Retired

retiredOn the last day of December 2021, I retired.   There was no retirement dinner, no gold watch, just an emailed letter to my business partner stating that I was retiring and the business was now his.  We really hadn’t had any business since early in the year … my only responsibilities had been maintaining contact with certain websites that allowed us to work for the government.   So, there is really no change in my days to mark the occasion.    But even at 77 years old, it feels odd.   For over thirty years, I have written in a journal most morning, a remnant of something Julia Cameron called Morning Pages in her book, The Artist’s Way.  It was part of a plan to bring out my Inner Artist, and indeed it did.   I took classes in creative writing, published a short story and wrote a novel (unpublished).   I began painting and photography.   I started this blog that has over 2000 posts on it and another to display my art.  At the end of my pages each morning, I would write four letters (M for Mystic, A for Artist, S for Scientist and E for entrepreneur).  In a small attempt to keep some balance in my life, I would order the letters to correspond to the extent that my previous day was occupied with each of the four.   For example, S, A, M, E would mean that most of my time was spent on Science and Art, while spirituality and business were less important.

It took a few days after the New Year to get back to my journal, but when it came time to rank my day … well … there was no S and E.   I am certainly no longer an entrepreneur and although I still am a scientist, I’m not a practicing one … so I wrote only M and A.  When people used to ask if I’d be OK after I retired, I always said, I have so many avocations (OK, hobbies) I’m not worried, but the truth is, the amount of M and A I did when I was employed isn’t enough to fill a retirement day.   And there’s that word … hobbies.   My remaining activities are just hobbies … I’m not a real Mystic or Artist.   How do I start to feel useful?  According to an article titled How to Live a Purposeful Life After Retirement in EVERYDAY HEALTH, having a sense of purpose could add years to my life.  It offers 10 suggested ways to for retirees to make their lives more purposeful life.   They are:

  1. Join a gym: Well, we did.  Twice a week whether I like it or not.  Once we get there, I like it.
  2. Continue your hobbies:   Once, I wrote almost every day and painted at least once a week.  I photographed birds.  I am simply out of the habit.  Discipline has never come naturally to me.  And here I am, posting on my blog for the first time in a while.
  3. Become politically active:  No thank you.   Not in today’s toxic political environment.
  4. Try something new:  At the moment, I have no idea what that would be.
  5. Go back to school:  Not a chance.   Almost 30 years of school is enough for a lifetime.
  6. Volunteer: I volunteer on day a week at the Best Friends Animal Society taking care of cats.
  7. Immerse yourself in culture:  We have subscriptions to two live theaters ahead of us.
  8. Get into games:  Maybe it’s because I’m still a scientist but I have no idea why games would make me feel useful.
  9. Become an Emeritus:  That means helping people using the skills you had when you were employed.   I worked in Statistical Detection Theory.   I asked if anyone needed help at the local senior center but there were no takers.
  10. Babysit: My grandkids no longer need sitters, so I’ve done my time.   No thank you.

So, seven weeks into the year, I’ve got a start on 5 out of 10.   Maybe I’m on the right track.   After all, the article closes advising me, Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while for you to find your new groove.  Just like anything, you may not hit it right away, but you should keep looking.   Maybe I just need to be patient.  And disciplined.  Can Oldereyes do that at 77?   Check back in a few months and I’ll let you know.

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2 Comments on “Retired”

  1. barrythewiz Says:

    It comes a little slowly, but you’ll be comfortable soon.


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