Tag Archives: Retirement Identity

An amazing morning and a Stuff Diet idea to share

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Facing off with fear

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Disguises and latent Impostor Syndrome

UpdateSeptember 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 knowgulfstream jet 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

First Red Cross Emergency Call leads to critical thought

truckMy first Red Cross emergency call!  After all of these months of being on call but not actually called,  one ring of the phone and everything changed.   A few weeks ago we had a bit of a heat wave in Toronto –  temperatures well above 30 degrees celsius (mid 90s for those of you still measuring in fahrenheit) with a lot of humidity.  In these conditions the city will issue a heat alert which is primarily intended to protect seniors, children and others at high risk for heat-related illness.  People are told to avoid exertion, stay home if possible, and, if necessary, centres with air conditioning are set up for folks who have no other place to stay cool.  With that one phone call I launched into action to do my part. Continue reading

A 2-keynote day: Change is happening

I had an amazing – if exhausting – day last week that I’d like to share with you.  It was a day (or couple of days really) that just resonated with “this fits”.  It involved my children, grandchildren, two keynote addresses and two workshops.  All of that and some sunshine too.  Who could ask for more?

My third and fourth keynotes were both in Ottawa on the same day last week.  Knowing that I’d have a very full working day (not used to that so much anymore) I flew up a day ahead so that I could hang out with Nili and her family.  It was a wonderful day filled with walking in the sunshine, hours and hours of the kind of talk that mothers and daughters can share, and so many moments just gazing into Freida’s smiling face. IMG_1379She gets more and more beautiful every day it seems.  In this time which seems to be filled with so much uncertainty for me (and I’m guessing for lots of us given all of the rapid changes in the world around us) one of the things that keeps me attached to reality – and to what’s important – is a smile from my granddaughter.  I’ve been feeling pretty tired (can’t shake my California cold/cough) and the best tonic I’ve found is holding Freida; that sweet face always reminds me that at some level all is well with the world.

Okay – grandmother gabfest done for today! Continue reading

What if I don’t want to be in The Now Network?

I don’t know if you’ve seen this ad or not, but it keeps popping up on my TV screen (and yes, I do watch a lot of TV and am not going to apologize for that).  It lists all sorts of things that are happening now; things like:

– 43 million cell phone calls are being made

– 380,000 people just hung up

– 1 billion emails are en route

– 7% of them contain the words “Miracle Banana Diet”

– They’re hitting 63,000 spam filters.  

– 233,000 people just Twittered on Twitter

– 26% of you viewing this have no idea what that means.

Have a look, if you don’t mind watching a commercial.


My point is that I have this sense of just being utterly overwhelmed with information and it’s taking up far too much energy to feel that I’m staying on top of what’s happening.   Continue reading

Six Months In – Part 2

I’ll just jump right back into the thought process here that I began with my previous posting.


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