Friday, October 19, 2012

Retirement: Going and Staying

People ask me, "How is retirement going?"  My answer, at the moment, is that I have the retirement mentality but not yet the life-style.  In these months, I am still finishing up some necessary, left-over activity, but when that is done--soon--I will be freer to establish the new pace for my life.  I am already practicing it in my head.

I find that one of the early challenges in retiring is not just having to "let go," but also knowing exactly how "to stay."  With retirement, I am not moving to another planet.  I still live in in the midst of life as I have known it.  So, I have made a couple of lists for myself to help me think about "how to go" and "how to stay."

The first list is about what work responsibilities I will no longer assume--"how to go."  To be retired from the work I used to do, I feel the challenge to not:  Plan it; Fund it; Build it; Lead it; Facilitate it; Worry about it; Rethink it; Critique it; Fix it; Save it or Eliminate it.  Those kinds of responsibility now belong to the past for me.  These "not" tasks are not easy for me, since they gave important meaning to my active life.  So, I am still having some painful moments.  But most of the time, in not having to do them now, I am feeling wonderfully liberated.  Retirement is as much a matter of what is happening on the inside as on the outside.

On the other hand, what I energetically worked in and for during my active years continues to have a life.  So, how do I relate to it in retirement--"how to stay?" That's the second list that will help teach me to:  Honor it; Be hospitable towards it; Collaborate with it; Encourage it; Pray for it and Advise it (when asked).  These kinds of tasks are a new discipline for me to practice.  They are creating boundaries that keep me respectfully close and, and at the same time, healthily detached.  They will be teaching me a new pace in a new space.

So that's how retirement is going for me at the moment.  It feels right.

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