Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Some thoughts on retirement, politics and creativity

I just read an interesting New Yorker short story ("Hand on Shoulder") and an insightful blog (click here to read the blog) by Ian McEwan. Smart man. Good writer. The blog has an interesting take on freedom and the situation in Israel with the Palestinians--one of the many conundrums of our times.

As I was reading his blog, it struck me as amazing that we can exist successfully in such difficult times, fraught with anger and religious wars, greed, corruption, and all manner of cruelty and stupidity. I'm not as steeped in the news or commentary as I used to be--even when I agree with the point of view, it's hard to deal with the utter craziness--but we can never be far enough away from politics. Outrages seep in every day on my emailed newsletters and TV and in conversation.

If you let it, craziness can permeate every level of life and really bring you down. So we try not to let it. We are the lucky ones who manage to create a livable space that provides us with sanctuary from all of it. We noticed it most starkly on 9/11, when we went from watching the world of horror on TV to soaking up the world of peace in our back yard. It was surreal that in minutes we could change locations and change the world.

Retired is the happiest I have ever been. Our sanctuary provides us with time to do as we please for the most part. The day-to-day To Dos can be managed or put off because tomorrow won't be taken up by the draining insanity of worrying about working for crazy people and doing their "stuff." Now our world is filled with being in touch with friends and writing and traveling and relaxing and bike riding and lunching and going to concerts and art galleries. And we are too busy. How does that happen--that you're busier when you're retired?

We've moved on in our creative life, expanded from writing to taking photos and videos, and I'm really enjoying it. Photography is an old love that I let go dormant during the work years. They come together in travel writing, which I'm to get better at doing. I still have that fiction novel in the back of my mind, and several photo books as well.

Seems impossible, but in the midst of all of it, here I am, in my sanctuary, doing my thing.

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