Life’s transitions and purpose
If you are fortunate, you are able to experience many transitions in life. Infancy to childhood, childhood to the teenage years from there to young adulthood and so on. In addition to the transition from one age to another, we have many other life transitions. We start out totally dependent on others, move to complete independence and for some of us we may end up towards the end of our lives being totally dependent on others once again.
I have known some people who have had very clear ideas about their lives. As a child they knew they wanted to grow up to be a (fill in the blank), they wanted to buy a house, have 2 children, travel and so on. Lots of things to do, lots of things to accomplish and not a lot of time to do it, it seems.
My mother had many sayings. They are all indelibly burned into my memory. They should be burned in for we heard them over and over again! One of them is “everyone has to have a purpose”. It’s true and it’s plain speak for a life with meaning. We may feel we have more than one purpose but it or they are there somewhere swimming around in our conscious or unconscious selves. That purpose may be re-focussed as we go through life. While very young, perhaps our play was our work and purpose, then school, adult relationships, a family of our own and a career. Then comes a time when full-time work ends-for some they choose to say goodbye and for some the end is decided for them. There will be quite a bit of that in our city over the next few years as there will be downsizing in the federal public service.
So How’s Retirement, They Ask
I stepped aside from full-time, flat-out work just over a year ago. Here’s my take on this transition:
- Rewirement is the word. We need to use a new word for this stage in life. The word is rewirement. Retirement might have started out as good term but now sounds too lethargic, too flat, too, well, too retired. I’m not retiring, I’m rewiring.
- Everything takes longer than you expect. I thought I’d be a lot more organized than I am one year out. Boy it takes a lot of time
- You notice more things. Not flying out the door to work early in the morning and returning many hours later day after day you have a bit more time to look at things with new eyes. How long has that bit of the house needed painting? Have I ever cleaned that closet?
- Photos do not organize themselves. If you avoided tasks before you left full-time work, you will avoid them afterward.
- Time and freedom of choice. Whether you take up some part-time work, immerse yourself in old or new hobbies, connect or re-connect with family and friends, the choice is yours.
- The day in, day out routine. Don’t miss it one bit. The people yes, the routine of up and out the door day after day, no. I am fortunate to be doing some part-time consulting and find the variety and flexibility to be wonderful.
- Connections are the key. Life is rich and purposeful when we are connected. Connected to our loved ones, our friends, a community. Connections can take many forms and they are what give us purpose. If you think others care a great deal about what you do or that it makes you something special, another of my mother’s sayings ring true. “The higher the monkey climbs, the more you can see his ass.”
- A lifestyle to be highly recommended. Yes work is important and yes we get tied up in careers and things, however I would recommend life beyond full-time work for anyone who is able. It seems a bit backwards that when we are younger, perhaps raising young children and busy with so many things that we also may have full-time work in our day. It’s upside down, really. I believe many people would like to work part-time but circumstances don’t allow it.
Life can pass in what seems like the blink of an eye. Make the most of it.
Have you found your life stages unfolded as you anticipated? Do you have words of wisdom to share?