Saturday, May 28, 2005

It's all in the language of change ...

Over recent weeks I've been struggling -- not only with substantive issues like thoughts of giving up my condo in favor of a small studio apartment when Dorian leaves; and just what in the world will I do with all these books that I have no time to read and can't bear to part with? That will work its way out in time, I suppose. What I can't seem to come to terms with, however, is just how long it's taking for me to begin to think of myself as retired rather than simply unemployed? That's a sea change (and what in the world does 'sea' mean, anyway") and one that is purely attitudinal but oh so important. The day I manage to overcome that one I think that life will be far simpler.

Retirement seems more optional. One choice among many. Unemployment is a horse of another color altogether, and carries such negative baggage -- like being idle because you're not wanted anywhere, or, that your skills and talents are no longer seen as necessary to anyone for anything. Now, that's death! Being without meaningful work leaves so much of me unused -- left over. I can't seem to lose my need to be gainfully employed.

Will plan to work on that in the days to come. Retiring in order to write a book seems so much more fulfilling. Less involuntary. Especially if the book is one that no one else can write anyway. That's a calling, isn't it? That says that you're a central character in your own scenario, doesn't it? Maybe if I work on that -- I can make it through the next few years intact.

There's too much of me still vital and whole. I cannot imagine how others deal with moving off stage center while still in good health and spirits. I suspect that the secret may be in retiring early (if and when one can afford to) and looking at these as years for fulfilling deferred dreams. I suppose that's the intention. I just got started too late on my career path and stayed past all the exit signs. Besides, I don't seem to have had any deferred dreams -- all of mine have been aspirations ever unfolding into a continuing sense of future. It appears that I've lived them all and more. The pace has been breathless. I cannot imagine having been given more or that any more living (both good and bad) could have been squeezed into the years.

I just don't know ... but there are moments these days -- when I feel panic. It's subtle, but surely adding to that sense of urgency that comes with aging.

Time has never been more important; maybe to us all in these frightening days of unspeakable violence and death.

Photo: More mountains yet to climb? I was on a climb among the ancient cave dwellings of the long lost Annastazi in New Mexico -- where I found myself suddenly overcome by tears. Killing grounds? Don't know... . (1998)

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