by Guest Blogger Kathy Davis
I’ve talked about my struggle to embrace the concept of retirement before … but what I haven’t mentioned is the wrestling match Vigi is having with the idea. The only difference is that she’s still working and, despite my uneasiness about her being the primary bread winner, I’m leaving the ‘stay/go’ decision completely up to her. I’ve never been one to look a gift horse in the mouth and risk becoming associated with the other end!
Anyway, Vigi e-mailed her friend Kathy, who is already enjoying the fruits of retirement, asking for some advice and a pep talk. Kathy’s response just might shake a few peaches from the tree for the rest of us, and since I like to work and play well with others, here’s a bite …
“Um, excuse me, Ma’am…did you order a pep talk? Let me see if I can find one for you.
I had to smile when I read your words about wanting to be home when at work, etc. That reminds me of myself about a year and a half ago. You see, I had narrowed my vision down to that of my employer for so many years, I forgot I had a vision of my own … once. In fact, not only did I take on one employer, I took on two of them. Well, from the $$ standpoint it was a good move at the time, but it left me with zero free time for myself.
Well, one day, who should walk through the door of the restaurant but the knight in shining armor that I had prayed for! Of course, being the dedicated person I was, I didn’t recognize him … I thought he was just another customer. Okay, wrong again! After I finally became convinced that he wasn’t coming in for the food, I started to listen to what he was saying. Aside from various things about a log home in Tennessee, Harley Davidson bikes and a dog with floppy ears, all of which sounded a chord, one thing he said stood out from the rest …“You need to get a life!”
In his own quiet way, he began to show me little slices of life. Some I’d never seen, like the motorcycle. Others I had forgotten, like laughing just for the heck of it! And it started to become habit-forming. Suddenly, I found myself wanting to be where I wasn’t! Well, due to amazing stupidity on my part, for a long time I had wanted to be elsewhere when I was home … but now I wanted to be somewhere else when I was at work. I just didn’t enjoy it so much anymore. I found that my interests were shifting. Well, no, that isn’t exactly right. What happened was that I discovered I actually had interests; what’s more, I realized that I deserved to have them. Those revelations were followed closely by a resolve to go and pursue what I wanted, instead of just rolling with the tide, like I used to.
Guess what? I realized that the people at work that I had counted as friends, who had cheered for my new love and new life, were suddenly much less encouraging. It turns out, they were jealous they didn’t have the same chance for change that I did. Imagine that! They played down how much my retirement would mean to me and started to talk up all the “plusses” of working there.
Fortunately, I was just crazy enough to listen to the voice in my head instead of to them. I have found out that I was right to go ahead with my plans. Nobody at work has ever been as good a friend to me as I have been to myself in the last year. I have become centered, don’t torment myself if I don’t get unrealistic amounts of work done every day, and can relax and enjoy the people around me.
I have found a few things that I want to invest my time in … and they’re all almost free! I don’t need as much money as I thought I would, because I don’t do the things I used to that wasted my money. At the end of the day, it all turns out to be pretty simple. Life is good, now that I let myself have one. I finally let myself have MINE, instead of letting someone else have it!
Well, I need to climb off my soapbox, now. Old, retired people shouldn’t stand on things … they can get dizzy and fall off! See you soon. I hope you feel peppy, after all that!”
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