arts

Land of Dreams

A friend of mine is retiring this month. She hadn’t given much thought to what she would do when she no longer had to go into work every day, and she asked my advice.

Retirement for baby boomers has vastly changed since our parents’ generation. We tend to be healthier and we can travel, work part-time, volunteer, or participate full time in what once was only a weekend hobby. However, for some of us the decision on what to do is not a simple one.  I was not one of those people who retired with a clear idea of home remodelerwhat I wanted to do with all my “extra” time. But then I’ve had a long history of indecision. Even after college, law school and working for thirty-three years, I still had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up.

As a woman (apologies to those unconventional men out there who can identify with my plight), I was only retiring from my paid position. I still had to get up every day and face the usual woman’s work of laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking and social secretary. I was also distracted by three major home remodeling projects on our own home and two rental properties that I participated in with my husband (how I was talked into doing that is another story). There was plenty of drama and comedy involved in these projects, and had we known how popular DIY shows were going to be we could have filmed a reality series.

I must admit, these mundane tasks and hand-me-down projects allowed me to procrastinate about finding my retirement “career” path but finally things slowed down and incredible boredom set in, forcing me to consider the dream of my youth. As a child you ignore practicality when you decide what you want to do when you’re all grown up. From an early age, I loved books and loved to write. I was not interested in journalism. I wanted to write fiction. frustrated writerBut I had no trust fund and came late to marriage, so it didn’t seem like a viable way to support myself. Now there was nothing to stop me. I returned to my first love and began a second career. The hours are more flexible but not necessarily shorter. I love it most of the time.  Don’t talk to me on days when I’m in the throes of writer’s block. You may have read some of my past posts on BoomSpeak, but for the past two years, I’ve been working on a novel that I’ve just completed.

So, I did have some advice for my friend. Every “retirement” is unique to the individual. The important part is to see it as a personal journey and an opportunity to fulfill your dreams and occupy your days doing something you love.

Susan Harrison is an attorney by training, home remodeler by accident, and a writer by choice.

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