You know you’re important when you walk into a room or step up on a podium and heads turn. You know you’re important when people go out of their way to acknowledge you and cater to you. You know you’re important when people come to you for advice and guidance. So what happens when all that stops? Does that mean you are no longer important?
Is that why people un-retire or never retire (i.e., Phelps, Letterman, Ali)? I’ve seen people who hang on to vestiges of themselves and it is not pretty. You see them at receptions where it is obvious that their time is past. People are polite to them, ask how they’ve been and then move away as if they didn’t exist. I could join Boards and committees, but I will not be a vestige. I will not waste time trying to hang on. But, what do I do with the business knowledge accumulated over the last 40 years. Be a consultant… been there, done that. Be an educator…. Been there, done that. Or… move on.
Of course, what is really important is definition of oneself apart from definition by others. Now that I think about it…. I’ve actually played many “important” parts over the years…. Mother, congressional fellow, grandmother, sister, professor, boss, wife, association executive, and other roles that I can’t even remember.
How wonderful it is to be able to define myself once again.
If Einstein is right then it is okay to sleep late and stay in my PJ’s all day because there is only NOW. I can’t waste time. Is it lazy to sleep late and stay in ones PJ’s all day? Should I feel guilty wasting this precious commodity called “time”.
I know I shouldn’t feel lazy, but a 30-year habit of waking at 6am is hard to break. Waking late makes me feel as if I’ve wasted part of the day when I could have been doing something productive. In the time I spent sleeping, I could have been improving my body (exercising) or my mind (reading/studying). I could have been productive, which is how I’ve always measured myself. At the end of a day, I would look back and see what I checked off. If most things were completed, then I counted myself productive. If not, then I wasted the day.
On the other hand, wasting time by resting, is really relaxing and that should be just as important as exercise. I choose to view my time as an opportunity to recharge my batteries. To destress. To unwind. To become whole again.
Living life as a teenager is really cool especially when you’re over 50 and retired. Think about it…. I go to bed whenever I want. I get up whenever I want. I do whatever I want to do and I’m not responsible to or for anybody or anything. Hallelujah!! This is actually better than being a teenager, because I know what the alternative is like.
I always thought I knew how to do things better than others. Therefore, I needed to be in charge, which led to full-on responsibility. It was life as puppeteer. Pulling strings to get people to do what they were paid to do. Helping clients understand that what they needed isn’t what they wanted. Guiding and directing without letting folks know they were being guided and directed. Determining the big picture (vision) and getting others to buy-in to it.
Relationships were based upon the barter system. First one had to quickly determine “what’s in it for me”. If the answer is nothing, then one quickly moves on to the next person. In fact, receptions or other events geared toward “networking”, became a dance. Like the “if-then-else” of app code, I became adept at determining the potential value to a relationship within the first 30 to 60 seconds of conversation. If the answer was “none”, then I would extricate myself quickly and move on to someone with “some value”.
Now my relationship meter is more geared to my level of interest. For example, I met a guy who was an aspiring Cirque du Soleil gymnast while working as a medical technician. He and I had nothing in common, but his life was so much more interesting than mine. I was thoroughly engaged in our conversation. In another world, he would have quickly extricated himself from me, but he was stuck sitting next to me at a banquet table. So I had an opportunity to pepper him with questions so I could peek into another world. Just imagine how much I could have learned from all the others I have encountered over the years, if only I had not been so determined to ascertain their business value to me.
Except for the parental nagging, peer pressure, college decisions, and hormonal changes, teenage life is not so bad. They just don’t know it. Like Jeremy in Zits, I never want to grow up.
Running with the Boomer pack and experiencing angst over shrinking retirement dollars; deciding whether to move to lower cost area; pursuing the career dream, etc.
Just returned from touring new housing developments in Wilmington, NC as a possible new home. Found it to be a beach town that is rapidly (over 25 years) transforming its downtown. As with all quests, I learned more about myself (note to husband: I and myself mean we and ourselves). Learned that Wilmington is a very nice town, but not quite urban enough for us.
We went looking for nightlife and found that there are two kinds (fast/slow or young/old). If you fit somewhere in between, then there is nothing. Our first clue came from a transplanted Charletonian who said that there is no culture in Wilmington. But that was just one woman’s opinion, so we went looking for a place to dance (not cultural but fun) on Saturday night and started out at Rox. The bouncer took one look at my husband and me and came outside to explain to us that “you don’t want to come in here”. Being obviously a few years older than their usual clientele (21-31), he suggested another club. We went where he suggested, Sportsmen’s Club, and walked into a time warp. Nice club, good DJ, and comfortable, but reminded me of the old BYOB cabaret days.
Left the Sportsmen’s Club and decided to return to Rox and see for ourselves. Upon arriving the first thing we noticed were policemen out front. That was all we needed for confirmation that “you don’t want to come in here.”
Not to knock Wilmington. Nice place. Friendly people and definitely on the upswing. May come back in 10 years. It’s just too slow for us. So the quest continues.