Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The First Day

Yesterday was my first day of retirement.  I didn't feel retired.  I felt like someone who called in sick when I should have dragged myself into the office.  It was also Martin Luther King, Jr. day so my granddaughter spent the day with me.  I didn't see much of her because she is now a teenager who stays up late and then sleeps much of the day away.  In my part of the world we are experiencing winter and for now I am living in a very cold, snow covered landscape.  Once the weather warms up and the snow and ice melt I hope to go to the park every day for walks.  I did begin what I hope is a disciplined spiritual practice of meditation and reading.  My urge is to play rock and roll music all day but I am striving to start my day with silence and meditation.  I am enjoying my solitude even if I do feel a little bit guilty for not going to work every day.  Although I have wanted to retire for a long time, now that it is here I am finding it to be an adjustment.  I have spent much of my life meeting myself coming and going so having lots of leisure and very little responsibility is a new experience.  It is difficult to not think of my former co-workers and feel like I have abandoned them.  These early days of retirement remind me of retreats at the monastery.  When you first arrive at the monastery, usually on a Friday afternoon, you feel restless and agitated.  Your body and psyche are wired from your frantic life and the silence and solitude of the monastery is a shock to the system.  Over time you slow down, quiet down, and unwind.  About the time you are where you want to be it is time to go back home and jump back into the rat race.  Now that I am retired I am on a perpetual retreat.  My slowing down is permanent.  My life will be quieter on the inside as well as the outside.  My nervous system will calm itself down.  When one's life comes to a screeching halt like mine has done even a naturally contemplative person like me needs to transition from a frantic life into a calm life.

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