Friday, August 15, 2008

Getting a Grip

I've said before in this blog that I like the freedom of being retired, but I really don't have a handle on the aimlessness my life seems to have taken on. I've talked about this with other retired people, and it's a pretty common observation. Some people live with it. Others seek out a more purposeful life.

When I was working, the lack of purpose didn't seem too much of a problem because work overshadowed everything else; it gave my life a built-in purpose. Square dancing, sex, cooking, and exotic mixed drinks don't particularly fill my life with purpose, either. On the other hand, the freedom of retirement more than makes up for the ersatz purpose that my work gave me. I'm glad to be free of that, and I would have a difficult time returning to the workplace. I think the next job (if ever) is going to have to be at home, during my hours, on my terms.

After eight months of just enjoying retirement (it's the longest summer vacation I've ever had), I'm ready to head out on something new and different. I won't be scanning the Want Ads, but I'm getting back to some projects that have been shelved, some software development, and an idea for a virtual retirement center. I'm making a list of things I want to do, and I'm going to figure out how to do them. My biggest challenge is moving beyond the inertia that my life has taken on. And I've already started addressing that.

Square dancing, sex, and mixed drinks will still continue to be part of my retired, civilized life, but I'm intent on moving beyond them to act rather than drift, to drive rather than be along for the ride.

I don't want to minimize what I have been doing in my retirement, either. I've learned a new program in square dancing (and I'm a caller wannabe). That has been a real achievement and a lot of fun. The travel this year has been wonderful, and more locales beckon. I'm reading more and enjoying that time. I've also had a lot more time for my friends. Retirement has given me freedom to act that I didn't even know existed. It's pretty intoxicating. I'm ready to act more and react less.

As I read this, I'm rolling my eyes.