I backed myself into a corner this past week. I was moving along just fine or as fine as one can in this political climate and the pandemic. When the loss of Ruth Bader Ginsburg showed up in my news feed. It backed me up and sat me down. Some-how I had put her in with that line of people you think will always be here. Their voices always fresh and powerful sharing new insights, bringing forth new thoughts and ideas for us to consider.
Now suddenly that voice has gone silent like to many others. We still have much to learn from her. Her writings and work have a great deal to offer us as we navigate the current world, we are living in.
RBG had major goals and purpose in her life. She was learning and participating in life to the fullest even as she battled cancer. She had reasons to keep pushing through the shit that life throws us. It kept her going.
As I sat in my corner thinking about her life and its ending it pushed me turn to my own life. My life seemed small compared to hers. I will not make any major contributions to the world, but I have helped a few people along the way. My health issues in the past were events I pushed through since I had things to do, people to care for and the small world around me needed to keep going.
Now that I am fully retired the world around me has slowed and become small due to the pandemic. I wrestle with what is my purpose now. What goal and projects do I a put in motion now? I am not content to get up to read the paper, drink tea and walk the neighborhood. I like so many others this age need a strong purpose. I need to be involved in things.
My teaching is over now, and that world has changed so much in the last few months that it is no longer my expertise. I could learn but don’t have a clue what is happening in the virtual world of education right now and am not really interested to step into that learning now.
So what skills am I developing or using? Where am I going in this old age? (I know if you follow my writing I keep coming back to this question and have not found an answer yet.)
How do I review where I am in a new way? I have looked at my journal, talked to Doug (husband) and still seem unsure of what I am doing. Then something made me thing about what I am reading and what does that tell me. So, I began to scroll through my on-line books as I was writing in my journal. I wrote down the title of books I have recently read that are nature/memoirs. There are quite a few – H is for Hawk, Vesper Flights, Late Migration,
Then I moved on to gardening books since I know I spend a great deal of time thinking and reading about plants. There again I found I have tons of digital books and many that I have started and not finished. (Maybe that is how one reads a garden book – in bits and pieces.)
I also realized I have a great deal of money tied up in botanical drawing books, joining web sites for classes, paint, brushes, and paper/drawing pads or blank journals. Here is another area that I am gathering information and supplies but not really staying with the work.
Each of these areas I am a beginner in some way. I am not an expert but am interested in the work and enjoy it when I get started. All of this is personal learning and work, but I don’t see where it leads to a larger purpose. All of this I have started and stopped many times.
I am still sorting this out in my head but here is what I am thinking now.
I have a high interest in:
- nature – plants and animals
- the books I have tell me I am interested in protection of the environment
- the art is also around drawing plants or photographing plants
- writing is also something I come back to over and over again
I am not sure where this leads me, but I now know I start reading lots of books about the environment but do not complete them or retain all the information. I start lots of drawing but have not completed them.
This review has shown me
- I am not good at hanging in there when starting new learning.
- I seem to need an outside stimulus to motivate me. (why I take classes)
- I need a deadline or someone to hold me countable for my work.
- I need a reason to do the work – it is hard for me to do projects that are just for me/ for my own pleasure of learning.
- I am an outward directed person. I don’t work well for myself.
I also learned I have a lot going on and really am “busy” in a way. I just really miss the deep dive into a project that has meaning and worth for myself and others. I miss the stimulation of creating lessons for kids and working through the ups and downs of these intense learning units. I guess I need to create a deep dive into creating. The question is what?
Ok those of you out there who are retired – did you struggle with this emotional hurdle or have you made the transition to retirement easily? What goals or purpose do you embrace now that you are retired?