I’ve been surrounded by thoughts on irrelevance.
A blogger, that I recently began to follow, shared that she was overwhelmed with feelings of non-importance as she completed her final term of full-time work and prepared for retirement.
While I was mentally composing a reply, I glanced at a television program that my husband was watching. Irrelevance of the aging seemed to be the entire plot.
My head reeled with frustration.
I fired up Google and typed in the words “retirement” and “irrelevance”. The first article in my search encouraged me to embrace, and enjoy, my insignificance. The second suggested that I get a tattoo.
I wanted to scream!
As I near the one-year mark of my retirement, it is a great time to stop and reflect.
I loved my job, had tons of responsibility, and people regularly sought my advice. I worked with incredible colleagues and was part of something in which I truly believed. I am very proud of that. When I retired, my position was filled by an exceptional candidate who continued on where I left off. No chain was broken. I joked as I left that within a few months everyone would say “Donna who?”. It made people laugh. But it wasn’t really a joke.
Since I’ve retired, I have regained blissful heaps of family time. Throughout my retirement, I have had the privilege of extended, non-rushed, quality time with my husband, my sons and their partners, my mother, my stepfather, my niece as well as my husband’s family. I was able to be there the day that my first grandchild was born. I will be there again when our second grandchild is born this coming November. I have been able to spend time with my dearest of friends—one of whom I have known for over 44 years and others who have crossed the divide from colleagues to lifelong friends.
I am no longer responding to a job description. There is no one to whom I must report. I have been given the freedom to be me. Full on.
All of the people mentioned above are a significant part of my life. They are my life. I have known some of them for their entire existence, or for mine. They are unconditionally there for me, and I for them. When one of us is no longer here, there won’t be a posted job description or replacement. As with my father, my sister and my grandparents who have preceded me, a chain will be broken. But also, like these cherished family members, we will continue to live on in each. People will recognize my mom’s smile in mine; my laugh in my son’s.
I close my eyes and shudder at how lucky I am to have the luxury of uninterrupted time to spend with the people that I love. When they call, I can and will be there. I have never felt so relevant.