Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Delayed Reaction

July in St. George - the dog days of summer. Daily temperatures between 100-115, driving the snowbirds north and full time residents in search of cooler climates for vacations. Putting many community activities on hiatus for July and August - activities that occupied much of my time these past months.

This abrupt cessation in activity, a regular occurrence every summer in St. George, is new to us, and I have found it disconcerting to say the least. With our house in order, and major projects complete, I felt adrift.  Initially reacted with uncharacteristic angst and anxiety.  I slept poorly, watched a lot of mindless TV, got lost in computer games. Finally, bored and frustrated with myself, I turned inward and dove into my personal journal, writing page after page of "what is going on here?" Surfacing every day just a little clearer, a little more focused.

My conclusion, duh!!!  In retrospect, so obvious. If I were observing someone else, I could have called it in a heartbeat. Having no children, no longer a career, no all-consuming projects (like moving in), no special avocation, and suddenly very little external structure, I'm finally facing retirement straight on. This transition is far from complete.

So, now I'm deep into the my journal considering questions like:
  • What, if any, issues have I been avoiding related to retirement?
  • How much freedom is too much freedom?
  • How many choices are effective? Should I be deciding or continue exploring?
  • When is enough, enough?
  • Of the several activities I pursued last fall, which do I want to continue and why?
  • I most enjoyed my drawing class and suspect drawing could become a true avocation, not just a hobby...so what's holding me back?
  • What if I carve out a studio niche? 
  • How about returning to college rather than take community courses?
  • How can I contribute more to this community that I have grown to love?
  • How will I use this gift of unstructured time to create more structure for myself - driven more internally than externally?
Next summer, the only challenge I'd like to consider is how to deal with the heat!!