People tell me they love retirement. They love the freedom to set your own agenda, but I’m learning that freedom does not come without a cost. The greatest cost is the existential.
The reassurance of ‘work’ is no matter what you may be doing is – you get paid and every pay check is a reminder that you have a ‘reason for being’. People need ‘stuff’ done and you are doing it. It is in answering this need we feed ourselves and our souls.
As a city councillor that ‘reason for being’ was powerful. You have constituency problems to solve, motions and inquires to prepare for council and committee debates. A city councillor’s agenda is laid out every day at the crack of dawn. Then suddenly it isn’t there. It’s like running off a high cliff at a dead sprint . Your legs are still churning. Your focus still pinpoint.
But you don’t need the speed or the focus. You’re floating in the air – free.
I’m told this is the transition period and at some point my feet will hit the ground again – somewhere – and all will be as it was before except I will have different concerns and a different life. I’m sure this is so, but regardless of what I may be doing or when that day comes, everyone needs a reason for being and finding this new connection is harder than I thought it would be.
I have been a book writer, but I had forgotten how different and difficult it is to write books from a life of moments at city council.
I had forgotten how vertiginous it can be to be responsible for making my own day in my own way. Do I write about the Lansdowne fiasco? Or do I put that behind me and write about my parents? Whose loss looms large. Or do I help out my daughter who has three children under five? Or do I say no to all this and answer the old battle cry for sustainable cities? But how exactly should that cry be answered and how? What do I? The day is my own.