Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Retirement Revisited, Remarked, Retouched, Rethought

I'm still thinking through this retirement thing. It's been about eight months since I walked out the front door of Fannie Mae and headed on out to Wheaton. Retirement isn't what I thought it was, but I'm not about to give it up, either.

The most vexing challenge that retirement poses for me is that it imposes no deadline. It's not like work at all in that regard. I'm not complaining; however, the imperative of work provided built-in needs, goals, and (for everyone else, except me) aspirations. I'm not much of a self-starter, so that kick in the pants was very useful.

The other thing about work that I miss is its supplied schedule (I always knew when I was getting up on a school night), and convenient friends. I think what I most miss is the friends. I really liked and enjoyed the people with whom I worked. It was a wide circle of several dozen people that I saw on a regular basis. Although we talked a lot of shop, the conversations were also social. I was in the loop.

Post-work, my circle of friends is far smaller, but the conversations are indeed more social and instrumental to my life. A big challenge for me is to not let myself get isolated from other human beings. Some days, I can sit at this damn computer and not have any meaningful human interactions, and I'm not counting emails or my visits to social networking sites.

One of the pluses of retirement is that I can do what I want to do when I want to do it. It pleases me to go to the zoo, or to take a special vacation. I treasure the time I spend with Ron. I love seeing his goofy grin any time I want. I enjoy lunch with Michael and other friends. I love learning a new square dance program. And the gym, hooda thunk that I'd be fairly faithful getting to and sticking with the gym? (I'm shocked!) I spend more time with Tim, and that is always delightful.

Right now, I'm feeling a certain rootlessness, a lack of purpose. I expect the rootlessness will last, but the lack of purpose won't. I'm looking for my next great passion, something to throw my heart at. I have the energy and the time, just not the focus right now. But when I find that new enthusiasm, you'll be reading about it right here. And I'm so blond that I might not even realize it. I just hope it contributes to the betterment of humanity, or at least Wheaton.