I've been officially retired for one day now. And, I've also gotten a lot of teasing about retiring twice. That's right. I retired once before. Yesterday I retired for the second time.
So, I need to set the record straight on that. Returning to work as a full-time employee 7-1/2 years ago after being retired for 7-1/2 years really helped save my life. Even with that first retirement I worked - sometimes from home and otherwise traveling great distances by car to do my fundraising job. But, the work was sporadic and all that driving was hard. Plus it didn't give me enough social interaction to keep my mind off the suicide death of my oldest son. I needed full immersion and going back to working proposals full time provided that. I had to get up at a certain time everyday, I had to shower and dress in business attire everyday rather than lolligag is PJs, and I had the opportunity to work with lots of people. Also, the job itself left me no time to wallow in my grief. From the minute I returned to work I was consumed with the business of working on teams to produce documents that had to be delivered on time every time. And, putting myself into that pressure cooker was the best thing I could have done to enable me to withstand the sadness in my life. Even returning as a contractor wasn't enough. I needed to have the assurance that I would have that pressure day in and day out for as long as I needed it.
When I finally decided two months ago that enough is enough - after all I'm going on 70 years old - I still had the feeling that leaving my job could be very risky. If I let myself I could easily go back to the wallowing. Even so, I decided I had to do it. I want some time for myself and with my husband. We are going to travel, and I have books and poems to write. An almost 24/7 job just doesn't support that. Plus, how many years could I continue at that pace at my age? I'm still willing to go back as a contractor but not on a full time basis.
Now that it's almost 11 years since my boy's death, I think I'm strong enough to get along with out the full-time job crutch. I think I know how to defend against falling back into the wallowing. And, I'm sure the diversions (if you can call writing a novel a diversion) I've assigned myself will help. So, for you teasers out there, please know I certainly didn't plan it this way. I never thought when I retired in 1995 that I'd ever hire back in. But, life is full of surprises - some good and some not so good. I'll not get into that now. That would only bring on the wallowing.
Causes Madeline Sharples Supports
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Culver City, CA
Vistamar School, El Segundo, CA
Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA (Endowment in...