I received an email this morning from the administrator of a website I used to contribute to, saying that the content is being updated. I had completely forgotten that for a year I had written a monthly column. I wrote this nearly six years ago and thought it an interesting back note to where Ian and I are today.
Musings from Sage Creek
I have been retired for six months now, and one year ago at this time, I didn’t know that I would be retired at all. There had been rumors of staff reductions, but when the early buy-out incentives were announced, I applied and was declined. Rumors flew, people were leaving right and left, so I reapplied and waited to hear. I finally was confirmed and was emailed a copy of my contract the second week of June. I signed it on June 17th on my last day of work, and just like that, my employment was severed. I had entered, or rather, was catapulted into a new stage of my life.
I wasn’t sure what I would do with all the time that had previously been filled with employment. Every work day for me had been 11 hours long, including my lunch and commute. I would have an extra 55 hours each week, and I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how living every minute of every day with Ian was going to pan out. I had done everything I could do to get us ready for living on reduced income. I felt we were ready there, but I wasn’t sure if my head was ready.
I’m reminded of how I felt when I discovered I was pregnant for the first time. It was my first marriage, and I had only been married a little over a year. Starting a family hadn’t even been discussed, and then suddenly failed birth control left me facing something I was not prepared for. I was thinking about this the other day as I took my dogs for a walk. I had no idea what being a mother would be like. My parents had been older so I grew up with older people, not young families and children. I didn’t know how to be a mother, but I can tell you that I have loved being a mother, even if I was a little unorthodox. My children have provided the greatest highs and lows in my life and I’m so glad my life took that route.
Retirement has also been satisfying. We’ve returned to cooking meals from scratch and sharing the cooking. We expanded our garden this past summer and are now planning two more raised beds and are pouring over the Peaceful Valley Farm Supply catalog. I thought I’d have time to read a lot, but I find I’m really too busy for that. Though I still haven’t established a routine, I am able to spend several hours a day in my weaving studio. I cannot imagine how I ever had time to work.
My ex-husband was a Marine stationed in the Philippines. My father-in-law, a Navy captain, brought his ship into Subic Bay, so we’d get down to visit him each week. One special week, we took his captain’s gig out into Olongapo Bay to snorkel. On the return ride to the ship, one of his sailors asked me if I’d like to drive the boat. He explained how to site using a point of reference on the horizon. I was thrilled. After some moments, the sailor asked me I thought I was steering straight, and I allowed that I thought I was. He suggested that I look at the wake for proof. Following the boat was the darndest snaking trail of churned-up white water.
Many times I’ve thought about that day, believing that my life was directed and on-course, but it was probably more like I was chasing Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen. Looking back now I realize that though I thought I was going straight, my life has been much closer to the snaking white wake, trailing behind me revealing where I have actually gone.