I’m not sure. I retired from corporate life in mid-December. While I know that timing was right, I’m really struggling with who I am and what to make of this “final phase”. Because, let’s face it, that’s what it is. Our kiddo is raised and off on his life. The people where I used to work and where I know I helped make a difference have “filled in the gap” I left behind and I’m certain haven’t thought of me again. My husband is busy with his art and the many things he likes to do. He’s had most of his life to figure out how to manage his own time so I know what I’m experiencing is foreign to him.
I’m relatively healthy and I feel like I should be enjoying every minute of all this free time. But, instead, I often feel lonely, disoriented, pointless, valueless. I make stabs at “organization” but no one really cares whether I do the things on the list or not. There are good days where I really enjoy time reading, painting, volunteering. And others where I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels and wasting time. But I honestly have no clue what I’m actually “wasting”.
Retirement, like any change, requires adjustment. Finances have to be adjusted, daily rhythms are disrupted and new ones must be built out. Being at home all day most days means my sweet husband and I “run into” each other much more and sometimes I’m pretty graceless about what how I want things to go. I have to consciously remember that he has had the house to himself for years and has his own patterns – and now has to navigate around me. And I’m doing the same. Thank God he is a patient, kind human.
I think if I were already “good” at something – like painting or writing or something creative – I would somehow feel better about giving myself over to indulging in that “thing”. But I’m not. I’ve always been a scanner. I like LOTS of things. Jack of all trades, master of none. And now I’m also stressed and scared. Am I going to lose all the hard-earned skills and knowledge that I DO have? Realistically the answer is likely “yes”. And along with the change in work, I’m also getting older. My fingers really hurt after doing balloons or painting. I don’t see as well. And I don’t remember things as quickly. The end is much closer than the beginning.
Today I was in a Bible study with a lovely group of women. And afterward, I was absolutely crippled by self-doubt. I found myself being “one of those old people” who has spent too much time alone. Rather than conversing with people, they/I corner their captive audience and pontificate. I hate that. I don’t want to be that person.
Well, there it is. I’m not sure.