Pete Seeger’s well known song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” popularized the Biblical phrase ‘for everything there is a season and a purpose under heaven”.
Weather patterns, daylight hours, and the angle of the sun changes as the Ontario summer evolves into autumn. The pace of daily life also changes with the change of seasons. Suddenly the carefree schedule of the postworksavvy needs to be managed to prevent the over-scheduling that occurred during those years of professional commitments. During the first few weeks of September there have been board meetings, book club meetings, committees, classes, birthday celebrations and commitments to entertain friends or to meet friends for lunches. It is a time to re-engage with life in the City but without the daily commute to the office nor the career demands. Despite resolutions to live for the moment and to let each day set its own pace, the commitments require preparations, or travel and there are expectations to ‘show up’. The joy of summer has definitely passed.
The change in season underlines how much retirement has changed my life. As well, it makes me realize that many things have not changed. The deeply ingrained habits that govern how I have lived my life are still with me –habits like coming back to the city after Labour Day even though autumn at the cottage is remarkably peaceful; habits like checking the calendar to ensure that appointments or meetings aren’t missed. The pace of life changes with the season. My challenge is to ensure that the comfortable pace of retirement is maintained.
The change in season also brings awareness that, like the seasons, there is a cycle of life. As I celebrate the autumn of my life, I realize the joy of growing older. There is a contentment not experienced during the years of striving to achieve. There is a greater level of maturity. There is an understanding that, like summer, nothing lasts forever, which enhances the capacity for perseverance. Judgement improves. Perhaps this is the beginning of wisdom.
It is often said that autumn is the most beautiful time of the year. Likewise, I am beginning to realize that retirement is a beautiful season of life. Just as life changes with the cycle of the seasons, so does it change with the decision to retire. Just as each season of the year offers new opportunities, so does the post work era offer new opportunities. New friendships are beginning. New activities beckon with enrollment in adult education classes as does the opportunity to learn new skills.. There is time to take care of physical health at the gym. There is time to visit family and to entertain. Postworksavvy tells me that these are the rewards of retirement — and I make no apology for enjoying every day!
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