Many people have asked me to describe my life since I officially retired a couple of weeks ago, and I think I'm still developing an accurate response. Most of my first week was spent staring at the inside of my eyelids, as I caught up on lost sleep and attempted to recover some of my energy. During my waking moments, I've struggled with remembering what day it is as I try to get used to my new schedule, or lack thereof. On the positive side I have managed to gain some energy back, and what I've gathered has been spent on painting...which I must admit, is awesome! It is amazing to have the opportunity to create something solely for the joy of it, without an underlying purpose of teaching a lesson to a classroom of students...or finishing a Christmas present for a friend or family member. Don't get me wrong; both of those outlets of creativity can be important and satisfying. Though the chance to be creative just for myself is very refreshing! And the opportunity to hang my pieces in art galleries has given me a whole new experience to enjoy, and a reason to get up in the morning.
When I began my retirement I admit...it felt awkward. There was this overwhelming sense of being on vacation (one where I slept a lot) that would soon end...and when the alarm went off, my working life would once again start anew. It took a while to get past that feeling, and there are still moments where I grab my alarm clock to set it for work. My biggest fear when this began was that I would do nothing more than sit in my apartment, bored and lonely, with nothing to fill my time. Luckily I have not encountered those feelings yet, and have kept myself busy with painting...and attending the many art events that have come up; some which include my work--and some that don't. I've made it a point to go to all of them, even for a short while. In the meantime, I still get the opportunity to see the people I worked with these past five years, when I go to the office for weekly chiropractic adjustments. That is a blessing, because those people mean a lot to me!
Most of all, my friend M (CMT group support leader,) has helped me through this adjustment. She went through the whole process of having to retire for health reasons, and knows the frustrations that can come with it...she, along with all my other friends and family, have helped me see the bright side of this experience and the good to come. For that, I am very grateful! There are still moments where the worries about my future rear their ugly heads, and I am still searching to find what other financial assistance I may qualify for (there's been no luck so far in that department.) But I am determined to continue moving forward, and to see this through; I owe it to myself to do so. I may not be able to change the world but I can work on making my own little part of it as beautiful as possible, and that starts with my own healing. When the big financial picture gets too overwhelming and the fears start to creep in again, I just have to take a step back and focus on the little things I can handle. I recently painted this piece called 'Through the Forest, To the Trees' to remind myself of those little details...and after I stop to look at them I can continue moving forward, one detail at a time.