These days it seems like we are perpetually preparing. I guess it comes with age. The deck needs replacing, a new roof here and there, and vegetables need to be harvested. Yet it is not these tasks, but the life altering changes that challenge. Conversations lately include phrases like, “When we retire…” Frankly, retirement is frightening to me. Right now, I feel like I am vital to my workplace and am decades from being ready to retire For over thirty years, I have devoted my life to education and defined myself as teacher. That is all I know.
Only recently have I expanded the definition of myself. I am a daughter, sister, aunt, teacher, wife, mother. Now, with a bit of reluctance and hesitation I define myself as a creator; that is I am a photographer, writer and artist. With the years have come the wisdom that springs from knowing that the essence of who I am is so much deeper and larger than merely my occupation. Cultivating my creative side has given me voice and purpose.
There are days when I wonder what I will do. What will I do when the house is quiet with Jerry and I roaming through the house alone hearing the dog’s nails as they click on the hardwood floor. We will eat, in silence. (A comfortable silence that comes with living with someone for most of your life.) Now our conversations are mostly about our children. We will have time to read the piles of books that have made their way into our house and not have to consciously schedule time to read amongst busy-ness. We will approach each day with a quiet that comes with retirement. It will be alright.
While I roam the forest, I will be absorb energy that comes with captivating the wonder of the world; preserving the emotion and tone of the moment on film. I will go home and the words that have been tumbling gently in my head will spill out on paper. I will feel whole. Fulfilled that the days in preparation have been well spent; sifting through the years of responsibility to find the authenticity of who I really am and the essence of who I am meant to be.