Friday, February 22, 2013

I Can See Clearly Now

Well, maybe not clearly – but a bit more clearly. I don’t claim to be becoming a Buddhist (despite the name of my blog) but this resonated:

The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate, to reveal itself.
       ~ Thich Nhat Hanh  

When I was working, there was the ever-present buffer of life-in-the-fast-lane. It was just easier to see things the way I wanted them to be. I didn’t have the time or energy it would have taken to make them any different. However, things reveal themselves when not partially hidden behind the artifice of what they need to be so that life keeps going with minimal hassle.
Since I’ve been cultivating boredom (see Dare to Be Bored post) it is easier to see the true essence. With many distractions stripped away, some things are coming into focus. I have room in my consciousness to see things more as they are. Preconceived constructs are receding. Realities are illuminated. The veil is lifting.

This applies to situations - for example, the pretension that is Hollywood and movie awards shows, despite the seduction of pretty dresses (and you know I love the fashion moment) or the agenda-protection that passes as right and left political “analysis” ( or governing). 

However, it seems to apply most obviously to relationships. I can see more clearly now that I don’t have to maintain a favorable construct. When working, it is necessary to keep some relationships going because of the job/income-related or professional reputation consequences of not. A certain amount of denial or minimizing is necessary. That can become a way of seeing. It permeates.
No longer in that mode, there is nothing at stake except the relationship itself.  The stripping away exposes a fuller, more complete, picture. Not just a superficial rosy glow occasioned by the overlay of seeing what I want or need to see. 
So, while the effect of retirement on relationships has been good (see post on that topic), it is now easier to see little things or let go of assumptions. The Vietnamese pedicurist doesn’t want to connect on a personal level. She’s not interested in a cross-cultural experience.  She just wants you to come more often so she can feed her family (which is why most people just sit in silence). So stop trying to engage.  The insurance agent never seems to get your questions and often makes little mistakes and might need replacing, despite how long you have been with the agency. Some people at casual social events are so full of themselves (bet you thought I was going to say “it” – that’s a similar breed). There’s no need to stand there and try to make conversation.
More importantly though, the challenging aspects of some closer relationships peek out from behind the veil. It is easier to see what has been accommodated to keep the peace. It is easier to see who listens and who is mostly waiting their turn to talk. Easier to notice who is “there” and who isn’t. Who is unaware that they might be being a tad insensitive. Those that have stayed steadfast and those who let distance happen. Who is really interested.  Who reads this blog and who is “too busy to read it” (honestly, I didn’t think I was going to be so sensitive to hearing that, but I am). And who are the (very busy) people who keep up when they can.
All very illuminating. However, while I can see these things, I am not very caught up in them. I can let it be - have patience as time and attention find ways to work things out or let things go.
When the mind is not crowded by imaginary things, it is the best season of your life.

Yes. It is. I might start calling this “The Retirement Effect”.  Scientific verification studies to follow.

P.S. Almost a month later and the relevant guidance keeps coming:

For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them


  1. I enjoyed reading this post! I went from “you are becoming so mature-so enlightened" (not that you weren't before!) to "you are my role model"! (I love parenthetical phrases too. I am so enjoying your reflections in retirement. Very inspiring. Love you.

  2. Hubb @ threecrossfashion.comFebruary 24, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    We only get what we now you have a reason to live - no more working relationships but having those from the past and future that will shape where you go... so go Girl!

  3. Yep. The "get what you give" has been on my mind. I'm paying attention to that as well. Go, go go...