The Land of In-Between
“Nauset” means “a place between.” The indigenous Nauset lived on the salt marshes of Cape Cod for hundreds of years before the Pilgrims “discovered” the Cape and displaced the native Americans who lived there.
I taught my last in-person clinical training for the Cape Cod Institute at Nauset Regional High School in Eastham, MA last week; walked the beach at Nauset Light Beach at 6 am every morning before class. And am now exploring “a place between.” The liminal space of transitioning to retirement after 55 years of earning a living full-time, after 30 years of seeing the goodness and the light in each of my clients, helping them to see it, too.
The congratulatory emails began pouring in last Friday morning, even as I was teaching the final segment of my course on The Resilience Mindset, even as I spent the afternoon swimming in a beautiful quiet Cape Cod kettle pond. The last experiential exercise of the class was to share intentions and take a piece of bittersweet chocolate – a reminder that life is both bitter and sweet.
It’s bittersweet to retire. (And truth be told, I will continue to post these Resources for Recovering Resilience for the foreseeable future. I still want to share posts from others like How to Recognize and Cope with Burnout at Home by Denisse Garcia, and recommend excellent resources like The Extraordinary Gift of Being Ordinary by Ron Siegel.)
While I’m easing into enjoying more time with friends, in nature, with culture, deeply appreciating the aliveness of being alive and enthusiasm for learning and sharing that learning in conversations and writing, I deepen into distress, as we all do, every time I read the news in the Guardian Weekly or friends send posts from Heather Cox Richardson or Democracy Now! similar to my post The Paradox of Fourth of July.
Life today, as life has been always, is more than bittersweet. It’s dangerous even while it’s blissful. Yes, I’m grateful that I can still pay my electricity bill even though retired, and these days always say a prayer for the billions of people on this planet who do not have access to electricity or safe drinkable water or a night’s sleep safe from war.
And perhaps the word isn’t really retirement. It is more “a place between.” Not quite land, not quite sea, but a fertile ecosystem that teems with life and sustains the lives of complicated human beings in a complicated world. I’ll keep you posted on how this goes.