Always in my past when the way I interface with the world has changed, I have had something happen to my face.
No really, physically.
When my kids left home, I suddenly and for the first time had dental problems and I lost two teeth as well as two people I love. It made my cheekbones sharper:) When I lost a job to which I had been totally committed, I started a little growth on my cheek that years later needed to be removed. When my current job description changed from a much busier venue into the job ideal, a lymph node in my neck swelled up and created a cyst so that not just me but everyone saw a different me for a few days.
Now my Eustachian tubes are blocked - for almost two weeks, as if I don’t want to hear. As if I have closed off my ears so I don’t have to address inevitable change; ie. retirement options, my opportunity for the biggest change in perhaps fifty years. I will be opting out of the full frontal engagement landscapes that have been my context since I was eighteen and into the self-motivated isolation of the pasture I will be put out to. I am not sure if I can take it!
On the other hand, the reason this has come up physically at all is because for the first time ever I have allowed the reality of retirement from the workplace to sink in. And the idea is swimming nicely, thank you. I do love to travel, and it would be wonderful to paint again, and my grandkids won’t be around for me forever. . .
It means moving off the River to the Lake. I can think of it as moving home, to the neighborhood and context I chose thirty years ago. It proved perfect for raising a family then, and I think it is turning out to be just as nurturing for a senior such as myself now.
But the River has been my core metaphor for as long as I can remember, musically when I lived at home, then physically at university and bankside locations in St. Paul and Minneapolis. This move makes me feel panicky. Can I acclimate to the Lake Country? Can I be happy with the still verses the rolling? Can I live where the perimeter is round and not unbounded? Can I thrive on the quiet?
I don’t know the answers to these questions yet, but the journey to find them has begun as I reluctantly recognize and start to consider to where I am stepping at the end of the work staircase. Maybe it will clear out my ears.