I am thankful that over my life experience
I have been able to acquire a good understanding
of my relationship to situations in life
through many glimpses here and there.
This solidified as an inner confidence and understanding
of the power of living in harmonious presence with life,
where personal hopes take a back seat
to understanding the reality of experience.
At age 53 I found myself suddenly in retirement.
This was really sudden.
In the 1990s many of the large corporations
were cutting their expense budgets and staff
at an alarming rate,
and it was my fortune to be included in that activity.
Reality in action.
I was experiencing it.
I was retired.
Though I will tell you that this
was not totally unexpected.
For years I had been envisioning (perhaps day dreaming),
an early retirement and being free
to pursue what I understood to be the creative nature
resident within every individual.
As it happened, within one year of this sudden retirement
I had brain surgery to remove a tumour the size of a plum
from my brain.
I saw the MRI pictures,
I read the doctor’s report
and agreed to the 8-hour surgery.
I was prepared; there seemed to be a synergy with life.
I was home 2 weeks later
but my balance was impaired,
one eye was misaligned causing permanent double vision.
But, I was retired.
I tried to re-enter the labour market but it was not to be.
I reviewed several “home business” enterprises and even invested in one.
My heart was not in it.
I took an I.Q. test and was really surprised to find out that
the score was 141 overall.
The highest score was 156
in the element of logical abilities.
The lowest score was in spelling at 133.
This gave me a tremendous psychological boost.
Soon I began to realize that I was not really “retired”
as the world understood it.
I was retired from the labour market.
I was not retired from life!
Now it was time to look at those “day dreams” that I had
when I was a “working Joe”.
I had taken astronomy at university.
Now I bought a large and complex astronomical telescope
and began to study the wonders of the universe through the eyepiece
and I wondered if my experiences were similar to Galileo’s.
I enjoyed playing classical pieces on my newest classical guitar,
and took out the violin I used to play in a symphony orchestra.
Although I did not pursue the improvement of my oil painting skills,
I did continue with my photography and darkroom skills but this time,
it was to learn the new methods of digital imaging
and computer processing of images.
Focus on living life made all the difference.
It can be a “rich” retirement at any age.
I have been retired from the labour market for 15 years now.
Money has never been a problem because
I have never made money the major focus of life experience,
and I wisely started to save and invest early enough (about age 42).
We, my spouse and I, understood that
it was a wise investment to put most of our financial resources into the mortgage.
As a result, the second house we bought was completely paid off about
two years after my retirement.
We now live in our seventh home, still mortgage free.
So, what of retirement?
To me there is no such thing.
There are only new experiences, new adventures.
One of them happened to have the label “retirement”.