I've been ruminating on life since retiring from my full-time/part-time gig with the university. When I was employed, working for 'other', life was predictably busy, stressful, ordered. Part of me thrived under pressure for years-churning out reports, enjoying my stats work, finding applicant demographics interesting, always taking on new challenges with the aid of technological advances. The first 7 years on the job were a joy-I looked forward to heading in to work and enjoyed the people I worked with. But the shift in management styles, the trend to less people contact, more data management just replaced the joy with more stress and as my health went south so did my love for my position.
Choosing to retire early for health reasons was a no-brainer. After all-health is everything. But health challenges affect retirement, too. When I hear stories of what others are doing in their retirement the picture is vastly different than my own.
Each day I awake with a question: what condition am I in today? The answer to that question will decide what I do that day and evening. Is is a migraine/nausea day? Is my husband available to transport teen to school functions? If so, then probably light duty around the house, laying low with some pain medication, icepacks, meditation for peace and positivity, breathwork for pain management, cuddles with kitties for comfort. More light duty around the house as pain/nausea allow. Need to read for degree work but so difficult with head pain-hard to focus with pain as well as with medication.
Husband not home? Then no pain medication for certain! Schlepping kiddo about means staying sharply focused-which also means extra breathwork, meditation to try to unclench muscles, yoga stretches for pain management. Breath through the nausea........no reading today. Where's those icebags? Hope I rounded them all up and got them all back into the freezer this time! It's frustrating to go to the freezer only to find that I have left them under a pillow on the couch.
Hoping to find something that I can work on today that will give me a sense of 'job well done'......one of the 'perks' of working outside of the home is having a short-term job completed, turned in, all done. House chores never end and there is no performance appraisal to let me know how I've done! I think that is one of the interesting conundrums of retirement-we crave independence from our supervisors but miss the 'job well done' feedback. Must find a way to reward myself! These days-a soak in a hot tub would be a blissful reward!
Finding balance between 'job satisfaction' in the new role of retiree/stay at home mom/graduate student is complicated when most of my life I depended on my employed position for my self-worth. Having freedom comes with responsibility-the responsibility to rely on self for self-worth. What a wonderful and frightening thing! I know so many women who have never given themselves permission to feel good-simply by their own merit alone rather than by something they do for others.
So-in between the health issues, the house issues, the what am I going to do with the rest of my life as it is issues, I am free to discover the creation of self-worth and self-identity. I think this initial stage has been an unraveling of sorts-a de-cluttering of the mind and heart of layers of hubris accumulated over many years of service. I know that I still want and need to be of service to others-but now I get to choose how best to serve while being my authentic self.
oooh, the possibilities..........!