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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Each Decade has its Cadence

We notice children's growth, big ones in the first year. Then, as childhood unfolds in big ribbons of equal length, first word, first tooth, first steps, until school starts and new markers appear on the refrigerator, first smiley face, first A, first Citizen of the month.

A child fills the house with artifacts. Everything on shelves, in the garage, in bedrooms and playrooms marks the long decades of our lives with children.

Around the time our children reach middle school we begin to look ahead, at the adult they will become, the skills they will need, the connections and relationships they will make, the dangers they will encounter. We can be sure that worrying about their progress will take more of our time than worrying about anything else in our lives. We are parents for most of our adult lives, caring, sharing and worrying about our children's lives.

After our children leave, we begin to see what we have become; how our house is serving us at this stage; how our future will unfold. We'll spend the next two decades shifting between caring for ourselves, and finding ways to be of use to our children.

Retirement can start on a positive note, the idea of not having to get up and going at the crack of dawn, and end up with a strange feeling: how am I to fill this day?

People who travel, stay physically active, have civic engagements, have major family extensions, all have found ways to stay engaged without much change in their rhythm and cadence. The rest of us have had to make major adjustments.

I missed my work for years after I retired. I still do.To compensate, I volunteered in the same areas, and found ways to remain active in a different mode.
As the years passed, my health needs began to change, and at that time I appreciated not having so many responsibilities to worry about. Just getting to the doctor or to a test was enough of a stress for the day. While I still miss the excitement of work, I do not miss the daily commute, the long days, the stress...

What major adjustments have you had to make?



17 comments:

joeh said...

Very well written and thought provoking. I have had little trouble settling into retirement. I did not like my job or my commute, and I am lazy enough to enjoy doing nothing. My retirement coincided with my wife leaving for an x-boyfriend and I have been lucky enough to meet another woman, an upgrade from the unstable mind that was my ex-wife.

I enjoy my blog and following the lives of others.

You are right about the children I try and assist when I can, and never let them see me worry about them.

Brian Miller said...

i wonder if our rhythm is th one that changes and not them...was ours the same at their age and as life happened we adjusted? i do think though each one is a bit different regardless...

Becky Jerdee said...

Many adjustments. I've had to reframe how I think about work. I HATED that it ended at 67. Now, four years later, I've finished grieving over it and have filled my days with PROJECTS I enjoy doing...flitting from one to another at will. My favorites are those where people are involved...such activities are uplifting but I'm happy to go home to relaxation and house projects with deadlines I give to myself :)

Vagabonde said...

I have really have enjoyed retirement so far – being able to read late and not to worry about getting up, being able to take the car and go somewhere if the sun is shining, or walking in the snow whenever we get some. My biggest adjustment so far though has been my husband’s health and the changes that they have brought to our life.

ellen abbott said...

I will be 64 this year, not retired, won't as long as I get work and can do it. Then, we'll see. I still have many things I like to do. But I have never worked conventionally though there was a span of years when we had employees and kept regular hours.

Helen said...

Just getting a big dose of Rosaria wisdom is enough to keep me motivated! To keep moving, to stay active, to be involved. Which, I'm happy to say I am still able to do. I think about a time when it won't be as easy, and get sad. Take care, dear Rosaria.

The Broad said...

Rosaria, you have written so beautiful about the rhythm of our lives! After I came to this country I found it impossible to get a job! I think there was a lot of hesitancy because of being American and a lack of understanding about credentials and such like. I did have some part time work teaching 'American English' with a language school -- but nothing that was what could be considered regular work. My biggest transition came getting used to my husband being home all the time!

Rob-bear said...

A very thoughtful post, Rosaria, as always.

My first retirement project was to get healthy; I have accomplished that, more or less. But now? Reading. Writing. Grandchildren. Learning all kinds of fascinating new things. Church, still, but in retirement, not nearly as much activity.So, in many ways, not much has changed, though the intensity is much lower.

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Vera said...

My biggest adjustment is the huge change in everything in my life since 2008. So many adjustments, which are still ongoing. They have kept me alert to life, given me back my spirit, and do not give me time to dwell on the passage of the years. Vx

Tom Sightings said...

I retired early, and I feel as if it's my true calling in life. Don't know what will happen when the minor aches and pains become true health problems ... but I'm sure I'll find out eventually!

yaya said...

Little kids, little worries..big kids, bigger worries! Yes, time does change but worrying about my kids is still there! I'm not retired but everyday at work I wonder how it will be to say good-bye when it happens. Nobody is indispensable and the work place will move on...but I'm not sure how I'll be moving on! Good, thoughtful post and it reminds me that I should be planning on what to do when I can sleep past 5am if I want!

John Nicoll said...

Onnly real thing is the day you are living in - so why worry!

LindyLou Mac said...

The biggest and saddest adjustment has without doubt been the early death of a loving partner.

Amanda said...

Getting used to the empty nest. At first I cried, then I became settled in the knowledge that my kids were making their way in the world, happy and engaged in life, and realizing that was how I raised them to be. Sadness gives way to a dawning awareness of having more time to yourself and using it to midwife a rebirth of latent creative projects.

Lydia said...

I missed the defined marker that said "retirement," having left work to care for my dying mother but then never returning to work. Thus, I was too young to call staying home retirement, and the years just sort of went on that way. Now that I am in the retirement age bracket I have begun saying I'm retired. I think it all has messed with my mind a great deal. I realize I probably should have returned to work after my mother died, but I loathed the job and career I had carved for myself and had little inclination to return and little drive to think of something different. Nevertheless, it is only now that I am "of age" to be in early retirement that I have begun to question what's next. Go figure!

manofroma said...

I am sorry Rosaria. I will write in a language that perhaps you still remember a bit.

Un sacco di aggiustamenti. Non sento più la sfida, il pericolo, la responsabilità di affrontare i clienti che gravavano sulle mie spalle. Ho meno contatti umani, il che va bene, perché amo scrivere e riflettere e amo la musica, ma questo a volte mi pesa. I figli non ci sono, ma quando ci sono, sono come dei cicloni, la loro giovinezza da una parte mi esalta, dall'altra sconvolge un poco la calma delle mie giornate. Una cosa bella è che con mia moglie ci sentiamo sempre più vicini. Forse è perché stiamo compiendo un nuovo viaggio insieme, un viaggio diverso dai viaggi precedenti, perché non si sa dove ci porterà, è questa la novità. Forse per questo la vivo come la più bella avventura con lei: scoprire, cioè, cosa ci aspetta dietro quella porta chiusa, chi verrà, o non verrà, all'appuntamento a cui non possiamo mancare.

Friko said...

I don’t miss work or the hassle of being young one little bit.
I enjoy having the time to please myself, to read and do nothing all day if that’s what the day feels like.
I am busy when I need to be busy.

I think that’s really all there is to retirement, keep your mind active, your body asmuch as is sensible and, apart from that, do what comes up. Enjoy it.