For all of my employed life, I have focused forward. I never worked a day in my life that wasn't aimed at a particular goal. This served me well in two ways. First, it gave me focus and purpose and for me that's always been a mighty combination. Second, looking forward meant not having to look back. I have a troublesome relationship with the past, I didn't want to have to confront the painful things I experienced. I didn't want to acknowledge the painful things I have done to others. So yeah, face forward and follow the vision was a good strategy for me.
Even as I moved into retirement, I'm still working, mostly lecturing but also some consulting as well. This has made the transition to 'restful relaxation' possible. It's also nice to have focus and purpose alongside the multivitamins to take in the morning. Retiring into a pandemic wasn't wise planning though. I have a lot of free time and I don't really go anywhere.
About a month ago I found myself sitting in my easy chair hoving above a snooze. That morning I had chatted briefly with Ruby and Sadie and I found myself remembering. I could feel the weight of each of them as they rested in my arms. So small. So trusting. So easy to love. I relaxed into the memories of each of them. And I was comforted by them, the sounds and smells of those days and the laughter that came easily from them.
Then riding down a hill here in Newmarket I suddenly flashed on the silliness of the crookedest street in the world, a San Francisco landmark. The first time Joe and I saw it we were so profoundly disappointed for a few seconds, then having had testosterone for breakfast, we decided to see how fast we could get through the curves. Joe took the challenge seriously and screamed tires a couple of times, or maybe that was me screaming in the passenger seat. It was like a carnival ride.
Last night we had nachos, as I looked at the plate I was reminded of the nachos we had in Halifax, the best one's I've ever had. I can remember the restaurant we had them in and then remembered the people we had met there. It was like rapid-fire memory.
All of this has surprised me. I've been so fearful of the past that I had not noted, that there were good things there too. I had confined too much to disregard.
So, I'm working on ways to keep myself safe from the part of my past that burns while exploring that which gives me joy.
Much more joy than I ever anticipated.