It took a while, but eventually I surrendered to my place in the larger scheme of things. I settled into a job skill that seemed creative to me. I made it work.
I am not complaining. I enjoyed working and I was happy to be part of something bigger than myself. However, I am relieved to be done with that part of my life. I enjoy being retired. I can finally be myself everyday, all the time. That is a big change from being a worker bee.
I love the character “Seven of Nine” from Star Trek’s Voyager. Voyager ran for 7 seasons, but the first three were a bit clunky. Seven of Nine was introduced in season 4, and absolutely "made" the series from then on.
As a young child she and her human family had been forcibly and physically assimilated into the Borg, an alien cybernetic society representing the ultimate workforce collective: The Hive Mind.
The Borg Collective organized their technologically enhanced workforce into teams of 9 "drones." Borg do not have individuality or names, but her team designation was Seven of Nine. Eventually the all-too-human crew of the Starship Voyager captured her and liberated her from the collective.
Before liberation she was the perfect employee, absolutely without individual will or personal reflection. The Borg Collective was a monster of efficiency! The post-liberation Seven of Nine struggled to rediscover what it meant to be human, what it meant to think or act as an individual. Seven did not always approve of the lack of efficiency that arose when one acted alone, but she was intrigued by humanity. She thought she would give individuality a try.
A dear friend of mine retired last Friday. Yesterday was the first scheduled workday she did not get up and go to work outside her home. I just asked her how she was doing and she said she felt "undefined." That is the perfect word to describe the early days/months/years of retirement: undefined. After years of being part of a complex collective effort what are we when we stand alone?
If her experience of retirement is like mine, it will seem like vacation for a while. Retirement isn't a vacation, though. There is still work to be done. You need to redefine yourself, not as part of an organization but as an individual.
|An look inside the Apollo 14 Command Module at the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida|