Linda J. Wilk, MAPC
Is this retirement?
When I awoke this morning at 3am, for the third day in a row, I knew something was wrong. This is only my third week in retirement. In the first two weeks, I was completely absorbed in a course I signed up for before my final day, dedicated to learning the ropes of online coaching and teaching. It's exciting -- a unique way to put my knowledge and brainpower to work.
It's difficult to just relax, right? I do have a dedicated mindfulness practice, I do a bit of yoga, and I read something spiritual every day. Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, and if I must admit, being a boomer, exercise, other than outdoor activities, is one of my least favorite. I love gardening, but I could also be a couch potato, watching my favorite programs, reading, journaling. I do not consider these habits sloth, especially when most of my days in the last 50 years have been completely consumed with busyness.
I did sign up for this course, however, and I must admit that I am a gregarious extrovert that some might call a "Type A" personality. Usually when people say I am over booked, my response is "This?!? You should see me when I'm really Busy!" When I work part-time, I do service work for the rest of the time. I am seldom without something to do.
What changed when I "retired," was the stress. Gone are the dark circles under my eyes. Gone were the sleepless nights. My days regained their flow and my shoulders released from under my earlobes to relaxing naturally. I felt refreshed and my forgetfulness seemed less bothersome. So, what is causing this sleeplessness now?
This morning in my mindfulness, I watched where my thoughts kept running off to...
It is so interesting how a lifetime of running along with society's ways of thinking gets ingrained in one's mindset. I keep watching my breath go in and out, and my thoughts keep flowing to Doing. Guilt arises with the doing...let them float away with the clouds. I have been telling myself that no matter what my course mentors tell me about productivity and training new habits, I can accomplish what I need to in my own time. I am not out to become a millionaire, I just want pocket change to fund my forays to the natural foods restaurant or the farm market or thrift store.... breathing in fresh thoughts, breathing out guilt. I want a simple life, a value driven life, a joyful life. Breathing in joy, breathing out darkness.
Suddenly I burst into laughter. I don't even know where it comes from at first. I am remembering my daughter telling me about my grandson's first day at preschool, how the teacher was about to reprimand him for pounding on the toy refrigerator, and my daughter had to redirect the teacher, "He is fixing it, it's what he does."
It's what he does! How much are we the product of what we innately do? I am most happy when I do for others. It doesn't have to be people for me. The first thing I do when I rise is stretch a little, then I go down and let out the dogs who are so immensely pleased to see me. We walk outside and release the chickens from their coop. They squawk and run around with us, a morning dance. I do some more stretches as I watch them all wake and do their routine, and I go through mine. As I come back inside, it's coffee, morning readings, talking to the pooches and cats, and some morning meditation. This morning I realized that my disturbed sleep has been about trying to follow someone else's patterns, not my own. What do I want to do?? After 3 weeks retired, I honestly don't know.
What I realized while sitting is it is much too soon to tell. I saw how easily I am pulled with the tide. I don't want to be, but like so many, the tide can have its influences, so subtly that I find myself going with it, my feet stuck in the sand. Good awareness to have. When I joined this course, I told myself I would take what I needed and leave the rest. Gotta watch that stuff!
#retirement, #mindfulness, #choose peace, #awareness