For many years I didn’t believe I would ever retire. It was not a money issue, but a matter of desire. I loved working, and couldn’t imagine I wouldn’t want to work forever…or for as long as my health held out.
I was fearful of retirement, not sure what I would do, afraid I’d lose my identity, because ‘I was what I did’, concerned about being bored, and the list goes on.
The years passed, I grew older, and gradually my energy level took a dip southward. It was a slow process, and the idea of retirement began to seem less threatening. I was not filled with excitement, but rather acceptance.
I was involved in community projects keeping me occupied but not ‘working’, as in a job and earning money. That was satisfying and kept my mind and body in motion. Plus I found enjoyment in traveling in the states and abroad. Experiencing different cultures, seeing new vistas, tasting exotic foods, hearing unusual languages loosen my tight grip on sameness, lighting a fire to see and do more…or at least do and see ‘different’.
My sojourn to Mexico was not a planned diversion, but rather just a visit to a city I didn’t know. I can’t even identify the reason I became so ‘at home’ here. Maybe seeing the vibrant and diverse colors of houses each making a statement in a different colored voice is what attracted me. Or the balconies lined with flowering plants. The cobbled stone streets added charm, and as I learned, a bit of drama. Encountering people as I walked to and from my casita, provided a glimpse into another way of life unfamiliar to me.
Conversations I didn’t understand, rituals I didn’t know about, ingredients I couldn’t pronounce, flavors unknown to me were, all inviting, challenging, engaging, frustrating and endearing, but all opening me to new emotions, both good and bad.
I have learned what my stomach can tolerate, what my brain can comprehend, how important old behaviors are to me, and how my comfort level can be altered.
Retirement continues to be a new voyage taking me to places I didn’t know existed, most of those spots are within myself.