I finally retired from teaching as of September 1 of 2021, and I’m not quite sure I like it yet. Three of my adult children have retired and they keep telling me how much I’m going to love it! Other friends who have retired say that it took up to two years before they felt comfortable being retired. Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I love being active, having a purpose, not sitting still and that I don’t go looking for “fun things to do.”
So I’ve been exploring activities I have enjoyed in the past. Perhaps many of us would find it valuable to take time to remember who we were in a “past life,” i.e., in our younger years. Many surprises will arise out of that exercise.
One revealing event for me came in the form of an old email from my brother. He had sent me a link to a beautiful site called “Trawlers and Tugs Blog.” Sadly, she no longer posts on that site, but she covered beautiful art about working boats.
That site and his email triggered something deep inside me. I realize that as much as I used to enjoy painting with watercolors and messing around with colored chalks, I no longer take time to indulge in anything artistic and I told him so.
It was his answer that made me think. He said, “It bothers me that you don’t take time for yourself to make music, paint, sew, act, direct, etc. All my life I associated those kinds of things with you.” I promised him I would start again.
One of my favorite courses to teach regularly was “Psychology and the Expressive Arts.” And yet in teaching it, I always put my own artistic past aside and simply taught others how to draw on their creativity. Sometimes I got a glimpse of that “old Lucy” when teaching other courses, too, but I always shoved it aside in the interest of the students.
When I find myself re-reading books like Who You Were Meant to Be: A Guide to Finding or Recovering Your Life’s Purpose by Lindsay C. Gibson, Psy.D, or other books about finding “the authentic you,” then I know there is something in my life that needs attention.
I started rummaging around for my art materials, deeply buried in a junk room. When I opened up the first box of pastels, I said “Ohhh!” right out loud. The brilliant colors took my breath away, and tears came into my eyes. I want to put them where I can see them regularly and to remind myself that it’s something I now have time to enjoy in retirement.
Perhaps you are someone who has already re-discovered the “old you” – the authentic you – and are living the life you were meant to live. If so, I congratulate you! My suspicion is that most who will read my post need a reminder to take time this New Year to think about who they are.
I must be authentic if I want to continue to inspire students and friends to be authentic – and creative.
Hau`oli Makahiki Hou!
(Happy New Year!)