Tonight I spent a few minutes going back over my blog entries for the past 2 1/2 years that I’ve been retired. In so many ways nothing has changed in that length of time. I’m still doing the same things, thinking a lot of the same thoughts, still interested in the same things, happily married and at peace with my life. But I realized that the things that really make me who I am are changing over time. My mother said it best a few months after I retired; she said I looked so much more relaxed now. And she’s right, but that relaxation she sees on my face has fact in my body and my soul. I feel like I’ve gotten to the best place I’ve ever been in my life. I’m happy, truly happy with who I am, what I have, what I do with what I have, how I treat others (2 and 4-legged ones) and how I treat myself.
It seems that most of my life I’ve spent working for some goal that I never really defined; it changed over time depending on what was going on in the rest of my life. I allowed myself to be buffeted by others, by my employment, by my own emotions and the gyrations of others’ emotions in my immediate vicinity. Now, of course, I wonder why I allowed it. No real answer, I suppose, except that I was naïve, stupid in the way of the world, and I never really understood that it was “MY” life, that no one else had a right to abuse that life I lived. I could sit here and mourn the losses in my life (and there have been many, unfortunately), but I choose not to see the glass as half empty. Therein lies one of my greatest character traits. I am a cockeyed optimist. LOL I always play the Devil’s Advocate in any conversation but I really do feel the positive much more than the negative. I do look at the brighter side in most things.
On Facebook, on a daily basis it seems, there are postings of dire events, some which touch my heart; some things make me cry, especially the abused animals and the abused children. Some times I have to turn away from the really awful stories because I’ve already seen too much and have cried too many tears. I choose not to get mired in the crap now, to not let the negatives get to me. Maybe it’s because I know these years I’m living now will be all that are allotted to me, I want them to be good years, happy years of peace. Younger days are for protests, fighting, hunger, strife, arguments, and losses when the energy is high and the stakes seem few. I’ve tired of the days fighting to survive either physically or emotionally. What did it get me?
Well, it got me a good job, an education, a nice home, nice cars, etc. It got me self-esteem for the person I’ve become through my trial-by-fire. It’s got me a decent pension to retire on, a wonderful husband who loves me no matter what, freedom from want, warm, fed, dry and happy. So much but of such simple means. Was this all that I needed to make me happy, truly at peace inside? I don’t think so.
What makes me happy is not the “things” I have, not the possessions I’ve accumulated. It’s partly how far I’ve come in no measurable way from who I was once. How far I’ve come from the damaged times to the happy times. It’s the “me” I am that I celebrate these days. I could have let life beat me on so many occasions but I never gave up. It may have cost me dearly to never give up and never give in, but I’m reaping the benefits now. No one except myself will ever truly know the battles I’ve fought, the ones I won and the ones I lost. No one will ever know how much of myself I had to donate to the cause in order to survive; not just survive but to triumph over so much.
And now I have no battle to fight. Thankfully. The only bogie man in my life now is my own self. i.e. I want to sew but I don’t because I put other things ahead of my desires sometimes….not too big of a trial, huh? LOL At this point in my retirement (life) my biggest losses are the days when I don’t stand up to my own self and say, “No! Today I am going to do what I want to do, not what I need to do!”. There is no one telling me anything negative now; I’m not at anyone’s beck and call; I have no boss except myself, so no one else to blame except myself. If this is all I have to worry about……wait. Maybe that’s why I look so rested, so peaceful now. I no longer have to fight the dragon, and it feels pretty damned good!