Me, retired? The word ‘retirement’ seems repugnant— dismissive and a relic of old social norms. It conjures up images of shuffling around in slippers, padding quietly through the days, waiting for the end. I'm not quiet. Nor do I shuffle. That’s not who I am. And, I am certainly not waiting for the end!
Boxing up the last odds and ends of my work life, I sorted thirty-four years of books, papers, talismans and stuff among a few boxes and the overflowing recycling bin. I reached for one particular talisman, a button pin – Fishing for Solutions. Faded from years of exposure to finger oils and sunlight – it was smooth and perfect, nice in the hand to finger and flip while thinking. Given the handling and the dozen office moves during my career, I am not sure how it survived. It both reminded and inspired me – of the chase, chance and opportunity that every day and every challenge presented. I’d been working the last 14 years in fire and forest conservation across the U.S. The wicked fire challenges for people and our forests was both a passion and compulsion – and now it was over for me.
Silver Pen Writing Award Partners, Salt Lake County Aging & Adult Services, Salt Lake County Library, and Salt Lake Community College Community Writing Center, invited all older adults to participate in the 2018 Silver Pen Writing Contest by writing and submitting their own essay or poetry based on JOY . . . read the winning essays and poems . . .
From the earliest time, I can remember strands of yarn in my hands. Even before I could manipulate a needle, I held my arms out as my mother laced skeins of yarn around them so she could roll the yarn into balls. That motion symbolizes my life – unravel, rewind, create, unravel yet again . . .
A friend of mine had a severe undiagnosed mental illness. No one knew this, and she didn’t want anyone to find out. Among other symptoms, she would lose time.
I'm not sure when it happened—the first time I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize what I saw. Who was that older person staring back at me?
Summer is approaching, and I am looking forward to that time of year when life seems to naturally slow down and I get to catch up on books I haven’t read, dip my toes in the water and breathe a bit more deeply.
My mom died two years ago at the age of 94 1/2. Recently, while stressing out over tests for breast cancer, I have been thinking of how Mom comported herself as she too was tested, poked and prodded in her last years. Believe me it wasn’t pretty.
Bill Funk has been a hobby and a professional photographer for over 30 years.
“What are you doing with your time, now that you’ve retired?” That was the question the Ski School Director asked me during our pre-season ski instructor orientation. My answer to him was not even close to adequate, especially when I realized that many of my friends have been wondering that very thing for themselves. What I’ve been doing is not so much a “list,” as much as a continuing process of calibration.
Initially, thinking about going from a busy medical practice to “retired,” I'd developed a sense of impending dread. Would I become useless, cranky and senile? Would my health deteriorate? Would I “fail retirement,” and become depressed with nothing to do, and have to go back to work?
No— I’d prove my continued vitality.
As age consumes me, slows my stride, and tips me over, I began to gather walking sticks.