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!
In order to your get creative aging juices flowing, I'm going to offer writing prompts from time to time. These are questions to get you thinking about yourself in different ways. So, grab your writing tool of choice (laptop, pen, pencil, paper), find a comfortable spot to sit and put your critical voice on hold. In fact, tell your inner critic to leave the room.
Years ago, I left an investment career to become a freelance writer. During the day, when my husband Howard was at work and our two kids went off to school, our house was my domain. I worked at my desk in a common area off the kitchen where sunlight poured in through large windows—a luxurious and quiet space where I wrote without distractions and answered to no one. It was perfect.
And, then, last summer, Howard retired.
“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.
At age seventy, I signed up with a matchmaking website for seniors. If you haven’t tried online dating (and it was all new to me), the first hurdle for a woman ‘over a certain age’ is to get past the idea that meeting someone online is too much of a fringe thing, and that goes against everything our generation was warned about.
But if you decide to give it a try, here are some things to consider. First, you’ll need a ‘handle’ for your profile. Remember the days of truckers on their CB radios using nicknames like GoodBuddy and RubberDuck? ’ Well, a dating site is like that. So how do you choose a name for yourself that gets attention without being . . . what? . . . too coy, as in Needaknight? Too suggestive, like Sweet&Low? Too anything?
For years I've resisted setting up a blog. I'm a deliberate writer, so feeding a blog when I'm not inspired or don't have time isn't something I felt comfortable with. But, about a year ago, when I was preparing my Creative Aging writing workshops, I scoured the web for personal essays on aging and I came up short. I couldn't find any sites for these types of pieces. And that got me thinking . . .