How long did it take you to decompress from work and adjust to being retired? Right from the get-go, I was happy to be done with my job and thought that meant I had adjusted, but I was wrong.
Work? Not work? Who am I without a job? Who was I with a job? What’s my purpose? Is there a second act? Do we have to reinvent ourselves? Aren’t we pretty OK already?
Life’s eternal questions. I kind of stopped thinking about them and focused on what made me feel good and what made me happy. Amazingly, my creative juices are flowing. I’ve been feeling artistic!
While writing is an art, I’ve never been otherwise inclined to pursue artistic activities. My crafty quilting sister got those genes. If I needed help with a Halloween costume or gift packaging, she would take my emergency phone calls from Michaels, where I panic. Seriously, what is all this stuff?
And in minutes, she’d talk me off the ledge. She’s the Michaels Whisperer, “OK, stand with your back facing the door. Go three aisles down and turn right. Look up. No, not that way. 3 o’clock. Bend your knees slightly and reach out in front of you. Pick up the tube on the left. Glitter glue.”
So, where to start? I took this quiz, and it said I am destined to be a print maker. I got a book from the library, and making prints looks hard. Actually, everything looks hard.
I’m calling in all my lifelines for help deciding how I will scratch this itch. I have virtually no experience making art, unless you count a ceramic ashtray I made in grade school and cookies decorated with royal icing. My friend, Carole, who is an artist, recommended decoupage. I went to the library and got a book on decoupage. Looks doable.
My sister warned me I need to be patient. Immediate results are not to be expected. Like I need to be warned about patience! I don’t have time for such nonsense! We’ll be talking this weekend, when she will share other important sisterly advice.
I’ve been thinking about what might come naturally pursuant to my interests. I like things with function. Surfaces like wood, glass, ceramic and tin. I like kitchen stuff. I’ve been doodling spirals since I was a kid. I see more spirals in my future.
It’s exciting to think about getting started in art, but it’s even more exciting to think my brain is finally in this place. This is year two of retirement, but my first full year. I’m decompressing from my work life and embracing my creative urges. Urges I didn’t even know I had.
As for other creative urges, Dale and I are embarking on a journey this weekend to make tamales from scratch. You know there will be a story.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.