|There are no directional signs in retirement.|
My life has changed a lot since I retired 5 years ago this June. At 59 years of age, I was younger
looking, I had both parents, I felt fulfilled and appreciated in my work. But, there was so much that
I wanted to do.
I started working as a strawberry picker when I was 10 years old. I graduated to baby-sitting my 4 cousins (all under 6 years old ) when I was 13. My subsequent jobs included flyer deliverer, waitress, telephone solicitor, file clerk, child minder, tutor, library assistant and teacher-librarian. As a single parent, sometimes I had 3 jobs and I studied for my teacher-librarian diploma. For almost 50 years, I worked.
|Wherever I go, I can walk.|
I worked very hard at my courses. I was paying for this and I wanted to excel! When I returned home, I planned new adventures, tried to write my blog at least 3 times a week, wrote a children's book (still unpublished) and joined my local church. I attended Sunday School as a child but I have never been
a church-goer in my adult life.
Accomplishment, achievement, aspiration....I didn't attend church but I did accept the old Protestant work ethic! I wonder why it's called that because I know several people who were raised as Catholics who subscribe to the same set of beliefs. When is it time to set aside the quest for the "A's" and to live life without striving?
For me, it is really difficult to let go. If I get in the right number of walks, create the perfect grey/navy travel wardrobe, maintain a fresh and clean apartment, write a certain number of pages during the week, eat the correct number of calories, work a magic number of volunteer hours....I am still looking for the perfect score...a quantitative measure of the success of my life. I still want to be on the "Honour Roll"
Is there an "Honour Roll" for retirees? Do we measure our success by "busyness", by the number of grandchildren, by our domestic accomplishments? I really don't know. For each of us, some of the aspects of our lives work better than others. This month, I have embarked on volunteer opportunities, been offered a census job (said "no"), and registered for some courses at the Alliance Française and
Continuing Education at our local university. I get a a happy, fulfilled feeling from the student/teacher
part of my life.
|the Oaxaca Learning Centre garden|
The first five years of retirement have passed quickly. I am midway into my 65th year. I plan to visit
Ireland and Shetland in September. Monsieur and I have rented an apartment in Mexico where we will spend Christmas with some members of his family (a rare occurrence). I aspire (there's one of the "a" words) to get more exercise, drink less wine and write more blogs in the next few months. I am interested in how other "strivers" have found fulfillment after retirement. Is "letting go" an issue for you?