Sunday, September 2, 2012

I’m Forty Years Old in Here

This blog is supposed to be about the transition from work to retirement and whatever comes next, and it is about that. But of course it has to be about getting older. It can’t be denied. Yet it is so surreal. That’s part of the Zen part. What I look like and who I am are not necessarily the same. I have no kids and no husband (by choice). Good health and relatively good fitness. You may look at me and see 60 – or maybe thereabouts…on a good day. But inside here, I’m about 40, looking out.

I have more in common with 40 year olds (or even younger when it comes to lifestyle) than most 60 year olds. Except my relationship to time. When I was younger the future expanse of time - that road - stretched out long - couldn’t really see the end of it. There seemed to be a lot of time to do and be, to spend as well as I could and to take care of myself financially.  As time passed, that end point started to come into focus. And my perceptive on time moved closer and closer to the here-and-now as the questions  - unknowns - about my life and my future were answered – especially, how can I do meaningful work and still be financially stable. I somehow managed to do that, because of risks taken and despite some really lean years. And that allows a certain peace that I didn’t have when I was younger.

Neil Young’s Old Man just came up on my Pandora Leonard Cohen radio mix and I almost teared up remembering what my life was like when it came out in 1972. I was twenty years old and the world seemed quite a mess. But life was full of promise because I believed it could and would get better as long as “we” continued to do things to move us towards more understanding, inclusion, equality, valuing the natural world and all that. I’m not sure how we got where we are – I’m pretty disillusioned with much of the human race. But now that I am “free” I still feel life full of promise - but in a personal-to-me sense. Part of the decision to retire was to make the best use of my time that I can. Perhaps as the workplace fades in the rearview mirror, I’ll find a way to contribute again. 

I’m 40 years old in here …without the angst of making a living. If I start whining about anything, remind me that I have no excuse for being anything but ecstatic.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Joan. I think, for the most part, 60 today is much different than 60 when we were younger. Sixty used to be old, now it's middle aged (and I don't think that's just because I'm staring at it). Let's hope the same is true of 80!