People become defined by the roles they play. When I retired and moved away, I was stunned by the difference in how I was perceived. When I worked outside the home, I was someone who was noticed by others. People knew what I was capable of. I was liked, admired, feared by some, disliked and disapproved of by others. It was fun for many years. Then it wasn't. I wanted a change. I retired.
When I moved, I had no personal accomplishments to define me. I knew no one, except the people who called me wife, mother, and grandmother. I was still thinking in terms of roles, and those seemed like the only ones I had.
It took me a couple years to get my bearings.
Now I realize retirement is a transformation. Instead of looking outward for approval, I have learned to define myself. Big change.
I'm actually a lot more like I was at 18. Carefree, creatively involved, interested, and curious. I do what I want. I think what I will. It has been a relief to step back and let the world carry on without me.
Change is freakin' hard. But it is the nature of life, so there you go.
"JOSEPH CAMPBELL: If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are -- if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time."
Change #3,427, Now I take pictures of alligators.