Is There Life After Retirement?

Learning to Pivot

Posted on: November 24, 2020

So here’s another thing about retirement and radical relocation during a pandemic:

For nearly 50 years, I have been very career and avocation forward focused. That’s a lot of movement buildup! Under normal circumstances, I would channel all that momentum into starting the next phase of my life. I would investigate the area, make new friends, join new groups, etc. But – as is true for all of us – there are few “normal circumstances” in 2020. So I’ve tried to channel that energy into fixing up my new home, endless meetings and classes via Zoom and miles of furious pedaling into nowhere on our gym’s recumbent bike.

That’s been good to a point. But lately it’s felt less like starting a new life and more like chasing my damn tail. Under the best of circumstances, I would miss the structure of my 30+ years of living a life on Maui. But during this crazy assed year, it was becoming almost unbearable.

I thought I needed big adventures, new people, new stuff and the Marc Cohen concert I’d had tickets for since last year. I didn’t think I wanted or needed a phase of quiet and solitary time to reflect. But – like everyone – what I wanted and what I got were two different things.

However, yesterday morning I had a series of texts with a friend “back home on Maui.” While I whined my friend sent upbeat, positive reminders that there’s always good stuff, but sometimes we simply have to reframe our thinking (my words, not his, but that’s what I got from it).

Wow. It finally sunk in. So I regrouped.

By yesterday evening, my perspective had shifted. This year did not turn out how ANY of us expected our year to proceed. So what do we do about it?

pivot: the central point, pin, or shaft on which a mechanism turns or oscillates

Oxford Languages

Ah, yes, that’s it! It’s up to us, as individuals, to learn to pivot. Or not. Totally our choice.

But for me, it can’t be simply “well, I’ll accept things for what they are” and to let it go at that. I want this craziness to take me someplace better. Not sure exactly what all that means, but one part is to focus on that “habitual forward motion energy” phenomenon I mentioned in the beginning. I’m looking for how to channel it into good stuff (omg, I remember now – I’m a good cook!) but also into letting the energy dissipate a just a little. Kind of like letting a little air out of an overinflated tire. Finding the balance. For example: Upon retirement, I decide I AM GOING TO WRITE. I’ve been mentally obsessed with what I’ll write, when I’ll write it, how, etc. I even have my crazy book idea. But so far … not much writing. I have a little ‘critical parent’ in the back of my brain, continually frowning at me – arms folded and foot tapping – for not following through. But in this new mindset, I just turned around told her to get lost. And poof! She’s gone. Now I think I’ll put on some Grover Washington Jr, have my breakfast and read a fluff book. Oh and look … I’m writing. Funny how that works.

Yeah, I CHOOSE to get really good at the pivot. How about you?


2 Responses to "Learning to Pivot"

Marti,

I must first apologize for not following your blog on a regular basis, no excuses for that. I’ve always enjoyed your writing, and the metaphorical banter we engaged in was often the highlight of my day. I really miss that, but we both had things to do.

I will congratulate you on your retirement, I am coming up on two years myself and don’t regret a minute of it. It’s not champagne and caviar, but it ain’t cat food and crackers either.

Despite 2020 being a year we would all rather forget, I still consider ourselves fortunate in many ways. I hope you are as well.

A move back to the contiguous States of America sounds like a bit of a downgrade after so many years in Hawaii, welcome to winter… I’m sure it has to do with the cost of living on the islands. and not a burning desire to frolic on white, snow covered beaches in a bikini, in winter.

However, I have digressed from the point of your post on pivoting, let me correct that.

I have done many, many things during my 40 odd years of full-time working. I don’t think I’ve ever had a true focus point, or one that even lasted for more than a few years. At the time I moved away from home at age 21, I had a full-time job that I enjoyed, but there was a yearning to see something else, somewhere else.

So, I headed West and North to the Southern Shore of the Great Slave Lake where we had family friends living. That was the beginning of it all.

Moving, learning new skills in different jobs, getting married and having children all resulted in me pivoting to adapt to whatever the situation presented.

Pivoting does tend to make you dizzy if you do too much of it, so I eventually tried to focus on a future that I knew would come some day soon. Retirement.

Don’t get me wrong, I still had to pivot to face the situation, but also keep an eye on the goal, even if at times, it was behind me and appearing to run the opposite direction.

I believe it was that determination, lots of good fortune, circumstances and standing against the storm that allowed me to reach the point where I could finally say; “I’ve had enough”!

Here I am, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.

Looking forward to more posts from you Marti.

Hi Vince!!! Nice to year from you. btw … I’ve switched over to medium.com for the moment. Not sure I’ll stay, but there is a potential for slight income there, if enough people “clap” my articles, lol. Anyway, here’s a link for now:
View at Medium.com

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