Monday, March 12, 2018

The Inner Journey

For all it's ups and downs so far, retirement has been a reflective time.  Much of my time has been spent ruminating on the question "Who am I now"?  Whatever purpose I had in the workplace is gone now.  What is my new purpose?

In the book How To Retire Happy, Wild, and Free by Ernie Zelinski  I recently read "retirement is not a time to sleep, but a time to awaken to the beauty of the world around you".  This doesn't necessarily mean beauty to be found in some faraway land.  It could be the beauty of your own neighborhood which you may not have noticed when you were living a busier and more frantic life.

Some driven types go from the busyness of a career to the busyness of new activities in retirement.  They hardly miss a beat.  Others go from a full schedule to a life of relative emptiness as the phones stop ringing and the emails stop flowing.

"Happiness is not a matter events; it depends on the tides of the mind".
-Alice Meynell

I also like this bit of wisdom from Seneca.

"The gradually declining years are among the sweetest in a man's life".

I am not sure I have found this sweetness yet but I look forward to finding it.

A man named Howard Salzman says, "Retirement is a time to make the inner journey".

I think one of the dangers of retirement is to think you need to retire in the same manner as every other retired person.  Retirement, like all of life, is very personal.  Thomas Merton, in the last public appearance he made, at a conference in Bangkok, Thailand, said, "It's time for everyone to stand on their own two feet".  In other words, you can't always depend on other people or the "system" to support you.  Retirement is a time to discover who you were meant to be now that what you did has come to an end.  Most of us spend much of our lives thinking our identity is based on what we do, not on who we are.

The inner journey is a journey of self-discovery and letting go.  Some people and things are relatively easy to let go.  Others are more painful.

"The greater part of our happiness depends on our dispositions, and not on our circumstances.
-Martha Washington

1 comment:

Donna Rau said...

I am throughly intrigued with your retirement reflections. Retirement is close for me. I alternately embrace it and fear it. All change is fearsome In one way or another and I have learned to face my fears but I have not yet discovered those exact retirement fears. Maybe I fear myself stripped of my “labels”?

Having stumbled upon “Stumbling Along the Spiritual Path” has been very thought provoking. Thank you.