The count down to retirement has begun in earnest.
It cannot come soon enough, particularly after the recent spate of storms we have been having. I swear my left bicep quadrupled in size from throwing snow off the deck and digging a tunnel along my front walkway over the course of the weekend. I still have yet to shovel around the shed, or dig a tunnel to the basement door.
My house appears to have been sold with a possession date of March 5th. Once the financing clause is removed this week, it’s a done deal. I have made the decision to sell the house with everything in it, right down to the bedding and decor, along with a snow-blower, and almost new lawn tractor. Basically I decided to give everything to the buyers for nothing, and I am only coming away with the equity I put into the house.
It’s a weird thing walking away from all my worldly possessions, material things that served me well over the years. I sometimes find myself walking through the house and gazing at all the antiques and little treasures I selected over time with such care; the myriad collection of antiques and the Victorian style decor. Whenever I feel a small pang of regret, I remind myself that Jesus walked the earth with only the robe on his back, and lowly sandals on his feet. Mostly I feel a sense of relief, and then a greater sense of freedom.
Over the past few years I’ve embraced the idea of anti-consumerism, distancing myself from the disease of spending. Ostensibly, the less I owned, the freer I felt.
The great thing about retirement is being able to channel my more bohemian side. This is an irony not lost on me. When I was younger, whenever my siblings and I were rowdy and out of control, my mother admonished us, suggesting we not act like a bunch of bohemians. I was never sure exactly what bohemians were or did, but whatever it was, it sounded interesting, and piqued my interest.
Being employed by the government as a social worker has implied a certain decorum and conservatism in dress. While the dress code is open to interpretation, and fairly loose at the addiction center where I work, I have never felt as though I had full license in which to truly express myself in the way I am most comfortable.
Funny, how life tries its level best to shape and constrain us, it’s social mores, gender, and politics dictating how we conduct our lives, and express ourselves. In many ways, life is a relentless hammer pounding away at the square pegs of it’s citizenry, forcing them into fitting into round holes. If we resist, we are ostracized. We then wander the world as solitary pariahs, speaking our truth to the wind and trees.
Yesterday, I stumbled across a photo of a man who once held me in thrall. My heart tumbled to the ground as I gazed upon him. Gone was any trace of the long, curly haired gitano, I once knew. I stared at the photo thinking that the time’s cruel alchemy had transformed his bedouin soul, changing it into that of an aging conformist. How had this happened?
Perhaps life steadfastly whittles us down to what, and who, we really are at the end of the day, exposing our true nature and selves, and ceaselessly pounding us into round holes where eventually we acquiesce, becoming subservient and bland as porridge.
The only recognizable feature was the blue of his eyes. His countenance had softened to the degree that the sharp edges of youth were no longer discernible. I saw resignation, fatigue, and apathy in the middle aged face. The idealism and drive of youth had long since fled.
Once he turned to me and said, “Sonia, you have everything.” I never knew what he meant, nor did I ask.
I hope never to become so complacent that all my sharply honed edges become blunted and dull. To no longer rage against the dying of the light is to be already dead.