I chose August 1st as the date to mark my lifeline with a new significant game changer sticker… because this is a point where events that employ the majority of my time are no longer determined by anyone or anything other than me (and my life partner). Call it retirement, call it a life of privilege or Freedom55. I call it… “and now what?..”
Until I reached this marker, I don’t believe I took a lead role in my life. Of course I had little say in where I grew up although I enjoyed growing up in Northern Ontario and have fond memories of summer on the lake with cousins, blueberry picking, snowmobiling in winter and seeing aunts and uncles regularly at frequent family gatherings. Many of my milestones happened because, well- I was there. So, I came to Ottawa with my parents and chose to study here because many friends were here (what would have happened had I elected to go to Mount Saint Vincent University?). I always found work to pay my bills, then met someone who worked here too. Conveniently, we could make our home here with work, family and friends to support us. To be clear – I had the lead role at this point, but luckily, it did not require me to make radical shifts in my life, to pursue happiness. Was I blessed to have this all fall into place so easily, or did I play it safe?
My first act of “going against the grain” came when I chose to move to Halifax for a Regional Manager job. Friends and family were stunned at this voluntary disruption we brought into our lives. Selling our house of 20 years, keeping only 4 pieces of furniture that meant something to us, and very little of the contents we had amassed over 30 years? Moving where we knew no one, had no family or any links to that part of the country was inexplicable. Leaving parents, brothers and a daughter behind was very hard, but it gave us our first taste of adventure. And we were hooked.
Fast forward to 5 years later, and we invited the disruption back in. In fact, we have embraced disruption since 2014. It was all around us really, and hard to avoid. Work was in a constant state of change, and globally, governments and organizations were adjusting to social media and the new democratic (?) pressures it was creating. So, we never settled back into the routine we had when we uprooted ourselves. The change gave us freedom and wings, and allowed us to contemplate and embark on adventures that gave us bigger wings for the next trip.
Some of you are wondering why am I defining August 1st as the marker for adventure and not 3 months earlier when I started vacation leading up to my retirement date? Or, why not the actual date of my retirement which coincided perfectly with my 55th birthday? Why 1-8-18, other than that the numerology is cool?
I feel its fitting. The day before was filled with closure. Leaving the apartment we enjoyed for the final years, closing the chapter on my 30-year career through a last exit interview, parting with household items that had been recently acquired treasures and closing the storage unit door on the few items we felt we might want to return to one day.
It’s the first day of a new month. The first day of a new chapter.
On August 1, what lays before us is possibilities and opportunities. I feel joyous, calm, free. I feel privileged, and grateful to have the means to do this. I don’t take it for granted, for I am keenly aware that this freedom can change, if fate, health, or wealth decide to affect us differently. For now, I have all I need, more than enough, to decide the path to follow.
This blog will take you with me on this journey, of discovery and musings, sharing laughter and adventure. I invite you to leave comments, or share your thoughts with me. Most of all, I am grateful that you care, and spend time with us.