Well, here I am branching out. Since I started writing this blog 13 months ago I’ve been thinking that at some point I’d like to synthesize some of the things I’ve learned about retirement and start doing workshops to help other women make this transition a little more gracefully – and with less angst – than I have. It has taken me a long time to figure out what I would actually do in such a workshop and finally I’m ready to take the leap. On October 21 – 25, 2009 (the last week of my first year of retirement) Crones Counsel is holding it’s annual conference – this time in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s their 7th fall meeting and the theme is Transformation: Spiraling Through Life Within and Without. It’s an opportunity for women of all ages to gather and share stories and enrich connections to ourselves, to each other, and to the world. The conference is committed to processes that promote equality, encourage diversity, support personal empowerment, and honour the value to society of older women’s wisdom and accomplishments. Am I excited about this? For sure. Am I nervous? Absolutely!!
I’ve never been to a gathering like this before. I’ve spoken at numerous conferences but they’ve either been academic ones (with University faculty as the audience) or educational ones (with elementary and secondary teachers and parents as the audience). Instead of being set in a university or school, this time I’ll be staying on 227 wooded acres on the Chattahoochee River – at the Simpsonwood Retreat Center, with crisp morning air and trees ablaze with vivid red, bronze and gold. Instead of publisher’s displays there will be a labyrinth to walk through and trails that ramble through the woods. All of that, and the company of women who have moved past mid-life and who embrace their age, learn from the examined experience of their lives, and appreciate the wrinkles on their faces. Seems like most of all these are women who are willing to tell the truth about their lives.
Will I fit in? Will I have anything to offer? I think that I’ve learned to walk in my own truth and that I’m committed to moving forward in life with all of the gusto I can muster. But … will I belong here?
This is a gift to myself on my final week of my first year of retirement. I can hardly wait to go. Want to join me there?