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Sometimes it amazes me how much time it takes me to learn timely lessons. Yup, I’ve been thinking a lot about time again. So far I’ve gone through a period of getting up at 6:30, writing and sipping a latte while munching on toast and cheese (lovingly provided by my sweetie) until I’d get up and head down to the Y. Home in time to relax a bit before teaching a bar/bat mitzvah student around 4 (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday) or to head down to Ryerson to teach (Tuesdays) or – a little later, not until 5:45 after teaching a lesson – down to choir (Wednesdays). Friday nights we always have the pleasure of having shabbat dinner with my mother and Ellen and often other family or guests as well. Turns out that on weekdays – between my evening schedule and the work David often brings home with him in preparation for the following day – we see each other for about 5 minutes in the morning when he brings me coffee/toast/newspaper, have a quick dinner together Mondays nights and Thursday nights which is then followed by his working downstairs and me doing something upstairs, and about 20 minutes at night between when he joins me upstairs and is blissfully snoozing. So how did this happen? As Elizabeth Barrett Browning said: “let me count the ways“. Continue reading
Here it is October 1st. In one month I will have been retired for a whole year. Holy crow!!! Soon it will be time for me to reflect on this first year “beyond work” … but not quite yet. What’s very exciting is that by the time I enter year two of retirement I will have not one website (www.sylviabereskin.com), but two. Next week we’re going to be launching a For The First Time website that will focus on women and retirement. For only the second time in the past 18 months that means I’ll be missing a posting; we’ll be “in process” next Monday so my next posting will be next Thursday. You’ll be automatically directed to the new site when you check the blog. Here’s hoping it will all go smoothly!
Meanwhile, as sad as it makes me, I think I might just be finished kayaking for another season. There’s nothing that I do in the fall/winter months that gives me the same sense of peace and the same opportunity to think deeply as paddling along a river. Often when I’m paddling I meditate. That means that I’m trying to stay aware of just the very moment that I’m in; the feeling of the air, the sound of the paddles in the water, the motion of my arms moving back and forth, up and down. Nonetheless, other thoughts do pop into my mind (the point in the approach to meditation that I use is not to empty my mind but just to acknowledge the kinds of thoughts that pop up and then go back to the moment). So what slides into my awareness as my kayak slides along the surface of the river? Continue reading
Posted in Identity, Lessons learned, Making decisions, Moving Forward
Tagged autumn, awareness, doubts, fear, Identity, insecurity, jewish girls don't kayak, kayaking, mindfulness, optimism, retirement workshops, women's retirement workshops
September 10th was a 9th wedding anniversary for David and me. We’ve had a lot of transitions to make in those nine years; a lot of joy, a lot of excitement, miles – in both length and depth – of journeying together, challenging challenges – my transition from career woman to retiree included – and a lot of love. Interestingly we each gave the other an anniversary card with a similar message … that every day we fall in love all over again and that we’d marry each other again. Knowing he’s on this journey with me is a real gift; my kudos – and gratitude – to him … and anyone else who can support someone in this journey into understanding what this new part of life – retirement – is all about. I wonder what it’s like to live with someone who’s doing one of those life-cycle, ground-shifting sort of dances? Not easy I’m sure. Thank you David.
NOW, to the original Thursday morning posting:
I was watching Criminal Minds with David the other night (a favorite show we share) and I heard these words:
ON THE FLIGHT OUT (if you watch Criminal Minds you’ll know what I mean, otherwise just see these as two quotes in the show): “The French philosopher Voltaire wrote ‘there are some who only employ words for the purpose of disguising their thoughts’.”
ON THE HOMEWARD-BOUND FLIGHT: “The author, Francois Foucault wrote ‘We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves’.”
These words were kind of jangling and set my mind racing. They’ve been sort of haunting me now for several days. I worry that through my words here I am disguising myself … maybe even from myself. It’s another spin on words that I’d heard from the women I interviewed years ago when I did my doctorate. They’d all talked about their take on the Impostor Syndrome which leads many of us to continually question ourselves about whether or not we really have earned what we’ve achieved and whether or not we’ve been misleading others into believing we’re smarter and/or more competent than we really are.
Then I read Bettina’s comment on my Labour Day post, suggesting that she thought I was “finding that comfort center” in (my) retirement if there is such a thing” and I knew I had to pause and think and write. So I’ve just spent time – for the first time in a very long time – rippling through the pages of my dissertation (Solomon, Sylvia R. (1989). Women of Eminence: The Underrepresentation of Women at High Levels of Achievement. University of Toronto) and what a nourishing journey through old words it was. Let me share it with you here. Continue reading
Posted in Making decisions, New awareness, Who am I? Identity by self
Tagged awareness, choices, expectations, fear, Impostor Syndrome, June Callwood, Maryon Kantaroff, recognition, Retirement Identity, Roberta Bondar
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!!
There’s something I’m struggling with these days. I’m afraid that I’m not contributing enough. A new form for guilt has entered my life that has both surprised me and left me curious. To explain, let me tell you about an amazing – and very enjoyable – experience I had a few days ago. Perhaps you’ll have had similar thoughts and feelings. Maybe you’ll have some good advice to share.
The day started early; I got up at 6 a.m. to finish preparing for the ESL class I was going to teach in that day. I’d start with using the newspaper to highlight both significant current events, to emphasize grammar points, and introduce new vocabulary. The paper that comes to the class doesn’t come to my front door so my sweet David was kind enough to go out really early and get me the paper so I could sip my latte at 6 a.m. and plan my teaching. What would I do without him? So … I taught until 2:30 and then came home. I had a couple of hours before my Bar Mitzvah student would arrive so decided I’d head around the corner to my Mignon – my favorite nails place – and get a pedicure. A little indulgence in a busy day; good thing, right?
Did you watch the Golden Globes? David and I had a lovely evening watching it together. He’s very understanding of my need to watch the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards while doing an ongoing commentary on the dresses (last night they were fairly lovely in my opinion, other than a number of very weird bumpy-stick-out parts that seemed to just burst forth from shoulders). There was a palpable sense of hopefulness in the air I thought. I saw an interesting article online this morning that said that “Tina Fey officially rules the world and has the Golden Globe awards to prove it.” Not sure whether I was pleased or not that she didn’t work the words “you betcha” into her acceptance speech. One of the movies nominated for multiple categories was Doubt; if you haven’t seen it you likely want to because it’s fabulous.