Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Is it Friday yet?

Today is Wednesday. I don't mean to wish my time away, but I feel like I am craaawwlling toward Friday and freedom.

I am trying to stay in the "Now." It's not easy. I can "taste" my freedom. Last night when I lay down in bed, the wind was blowing gently through the windows and making the shades flap. I really listened to that sound. Now here's one of the great things about being old. Listening to that sound, flooded my brain with memories of childhood when I used to really listen all the time. For a moment, I was upstairs in the attic bedroom of the cottage the Sullivan's rented every summer. They always invited me to visit for a week. What a kindness! Now, the delicious feeling of lying in bed and staring up at the rafters while a sea breeze flaps the shade and there is the underlying hum and thrum of the waves on the breakers only a few hundred feet away, is an overlay on this quiet moment before sleep.

I am looking forward to the freedom to control the content of my days. I really am, but I also know that the real happiness and freedom lies within myself and how I choose to experience life. If I compromise that sense of being alive today with dreams of tomorrow's pleasure, I have already surrendered life to being lived "someday." And, as we all know, "someday" never comes. Carpe diem!

Today is Thursday and I still feel as though I am "slouching toward Bethlehem," in fact I posted that as my FaceBook status today. I've only been able to make myself work half days. It is almost unbearable for me. I suppose that's better than being somehow forced to retire and not wanting the job to end? Still, I don't want to feel ashamed of myself for how I ended my paid working career.

I'm spending an extra hour at home this morning. I won't get into work until 1 PM and will leave at 4 PM unless there are problems. I have an energy commission meeting tonight and am going to get my hair cut at 4:30 today. I took the extra hour so that I could write a little this morning. I need the catharsis of writing. Granted, this is a bit public, but that adds to the thrill of writing, doesn't it? On the other hand, no one reads my blog, so it is fairly safe for me to "put it all out there."

I used the phrase because it is how I feel, but then I looked it up because I remembered the negative connotation in the Blake poem, "The Second Coming." I'd forgotten the wonderful Joan Didion book of the title, "Slouching Toward Bethlehem." It revealed the dark side of the counterculture movement of the 60s and 70s. So, perhaps this is an apt analogy... Or perhaps, instead of fearing that my life could easily devolve into chaos and lassitude, it should inspire me to commit myself to writing that book about my brother, George...view it as a chance to leave the world with one true and good story told...given.

Well, it's time to get ready for work, but I think my next effort will be think about what it means to work for pay versus volunteering. Why hasn't pay been much of a motivator for me?

It's late Thursday night (or early Friday morning). I'm still up and excited about tomorrow as my last day at work. I'm feeling a little conflicted about retiring early because of the strain that it puts on the Social Security system. I could work a few more years without it killing me. I could. I just feel like I want this time with my husband who has been home alone for eight years. I hope that my volunteer efforts in energy and as an advocate for people with disabilities will justify my existence. I want to be useful.

So, why do I say that money is not a big motivator for me? Am I kidding myself? I don't think so. I've had some amazing, wonderful experiences in my life that were completely unrelated to how much money I had. Some things took a lot of money...probably much more than I was in a position to spend, but I did it anyway. Other things, equally amazing, cost pennies compared with the thrill I received...and the lack of expense only made the experience more delicious. I've never minded wearing second hand or hand me down clothes. Instead of feeling impoverished, I am proud that my Jeep has 214K miles and still runs well after 12 years. I don't envy those with vast wealth because I think their options are probably much more limited than mine...and I'm pretty sure that my friends are just as true and just as much fun as theirs. On the other hand, I don't think money is bad. I just think it can deaden the sound and fury of real life...

No comments:

Post a Comment