- Retirement and its excitement;
- Potential for serious health issues;
- Acknowledgement of the hopelessness of the condition of one's spouse;
- Guilt and recriminations;
- Marriage and the nurturing of a new life joined;
- Fussy battling that has become the norm for communication;
- Clues about what I might do to prepare for my own retirement;
- Listening to others' stories;
These bullets have all visited me this month and I am reminded of how grateful I am for the companion I have in this life.
Do we scrap? YES
Do we get over it? YES
Are we joined at the root of our own basic selves? Does this keep us joined in purpose and goals? Does the future look good? ALL YES
Could I be happier? YES
Would I change anything? NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT.
I think about retirement now and I realize that I like my demanding job but I won't miss it at all when the time comes to navigate this big change. Until recently I could hardly wait. The two years seemed to drag in my mind. The next two years loomed as a monumental waste of time. It was only time marked for financial reasons - the getting of our money ducks all in a row. But then I read MaryEllen's recent post and reflected on Don's recent passage into the world of retirement. MaryEllen and Don and two things in common:
- They prepared ahead of time, and;
- They are busier than ever.
Over the course of several months we followed MaryEllen as she streamlined her possessions, moved to a new place, and feathered her very downsized but totally charming nest. She is tackling major health issues and paying it all forward by bringing activity and companionship to an elderly neighbor.
Don retired and life exploded into a fireworks display of change for us. He decompressed, started to smile more, took out his self-produced Honey-Do list and went to work again. Along the way he's made progress in his genealogy searches at a pace that didn't exist before.
And then there was the wedding, the vacation after, the surprises that ensued, the problems we encountered with the water pump on the car and the easy switch to a Plan B while the water pump was being replaced.
For a not terribly social sort of man, he has done more visiting in the past two months than I think he has done in the past two years and much of it HE planned. So my question is "Who ARE you and what have you done with the Don I knew?" Not that I'm complaining, of course.
So what does this all say to me? I have two years and a bit before the big passage is on me. I can use the present to prepare for the future or I can sit back, work, and do nothing except think about it a lot. The second choice holds no appeal and doesn't fit with my new intention of being in control of my life. So, prepare I must but what will that involve? Three things have been speaking to me recently:
- Unpacking my past;
- Create a personal space that works;
- Heal myself physically and spiritually.
Doing these three things will clear my path to retirement so that when I arrive, I will be ready. I hope, as I travel this road, that I also find the greater purpose I have been seeking.
End of Part One