I made it. Today is the first day of my retirement. No alarm clock. No shower 🙂 No driving to work. No meetings. No usual Wednesday. And I’m not even 55! I’d been so focused on getting to this point that now that I’m here I’m not sure what do. Yesterday I crossed the finish line surrounded with love, support, and much fanfare. I had achieved my goal. I finished the (rat)race. We celebrated my accomplishments with toasts, gifts, songs, and laughter. Today, I sit…alone…with my medal around my neck wondering what the heck to do next. The crowds have gone home and everyone went back to their regular lives except for me. I don’t have a regular life anymore. I’m creating something completely new…something foreign to me. I’m starting a new life.
It’s ironic, you know, the driving energy behind me deciding to leave last year was the realization that I wasn’t really living my life for myself. I was doing all the things that I thought I was supposed to do…all the things I thought people expected of me, but when I was alone with just my thoughts I had to face the harsh truth that these “things” weren’t really what I wanted. What I wanted more than anything was to not.be.alone.
I wanted someone to share my thoughts, my dreams, my fears….my time with. Sure I have friends that I share those things with – correction, I have AMAZING friends that I talk to and dream with, but that’s not what I’m talking about. There’s more….there’s sharing with that “someone”….that special someone that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning…or just curl up closer and breathe them in. I realized I wanted what I saw others had, but I’d never made a priority. I wanted to have someone to share my life with that rocked my world – and I theirs. I wanted that….”thing”…that intangible thing. I’d had a taste of it so I knew it was possible, but I’d let it slip away. I wasn’t willing to chase after it…to admit that I wanted it….to be vulnerable. I gave up because I let work get in the way…and besides what might others think? Being a strong, independent woman…well, admitting that what I really wanted more than anything was love??…that just seemed…”silly”. Until it didn’t anymore…
The thought of working until I was 55 and most likely finding myself alone or in another relationship that was simply good enough…but not great….gawd, that was too much. So I did some soul searching and came up with a plan: retire while I was still young enough to pursue what was truly important to me….to find love within myself and that special someone. So I worked the plan and here I am. I’m retired. alone. scared. unnerved. melancholy. It’s day 1 of the biggest risk I’ve ever taken — I SHOULD be freaked out, people! But I’m also proud of myself. empowered. secure. calm. vulnerable. loved.
I’m sitting with these emotions today…all the good and all the bad…because that’s life. It’s beautifully messy and I’m going to enjoy all of it. I’m going to take the next few days…actually the next few weeks…maybe the next few months if that’s what I need…to feel my way through this transition. I’m going to relish in finishing the race. I’m going to let my body, soul, and mind heal from the fatigue of pushing myself so hard for so long. I’m going to step back and listen to what it is I need. But most importantly, I’m going to take the time to figure out what to do now that I’ve caught the dream I’ve been chasing for so long.