So, it’s taken me 2 1/2 years to find my stride, to get my groove back. Retirement has not been an easy transition for me, but I think I have finally figured out what I need as a person in this _____ decade of life. (This is left blank on purpose for those who don’t know my exact age and never will!! I still have to keep that secret because I am quirky about age, as many of my friends know!)
I am a worker bee (as my good friend CC says, as is she.) While some can’t wait to kick back and relax, apparently I need to work in a job capacity. While some want to try new things, take the time to explore and experiment that they never had time for while raising a family, working, juggling everyday life – I need a 9 to 5 structure.
So, I set out to find post-retirement work.
At first, I thought it was about seeing if I could still get a job. Who would want me? What was my skill set? Old ad sales people are not in high demand!! Then, I thought, what do I really need to be happy? An atmosphere where there is a buzz, a vibe, people coming and going. Chat. Interaction.
My husband does not need any of these things and kept saying to me, “find a hobby, take an online course, read.” But I’m not a solitary person. I love to read, but I can’t sit there all day and do that. I have read more wonderful novels in the last 2 years than in the previous 5! That’s all well and good, but I need more. No matter what other people tell you, even your spouse, who knows me pretty well after almost 42 years of marriage, you know you best!
I need affirmation, confirmation, to be valued for what I can still bring to the table — an upbeat outgoing personality who wants to engage. People fascinate me, they interest me, I enjoy the banter that comes in a social setting, a working atmosphere.
So, this summer I found work! (A full employment economy helped Employers of menial type jobs are so in need of people who can at least add, subtract, and multiply, as well as speak in full sentences!))
My part-time job makes me feel useful, purposeful, responsible. It isn’t about the money. I’m paid hourly!!! I work with young people who have nose rings, tongue rings, and multiple tattoos, and they’re great!! There are also a few old fogies like me and we bring a certain gravitas to the job. We’ve been around and are wise! We give good advice and we listen.
I once worked with a young lady, Anne, years and years ago, who told me her parents made her work at the local Stop & Shop. She wasn’t poor, she didn’t need the money, but they wanted her grounded and responsible. I was so impressed by that and kept reminding myself that work fulfills a need for some — and me in particular. My working is just what I needed. I feel healthier and happier than I’ve been in 2 1/2 years.
It reminds me of my mother, Muriel, who went back to work when I was in high school. She had a part time job at Columbia Health, a women’s clinic for students since we lived near the university. She was so proud of herself and us of her, that at Thanksgiving, she purchased one of those turkey ice cream cakes that Baskin Robbins used to make ( don’t know if they still do) and when served at the table, proudly announced, “Compliments of Muriel”. She was very proud of herself for buying dessert with her own money! I will never forget that and every year as the holiday ( my favorite) approaches, I think of that and her.
So, Joy is back in her groove, enjoying a part time job, buying tickets to theatre with her own money, and sneaking an extra $100 or 2 to her daughter’s! Shhhhh! It makes me happy and it’s what I needed to do for me! There may be a day when I’m ready to do less, to play more, but I’m not there now.
– Be true to who you are. You know best what you need to be happy. A little work never hurt anybody and it keeps your brain alive, no matter what you’re learning. It’s learning!!!
-Barclay and I thank you for sticking with us as we slowed down our weekly writings. Life has been fuller and that’s a good thing!!!
We have so much more to say, so stay tuned!
As always, enjoy the ride!
xox Barclay and Joy