Finding Your Identity

I can’t believe that it has been almost 6 months since I quit my full-time job and took a “sabbatical” retirement. I thought it might be permanent, but then I thought it might be temporary that is why I made up a term “sabbatical retirement”. I needed a break. I was tired of my career, the same thing for over 30 years. I was damn good at it, but that still doesn’t mean you don’t get tired and stressed out. I cared too much sometimes, more than I should have, and it affected my health and my home life. I couldn’t leave work at work, I realize now that it consumed me and defined me. In all my adult years work was my identity. I am married and enjoy vacations, holidays, visiting family and friends, but always just sitting on the edges of my brain was my work.

I have written a few times as to how shocked I was walking away from my career and long work hours  and at how well I was adapting. Overall I think that’s a true statement.  I guess I don’t miss it as much as I could because I still have a friend that talks with me about issues he is dealing with in the same job I was doing.  So I’m staying “involved” by hearing all the issues he is dealing with, but yet I hang up and say that was fun to listen to, but then I never think of it again.  I like these discussions as it gives me a chance to give him my opinions, support him, and sometimes help him solve a problem.  And it helps me remember how glad I’m not in this position any longer dealing with the day-to-day problems and issues.  Not all was bad, otherwise how did I last for over 30 years, but Purchasing definitely is a position that has its fair share of problems.

The problem is I can’t sit still.   It’s just that I was always so busy that I was running on overdrive to keep up with work, and the things we did once I got home, from taking care of the house to visiting family, to having friends over.  I tackled everything like it was a job, very regimented, and organized.  So I go from this very regimented, fast paced, organized life, where every minute counted, and I was looking at the clock constantly, to now I don’t even know the date.  Basically I look at the clock when I’m getting hungry or if I need to be a class or activity at a certain time, and I have even advanced to days that I don’t even wear a watch.  OMG, if I went to work without my watch, the day was ruined before it started.

So although I am busy, I find that most things that we are participating in happens at night.  Game nights are in the evening, and all social events like dances are in the evening.  It seems the days are open for people to play golf, play tennis, tap dance, play pickelball, and the many, many other activities that Sun City has to offer.  Although I really do enjoy country Line Dancing, and I really do like yoga, I have really never been an athletic person, and with working all the hours I did, I never have been interested in being accomplished in any sport.  So although I want to golf, and I like to dance I can not do this every day, and at this point in my life I can’t see me doing this every day.   I wake up and think to myself am I ready to do this for the next 20 or 30 years?  I’m not planning on going anywhere too soon, and being able to retire early I have a lot of these years ahead of me, at least I’m planning on it.  When I’m truly honest with myself I need more.  The only identity I had for myself was based on my career and the job I was performing.  I never had my own children and although married, we have a strong independent relationship.  I never participated in sports, didn’t do volunteer work, and really didn’t go out much, so what was left was work.

So now I sit here, we’re not as busy as we have been and realize I need to find a new identity.  I’m not going to miss anything in the neighborhood that I can’t live without, and I realize that although I enjoy all these activities and social events, and I will continue to enjoy them, I realize I need more in my life.  I don’t want to go back to the long hours, but I do want to work part-time.  I also want to give back.  All I ever did was make money for the company, I want something different.  I’m going to find that.  I need to feel that I am doing something that means more than profits to the bottom line, and to come home feeling some satisfaction.  I made it 6 months but I am going back to work part-time.

One thing retirement will do for you is to give you time to think about what you have accomplished, who you truly are and who you yet want to be.   It’s time to be honest with yourself and to be truthful with yourself and others as to what will make you happy.  My husband knew this day was coming probably more than I even realized, but I’m glad for the time off I have had, but I’m looking forward to achieving something new and more rewarding.  I think part-time is a good compromise where I can still achieve some of my personal goals, while not completely limiting me on doing the activities I have begun to enjoy.  I’m hoping this compromise is exactly what I’m looking for.  To the new roads that are right around the next curve………………

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