Read at your own risk. Know that it took all my courage to push the Publish button on this one!
Wow, free write for twenty minutes. As a former English teacher/English major I know this is a great writing exercise, but I have to admit I’ve never tried it for myself. My first thought when I read the assignment, since it’s late in the day, was to look at others’ posts to get an idea of how they approached it. Then I thought, Nah, I need to just jump in and see what happens. I’m a little unsettled about the task because when I write I want the results to be correct and polished (see English teacher/major). And after all, free writing should be, well, free. Ok, so I’ve covered the topic of the topic, so what do I write about? My mind is usually full of so many different topics, but now they’ve all taken a brief (20 minute, I think) coffee break.
I’ve been thinking lately about my old boss whom I both admired and dreaded. I worked for him for 25 years and at times he drove me nuts because the two of us were so different, but as time went by I mostly grew to admire him. He taught me so much about striving for excellence in my work, about being organized and professional, and about his mantra, which was “incremental improvement”, or, as he dubbed it, incrementalism. Because I’m a not-so-closet perfectionist about my work, whatever it happens to be, I remind myself about incremental improvement still – even in retirement. Anyway, I just heard that my former boss will be undergoing heart surgery, and I hope with all my heart (excuse me) that it goes well so that he can continue his own retirement which began with a year or two in Hawaii because he always loved the beach and has since moved to the Northwest where his grown children live. Damnit! Life begins again at retirement for those of us who welcome it, so I hope he lives long and incrementalizes.
So, my retirement. I tell people that I was born to retire. Not that I don’t want to work…I still work. I just want to work at what I choose and devote my time and energy to what I want to do rather than what I must do. The Wise Ones are always saying that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. I think for the vast majority of people, this is just bull shit. We work at what we have to in order to make a living. If your work is what you choose, that’s great, but things rarely turn out to be the way you think they’ll be or you want them to be. I mostly wanted to be a teacher, but teaching is very demanding work and requires most of your time and energy and very often seems to be for naught. So spend 25 years doing it, and you’re ready for other choices. Fortunately, I have many interests and am very rarely bored. I’m more likely to be frustrated because the time disappears before the projects are accomplished.
I feel so fortunate in my life. Although I grew up very, very poor and with a lot of dysfunction in my family life, I was able to go to college and ultimately to build a good life for myself. I made many, many mistakes and have many regrets, but mostly I’m happy. I have enough money to get by and to do most of what I want to do, within reason. I have may people to thank for this. Timer’s up. Wheewwwww……