OK –See I’m bad at this part 1 and 2 stuff-I’ve gotten busy with my workshop and forgot to post the rest of my essay–here’s a few more bites!!
“For the unlearned, old age is winter;
for the learned it is the season of the harvest.”
Not all of us leave the workplace
licking our wounds. Many of us have played the game long and hard with the tacit understanding that if we did it all right, the pay-off was we could STOP. We have many avocations that we have been looking forward to pursuing. For awhile, we may be content in the whirl of long-delayed pleasures and deferred family needs we now have time to fulfill. Some Boomers find, however, that the novelty of an open schedule and pleasurable activities— like a steady diet of nothing but ice cream – becomes boring. We become nostalgic for the social interaction of our working lives. We miss being depended upon and recognized for our talent. We become acutely aware that our e-mail boxes are empty and our phones ring less frequently. While we may not miss our work, we miss our roles.
Boomers came of age amidst the idealistic calls for change, revolution, equality, social justice. There may be issues we’ve spent a career or a lifetime advocating and supporting. Or our careers may have left us passive bystanders to our most passionate causes. Retirement can re-kindle old passions. We tentatively scan the volunteeropportunities available. We might even glance at the want ads. Maybe now’s the time we can create change, leave our mark, we think. In our hearts, there is the little voice that nibbles away at our idealism: “did I work long and hard to ultimately be saddled with time and energy commitments again?” Our ambivalence may end our quest.
We start our retirement journey with mixed emotions about our identities and what we have to offer, some of us discouraged, others supremely confident. Some of us are content to withdraw. Others seek paid or volunteer work that has meaning; that feeds our passion to make a difference, but doesn’t consume all of our time. We don’t want the worry and responsibility we once had, but we want assignments that use our unique skills. If we imagined we’d be welcomed with open arms by the community loathe to support us, we may have a rude awakening.