When I was a child, I remember riding in the back seat of a car heading north in Ontario and passing a sign by the side of the road that said we were almost half way to the north pole. I was a little bit precocious as a child, I suspect, although truly there’s no way I can know that for sure since I have no metacognitive recall and have to rely on what others have told me. Even as a child I couldn’t help but ask my parents: “Half way from where?” I’ve never been very good at not asking the tough questions. With no satisfying answer, I sat in the back seat thinking. I’d learned just enough geography to know that 45 degrees north would be half way between the equator and the north pole (well that’s almost true ). When we entered a town which I think must have been Bracebridge we saw this sign telling us that we’d arrived! You are now there!! How exciting that was; standing on a geographical concept. I loved it; I can actually still remember that first thrill of adventure. Growing up a nice Jewish girl from London, Ontario there hadn’t been much adventure in the first 10 years of my life. This may also explain why I drove to the Arctic circle to make note of my youngest child having his bar mitzvah, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for my 50th birthday, and want to sail to the Antarctic Circle before I turn 60 next summer. Oops – back to the story. Bracebridge soon lost its position of grandeur in my mind, however, when all along the road there were countless signs pointing to Santa’s Village. Ah – not everything is what it seems. I’ve often wondered if Bracebridge really is half way to the north pole. Why am I telling you this? Came to mind as I wrote the title for the posting and saw the words “half way there” on the page. Half way from where to where?
I started blogging two months ago, and now it’s only two more months until I retire. Half way there. This has gone from being a thought, an idea floating around in my mind, to a part of my day to day life. The summer has come and pretty much gone. Walking through my backyard garden on my way home from work today I noticed that the fecund beauty of the garden had already begun fading away, balanced by the hint of colour creeping into the maple leaves. Half way there.
I’ve done some thinking, and some talking with wise friends, about the dynamic of a blog and how some of my ideas about it have changed. You might have noticed – especially if you’ve been part of this from the start – that there’s been a copyright mark on the front page of the blog. Part of my idea is that some months after I retire, when I’ve had time to reflect on the actual experience of being retired (to which I’m half way) I might review all of our words and turn them into a book that might be interesting to other women working their way through this transition. I need to hold a copyright so that I can use the words that you’ve written as well as my own. The book, though, will reflect not only my musings but also your responses and sage advice. So today you’ll notice there’s a new look to the copyright; a recognition that this is a combined effort of many wise women. Clearly, should there ever be a net profit attached to this (and anyone who knows me knows that I’ve never done anything creative for money – it’s always done for the love of doing it), I would find it logistically close to impossible to figure out how to share that profit. And so, hoping this works for you too, I’d like to commit (actually its both me and my sister Molly – we’re partners in this, she being the website wizard – to donate 10% of any net profit to a charity that supports women on behalf of all of the women who have contributed either directly through posting comments or indirectly by reading the blog and encouraging me with your presence. If you have any ideas about charities that I should consider, feel free to email them to me if you’d like to. As well, if you’d like to be recognized for your contribution, please e-mail me a little information about yourself that I could use in a tribute to all of you (same e-mail address). Time passes, ideas grow and change. I think that’s good overall.
Having gone back to work last week has given me a great opportunity to both be thinking about and writing about this retirement process; maybe it should be thought of as re-processing since it really is about turning something/someone into something/someone else. I’m sort of in the process and watching the process at the same time. It’s a most interesting time. Clearly, a changing time. I’ve already learned that there’s a huge difference between living with stress-in-the-belly syndrome – as I have for most of the past 40 years – and living more in tune with my spirit, heart and body. I’m learning ways to manage the stress that are less jangling and more nurturing (I’ll write about that in future weeks).
I’ve learned that there are lots of other great women out there who have thought about what retirement’s like, who have searched for answers – and sometimes found them and are willing to share them – to some of the questions that keep persistently whispering in my ear.
I’m ready for the next two months. They are going to be interesting ones for sure. It’s nice feeling like I have lots of company wandering through this with me. Thanks.