Three years ago I wrote a blog “Don’t consider it retiring…consider it rewiring”. It is a big deal going from a long, satisfying career to not having one any longer! Adjustments must be made. You need to rewire. I have been thinking about this lately and decided to do a quick evaluation on my own “rewiring”.
My retirement started off taking care of my parent’s needs. Many of us experience this as their first phase of retirement because our parents are living so much longer now. After my Dad passed away, Mom moved into a great assisted living residence in a town next to mine. We all became very active in what was going on in Mom’s life. There was never any hesitation that this is what I was meant to do.
I consider myself an “organizer”. Anyone who knows me knows that I have been an organizer since grade school! I enjoy putting activities together for everyone and apparently I’m good at it since people still expect that I will be the one to organize what ever needs organizing.
It seemed perfectly natural to me start a “daughters” group at Mom’s residence. I called it a daughters group, but I had some sons involved too. I started by chatting with 4 other daughters who I saw there on a regular basis. I thought it would be great for all of our parents if we were there to advocate for them. This residence was very well run, but there are always things that need tweaking. After getting to know each other a little bit we made a date with the administrator. We discussed things we wanted to see happen. As time went on our meetings became very meaningful. Other staff members were attending our meetings too. This included the chef and food services, head of nursing, activities directors, housekeeping managers. We were known by all as “the daughters”. The highest number the group reached was 20. This represented a huge monthly income to the residence so we were taken very seriously. We met on a regular basis with the administrator. We got lots done for our parents. Along with this came new friendships with people who truly understood the journey we were all on. Through our time at Mom’s residence we got to know some very interesting people. We met people with very diverse backgrounds. Over the course of 3 1/2 years, we met business executives, business owners, musicians (to include one of the first female drummers who played on the Ed Sullivan Show), one of the Bozo the Clowns from the 50’s (my husband loved to chat with him!!), therapists, nurses, homemakers and Holocaust survivors. If you take the time to talk to people it is amazing to see how happy you make them and how happy it makes you! I hope that from all of this that I had a positive impact on the last chapters of someone’s life.
People say that from this journey with Mom I could write a book. Perhaps I will. The emphasis would be on the dynamic of AGING children taking on the responsibilities of parenting their parents.
Now that Mom has passed away I am shifting my purpose. We are now involved with start up of a 55+ group at our church and have joined the Historic Society in our county and plan on volunteering in some capacity there. Our traveling continues at an even more stepped up rate since we have more flexibility now. We have taken up Bridge and are enjoying that too. And we are also enjoying our grandchildren who are a constant source of wonder and delight.
There continues to be lots on my plate which is just the way I like it. I think my “rewiring” is going very well. How is yours coming along??