Far too often I find that I have fallen into the same dilemma in which I find others of my age group. As a sextogenarian, I can attest that I, too, feel that retirement by induced happenstance came much too early. Very much too early! Having abandoned my former wealth by establishing a Trust Fund for my grown children I left behind, I moved to my Gulf Coast home.
My initial inclinations and my paramount endeavors for more than a year were to find new employment opportunities. Following the first several months after my permanent move to the Coast was in job-search that resulted in realizing that my resumé needed toning down, refining, and fragmenting. In seeking appropriate administrative or management opportunities, I found that Louisiana certifications and licenses were not honored without renewed educational involvement. Therefore, I eventually found vocational searches of no avail. After dispensing more than forty resumés in response to advertised positions over several months, I realized that I would have to take a different tact.
Never before had I been compromised without gainful income. Having operated my own businesses for more than thirty years, I now look back and am gladdened that I never willfully terminated any of my former employees.
As time passed, I began to deplete my rather meager savings in performing various tasks about my home. Keeping busily busy, I found myself making significant basic repairs and improvements. However, project by project, each endeavor cost a couple of hundred here and a couple of hundred there. Paying for lawn cutting, dining out, going to movies, dropping in to a lounge, making donations and contributions, and expending dues to join this-that-and-the-other — each, began having their toll.
However, not being one to bend to trepidation, nor one to nurture depression, I did not allow my bravado to be pervaded. Sustaining a penchant over the years to be a "high-roller" had its shocking moments. Like all diseases, whether mental, physical or emotional, "denial" must be diagnosed and addressed by its possessor. Inescapably, a refreshed emergence of reality took place. I said to myself, "This is not where I want to be in this stage of life!" Genetically, I have yet, a quarter century to process through. I then commented to myself, "Well, young man, wha'cha gonna do?", followed by, "Well, ole boy, what now?"
Reflecting through the past few years since I addressed these questions, I have resolved myself to a different lifestyle while allowing an eclectic metamorphosis to take place. It's quite an interesting conversion which requires, at least in my case, a strong spiritual manifestation with an impervious faith in God. There was never a struggle, even though quite convoluted at first, while probing into prospective arenas; only to realize that I filled idle time by stroking computer keys in writing mementos and nostalgic trivia.
The fact that I now live alone, and that I have always been gregarious by nature, prompts me to maintain contact with people during the early hours of the day. Pass Christian is a small town in Mississippi with a marvelously old an extensive history. It is a fantastic community abiding on the Gulf Coast along with many sister cities, country towns, and fishing villages surrounding it.
Early on, I started investigating activities for seniors by visiting the Senior Citizen Activity Centers in each of the coastal communities. Realizing that they did not have a flyer or handout explaining their programs, I initiated an outreach brochure presenting the scheduled activities for each of five Senior Centers along the Coast.
Following this, I offered my services to the local playground supervisor by preparing printed team rosters, playground schedules and other computer generated informational pamphlets.
Later on, I approached the local weekly tabloid publisher offering to write a column called "Vignettes," which encompassed local folklore and historical sketches from the past. This required conducting interviews with local residents in my continuing quest for information, photos, and documents.
Concurrent with these authoring ventures I joined the local area Chamber of Commerce in Pass Christian, became active on several committees, and found myself elected as an At-Large member of the Board of Directors of the larger Coast Chamber of Commerce. Becoming ever more involved, I began to realize that I should find some respite from non-meaningful activities.
I began to reflect once more. I soon perceived that without deliberate design, I had fallen in step with so many other retirees with whom I had conducted interviews. They were always apologetic and always too busy to make convenient scheduling for an exchange of dialogue. They complained that their appointment books were committed weeks ahead with seeming non-essentials. Although my classification may fall into an arena of semi-retirement, I persist to decline acknowledgment or acceptance of being a "Retiree". I was convinced that my "tour de force" was yet to be determined.
Consequently, I concluded that quality time and quality performance should become the determinants or measuring rods in my selective placement. However, rather than eliminate some of my commitments, I decided to test the waters of new volunteerisms to determine a fit with my current and evolving life's scheme of research and writing. Although being a volunteer can be passionately rewarding, it is not at all fiscally compensating.
Espied by the Mississippi State Director of AARP, I was inducted to fill a volunteer position as State Coordinator of Communications. Though realizing that I would incur further time restraints as well as a more burdening detriment to my aging Cadillac, I accepted. I perceived this new venture, both, as a direction in which to perform in proficiency as well as eyeing the opportunity to encounter even more challenging people who process themselves in an outstanding and worthy organization.
In spite of it all, I am gifted with time to ply my fingers to the keyboard in producing ever more articles, manuscripts, and books in adding to my library of unpublished material. However, while awaiting a right-thinking, or perhaps, "sympathetic" Publisher/Distributor, I have struck it out alone in publishing a number of my own works. This has resulted in a significant readership and interesting fan group.
Evidently, God has taken me out of the game and put me on the sidelines where I obediently remain yet yearning to be back in the mainstream. For certain I have learned new disciplines as well as patience while becoming remolded.
I am complete, but not yet whole . . .
As now I tread with a load of dreams
Awaiting not for a thousand schemes;
Along with others by age behest
Still knowing truly that I am blessed!
Along my journey, as time will tell
No rabbit-foot needed to ring my bell;
But with Holy Ghost feeling, and a state of Grace
All comes together here, in God's stately place!