From Resilience through Retirement to Renaissance
I’m retiring from my professional life July 1, 2022. A decision leaned into for several years, guided by Michael Gelb’s phrase “from retirement to Renaissance” in his book Brain Power: Improve Your Mind as You Age. Now guided by Connie Zweig’s The Inner Work of Age: from Role to Soul, her three portals to retirement from the inside out being the psychological work of letting go of old patterns/identities and discovering more depth in your soul, the spiritual work of coming into awareness (and reverence) for the vastness of Being, and the work of facing your own mortality to come into a deeper sense of Presence, here and now. A relevant and useful curriculum.
I’ll be 75 years old next fall, having worked full-time for 55 of those years, 30 years more than full-time in the privilege of helping clients “grow up and wake up” into the goodness of their own authentic self, more than 10 years teaching clinicians and regular folks how to do all of that skillfully, recovering resilience and well-being.
My Christmas 2021 gift to myself was to re-read Bouncing Back; Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, which I hadn’t read for 7 years, being a bit over-busy teaching from it. It’s a good book! I was delighted to come into a sense of contentment – I’ve worked hard and well; I’ve contributed something truly useful and worthwhile. And can begin to find that renaissance ground of living between so much doing and more peaceful being.
Along the lines of Mary Oliver’s poem: “I Worried”:
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
and gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
I’ll be learning about less worry, less hurry, passing along any wisdom as I go along. I’ll be sharing the leaning into Renaissance, resiliently I hope, with you for quite a while longer.