Saturday, January 13, 2018

Basking In Balance - A Transition Process Update

It is so very easy to fall into linear, event in I have reached this threshold, I have gone through this barrier. I am now at this stage, etc., etc., etc.

But our actual reality is a continuum. There are certain stops along the way - you get born, you die, you start school, jobs, graduate, get fired, have children, etc. And those are markers for sure but they don't mark the specific evolution of your being (except the being born and dying ones...I guess those are pretty finite markers). Our being - that sum total of what we can do and think about what we are doing moves on like a river. It might go faster like going over a drop or it might meander as when the river is on a plain. But it keeps going. So I shouldn't be surprised that what I have been calling 'transition' continues to evolve.

As I marked completing year 70 and the 3rd year of official semi-retirement, I noticed that there has been a decided attainment of a new balance. That balance is predicated on sufficient amounts of travel and work to keep me stimulated at the level I need to be stimulated. Let's review some of the theory I've developed on dealing with transitioning.

As we age, our overall energy capability (the amount of energy available at any moment in time and the ability to recharge that energy) diminishes. However while we are working, the amount of energy required to do our work tends to stay rather constant. So as we reach the end of our working life there is a gap between energy available and energy required to do work. This tends to lead to fatigue and frustration. It is what drives most people who like their work to eventually retire.

When we transition into the next phase, we are not devoid of energy. We still have energy and we have to find outlets for that energy. If we don't, we start to atrophy and we've all met the people who have nothing after their working days who are like that.

Finding outlets for that energy can uncover other restrictions such as the diminishing of other capabilities. For example, I loved hiking but the deterioration of my joints and muscles meant that was not going to be a realistic outlet for my energy. But I have discovered that I need a certain level of mental stimulation and challenge. Travel has been the primary activity that has satisfied that. However, for monetary and other reasons, there is only so much travel one can do even if you are doing a butt ton of travel. And up until recently, there was nothing here at home that gave the same stimulation. Work has evolved to fill that piece.

Originally I decided to keep working because I needed the money to fund the travel and I couldn't think of anything else that was crying out to me to fill the time. But as I've pruned away all kinds of work types I don't like, focused only on the things I really like and are easiest/most profitable to do and have gotten very disciplined about the amount of time and energy I put into work, I've found work to have become this very stimulating activity.

So now there is a very nice balance with the twin pillars of my active life being travel and work. I've gotten each of these to a point where I know how best to participate in them to give myself the maximum stimulation and enjoyment.


Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

I think this is also what appeals to me about financial independence - you can continue to work (if you want), but since you don't *need* the money, you can focus on the work that you find the most enjoyable or meaningful.

alexis said...

but you don't look forward to work after travel, the way mom looks forward to being home and doing her stuff? Or has that also evolved?

Bernice said...

You are very introspective. I am looking at your description of your retirement (semi, I guess) seeing it fits me. I am happy it is going so well for you.