Retirement: Month Four

Last sunset of 2010, Texas Hill Country.

December--four months, one-third of a year into retirement and I still don't know what I want to do when I grow up. Beginning to wonder if I'll ever grow up.

Slow but steady progress towards making sense of things. And the Best. Christmas. Present. Ever. My daughter surprised me with a visit and the news that she will relocate in Austin within the next year.

That's huge. For the last fifteen years we have been separated by so many miles and so little money to visit I despaired we'd ever see each other again. To keep hope alive, I'd look forward to the next time we could be together. I've never insisted on adhering to traditional holidays, especially since she felt the need (and I concurred) that those special times were more important for her to be with her dad and his new family than with me. I can make a holiday out of any day of the year. Her presence is what makes it special for me.

To be sure, I have my own family to celebrate those occasions with, and that's been wonderful. It's just more wonderfuller now.

Reconnection: 2010 was full of surprise calls and e-mails from old friends who found me via Facebook, Twitter, the Showco listserv, and plain old Google. One friend UPS'ed me an antique Blue Willow mug that she had been carrying around for 35 years to return to me. Green (the band) reunions at James Neel House of Music were great fun, interesting to see where dynamics have changed, where they haven't.

Trying to reconnect with myself. Dealing with depression in a new way (shit happens--you won't be stuck forever) and peeling back resistance to commitment. Learning how to care for an aging body. Accepting good things as well as bad.

New Year's Investigations (as opposed to New Year's Resolutions): The word "resolutions" has several connotations. I associate NYRs with grim determination, mindless exercises in habituation, failure, and general dissatisfaction. For 2011 I am looking deeper. Redefining "resolution" to mean "problem solving," "arrival," "completion." Bringing curiosity into the mix. Jumping off cliffs. Cracking facades. Opening doors.

1. Music: spring concert season begins soon! AVAE is doing a piece (Poulenc Figure Humaine 1943) that I've wanted to perform for a very long time with a group that has the talent to execute. Thanks, Ryan!

Knocking the rust off the old flute chops. Wonder of wonders, one of the few things that was pre-organized before the move. All my flute music is safely stored in a clear bin, so was easily retrieved from the unlabelled boxes. There are a few items I keep close: my flute, passport, and a palm-sized turquoise bear fetish. Piano as well, all in a bin.

2. De-clutter: The unprepared move knocked me for a loop. I miss my old tree house, but my new place is definitely more conducive to fashioning a physical environment that is safe, healthy, and wildly creative. Several sub-categories: prioritizing what needs to go, what can stay; acquiring items that will enhance the above (computer chair, clothes dryer, slide/neg converter). Photographing items that I might sell on Ebay or Etsy. Accepting that I will probably NEVER mend clothing, replace buttons, etc. Aggressively dealing the unaccustomed onslaught of paper mail triggered by retirement (enough, already!)

3. 52 Weeks to Awesome: This is one of those serendipity things that showed up at the right place, time, and price. Already reaping the benefits from the bonus goodies alone--a lovely, hand-drawn watercolor Goddess calendar to brighten up the workshop wall as well as keeping me on track. Homies Pace and Kyeli from the Connection Revolution don't know me yet, but I'm looking to blow their collective minds and find myself in the process. Or vice versa. Scrumptious, either way. Evolution.

4. Rehab: Next purchase? A pair of supportive walking shoes. Austin has two awesome feet stores--Caravel and Run-Tex. I'll be searching for the ones that make walking more enjoyable. Especially now that it's as cold as it's going to get for the year--can't walk outside in hot weather, too many unhealthy heat/UV reactions. Psyche--look for ways to share PTSD recovery with those still inside the horror.

5. Simplify, simplify, simplify:
Simply, make room for wonderments, good deeds, insane creativity.

6. Milestone birthday: The ol' Six-Five. Or as I like to say, "eighteen with forty-seven years of experience." Because that's what it feels like. Really.


Pace said...

Looking forward to getting to know you, Claudia, and to mutual mind-blowing!

kokopelliwoman said...

Sooner or later, I'm inviting youse guys out to tea or coffee, since it's just silly that we live in the same town and haven't met f2f yet. Also get Carmen in on the visit--she's one of my favorite people!

Diana Maus said...

I love fried okra, the vegetable I mean, lol. It reminds me of my youth. So I love the title of your blog. We seem to have had some experiences in common, the bad "ex," empty nest issues, retirement. Thanks for visiting my blog. I can use the company. I live in a real AND virtual desert!

kokopelliwoman said...

Diana--better late than never--we need to stick together, fer shure!