I chose a word of the year rather than making resolutions this year, cuz I find that don’t feel resolute about anything anymore, really. I think everything’s up for grabs and changing even more rapidly than normal since the start of the plague in 2020. Who knows what’s going to be next? My money’s on locusts. We’re having flooding and hurricanes and tornados and anything else Mother Nature can throw at us, our society is expanding on one hand and contracting on the other – depends on who yells the loudest on any given day.
The rules about work and love and health and relationships and aging seem to be changing ever more quickly, and I find that I no longer know what they are, let alone how or whether to follow them. Admittedly, I haven’t been that concerned with society’s rules for most of my life, I don’t see any reason to start now. I am now classified as older (some would say old – just ask a Millennial), and have been an unmarried, childless woman for all of my adult life. I was a bookish, needy, dramatic kid; an introvert and just generally struggling to figure it all out.
There have been lots of places in my life that I didn’t fit into at all, and some that I didn’t fit into very well, and when I was younger I tried to mold myself into someone who would fit into some of those places, but that was uncomfortable and pointless and I gave that up quite a while ago. I decided that I liked myself well enough just as I am/was, and if other people didn’t like me that way, it was fine, because probably I didn’t like them much anyway, either. This didn’t happen overnight, but thanks to pharmacology and a good therapist, I was finally able to make that leap.
I’ve been lucky in my life in that I have had it pretty easy as human life goes. I’ve dealt with some tricky stuff, but all on the low end of the Continuum of Human Misery scale. I’m grateful for that, and honestly, I hope that luck holds out for the rest of my life.
So now, having said all that, I find myself at the beginning of a new year. Not just any year, actually, but the end of my working life. I will be retiring at the end of 2023, and I’m pretty excited about that, and also just a little apprehensive. Not about not working per se; I’m ALL about that. I started working (at a real job–not babysitting) when I was 14 and my mother will tell you that I’ve been ready to retire since I was about 16 and the bloom was off that rose. For the most part I was happy in my jobs (until I wasn’t) and I especially loved being self-employed for a while (until I couldn’t) and I was especially lucky to land at Acme Health Services almost 23 years ago, where I have made life-long friends and enjoyed working with committed compassionate folks.
And so now here I am, and I’m thinking, “Great!” and then “Now what?”
So my word is STRETCH. I aim to expand my thinking, my horizons, and my possibilities this year, so that I can step into next year really firing on all cylinders and blast off into the next phase of my life. Ha! I intend to redefine my perceived limitations and reach beyond them. My guess is that at times it’s not going to be comfortable, but it will be exciting, and I feel like I’m ready to welcome something new. (Maybe not – I’ll let you know. 😁 Sounds good, though, doesn’t it?)
PS – I think maybe we all need to stretch a little; start seeing the planet and each other a little differently. Reach out to meet and welcome the GOOD. Seems many of the old ways of being and doing are not only not working anymore, but are downright dangerous to our wellbeing. I’m hopeful that all this darkness is the fertile ground of the womb, and that something is trying to be born in us, and that’s why it all seems so painful. We need to stretch to aid in the birth. Makes sense to me, and I hope it’s true! Cuz the reality is that sometimes the dark is just darkness. (I’m an optimist, though. I’ll stick with the birth thing. Makes it possible for me to keep finding my way with my dim light.)
Exciting new things ahead. Stretch is a great word for a new year.
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