As the summer moves into the fall I am trying to get in as much kayaking as I can before I have to wrap up my boat for another winter. Last weekend I managed to get out onto the river twice; it was hot and sunny and both times my spirits soared as I paddled along. Beautiful white swans often escorted me and flocks of Canada Geese flew by, perhaps practicing for their soon-to-take-place journey south. Kayaking for me is a form of meditation; I leave the outside world behind as I become one with the river (really, truly, that’s what it feels like) and often I listen to music to add another element to my joy. It doesn’t happen all of the time, but often – as I paddle along – I gain a sense of clarity and awareness that I haven’t had before. This happened over the weekend. Let me share it with you.
I’ve been living in the midst of a maelstrom (a powerful circular current, usually the result of conflicting tides) for the past number of days. The confluence of a number of things has left me with more than the usual confusion and uncertainty in my life. Had these occurred one at a time I’m guessing I could have sorted things out more readily but surprise of surprises I don’t get to control when things happen – or what happens – and so it’s been rather an emotional pummeling for the past few days. Let me go back about a week.
I started last week with great intentions to get a lot of work done on the theories course I’ve agreed to teach in the fall. As the development of the course unfolded I was aware of huge amounts of resistance to just getting the job done … and this is something that usually I don’t have to deal with. So, me being me, I stopped to give it a lot of thought. What was really going on here? Why was I feeling so incredibly stressed? I was feeling so rested for a while and now I’m back to feeling exhausted. What’s going on here??? It took several days, lots of good conversations with friends, some meditation, and more than a few drams of fine whiskey to figure it out, but I think I’m onto something really important for me.
Posted in Logistics and time management, Making decisions, Moving Forward
Tagged awareness, change, choices, dreams as plans, freedom, inspiration, stress, time, transition
I’ll just jump right back into the thought process here that I began with my previous posting.
LONELINESS, ISOLATION, AND THE BLUES:
When I imagined my life in retirement there’s no way I could have known that the context for that would be the worst financial crisis of my lifetime. That’s had levels of impact on pretty much everyone’s lives and one of the things it’s meant in our home – and in many homes – is that David is working much harder these days with less office support. I have been pretty much beginning and ending my days alone; I get a coffee and good morning from David before he heads to work around 6:30, and at night – once we’ve had dinner and he’s finished the work he’s brought home – well, by then he’s exhausted and ready for dreamland.
Seems that most days I’m mostly pretty much on my own as well. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m a bit of a loner anyhow. But this is starting to feel like too much time alone and not enough time for meaningful interaction with others. My new friends – so far – are mostly on TV; how pathetic is that! Even knowing that this is a temporary state … that a few months from now the seeds I’ve been planting will start to grow and life will seem different (I hope) … doesn’t make the heaviness in my soul any lighter I fear. I read this on the web: “Retirement means an adjustment in your mindset. After you retire, you may experience anxiety and depression . You suddenly have all this free time with no committments – but does that make you happy, or anxious? Oddly enough, all our working years, we wish for freedom. We can’t wait to be wild, happy and free in retirement.Then comes the day we walk out the proverbial retirement door — and what do we DO with the rest of our life?” I was really delighted when I read the very next paragraph: “Recognize these anxious feelings are normal… suddenly, nothing is the same. But that’s ok as you transition into your New Self, the Retired Person who is HAPPY with a New Life!” This is definitely the stuff of Lesson #3: Acknowledge what makes you uncomfortable, then put it into the background and focus on what makes you happy. Do you see the darkness or the moonlight on the field? Or both? It’s all one. This one continues to be a struggle for me. Continue reading
Posted in Aging and other hard realities, Identity, Lessons learned, Making decisions, Moving Forward, New awareness
Tagged awareness, change, choices, dreams as plans, expectations, freedom, Identity, mindfulness, Retirement Identity, stress, transition
It’s now been six months since I retired, and so I think it’s a good time to do a bit of a review and assessment on how am I doing. Not the kind of assessment that ends up ranking me against others who’ve similarly retired. Oh no … not that at all. Just a bit of a review of what I thought would happen, what happened, and what I’m thinking should happen next. This is an opportunity to revisit some of the “lessons” I think I’m learning. Which are still useful? Which are being applied? What am I happy with? What am I struggling with? How to move forward? Continue reading
Posted in Aging and other hard realities, Lessons learned, Making decisions, Moving Forward
Tagged awareness, change, choices, dreams as plans, expectations, finances, freedom, Identity, inspiration, stress, transition
Just as I was working on pulling together my thoughts about my first 6 months as a retired feminist woman the world sent me a reminder that keeping my eye on “my dream” is – as we used to say – where it’s at!
The Vancouver Sun headline read: “Susan Boyle: Unemployed 47-year-old virgin becomes overnight music superstar“, simultaneously introducing us to Susan Boyle and displaying it’s out-dated mysogynistic approach to the world. Really – what has her age, her professional status, or the state of her chastity got to do with her enormous talent and determination?
The lights that are flashing are telling me to remember; remember that it’s about holding onto the dream and moving always closer to it that matters.
Which brings me to another “ah ha” moment I’ve had in this process of thinking the months through. Continue reading
Much of what I’ve been reading the past couple of weeks has been about how people envision retirement and whether or not their dreams of retirement have much match to the actual experience of retirement. This is a theme in my thinking that keeps drawing me back.
On the one hand I actually do believe that the vision that we hold about something supports the potential reality of that vision. Not sure if this is making sense or just sounds far too new-agey for most. I remember learning as a child (suffering through endless after-school hours of Hebrew school; a rite of passage many of us have experienced) that Theodore Herzl said “If you will it, it is no dream”. I don’t remember anything else about that class, because those words carried me into thoughts of not only having permission to dream but also having support for really believing in those dreams and acting to fulfill those dreams – willing them and not just dreaming them. Anais Nin taught another lesson: “Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.” The great words of wisdom I’ve stumbled upon in the past 59 years are legion.