In the past couple of years or so, a small cohort of friends and I have entered into our retirement phases. Retirement from careers, that is, not life. In fact, one might say life begins anew at this time.
We suddenly have time to do the things we want. Of course, we have to figure what those are.
And I was having a discussion with one of those friends yesterday about this very topic because he asked me to read over a article he had written about his experiences and how he is now free of the toxic environment in which he worked. It’s a good piece and I hope he publishes it somewhere.
If you’re a Facebook friend you will have already seen this, but here is the reply I sent him after reading his piece. With a couple of minor edits and spacing added for flow . . .
It has always amazed me that what we perceive as being “careers,” and especially public serving careers, turn out to be just “jobs.” Not because of our input, but because of the limitations placed on the job by management and coworkers. Unseen restraints and hidden motivations – all profit driven.
Then we find ourselves there. Time, effort, money invested. And we have to pay the bills. So we go into survival mode, which may seem selfish, but it’s necessary.
As I said once when I was trying to get behind a wave in the Atlantic on a boogie board and kept getting rolled over and over and sucked under yet again, “The ocean is mightier than I.”
We get the crap knocked out of us.
Then 20, then 30, then 40 years are gone. Twinkling of an eye. Our bodies are old and battered, but now we get to rest. And suddenly we get to experience life, and maybe get to find our spirits. And we look back and say,
“WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?”
Photo: Obviously not the best photo I’ve ever taken. I took this back in the days when we still used actual 35 mm film. And then it was scanned into the computer, and then transferred from computer to computer as they needed to be replaced. Consequently, it has degraded a bit. Nevertheless, this was that day I was on the Atlantic side of Florida – a cold November day, and those waves were powerful. I like the Ibis taking flight as well as I use that to represent us taking flight in this new stage of life. May we all fly over the waves now – free – as opposed to having to fight them.
Addendum: I do want to add that I was not trying to say that we miss all of experiencing our lives until we retire. Obviously, there have been many wonderful experiences along the way on this journey, even while we’re in the work routine. But there are certain parts of life we can miss during those career years when so much focus from societal pressures keeps us fighting and climbing the career ladder. There is a lot to that old saying that we should stop and smell the roses along the way.
And if anyone wishes to join me on Facebook, please feel free to send me an invite – to “Stearley Harold.” And yes, as always, there is a story as to why I have my name inverted there. Oh, and if you do join me there, I can’t promise you anything exciting on any of my FB posts. Just saying 🙂