Eight Months Left On The Retirement Countdown Chain

I have a rock paperweight in my office with the words “Success is a journey not a destination” printed on it. It’s a good reminder for someone who has always been a “keep your eye on the prize” kind of girl. That characteristic served me well at various times of change throughout my life, but it seems like it’s time to switch gears and be more deliberate about enjoying the journey

I am astounded at how quickly this year is going by. That’s a good thing, but it’s also terrifying, overwhelming, and exciting at the same time as the calendar moves closer to my time of transition. I’m doing my best to appreciate this year–this year of lasts.

We watched our spring bulbs burst forth in our yard for the last time, Gerry put up the flags for the last time, and I planted my vegetable garden for the last time. At work, I’m busy with transition plans and much of the time, as is inherent in the work I do, my mind is preoccupied with planning for next year–for the last time.

Gerry and I are talking about what we want in our next home in terms of location, size, and type; we’re settling in on “must haves” and letting go of “nice to haves”. We’ve conceded to the fact that, while we would love to have a small farm, that dream would have been better pursued ten or so years ago before my back issues surfaced, and now I’ll have to be content with a small garden, a ceramic chicken, and my metal guard goat.

Guard Goat (448x299)

It occurred to me recently that sometimes I focus too much on having this or that instead of appreciating what is already around me. I don’t need to have a farm in order to appreciate the beauty of a farm or even to grown a good supply of my own produce. I can support farmers by buying local produce, eggs, and chickens–buffalo meat too since we’ll also be living in ranch land and it’s a favorite of Gerry’s.

We’ll be blessed to be living in a place where there will be ample opportunity for us to be in a farm environment. Gerry and I have taken up photography as a shared hobby and we talked many years ago about how fun it would be to photograph old abandoned farm houses and barns on the prairie; soon we’ll be able to just that. I bet a certain little redheaded girl will love to accompany me to the petting zoo for a chicken and goat fix now and then too.

In 1989 when I first started working for the company I work for 2014 seemed like an eternity away. There have been so many changes since then, so many hopes and dreams planned for, prayed for, lost and grieved over, forgotten, resurfaced, and changed. One thing I’ve learned on this road to the retirement transition is that it’s a time of honing in on what’s really important and letting go of the rest. We dream our dreams, then we look at reality and adjust accordingly.

When I clean out my office at work in a few months I expect that many of the trinkets one collects over a twenty-four year career will end up in the trash but I’ll be bringing that rock paperweight home with me. I’ll put it on the desk in my home office to remind me to be thankful for, and delight in, every single moment of the rest of my journey.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm here early most mornings with one of my photos and a few words about life and those thin places where faith intersects.
4 comments
  1. Beautiful , Linda. You are wise to enjoy the present moments of your journey while positively visualize what awaits you. Since you are dealing with leaving both your career and your current home, I believe your frame of mind will help you let go and ease into the next phase. “Retirement” is such a misnomer. I feel busier and happier than ever. Wishing the same for you. Thank you for inviting along in your transition!

    1. I hear that all the time from retirees, Kathleen! The joys that come with retirement/transition seem to be the worst kept secret these days!

  2. Linda, the 7 years since retirement have been full, busier than expected, and yes, full of ups and downs and changes. “One thing I’ve learned on this road to the retirement transition is that it’s a time of honing in on what’s really important and letting go of the rest. We dream our dreams, then we look at reality and adjust accordingly.” Reading these words convinced me that you have in hand the tools and values to know what the road ahead consists of, and that you and Gerry will land softly and grow into a lovely place and a new normal.

    1. “Land softly and grow into a lovely place and a new normal.” What a lovely sentiment that is.

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