I recently retired. Well, not so recently. Last August to be exact. So not quite a year ago, but not just last week either. It is a wonderful thing. And I have no idea what my future brings. What my plan is. I actually don't have a plan. Truly. And I don't even think about having a plan. Well, that’s not exactly true. I do think about the fact that I don’t have a plan and how that is so not what we, as a society, prefer to see. And then I get a little pissed about that even though it’s all usually just a dialog going on in my own head. And then I resolve the conflict and go back to my no plan and all is good.
The whole thing is very Zen of me, which makes me laugh since I am so not Zen. But in this no plan state that I am in, I obviously am Zen-like because each day is just that day. No plan. Yes, I have some commitments and appointments. And I have a puppy and she takes up most of every day these days. And my kids are coming home. One is home already and two more are following soon. So each day has commitments. But each day also just unfolds. As that day. And I don't think in that day about what happens in the future. What my plan is. I truly don't have one.
It feels wonderful.
Now this does not mean that there may not be something sometime. That I may not wake up one morning and begin something new that will take me in a different direction than just being each day. But I am not storing up my energy and regrouping to get ready for that opportunity. I am not consciously preparing myself for anything. I am not gearing up, because there is no plan to gear up for.
The world does not like this. Sometimes, that inner dialog is actually a real conversation. It goes something like this:
I meet someone new and, because we have just met, they ask me what I do. I am retired, I say. And they ask me what my plan is. Second question out of their mouth. And when I say that I have no plan, that I am just enjoying my days each day as they come, they say they understand how important it is to take some time for myself before I decide what I am going to do with this new stage of my life.
What I am going to do with my life. As if just being in my life each day is not enough. Is not doing anything.
When people are just being – day to day just walking through each moment without a goal - when they sit for long periods, when they don’t have a list of things they wish to accomplish, our society sees them as idle. Or lazy. Or unfocused. Not driven. Not striving to be better. And so, because others don't want to think these things about each other, they need to come up with some justification for just being. And so insert the "resting, recharging until that next thing" into the equation. It makes them feel more comfortable.
Because I think that we have conditioned ourselves to believe that if we don't have these goals, if we are not striving for something, then we are not contributing members of the community. Because our accomplishments are how we define each other. Our successes are our worth. Our jobs and careers are who we are.
I want to change that. Start asking others what they feel, who they love, and how they think. Because I believe that this is who we are. You and I and all the people in our lives. We are all many things. We are a great friend or a kind sister. We are a lover of animals and deep thinkers. We are funny and smart and cynical and depressed and lonely and full of joy and filled with sadness. We are readers and writers and passionate about films and motorcycles and cars. We love to travel or hate to leave home. We are our passions and our struggles.
Now, I do believe that we incorporate who we are into what we do. My last career (I suffered from career ADD) was as a mediator and my gifts - my compassion and my fairness and my ability to see the big picture and translate complex ideas into easy to understand phrases - these served my vocation. But being a mediator was not who I was, it was what I did. I am a compassionate, fair and clear person who did mediation.
I think that distinction is important. Because then we don't need to label ourselves, we can just be ourselves. And then we don't need to label another to see their worth, either. We can all just be comfortable being present in each moment, as who we are in each moment. And that will be enough.
And I think that would be a beautiful thing.
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Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.