Imbolc Waning Bridgit Moon
Sunday night Kate and I went to St. Anthony Main, overlooking the Mississippi and St. Anthony Falls, for a Roots Music festival put on by KBEM, a local jazz station. While we ate at the Aster Cafe and listened to a small group, Kate looked up at me and said, “Ah, the life of the retiree.”
I understood what she meant. Free at last. But….
I had another reaction too, “Yes, I know what you mean. But, really. This is life. Not retired life, but life itself.”
In that moment I realized the category mistake everyone makes when speaking of retirement. It is seen as special, different, unique, something to be fussed over and transitioned into when really it’s just life, life continuing. Not different, not special, not unique, not to be fussed over.
Or, to say the same thing another way. It is different, special, unique, to be fussed over because it is your life, your life, your one and only special and true life. We have to want our life and lead our life before we work, while we work and after we work. We do vacate the workplace, but we do not retire from our lives.
In fact, the fuss is too often that we’ve left our lives up to others. Our boss, our clients, our patients, our corporation or agency. The past times and activities that seem so necessary, but are really only the ideas of others.
So, the problem and the promise lies not within the change in our work, but with the change in ourselves. If we have known what our life is, if we have chosen activities and friends for their intrinsic value not their external rewards, well, then, on with your life. If not, the issue is not the transition, but the need for self-examination, for honesty with the you that you bring to life as you grow older. No one else can do this work for you. It’s up to you.