I turned 65 this summer—so what do you think? Should I retire? Should I just carry on as usual? Or should I “rewire” by analyzing where I’ve been and what new directions I might take?
My last blog post was written 4 months ago. I was on “spring break.” My plan at the beginning of the 2-week school/tutoring break was to engage in some delightful R&R (rest & relaxation). But then the COVID-19 Level 1 lockdown happened on the very first day of the “break,” and oh, how things changed! Suddenly I could no longer meet with my tutoring students face to face. I had to reorganize my tutoring methods and plans for the last 3 months of school and learn to tutor online. Big changes not only for me but also for my students, their families, their school teachers … and we all had to figure it out and coordinate our new realities … which pretty much took till the end of the school year. Who could have imagined how complicated it would be?
My last tutoring session was June 24—which also was exactly a month before my 65th birthday on July 24. Some writer friends thought my birthday was that day and gave me a cake to celebrate my retirement age birthday. The next day I sat down and wrote out my summer goals … which assumed that, having announced to my tutoring clients that I wouldn’t be tutoring at all in the summer, I’d have lots and lots of free “me” time—quiet time, peaceful time, alone time—to do some things I’ve been putting off for a long while. With all the personal distancing rules and no-travel rules, my little home would be a perfect personal retreat centre.
Right. Level 2 arrived just about then. And since I live in the beautiful sunny South Okanagan Valley—a resort paradise—company started to arrive. Now I love my big happy family (grown kids, grandkids, siblings, cousins…), but having our 900 sq ft townhouse filled to overflowing with big and little people alike, with my quiet office space turned into a bedroom for a month, my personal retreat time pretty much evaporated. Still, everyone was careful about following the COVID rules so we didn’t have any sickness, and I had another awesome birthday cake on July 24. So now I’m officially 65!
And (touch wood) I still have a month of personal retreat time left. I grew up in the Okanagan, so I should have known we’d have lots of company. I remember my parents, back in the day, packing up the family and going camping just to get some peaceful family time and give mom a rest from cooking and cleaning and entertaining…. So maybe that’s an idea. Hmm…
Meanwhile, I have managed to begin taking a few “new directions” this summer already. I have a new laptop and printer, hurrah! I’ve started improving my French language skills; I have been doing some sewing; I’ve been journaling again. Oh, and look! I’m actually writing a blog post. Wow! (I have also been working on recreating a couple of other blogs that I’ve been ignoring for far too long, and answering a few Quora questions).Oh, and here’s a major change: I have firmly decided to tutor 3 days a week (Tues-Thurs) instead of 5 days a week (Mon-Fri) so that I have time to really work on some of those “new directions” I’m looking forward to.
So what are those new directions? Let’s see… I really want to dig into my writing and editing WIP (work in progress). I’ve pretty much decided that instead of one long book, it’s likely going to be 3 shorter, more focused books, or maybe even workbooks—hopefully, connected to workshops I’d like to facilitate (whether they’ll be “live” or “online” or some combination remains to be seen). Instead of ordinary editing, I want to focus more on a coaching approach. I also really want to do a lot more of my own writing, even though I still enjoy helping others with their writing. I want to blog regularly, take a good look at some uncompleted manuscripts from the past and decide whether or not to finish them, do some memoir writing, play around with personal essay and poetry writing, maybe enter a few contests and do some freelance writing. And for R&R, I want to do more reading, sewing, bike riding, and exercising.
Yes, I know. It doesn’t sound like “retirement,” does it? I probably won’t be able to do it all … but I am definitely looking forward to some new directions. What do you think?