Peaceful Retiring

 

ABM_1399565799_resizedI did not know what the plan was when I quit the job-I-had-loved. I remember telling my boss that quitting made no sense (at that time with the way the economy was), but spiritually it made all the sense in the world to me.   People I met would casually ask me: “so, are you retired?” “I don’t know,” I’d respond in panic. “I don’t know if I’m retired!” After all, what did retirement look like? I knew I was tired. I knew I was burnt-out.  But retired?  Now that was a mouthful.  I went on a mission: find out what being retired meant and what it looked like for me.

First up, I tried to find another job. I clearly was not interested in this and would almost always log-off right in the middle of filling out the on-line application. So … what did that mean? Then I signed up for volunteer work. Met many other retirees — but I didn’t see myself there either. I struggled and pouted. Tried to resurrect what was clearly dead — my old job. No good.

And finally, one day, either between my Tai Chi class in the Gardens, or on my way to writing club, I discovered it. Peace. Joy. Found, again, in what I love to do. I was fortunate. I had left a job I was passionate about — and now I was finding a new passion. I finally surrendered. I would not teach young ones again, and this was a loss for me. But I was seeing that there were many things I did love to do, many things that were replacing what I had given up. And so, finally I made a decision. I was retired. I would retire to doing the things I loved to do with a passion.  I would begin the next phase; that which has been trendily coined by Oprah: My Second Chapter.

The Glory: My Sojourn From A Sofa (aka: How I Bonded With Jet)

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Pre-Christmas 2009, I had, for a long time, felt fortunate to work at a job I loved. But, things were quickly changing for the worse, having to come to terms with dad’s serious health issues, and subsequent passing. By the time June, 2010, had arrived it was pretty clear I was done — both inside and out. So I left this job that I had loved.

So, what now? Well, I had some bright ideas that I thought God would approve of. Not having any concept of how to really, truly surrender to God and His plans, I went about making my own. I had a couple of things in the works: one was to go back, temporarily, to the job I had just left (yeah, that plan can’t fail), and the other … to start walking. These quickly became my “goodbye walks” — a time to mourn and grieve the things I was losing in my life — and were very important to me.

But, why not make the most out of them by making sure I was getting some sort of workout, too — even in grieving? So I went about finding the perfect walking shoe and there it was: the rounded-bottom sneakers that were advertised to lift and shape one’s gluteus maximus while walking. What a wonder! I was going to walk my butt off while figuring out exactly what was going on in my life — sounded like a plan to me. The sneakers arrived, and I excitedly showed them to my husband who commented: “why didn’t you just get a real pair of walking shoes?”

He didn’t get it. These were going to revolutionize my life — I was going to get fit, lose weight, and then who knows? So off we went, my new rocking shoes (literally … you rock back and forth on these rounded bottoms) and me. Until another bright idea came. If walking was so good for me, maybe running would be even better. So I started jogging in my new, rocking, walking shoes.

The first time I felt the pain in my knee it was severe — I knew something was wrong — but I figured it was just a pulled muscle and would heal, in time, so … onward. The second time I felt the pain, my knee was taken out from under me. I was in the middle of the street, and there was no way I could put weight down on that leg … and so I hopped. Hopped across the street, on one leg, while wearing my new, rocking, walking shoes, until i could finally plunk down on a curb. Oh, I did it good now, I remember thinking. This was bad.

I hobbled home, slowly, in a hip-hopping sort of way — step with good leg, hip-hop with the other. That was the last workout I had for a long time. And even worse, my goodbye walks came to an end before they had really begun.

And then I heard it; that still, small voice deep within me — the one I was really good at ignoring or arguing with — asked me: “do I have your attention now?” It did. I was a captive audience. And so began a different plan — my sojourn from a sofa — on the day my little world stood still.  Oh, and yes, Jet (our rescue lab-border colllie mix) never left my side …. but that is a whole ‘nother story…