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Posted in Logistics and time management, Moving Forward, What I could do
Tagged choices, expectations, fear of failure, fear of success, insecurity, planning without deadlines, Retirement Identity, stress, transition, writing a book
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On December 10th we boarded the ice-breaker Polar Star and we began our two day crossing of the Beagle Channel and the Drake Passage that will bring us to the Antaractic Peninsula. We’ve heard that there can be some pretty wild water that we’re going to traverse; waves over 30 feet high are not uncommon. I did a a practice run wearing a sea-sickness patch while getting ready for this trip; will let you know when we’re back how that worked.
Meanwhile, I had an experience a few days ago that left me grinning and saying: “well, I couldn’t have done that three weeks ago!”
We’ll be sailing on the Polar Star for 10 days; four of them getting to and from the Antarctic Peninsula and six of them visiting Antarctica, hopefully boarding zodias a couple of times a day for land visits. I’ll keep a good record (in words and photos) of all that we see and do and I’ll share that with you when I get back (if you’d like).
It’s been over a month now and I’m surprised to find myself still walking around much of the time in what feels like a fog, or as it was called in Joe Vs The Volcano … a brain cloud. People keep asking me how I’m enjoying retirement (and what I’m doing) and I’m pretty sure that they are all expecting to hear that it’s terrific and that I’m busier than ever. Understand that I’m not really complaining; I’m just struggling. Struggling to make this transition which is proving to be more challenging than I’d anticipated. Somehow I guess I thought that since I was giving this a lot of thought beforehand I’d find the actual change quite easy. Not! I’m also not ready to settle on what I want to do yet … still tossing around the many many wonderful opportunities I could follow up.
I’ll start right off by admitting that I’m not sure why I chose the title for this posting but it somehow fits with how I’m feeling. I’m writing this sitting in a cafe on the outskirts of Toronto where the Family Supports Institute of Ontario (FSIO) is holding it’s 2008 conference “The Communities We Grow; The People Who Make it Happen.” This is a wonderful conference for all professionals who support families and children. That’s a lot of people. I’m sitting here writing because in all of the confusion of closing down my work-office and trying to set up my working space at home – and therein lies a topic for another day – I keep on losing things and overlooking things. So, when I got up this morning I knew that I’d be presenting this afternoon, but I couldn’t remember at what time in the afternoon and couldn’t locate a conference brochure. My solution? I drove out to the conference centre around 11 a.m. so I could deliver my handouts, have a look at the room I’d be presenting in, and find out – without giving myself away – what time I’m “on”. It’s about 11:30 now and I’ll be speaking at 2, so I’ve got lots of time to sit and write. Great plan!!
The first volunteering that I ever did was as a candy striper at a “hospital” in London, Ontario. I put the word hospital in parentheses because it was actually an institution just across the street from St. Joseph’s hospital but, as one of the staff said, patients may have walked in but they didn’t walk out. Once a week I’d don a sweet, pink striped apron and head off to help with serving dinner. There was one woman in particular – and I’m afriad I just don’t remember her name – that I liked to spend time with. She – let’s call her Zelda – thought she was in the kitchen sink. Yup, you read that right, in the kitchen sink. When I’d arrive in her room she’d be huddled in a corner of her bed, skinny hips pressed up against the bars, and she’d be muttering herself about all of the dishes that needed washing and how crowded she was and how she wished someone would get those big saucepans out of her shins. I’d stand by her bedside, reach over, and move more arms and hands as if I was washing dishes and moving them from the sink to the drainer nearby. Slowly she’d relax and stretch out, and she was always so grateful that I’d come and cleaned up the mess for her. I wondered then, and as I write about this I wonder again, what her life had been like. The images that we conjure up and sometimes lchoose to “live in” say a lot, I think, about our day-to-day experiences in living.
Some days come with more surprises than others, and sometimes – when we’re lucky – the experience of those surprises brings some glimmer of inner wisdom. Today – August 10th – was one of those surprise days for me. The day began when the phone beside the bed rang a little before 4 a.m. It was my son calling, asking if we knew what all of the explosions and sirens were about. He described hearing and feeling the first big explosion; he thought the windows in his apartment might blow out. Although the noise hadn’t woken me up as soon as I was awake I could also hear an ongoing barrage of explosions. Loud ones. In true 21st century style I went first to the computer to see if there was any explanation for what was going on on-line. Nada! David went out to the car to tune a particular 24-hour local news station that comes in better in the car than it does in the house. No information there either. Same results with 24-hour local news on TV. By about 4:20 we were getting glimmers of reports; there had been an explosion of some sort in a neighbourhood about 8 miles away. A few minutes later we had a little more information; there’s been an explosion at a propane facilty and emergency crews were on site. Not much to go by, but enough to let us say goodbye on the phone and go back to finish getting a reasonable night’s sleep.