As a preamble to a friend’s retirement, “Congratulations” doesn’t seem quite in order, other than, “Wow, you’ve survived!” Or “Hallelujah,” in a minor key full of wonder. Like making it to the end of a gauntlet.
Chronology doesn’t matter in these matters, older as I am but less mature, the eternal 17-year-old emotionally.
I still have no idea of how it feels to “be retired,” other than there seems to be a bit more space to savor what we’re doing or eating, if we want or can remember to do so. Golf? Tennis? Who has time? And yes, after all those years in the newsroom, I’m still “on the clock,” even when sleeping. Tick-tick-tick, only now there’s more of an urgency of mortality. Well, at least so much of my literary writing doesn’t feel like acts of graffiti.
You do have me reflecting on what I’ve been doing – yes, action, rather than any more existential questing of being – since going on Medicaid eight-plus years ago. (You may recall I took the buyout a year earlier but continued part-time, without the usual in-house hassles. A minor but something or other point to raise anyway.)
So what will you dress yourself in before entering that circle? Or remove? That should be part of the ceremony. Robe up or disrobe accordingly. I’d go for feathers. I miss magpies since returning to the East. At least we have eagles and osprey.
I’m finding there are fewer identities to maintain or hats to wear. No longer a commuter, for one thing, and am much less the active poet, though the novelist has ascended. No longer a collector, either, but de-collecting slowly.
It’s a time for Being after a lifetime of Becoming. A time to cast off the non-essentials, everything you thought might come in useful someday.
Someday is finally here.
In my time since “retiring” I’ve welcomed choir member, swimmer, blogger, Spanish reader, and Greek dancer to my realm of identities. Or, more accurately, they’ve welcomed me. Let’s see what finds you in your new openness.
All love and blessing over these many years and miles.
Query: Can you do without a to-do list?
My own experience? Not yet.
As for Existentialism, remember, it’s a French thing. Remember, anything else is just sparkling wine.