Well, I have been retired for almost seven months, and it has been a great “ride!” There have been surprises, challenges, joys, and realizations along the way. I suppose it is all in the attitude and approach I take to this new phase in my life, but I would like to share some reflections on the journey so far.
For the most part, I haven’t been bored. In fact, I have developed a routine that is really comfortable, and I almost prefer to not change it. However, because this is life, I know that just is not possible.
After recovering from my knee replacement surgery, I started writing in the mornings. That whole process has sparked my creative juices a little more, and I am learning the challenge of reviewing my writing from a different perspective than I did when I was getting ready to preach a sermon. In addition, I have started writing a synopsis for each of the books I have written, and I realize that it actually helps me to be more aware of weaker points in the book. There is a lot of writing, editing, and rewriting that goes on!
Someone once said, “Don’t quit your day job if you want to be a writer.” Well, I guess that now IS my day job, at least for the moment. (I have applied for a part time job at our church. More about that shortly.) After choosing the book I wanted to submit, I worked on it for quite a while, wrote the synopsis, and submitted it to Harlequin Romances. The possible date to hear anything from them is March. While I hope to have good news, I also am aware that there are thousands of “wanna-be” writers out there who have a lot to offer in the way of romantic entertainment. It is a wait and see thing!
The challenges I am facing mostly are monetary, and it isn’t really bad. Actually, I have found this very good for me because I’m honing my frugal skills and learning (or continuing to learn) about what the difference is between what I want and need. I have discovered that I stock up a lot.
Maybe I learned it from my mom. When she was in the later stages of her Alzheimer’s disease, she would tell Dad that they needed more paper towels, so they began to buy them until, after she died, we discovered an entire closet full of them. I handed them out to my family saying that they were family heirlooms, but I wonder now if I had been doing the same type of thing. I have definitely cut back on the stock piling!
Another challenge has been adjusting to shared living in an apartment complex. Our apartment is nice, and it is all we really need for size (if it was much bigger I would probably fill the spaces with extras that we “might” need!). My biggest challenge was having people overhead who made a lot of noise. They moved out around Thanksgiving, and it has been blissfully quiet for a month and a half. However, I know that will not last. For the most part, our floor is pretty quiet – actually whole complex is relatively quiet, so we are happy for that.
I have some trouble with the amount of natural light we have coming through our slider and two windows. By mid-afternoon, I have to turn on lights in the living room, even when it is still light outside. I finally put up a decorative string of lights to brighten the room, and I just bought a salt lamp with the hope that it would truly work by sharing its positive ions (another wait and see!).
Our joys have come from becoming involved in a church. I had originally thought we would be visiting many church of different denominations, but we stepped into the church we are now attending and knew we were home. A big criteria for us is the music, since I have two degrees in music and love to sing; so does my husband.
The first Sunday we went to visit was the week before my knee surgery. People were welcoming, and the organist was awesome. I have known the pastor for many years, and I knew she would be find with the presence of a retired clergywoman there. However, I did let her know that I was there to worship and be part of the congregation, not to take over or make suggestions. We get along well, and the choir is just wonderful.
It is so important to know that the church is a whole, not just the pastor. If it is a spiritual home, it is first of all the sense of the presence of God, and the realization that it is made up of God’s children who are imperfect, but offered grace. That is what we found, and the music is part of it.
Realizing that I would need to supplement my income a little, I applied for the youth coordinator’s position at the church. It is just the right number of hours, and the pay is all I need to have a some “fall back” savings. I will be interviewing for the job this next week, and if it works out, that’s great. If not, there are other possibilities out there. One step at a time.
Maybe I really forgot that everything in life – actually life itself – is a process. I seem want everything fixed and resolved right away, but that is usually not the way it works. So, as Paul says in Philippians 4:11b: “. . . I have learned to be content with whatever I have.” Or at least I am working on it.
May you see the blessing even in the challenges as you take this amazing journey called “life.”