I retired five years ago. I waited until I was 68 to pile up some more retirement benefits. I also waited because I was scared of retiring. When I retired I took two part time jobs which soon went to one. I felt like I had to work. That lasted four years. Now, I am truly retired. (Funny thing, I wrote tired instead of retired.).
Another reason I retired from my career in water treatment was noticing I just was not as sharp as I used to be. I have always been fairly sharp, except for the ADD brain lapses I have always lived with. The lapses were more frequent. One of my part time jobs required constant focus. Not good. The other one was working with elementary school kids, and meant unremitting joy. I gave that job up because I didn’t want to work so many hours, and my bad back was complaining.
Now my back still complains, but I can pace myself more and take a time out if I need to. Right now it’s my upper back hurting after yoga and shoveling a pickup load of wood chips. Today I am going for a walk where it is flat.
About those lapses. All older people complain about them. The other day I made four trips to the basement to get something and never did come up with it. Yesterday I was in the grocery store and upset because I forgot the list. When I got home without some things on the list I found it in my pocket.
Well, there is a reason for this. As we age, our brains tend to shift from the executive function-running things- to inner processes. It is certainly true for me. I want to write, read, meditate, and enjoy happy entertainment. There is a huge obstacle right now. Politics.
It’s hard to hold on to my equanimity these days. Usually I deal with negativity by praying for the people creating the mood. I have even prayed for Newt Gingrich. I have yet to be able to pray for His Yellowness. Praying for people doesn’t necessarily change them, although sometimes it does, but it does change me. The changes I experience make me more able to live with myself. I am even less of a jackass on the road.
I have more peace. My body doesn’t work as well as it used to, but I think my mind may be getting to a place where I can actually experience the inner connectedness of all life. I can find joy in anyone. Well, most everyone. I also have trouble feeling connected with the Japanese Beetles who want to eat stuff in our garden. I can’t go above the second step on the ladder because I tend to fall off. Some of the evil critters get away because I can’t get high enough.
On balance, aging isn’t so bad. I have lived a life of constant stress from trying to be normal when I am not. Now, I get to embrace being weird and getting weirder, and love life. Mostly.
I will know I am really on the right track when I can pray for THEM.