The Last Third

Winter                                         Garden Planning Moon

Moving into the last third of life.  Kate’s coming total retirement, no more part time work, probably sometime around March.  The 65th coming up for me.  Markers of a turn the vessel of our lives is making, a long slow turn, no Costa Concordia, this one’s on a chart, at least the first markers then the notation, this way there be the unknown.

In the first third we crank ourselves up, get educated, separated, motivated, maybe even liberated.  In the second third we’re all about output.  Children, money, ambition, advancement.  Then this last third, a part of life with little real road map since folks just didn’t use to live this long.  Or be healthy this long.  Now here we come.  Whee.

The briefcase gets put in the closet one last time.  The suits rotated to the back of the closet.  Paychecks stop.  Driving diminishes.  The old standards, the important ones, the things we got ready for, studied for, prepared for, lived out, no longer apply.

What if the work was it?  What if the identity there was me?  Who am I now?

You might think someone out of the day-to-day workforce for as along as I have been, since 1991, going on 21 years, would have answered those questions.  Maybe not.

The volunteer work I’ve taken on has had work like trappings,work like I did when I worked for the Presbytery.  The Sierra Club and the politics.  Even the occasional preaching and organizational consulting.  What I used to do.  The MIA work has been, I admit, different in content and style, but it had this commonality, complexity and challenge.

And, to be honest, even when I contemplate pulling back toward home, back toward work only I can do, I still see it as work.  That is, a full on expression of who I am, hold nothing back, go for it.

Maybe I’m not able to kick back, relax.  Let the kids do it.  Though.  I’m glad I’ve worked with the Sierra Club because it has introduced to me a younger generation very much in the fight, hands on the banner, no letting the flag waver.  It makes me feel better about pulling back from political work.

Not sure I know quite what I’m trying to say here, at the end.  Maybe I’m worried that my continuing results orientation is a way of avoiding the next turn in our life.  A way of not sighing, watching the moon.  Patting the dog.

Ancor impari.


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