A friend recently retired from a prestigious US government job. A very special retirement ceremony was held to honor his service. For some reason, my brain persistently called it his”graduation ceremony.” Now I know why.
In catching up with friends and family over the holiday, I found that many of my group have made or are in the process of making the decision to retire. Most don’t have firm plans for their future, but know that it is time to leave whatever it is that they’ve been doing these many years. I also don’t know anyone who is contemplating the golf-every-day-drink-in-the-recliner-every-evening type of retirement. (Well, some actually may be planning a day or two of this.)
The funny thing is that it feels like it did when graduating from high school. Instead of test scores, we have retirement accounts. The prep course has been our lives up to now. The essay has been edited and corrected and worked over. Now is the time to sign our names, seal it up and send it into the future. It is what it is. A friend says that at our age, we all have so much baggage that we need sherpas to carry it. What about the option to store the stuff somewhere where we can find it if we need it? Where is it written that we have to carry it with us, anyway? The bell has rung and it’s time to put the pencil down and turn our papers over. This particular test is finished.
The good part about this graduation is that the next step isn’t competitive. No admission committees, no applications and no quotas, just choices. Lest we feel that we are taking a swan dive off a cliff, it is good to remind ourselves that a graduation is also a “mark indicating a division or interval on a graduated scale.” The concept of a continuum is also comforting to those of us afraid of heights.
On a hike this morning on our way to check out a new beaver dam and lodge, we came to a many tined fork in the trail. The leader asked us to stop and turn around to orient ourselves to where we had come from in order to get a perspective on which trail we were taking. Yes.