Navigating Pre-Retirement Waters

To quote Diane who blogs about being a new retiree at A New Chapter,  “leaving your job, selling your house, leaving your friends and moving to a new city is a lot of change. ”

No kidding! When I actually stop to think about the changes that Kelly and I have made in our lives over the last several months, it boggles my mind. So I try not to think about it very often, because when I do I start to feel anxious.

We sold our home at the end of June. Notice I don’t say “house.” It wasn’t just a house. It was our home and at one time I truly believed that we would live there until we died.

We moved all of our belongings into a storage locker. A storage locker in a new town, 1,560 miles away. Kelly and Michael drove everything down in a U-Haul.

We moved into our cabin at the lake and commuted an hours drive back and forth to work everyday for 4 months. We only took our summer and fall clothing and a few handwork projects (for me). Every else went down the highway in the U-Haul.

Four weeks ago Kelly worked his last day at the flying school.

Three weeks ago today he loaded up the camper, put the cats in the back and the dog in the cab and drove away. I cried a bit as I watched the back of the camper disappear down the highway.

Three weeks ago today I moved in with my friends Fawn & Michael and their two young daughters. I am blessed to have friends who have so happily opened their home to me.

As grateful as I am, and as much as I truly feel welcome in their home and into their family, as much as I love them, I am also very aware of being, well, homeless (for lack of a better word.) It’s an odd feeling that I don’t exactly have words for. A feeling of floating…of waiting. My boat has been launched down the ways, and now bobs gently on the tide, anchored to the dock by a simple slipknot. Waiting only for the requisite number of days to pass before venturing out into new waters.

Tonight I am having supper with my son, Michael, at his apartment. I am going to cook him supper, even though he is 28 and doesn’t need me to cook for him anymore. I guess it’s me that needs to do it. He doesn’t need me, but I need him. An odd reversal of roles. I am moving away from home and leaving my son behind. Unnatural. Children leave home and move away. Parents stay behind. The closer the day comes, the less I try to think about it. There is a big tide of “overwhelmingness” attached to moving away from my child. I am afraid that if I think about it – really THINK about it, I won’t be able to go. I am afraid that I will cry so hard that I won’t be able to see to drive. Just like right now it’s hard to see to type.

There is, all of a sudden, a lot of letting go and saying goodbye to do…son, friends, job, routine…my familiar life.

Part of embracing the new involves releasing the familiar.  I envision all those parts of my life standing on the dock waving goodbye as I wave back from the deck of a great ocean liner, festooned with ribbons and streamers, pulling away from its mooring.  “Good bye, good bye!” We laugh/cry to each other, waving.

Selling our house, quitting our jobs, leaving our family and friends, moving to a brand new town where we don’t know a single soul…

Discovering/inventing a brand new Nita, having the freedom to be creative every day, exploring a new geographic region by foot, bike and car, a whole town-full of people to meet…

As Diane said, that’s a heck of a lot of change!

On the new house front, Kelly has been busy with the paint brush. From this:

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to this:

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Wood floors are on order and should arrive this week. 🙂

Two weeks from today is driving-away day.

4 thoughts on “Navigating Pre-Retirement Waters

  1. Just think about the wonderful man of yours waiting at the other end. Oh and if you have to pull over a couple of times to wipe your tears that’s okay too. Without tear the heart would have no rainbows. 🙂

  2. My gosh. When you lay it out like that it truly is a massive change! Exciting, but I can imagine the trepidation you must be feeling as well. Just keep up the blog so I can enjoy seeing your new adventures! 🙂

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