Sometimes clouds make the most interesting skies…

A former coworker texted me yesterday. We hadn’t seen each other since I left work last June. She had read an interview about a recently retired woman who had said how retirement tended to defy plans and took people on unexpected adventures and uncovered unsuspected passions and talents. She went on to say “Of course, that made me think of you and I wondered how your adventure was going!  What passions and surprises have you stumbled upon?” My reply:
“I’m finding retirement rather a little bit like being a hobbit…second breakfast is real and the adventures come to me! Certainly doing the farmer’s markets was not something that was on my radar and was totally serendipitous. I have now branched out into putting my photos on mugs. I also sold a pic of the F-18 demo jet to one of the fellows who actually painted it. He was really excited! As was I. My whole existence right now feels like it is being created beyond my will. I am literally just “being” and things happen. I am returning to the lost state of “human being” rather than a “human doing”. It’s a process, not ever likely to be finished…but I am enjoying the ride! I have volunteered some time at the local school library but so grateful to come and go at will. I do miss much about my old life but no regrets. And I started a blog! People kept telling me to sell my photos online but I didn’t want an Etsy store or a Facebook page. Each photo has a story and I am it’s voice. It’s very early days…only a week old…and I’m just feeling  my feet, but I love the process even if the price was hours of brain numbing and hair pulling trying to figure out the technical part. Retirement is nothing at all as I thought it would be…endless hours of daytime TV whilst Facebook stalking and waiting to die.  Hubby is still off work and we have discovered that we really enjoy our little micro-community of two.
I am so grateful that I got that unholy nudge that derailed my cogs. So grateful that I took the leap of faith. My biggest worry was about money…and now it isn’t. Can’t truly explain what happened because markets don’t make me money. Don’t get me wrong…I do have moments when the old anxiety tries to grab me…but it doesn’t last and isn’t nearly as debilitating.”
That conversation left me much to wonder about. By writing it all out in a text message (that should have been a letter) it cemented these facts to my psyche. While selling my photos could help ease the burden of an unplanned retirement, it is not the means to an end. Rather it is the end itself. I have enough, and I find making do is just fine – in fact it may be a lost art form in this world of buy anything you see and want because even if there isn’t cash, there’s credit. Future money. In my case the future came forward to hit me between the eyes. I saw retirement coming…just not when I figured. I worried horribly over an entire summer making my decision to leave my job. That is truly time I will never get back. Selling my photos is less about financial security and more about freedom. Freedom to pursue my life in a way I never thought…and rewards that are so much more valuable than cash. I have learned that by waiting for the clouds to disappear in order to find the perfect sky, I miss a lot of sky.

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