It’s snowing in North Vancouver – in the middle of fall. Early for us and it leads me to contemplation.
Who am I now that I’m retired? I was not a workaholic so my identity was not tied up in my work and yet I still feel some loss. As I get older I have a myriad of health conditions but they don’t define me. I have created many pleasurable things for myself and my friends to do and enjoy all of them but it is not enough. I’ve read advice on retirement, viagra on being happy (The Happiness Project; blog at http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/) and began with decluttering which was fun to begin with, page now is just a chore and stalled. So I haven’t gotten to the rest of my list.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for what I have. I have a supportive husband, wonderful adult children, do the things I love – read, go to movies, travel, go out with friends, and even work on personal growth. I have learned new things, for example, how to develop a blog and recently about how to use RSS feeds and Twitter and I do follow my interests. I even work on an occasional contract from a former client who convinces me I need to work to live. I have novelty in my life but maybe I’m lacking challenge and I think I need more structure.
I once attended a week long retreat with Robert Fritz and his wife called “The Living Art”. Fritz is a musician/composer, filmmaker and organizational consultant and his theory is that, to make your life a work of art, you create pieces of art. You organize your life around your highest aspirations. Each piece of, or role in, your life is as full and creative as you can make it, applying the principles of professional creators. In order to do this you have to know your desired outcome, honestly assess your current reality and focus on the tension between and the steps to getting where you want. My issue right now is “desired outcome” but I’m working on it – a fulfilled, challenging, happy life. I’m not there yet but I know that creativity is about overcoming obstructions (from a brilliant filmmaker, Lars von Trier who has a great documentary, The Five Obstructions.) I also know that I have less time to create the path or change it than I might have once had so I better focus.
I know that I can do this. I have done it before and found that I was happiest when I had several different roles. People who knew me in one would not necessarily know that I could do the others. In that way I could use all of my creativity and skills.
How are you handling retirement or just living?