Monday, December 30, 2013

The Ups and Downs of this next Phase

Retirement: Lots to read, sunshine on my back  

I think of this as my next career, All Art, All the Time, but really it is retirement in most people's sense of the word in this country at this time. I wonder if more than 1% of the next generation will have this choose time over money. 

Time is a funny thing, it can seem to expand and contract, depending on how engaged we are in what's going on. Today, with 2014 starting tomorrow at midnight, feels a bit like time outside of time...gray, quiet, cold at 48, but not windy, the grass is green and the leaves are down, that hushed period between Christmas and New Years...Thank goodness for this holiday break during the dark days of winter. A time for reflection and resolution. It's 3:51pm and the sun is already sinking behind the mountains to the south, its track across my sky low and attenuated. I haven't yet started the project I intended for today...but I've been side tracked, and am learning to be more forgiving of myself for my digressions, knowing that side trips can be fruitful.

My first "real" book, 2003

The last time I quit health care, in 2001, I traveled and taught, designed patterns, and led classes. Then I had to bow to the reality of wanting to retire with a roof over my head at some point in the future, and I went back to health care in 2004 up to December 3, 2013, my third and last time quitting my work for myself, the work I love.

The last two times I've tried to quit in times of long sunny days, but this time wasn't totally intended, and here I am in the depth of the dark season in the Northwest, working on what it is I'm going to do with the rest of my life. "All Art, All the Time" isn't quite sufficiently specific, especially since I find I can no longer work, "all the time." I used to travel all over the country to teach, and now I was thinking that I could stay home and enjoy where I am...but the Universe...or something in my own calling out that I'm not all THAT much ready to just sit and read.

Even in the Dark Days of Winter, when I could be hibernating, and even if I am a little bit afraid of the prospect of hitting the road and working with women and change again, the Universe seems to be calling to me to Come out, Come out...with invitations across the country...So I have been spending today way of figuring out what I want to do, looking up previous proposals, and considering, as my teabag fortune declaimed: "Let your heart guide you." Some things that are difficult, are still worth learn what I decide, please stay tuned to this and my other blog:

My 2014 Meyer lemon meringue pie

I've always said that New Year's Eve is an artificial construct, and I spend the time between Solstice and the earlier sunrise, around January 10, spreading out the celebration, giving myself treats...then exercising away the extra calories. Both pursuits are good for I found a longer, but not as steep way to walk home from the grocery store. I'm trying not to use my car if I don't have to and watched a fascinating PBS special on Faces with John Cleese, so I know how important it is for us to trade facial expressions with others on a regular basis.

Anyway, because Sunday still seems different from weekdays, I decided to make my pie yesterday and enjoy it for the week. Because I live alone, I don't have to follow anyone else's concepts of holiday propriety...but today and every day I do wish All of You, happiness, creativity, fulfillment, love, and work that satisfies you...even if it doesn't always come in the form that you think you would like.


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