pivoting, but I did just want to say I have just read “Sheepish,” am rereading “Compassionate Carnivore,” and am so happy to find your blog, which I’ve never been aware of before. So glad you are still here and posting in 2021!! (I’ll try to come up with something more substantive next time though!)

  12. I’m a firm believer that change promotes growth. You pivoted to be a farmer. Your life experience made you equipped to do so in some aspects. Your experience on the farm has equipped you to pivot in another direction. It just may not be clear right now how. In 2016 I received an email asking if I’d be willing to move from New Jersey to Seattle for a contract assignment. I knew if I didn’t say yes right then and there that I would never go. Within 2 weeks I packed up on my belongings, put them in storage filled my CRV and headed out to seattle. It was amazing experience. It’s obvious that you have not only the support, but also the intelligence and humor to meet challenges and overcome obstacles. Embrace the Gypsy within. I’m on page 52 of it by a farm and can’t wait to read what happens next. The dishes and laundry will wait. My inner Gypsy is living vicariously through you as a sheep farmer.

  13. Hello Catherine. I listened to “Hit by a farm” years ago and decided to look you up to see what you’ve been into lately.

    I have pivoted several times in my life, big leaps each time. Some were voluntary leaps, some were necessary adjustments. Here’s what I’ve learned from all of them:

    There are things you know you know about your new life, and that information can be used to plan your future… but there’s going to be a lot you don’t know you don’t know, and whether the pivot was a leap by choice or necessity, your ability to be open and adapt to the unexpected is the most important ingredient.

    I appreciate your positive-focus writing style, and as a mary sunshine myself, I know there are tough things happening between the lines you write. Those tough things are usually made up of what we can’t control, and sometimes we have to reconcile ourselves to new limitations. That’s where creative outlets can be amazing, but don’t forget the importance of friends and community.

    As we march onward through covid, it’s tougher to make new friends, but I gently remind and encourage you to do so. Community is ultimately what helps us to feel grounded and at home, even for a country mouse finding herself in a city.

    • Hi, Kate,

      I was away for almost 3 weeks, and didn’t have access to this email. Hence my delay in responding. That’s the bad news. The good news was that Melissa and I were in Florida taking care of my sister’s cats while they went to Hawaii. Hanging out at the beach day after day did wonders for me.

      I wanted to thank you so much for your words—so true. How you put things really clarifies what people go through when they pivot, and what is needed.

      Hopefully 2022 will bring some relief.




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The Big Pivot

About Me

After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.

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