We're not in Kansas anymore, Linus. Platitudes build up like vascular plaque, to be scraped into two columns: 1) so very true, and 2) you gotta be kidding!
Best laid plans--(1) This was a crying shame. After having drifted through life as a preacher's kid, vagabond, following wife, and PTSD-zonked recovering co-dependent, I bit the bullet and put together a plan for getting out from huge debt from alcoholic relationship and settling down in one place long enough to scrape up a pension, I was stoked. Out from crushing financial burdens (and I count zero as a blessing), car paid off, and non-penalized, maximized retirement and social security. I had a viable, kick-ass goal. The State of Texas went "Aha! Let's yank that right out from under her." Massive sabot tossed into the clockworks.
Adversity makes you stronger--(2) No it doesn't. Solving problems makes you stronger, and sometimes adversity stacks up so deep you're drowning in alligators. You gain strength from learning HOW to solve problems, not get beat-up.
My friend and fellow elderblogger Ronni Bennett send a congratulatory note when she learned that I'd retired and signed up for Social Security. She wrote of the day she decided to march down to Social Security and officially begin this new phase in life. Ronni stressed the importance of celebration, which I must admit was way down the list of what I mostly felt during that time: stark terror.
She reminded me that all of life's great passages are to be celebrated and enjoyed. And so I promised her I would begin to envision how I shall celebrate this step along my path. I'm beginning to see Winter Solstice as a fortuitous date. Remembrances of Paul Winter Consort concerts in the Cathedral in NYC, Howleluja Choruses, the urge to push, to grow out of the caves, the earth, the crypts.
This is the first Halloween I've identified with in a long time. Not as trick or treat, no little kids will be coming to my house on Oct. 31. More the feeling that the ground is being prepared for the winter, and readied for spring and growing.
The first 2 months of my retirement have been in turns hectic, despondent, excited, hermitizing, singing, way too introspective, seasoned with books and film. Realizing that other friends were correct in warning me of the physical crash. Your body telling you that you were unbelievably stressed out, and now you have to take care of it.
Like being underground. Cracking open a geode to find something unexpected. Dancing to new rhythms. Anticipating the light.