Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”– Gilda Radner
A year ago I grabbed the modest retirement I’d earned by sticking to a job for 17 years and achieving the age of 55 years. (Well, over-achieving that latter bit, if you want to be picky.)
And headed out the door into a world quite new to me: life without a full-time job. No pets or people to care for at home, a little bit of money dropping into my checking account each month just because I’m still breathing, a bit of money banked in the “fun and travel” account, and no fixed schedule.
I found it was relaxing, healing, scary, and sometimes I was immobilized by a sense of infinite possibilities or at least more than I could handle. I traveled, I snoozed, I took a lot of pictures and read a lot of books and walked for miles in the parks. I also let my inner lazy slob out to play and gained ten pounds. Ouch. I wish I could say that I embraced life and all its unknowns with verve and style, but I’d be lying. I’ve struggled some.
It’s been an ambiguous time, that’s for sure. Four times, on an airplane, I was handed customs and immigration forms as we headed to a foreign country. All asked me to state my occupation. How I answered depended on my mood. But I think I only wrote “retired” once because it didn’t seem right.
Now I’ve been working again for four months, this time self-employed. I’m happy about it. That ten pounds is gone. And I’m over communing with my inner lazy slob; she can go away forever.
I’m still a little stymied for an answer when asked “What do you do?”
Sometimes I say I’m semi-retired. Other times that I’m working as special counsel on a short-term contract without mentioning the R word.
In a couple of weeks I’ll probably say that I’m engaged full time in housebreaking a Shih Tzu puppy.
My hope for the next 12 months: that I can savor life’s ambiguity.