January 20, 2010
I’m afraid of heights - and of being a bag lady.
I’m quitting my job on June 25 of this year, after 20 years with this company and another 10 or so before that working other places. The world of work is familiar – my way of being useful and of bringing home the money for my life. But my work mantra today – and for most days for the past year – is, “I’m done.”
I am so ready for the no-alarm awakenings and open days, for the exploration of new interests. Everyone I know who’s already retired says I’ll love it.
But I am also scared. What if I get bored? Usually, by the end of a two-week vacation, I’m ready to get back to work, to my scheduled days and crammed to-do list. Time on my hands sometimes leads to ponderings about the meaning of life and mortality and a vague wish I’d taken some other road on my life’s journey – without the slightest idea of what that road might have been, and without any significant disenchantment with the path I actually traveled. What if that happens and I have no reassuring morning destination to muffle my mental quests?
It’s like I’m on the precipice of the next part of my life journey. And, as I said, I’m afraid of heights.
This bag lady business is weird. My friends say it’s impossible I could ever become a bag lady. I’ve got too much energy, they say – too many interests, too much enthusiasm. Besides, they remind me, I’ve planned the finances of quitting work so completely - witness innumerable spreadsheet scenarios all attesting to a reasonable degree of financial security. You don’t have to worry about being a bag lady, my friends assure me, chuckling.
Still, I’m afraid of heights. And of being bag lady.
Over the next 365 days I’ll be in exploration mode.