Now I am in that place of having well passed the retirement age, and having retired from full time employment, how is my picture holding up?
I do live in a beautiful place with my loving husband, in a home that has been nurturing and safe. I have time to read, walk on the beach, write and paint. And all these activities are enjoyed and appreciated when I choose to give them time. You could say that my home and my relationships and these activities are my foundations for a ‘successful’ life in retirement. But there is more!
You might ask what is my purpose now post-retirement? What I have come to realise is that in this stage of life, living in my 70’s, what really matters is purpose – having a purpose in life – waking each day knowing that how I live, the quality that I bring to each moment of the day, is what really matters. All the material comforts will not provide me with the richness of living with purpose.
Looking out at the world at the present time, there is much evidence that we as a humanity are in a big mess. The state of our health, the levels of anxiousness, fear, uncertainty, neglect, poverty, inequality, and corruption are all things that we are now accepting as ‘normal’. The country I live in which has been proudly called ‘The Lucky Country’, is now divided within itself with the excuse of a virus. All these factors could be deemed good reason to give up and opt out. But I am not choosing to give my energy and time to worrying or thinking that I have the answers or that I need to fix it.
What I am learning is to tap into my deeper wisdom, harmony and love, and to bring these qualities to whatever I am doing and whoever I am with.
My role as an art tutor and mentor is more than teaching techniques. These are important elements in the ability to render our expression visually. But there is more happening than making beautiful paintings.
I love my work, and I deeply appreciate that I have the opportunity to support and work with people from all walks of life, who bring their life experience and wisdom to enrich my understanding. What I have come to realise is that what matters, what really matters, is our connection to each other, our relationships, our communication and shared expression.
In the spaces where I work, lives are being shared, connections are made, insights and experience inspire. Artists have a role as observers of life and their world, and to respond in a way that is meaningful for them. I feel blessed to be able to work with people who are embracing their sensitivity as a strength, and I am constantly confirmed in that we all carry a deeper knowing and truth within us that is much grander than we can fully comprehend. To be able to observe life and live the grandness that we truly are – this is purpose. There is no striving for perfection, or need to be ‘better’, or goals to get somewhere, but rather an everyday focus on our inner qualities, our connection to our bodies, to our truth, our inner knowing, that hold and confirm us as the loving hearts we truly are.
I began with the intention of writing about life after retirement. Life after retirement is in fact un-retirement. Living in my 70’s brings expansion and a deeper purpose to be lived that is particular to this cycle of life. The inner life is given focus. The body is calling to be deeply nurtured and cared for. Relationships are treasured.
At the time of writing, our lovely home has been sold and we are moving, decluttering, shedding, packing, with our future somewhat uncertain in terms of our next location and our work. As I let go of accumulated possessions and memories, and lingering attachments to them, space opens up for whatever is there to be lived and embraced in this next stage of our lives.
The one certainty that I now deeply celebrate is that having a purpose in life is what matters. Purpose is my foundation, it is my Soul’s gift to me. So, I cannot write about retirement.
Un-retirement is a time of unfolding from within, a time to deeply nurture the inner life of the Soul, and to bring that out to the world wherever we are called to be.
Bernadette C., Australia
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