The problem with turning 65 without a manual is that you run the risk of plotting a course and making decisions that turn out to be the wrong ones. Of course, discovering the error of your ways is a learning process, too, if you’re really paying attention. Here’s what I’ve learned in the last couple of weeks:
When I decided to leave the employ of a despicable university, I figured I could transition into some part-time duties and enjoy retirement living near the ocean in a beautiful place I had always wanted to be. The prospects were enhanced by the fact that my grandchildren were only an hour and a half away. Well, so much for plans and assumptions.
Before we landed in our city by the bay, the grandkids packed up with their parents and moved eleven hours (by car) south. And the teaching/professional opportunities failed to materialize. And grandma was miserable being so far from the little ones (I miss them something awful, too.) The turn of events took a lot of the luster off the idea of an extended sojourn here by the sea.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized something I have realized before in other settings. When you boil it all down, the most important thing in life is people, especially family. People seem to know that here in Maine; they resist moving away unless they absolutely have to to find work, and many move right back as soon as they can. We have some wonderful friends here, but now no family. So…
We’ve decided to follow the grandkids south, which will bring us much closer to our other child and his spouse, too. The thought of being with them and watching all of them move through the world and learn and grow and love trumps any visions of natural beauty I entertained in taking up residence here by the harbor. It really is family and good friends that give meaning to existence, far more than any professional satisfaction I was looking for. Fingers crossed, we’ll be sitting in the bleachers watching our grandsons play baseball by the middle of summer. I will miss this place and the good people here. (I won’t miss the current monstrous governor and all the taxes.) And I still want my ashes scattered in the ocean off Schoodic Point, just not for quite a few years 🙂