If you have retired recently, did you notice that when you looked in the mirror you seemed different? Or were you just the same, only more relaxed and happy? Or did you find a face there at all?
I retired almost five years ago, and I'm still trying to discover who I am now. The fact of me was so defined by what I did, that I can't quite figure out yet how to just be... or how to do, as I have heard said, "very little, slowly."
I want to get out and slay something. Or change something. Or say something that somebody needs to hear.
Or do I?
I did all of that for some long time. To work at a meaningful job is absolutely important. To take risks, to give all of your energy, to believe in what you are doing is a human imperative.
Doing that in retirement has proved to be a bigger challenge than I ever thought it could be. I am tired, of course, so that's why I am "RE-tired" -- I have been TRIED and found pretty much okay but that was then and what is now?
I am available to do the daily tasks that pop up. Errands. A bit of sorting out. A bit of clearing out. A bit of helping out.
Does that have meaning? Of course. But when you are retired, at least here where I am retired, there is little feedback, and I keep thinking --- am I getting this right?
I lived so long by other people's evaluation and valuation, that I have lost (or maybe never even had) the ability to decide what is worthy for myself. Or what I really want, need, can enjoy, or share.
So now I am trying to do all of that by giving my eyes and ears more latitude. I appreciate the daily gifts of my garden, and I like to make the difference of pulling a few weeds or dead-heading some roses. I can see what happens when I do those tasks. And I have to admit that ironing pillowcases or napkins or tablecloths has become a meditative exercise -- and those were things I used to avoid and detest.
I suppose retirement gives opportunity, if we can clear away the annoyances and the self-doubt that a huge change always brings. We have shed another skin, and it protected us well for so long -- but it also prevented us from accessing the small things in life -- the little things that make so much difference. I don't want to sing about electric bodies at this point in my life -- but maybe later I will. I do want to celebrate the well-poached egg, the slightly burnt toast (which is how I like it), the change in the weather however slight, the opportunity to say "yes" or "no" without fear of recrimination or regret, the un-set alarm clock, the un-booked appointment, and the freedom to choose.
And I will no longer wonder if the choices are all the right ones. They matter, and right or wrong, they count. And they give me information about how then, I shall be.