Tagged: self discovery

It’s Been a Long, Strange Trip: The Road to Retirement

I love my job. All three of them. I love to work. For the past twenty years I have had at least two jobs, sometimes three. The least amount of time was 45 hours a week, the most 101. Crazy, yeah, but I love what I do. True, I probably have too many loves but how do you choose between teaching and counseling. I have been a therapist for thirty five years and a professor for thirty. Many years I actually held two full time teaching positions, teaching ten courses a semester while continuing to run a counseling service.
How did I become such a workaholic? Beats me. All I heard as a child is how lazy I was. As a young mother I was a hopelessly inadequate housekeeper. I would rather read than clean. I would rather read than do almost anything. While I was expected to be a good mother and housewife, I wasn’t expected to do much else. Anything of importance my husband would take care of and I wasn’t to worry my pretty little head about the important stuff. And, even though my parents demanded good grades, they did not see college as an option for a girl.
A series of circumstances led me to take college courses and I realized I had found my passion. Problem was, I couldn’t decide which passion so I went after all of them. After two Masters and two doctorates, I ran out of money and the best way I could figure to continue to learn was to teach. But I loved being a therapist, too, and I was good at it so I just continued to counsel, as well.
So here we are at 73 year old and facing retirement… and I don’t know how to quit working.
Considering retirement has led me on a long strange trip of self-discovery. I hope that you will join me in a multipart series on how retirement affects the lives of different people.

Coming: Part 2: So What’s this, “you need a million dollars to retire”, thing?

Life lessons from games on facebook

Things I learned from games on Facebook.
I enjoy cards and board games but I’m not a regular player. My parents were canasta addicts and later my mother had her weekly bridge club. Me, I just enjoy playing with friends. I’m not interested in whether I win or lose but that doesn’t mean that in the heat of Sorry I won’t send you home every chance I get. And, I drive a game partner crazy when I can’t remember which cards were played. It’s just a game. That is, until I discovered Candy Crush.
As I whizzed through the early episodes, I have to admit that I was getting a little competitive, not with my facebook friends, but with myself. I would go back and replay any step where I didn’t earn three stars. As I moved from one game to another, it was the same, me against me. When a game gave me the opportunity to gloat over a higher score than a friend, I x’d it out. It was always me against my personal best. I realized that this was how I have always been. I’m not really interested in what other people think about me as much as what I think about myself.
I moved on to games that required speed, I realized that speed is not my thing. Eye hand coordination has always been difficult for me. With these games, I learned to accept that almost anyone could score higher and that repeating a stage would not necessarily improve my skill. I would have skipped these stages except that you can’t move on until you complete the current game. I played the game over and over until the game genii felt sorry for me and let me win. I never felt that I “won” , just that now I could move on to a non-timed episode. What a relief to realize that I don’t have to win every time, even against myself.
As the games got harder, I learned that the key to winning many of them was not to focus on the next little ball, square, fruit but to sit back and look at the whole picture. This has been a problem for me my whole life, defeating the next hurdle, myopic vision. I realized that I had been painting this way, as well. I finally understood that I could see so much more if I stood back and looked at the whole with softened eyes. My paintings improved and I moved one step closer to being an artist not just a painter.
Finally, I discovered games that required me to organize my thoughts. Do you know how hard that is for a free thinker, an idea person? But playing these games increased my organizational skills to an amazing degree. As I realized how organized I was becoming in my everyday life, I realized that I had always been able to organize my life, my thoughts when I really needed to. I had been using the ditzy blond gambit to keep people from giving me more responsibility than I wanted. I now know that I can control what and when I take on responsibility, when I choose to be organized and when I get to be a free thinker.
I think I’ll keep on playing games because who knew that games on facebook could actually help me learn important life lessons at my age?