Saturday, May 1, 2021

If You Do What You Love -- Part 2

Life is a journey
I regularly listen to a podcast called, Make Me Smart. It uses the tagline, "None of us is as smart as all of us.When I asked in the previous post for insight and wisdom regarding retirement I heard from many. The lived experiences and understandings covered the spectrum. Here are some of those:

Retirement is fluid; changing from day to day. You have freedom to go in many directions, offering support to those who are younger. "Come play with me Grandma." makes retirement perfect.

I have 2 siblings in retirement. One retired at 62 and does  what she pleases. She walks, reads, and spends time with grandchildren, as well as a lot of time on Facebook and Netflix. The other will never stop working. She does not need money. She is compelled to contribute to society as long as she is able. I will (when that time comes) choose my own work and projects. I want to truly b personal interests, professional interests, and self-care. I hope retirement is a time to really find greater peace and balance in a more fulfilling way!

Trails are diverse
I remember someone older giving me advice on retirement. She said, "You will know when it is time to quit." As time went on, I pondered if I should retire at 64, 65, 66??? The time came when I realized it was physically difficult for me to be an effective teacher; I desired more time with family; I had enough money and insurance to live. I knew it was time.

My mom is still working at 66. Definitely for money and not for fun. Her husband retired a few years ago. He plays golf in the summer and watches golf in the winter. None of us understand that level of retirement. On the other side: he worked and then retired to care full-time for his wife. Since her death he keeps busy with hobbies, mainly fixing anything with an engine. He has rekindled friendships and joins his buddies at the local bar to shoot pool. His wife would never have been cool with this activity.

When I left the tech college I told my boss, "If you get any little odds and ends that might fit my qualifications, I might be interested." I am busier than ever with training sessions to teach this year. I enjoy the work and the people. I have choices. The extra money helps my wife and I travel. My take on retirement, "Continue doing what you like, but limit it to a fun amount. Take time to explore new ideas and interesting places."

It is the beginning of the third quarter of the championship game for the Virginia High School playoffs. In the movie, Remember the Titans (2000), Coach Boone tells the players, "This is our time! The second half is our time!" From my interpretation of the various perspectives received, I believe that retirement is: "our time!" I liken it to being a teenager. Everything is up for grabs. Nothing is off limits. Perspectives are as wide as the electromagnetic spectrum. There are intense swings in moods and movements. Mistakes are made. Yet if nothing is created, no joy is generated. If an established formula is followed there is no motivation for experimentation. What is the worse thing that can happen?

Time for a new trail.
Hopefully by the age one enters retirement, resiliency has become a part of life. Unexpected events, medical issues , transitions in living settings and location may come by choice or be chosen for us. Skills and attitudes nurtured for decades can now be used in innovative and nontraditional ways. It is time to once again explore and leave the beaten path.

I have come to internalize the perspective of "embracing what is." Most events are outside of my control. I can choose how to respond or not respond to events. Marcus Aurelius says, "You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength." "Hang on to your youthful enthusiasms, you'll be able to use them better when you're older." says Seneca. Again Seneca says, "True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient."

So what is retirement? I asked this in the previous post. My answer: It is whatever I want it to be each day. Each day is a piece of the canvas of life on which I can paint. There are no patterns or lines to follow. No "paint by number." It is a patchwork in progress. I am going to fully embrace the limitless possibilities and be content!
Going whatever direction I choose.


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