Sunday, February 07, 2010

one thing leads to another

Sometimes it seems as if life is nothing more than organized chaos. Or maybe it is that way to me because I am only so organized. I admire organization...but not enough to be overly so. I could accomplish a lot more if I were more organized but I feel pretty defensive about my contentment with letting things happen and following my interests to wherever they lead. That is not to say that goals are a bad thing or that one should not have them. Like many things, a balance of goals and going with the flow are what feel right to me. Maybe being surrounded by people my age who are retiring puts me in a reflective mood. Being goal-oriented and being able to retire obviously go hand in hand. I have lots of reasons (excuses?) why I am not financially ready for retirement. My favorite one is being a single parent since my kids were quite young (2 and 5). As a therapist once told me, I would find myself in 'survival' mode at times. I have always had a good job so we were never impoverished. My mother told me once she thought I assuaged my guilt over being a single parent to my kids by buying them too many things. I am sure there is some truth in that - but it is nothing more than just a reflection of the past. My kids, now young adults are both doing very well, so I don't think I totally screwed up.

Excuse number two, it goes against my philosophy of life to put off doing those things you love and don't have time for ~~~ until after you retire. Too many people are worn out or sick or just too fearful after they retire to do much of anything. It is like they are just waiting to die. I know that is a rather harsh assessment. I also have some great retirement role models - people who seem to have gotten younger now that they aren't under the bullshit pressure that work sometimes puts on us all. They have time to pursue those little things that had to be put off. So there is hope. How is this philosophy an excuse for not being able to retire now? Why put off buying that new camera? Why wait to go to Europe? Why sacrifice all for work and promotions when it interferes so heavily with life outside of work?

"life is what happens while you are busy making other plans" describes my philosophy well - thank you John Lennon.

Now all of this pursuit of life does take energy. I have been trying to lose weight and get into shape for some time now. In the past, all I needed was a good pair of hiking boots and the trail up Green Mountain to feel fit and full of energy. I got out of the habit while pursuing my passion for photography (always looking for someone or something to blame!). The last time I hiked up the mountain a few weeks ago, I took forever, cautiously walking over the icy trail. That wouldn't have phased me before. Well, I decided to join the gym. Tomorrow I am meeting with a trainer who will help me get started and give me some routines to reach my goals. I guess this is one instance where I can live with the idea of goals! I realized I have no workout clothes that fit me, so I went out shopping for some suitable garments (aka baggy). I thought that Lane Bryant (fat lady clothes) would have some that would fit. To my astonishment, they had NO workout clothes. Isn't that just ridiculous? I am all for being accepting of ones size but - give me a break! If you need to shop at Lane Bryant, you NEED to work out. Oh well, I went to the sporting goods store and will try to cram my out-of-shape-self into some XL's.

In the meantime, I try to experience as much living as I can get away with. I found a funky old post card at the antique store recently. My son and I are starting up a bit of a post card competition. We both feel as if you can find better post cards in Europe. True or not, I look around for good ones to send to him in Paris and soon Rome. I finally got around to writing some words on the back and mailing it to him. I studied it first and found that the photograph was taken by Richard Kalvar, an American who lives in Paris, a well-known street photographer. I like what I have seen of his work so far. Mow I add his book to my list of books to buy. One step closer to retirement, one step farther away....



At 6:51 PM, Blogger Steve Skinner said...

For me, retirement has been a change from the daily structure that work provided. On the other hand, I seem to accomplish less with more free time on my hands. What has been true in retirement to date is that I allocate my time and energies to those things that bring meaning and purpose to my life. In a couple of cases, this has been a very big surprise!


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