Thursday, February 26, 2015

Retirement Thoughts

Yep ... that's me ... a retiree. Today.  Wow.

I've felt pretty 'giddy' these past couple of weeks as I've weeded out piles of stuff collected over the years and counted down the days. But today was a little bit hard. Felt weepy when I woke up, tears on the way into work. Decided to make a stop for coffee to get myself together before venturing into the office. And then I realized it wasn't leaving the organization I've worked for these past 29 years that had me tearing up. It was that Vern is not here to share this important milestone with me.

We had such wonderful plans for our retirement years ....

So I will move into this new chapter of my life ... without him by my side, but with him in my heart.

And I do have plans ... a trip to south Florida to share in the joyful marriage of an especially dear widow friend, soul care at a retreat in the Ozark Mountains, an art retreat in a fabulous old barn in Nebraska and an amazing retreat in Costa Rica.

I've accepted additional tasks in my volunteer role with Soaring Spirits that will keep me plenty busy, along with travel to our remaining 2015 Camp Widows in San Diego and Toronto.

I have several online art classes I've signed up for but not started ... I will get started now.

I have numerous books I've purchased that haven't been read ... I will read daily.

I have 30+ years of 'stuff' in this house that needs to be weeded out ... I will simplify.

I think I'm going to need to live to be at least 100 to accomplish all of this.

* * *
I don't like good-byes. I'm not especially comfortable in the spotlight and there are some other personal reasons involved that caused me to request no official office farewell. But I did receive many lovely emails, cards, gifts, phone calls, visits and hugs from my co-workers this week. My heart is full and it is good.

Before leaving my office, I changed my voicemail message to one explaining I had retired and who to call now ... and ended with Mary Oliver's quote:

Think about that for yourself ... and do something to make it happen.

Friday, February 13, 2015

J O Y ?

2014 flew by quite quickly ... with some really good things that happened and some not-so-good.  Just like each year, actually. For all of us.  But we survive ... and we do our best to thrive in spite of all that life throws at us.  I think I've done a pretty decent job of thriving.

I've learned so much during Vern's illness, death and these alone years that have built up my armor to protect me from any serious injuries due to hurtful words and actions. And that is what helped me find my Word for 2015. It's certainly not one I was initially comfortable with. But it kept coming to me as the one I was supposed to choose for this year. To be honest, my personal definition of JOY is not the same in my 'before' and 'after' since Vern died. But if I adjust the meaning of the word to this ...

... well then, that's something I can relate to. So JOY it is.

And since this year also brings my retirement, I'm thinking JOY just might be the perfect word. 

I started writing this post in January but it got sidelined with all of the Camp Widow volunteer prep, so here I am now ... just two weeks away from my very last day of work. It feels good. It feels right. I'm ready to leave all of the experiences of these past 29 years of my work life at the doorstep of the Water District. I won't have to be 'that' Dianne any longer. And while I struggled with the loss of my 'Vern & Dianne' identity, this one is going to be pretty easy to let go. I feel good about all that I accomplished during those years and I'm now ready to start living the rest of my "one wild and precious life"!