Sunday, December 31, 2006

Destiny or Destination

This topic provides an unusual challenge for those of us who are recently retired from a lifelong career. I from a career I loved and took pride in, even identified with; JR from one which he despised and where no matter how hard he worked or tried to do something meaningful, he was totally unappreciated. It provided insurance, other benefits, and a substantial enough salary to trade the daily hours for, nothing more. Where are we going now??

We have always talked of travel. Though our travel tastes aren't exactly the same, we are both willing to take turns being the chooser/leader and the follower. Travelling together is definitely an integral part of this goal. I want to show him Paris, Zermatt, Saltsburg, Florence and Corfu. I will willingly follow him hiking or rafting in Canyonlands, Yellowstone, Arches, Zion, or along the Colorado River or the Appalachian trail (at least parts of it---he may thru-hike it, I'll meet him and do short stretches).

We have talked of moving from our 35 years of residence in Florida; we'd like to be closer to family both near and extended, but it's hard to leave 35 years of friends and church and even favorite restaurants. Our only daughter lives in California and I want desperately to see her more than we have in the last several years. However, not to offend anyone, but I have been a Floridian far too long to overcome the inbred rivalries and ever become a Californian myself. (I mean we learned that "our oranges are better than theirs" stuff in grade school. Obviously I personally have been a Floridian lots longer than 35 years.) And who is to say she(our daughter)is there to stay. Places that are climatically similar to what we old "wimps" are accustomed to are experiencing the same political and environmental problems (too many people, not enough water, etc.)we are trying to evade. We are seriously apprehensive about how we will deal with significant cold---I have only once in my entire life driven in snow. So, although we have played in our minds with five or six states that hold some interest for us, we have only barely looked at real estate options.

I want to read more! This is a pure pleasure that I denied myself 9 months a year because I always had student essays--lots less interesting---that I knew I needed to be grading, and if I started a good book, it would get the best of my time and attention. I have shelves of books I am longing to read. But because I am presently trying to dig out, clean up, and remodel my terminally 80s house (more on this is in my "Nemesis" blog of Nov. 26, which I would link you back to but I don't know how to create an intext link), those books are still taunting me from dusty shelves.

There are other pleasures too that have always been a part of my general retirement dreams. But right now I am hip-deep in "gotta do" drudgery, at present in a stage that I cannot pay someone else to do it for me 'til I get it partially under control myself. This aspect of retirement is not fun and feels more exhausting and futile at times than going to work every day and planning lessons and grading papers every evening. I am such a creature of "schedule," and I don't have a new one yet.

So, destination / destiny---right now those words are represented by a great big question mark which emanates some of the terrors of a black hole, as it were; and I must say, frankly, it's a pretty insecure and uncomfortable place to be. But this is where I am writing from today, December 31, 2006, on the precipice of 2007: the first year of true retirement for us and the first days of the rest of our (joint)life.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all.


Blogger paris parfait said...

Your post reminds me of Margaret Drabble's quote, "When nothing is certain, anything is possible." You can do whatever you like, in the new year and beyond. Happy travels!

8:38 AM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

Well enjoy your retirement and all that reading....

1:42 PM  
Blogger Rethabile said...

HNY to you, too. The books would be the most enjoyable bit for me. Travelling's good, too. Here's to happy retirements...

3:38 PM  
Blogger Jone said...

Ooh, to be retired, the thinkga I could do. Highly recommend Zion. Beautiful and majestic.
Happy New Year.

7:56 PM  

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