When I was about 13 years old, I started doing some soul searching. It’s what adolescents do, isn’t it? I gained inspiration from a Peanuts poster I had. Lucy is sitting in her 5 cent advice booth with her chin in her hand and thinking out loud, “Whoever said you had to accomplish anything? I thought you were just supposed to keep busy.” When I got older, and had accomplished all anyone would expect of me and become respectible in the eyes of my dead mother or somebody (Sister Alma?), I remembered that poster again. It seemed like all I was doing was keeping busy. As a nurse, life was easy. Money was easy. I had time to travel and did so, money to have a good time wherever I went or lived, no kids to put through college, a girlfriend much of the time, some friends, a few interests. Then my dad got old and his wife got demented, so I had to accomplish something for a while. Then I obtained inherited wealth and decided to not only not accomplish anything, but to not be even busy.
That has proven a little more challenging than I thought it would be. I have always liked to travel, so I’m on the road again. This time is different, though, because I don’t have to go back to work. When traveling before, whether it was for a few weeks or many months, I was doing something. There were places to go, people to see, in the time I had before I would have to go back to work to accumulate more money to travel again or to have for another purpose. Retirement is way different.
We get to go through these “passages”, as the bestseller described them. Each new one brings with it age old questions, dilemmas, joys, sorrows and pleasures. It’s come time for me to go through this one. I not only don’t have to accomplish anything or prove anything to anyone, I don’t have to be busy.
But wait a minute, I still haven’t gotten as used to the idea as I thought I was. Entrenched thought processes are telling me to do something. Travelling is supposed to be doing something. I’ll have a plan. Today I’ll do this, tomorrow that. There’s so much to see. I’m young for a retiree, so I can see the whole world. Or I can still see an estimable part of it, anyway. I can be accomplished again, this time as a traveler. I haven’t learned to stop needing to do something.
Something needs to be done. I barely make it one day at a time sometimes, and this is one of those times. Here’s the plan, Stan. I’m going to make a temporary practice of not doing much. Fake it till I make it, as they say. I plan to park it here in Cochi till I get bored. If I feel like I need to see another place because that will increase my worldly knowledge but 0.01%, I’m going to shelve that idea just because I can.
I’m going to read to my hearts content. I’m going to write in my notebook. I already filled one and promptly lost it. Good thing, that. I’m going to hang out in this mini-Berkeley (more about that later), have western food if I like, have lattes, watch the fisherman, see the galleries and music performances, and just have what would be a normal life if I could afford such in the US on my retirement income. Maybe I’m destined to be at least a little bit in motion in retirement, but that would be okay.
That said, I reserve the right to satisfy my curiosities.
It’s nice to be free. It’d just also be nice to have walked the path before. You could say that about any “passage”, huh? Maybe I’ll stumble into some precocious wisdom, as I did with the help of Charles Schultz 40 years ago.