Transition and retirement

I am trying to figure something out, and possibly you can help me. The question for me is “What does transition look like in retirement?” I am no expert on either, but I did retire on the first day of May this year, so I am only beginning to experience and assess the value of retirement itself. I can say however that so far, for me, life is absolutely wonderful! I suspected it would be fun, but WOW, it really is!

No lack of things to do for sure, but much more time to be, to hang out, relax, and smell the rain-soaked grass. Reduced stress, fewer obligations on behalf of others, increased time flexibility… there are many justifications for gratitude, especially as I ruminate from my hot tub throne at 9:00 a.m. in the morning.

Which brings me to my next point: A Hot Tub! Well moistened warmth sure helps my encroaching arthritis; but these novelties use a lot of energy, heating a significant amount of water which is likely not that useful once returned to the drain.

More generally, how about the convenience factor as I have more time to focus on my share of household management and decision making. How do we manage weeds, lawns (lawns, really!), compost care, tree pruning and fruit processing? I hate gardening; always have, always will. I don’t want to get my hands in the dirt. Boo.

Then there’s travel. Kathie and I are so keen to see our kids after a long time apart. We want to travel; they want to keep us here; the more they come to us, the less we travel to them – that’s their theory. Our long-term goal (June 2022) is travel to Ireland to visit with long-time friends. That means flying, a long way, masked! Ugh! Fuel, climate chemistry, privilege, wealth (oh yes, less money than while working).

And speaking of money, we need to draw down some investments, which are quite locked-in from previous years of investing, not always as socially and ecologically strategic as I had hoped. This is not the time, at least for us, for risky impact investing or a significant shift in direction or strategy. At least this is what Tim Nash (The Sustainable Investor) told us in a virtual meeting at TRU a couple of years ago.

Concerning transition itself I have a few thoughts. I first encountered the word when Kathie and I attended prenatal classes together. Transition is the final stage of the first stage of labour (8-10 cm for data geeks). Presently transition is associated with “the process of changing one’s gender presentation and/or sex characteristics to accord with one’s internal sense of gender identity.“

The work of Transition Kamloops draws inspiration from the Transition Movement itself, “a global, grassroots campaign of communities working to transition away from dependence on non-renewable resources and environmental destruction to a new way of living with the earth.”

Based on the above confessions I am a poor Transition Movement ambassador. My actions do not align well with the movement’s ambitions. Mea culpa de rigeur. Thankfully, retirement affords more time to re-evaluate my decisions actions. I can and will continue to meet and share with those who draw energy (sic) from transitional ideals. As a group we aim to build confidence in ourselves and others that real change is possible despite our feeling disempowered in so many ways.

So for me and my behaviour, the jury is out; in fact, it has not even entered the deliberation room. There is time for amendment of ways and the gathering of virtue, and that’s good news. There is creativity, ambition, communal support, ingenuity, and resilience (a near and dear word to the movement) available to us all. There is civility, respect, trust, and other such support ready to be picked from the tree of life, right here, and right now.

May transition be with you all,

Ken Gray

PS: Comments welcome! What is your experience: Of retirement? Of transition?

Photo credit: Ken Gray

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