|Misty Morning Magic, Arcata 2011|
It is almost impossible to anticipate what retirement will feel like until one lives in that state for awhile. I started my first year out by taking a trip to South Korea and to Ladakh. I wanted to visit both places for different reasons, and my experiences confirmed that reasoning. I followed that trip up with a visit to the east coast and to a family reunion. Since then my travels have been more localized.
The reason I bring this up at all is that I discovered that it took me awhile to actually "find my groove" in establishing my lifestyle. It took me a couple of years, and several "dry holes" before my exploration into a life style fully manifested itself to me. I now know that my lifestyle is that of the Fine Art Photographer. What is significant is that I now have a definition of myself that I never was able to acquire prior to retirement.
I wanted for years to become what I now am. I did not have the resolve nor the means to accomplish that until recently. I had other obligations that I rightly felt compelled to fulfill. I knew for years that I likely would need to wait until these "senior" years to make my run at fulfilling my calling.
So now I find that I am the most content that I have ever been. I am content with my lifestyle, but mostly I am content with the fact that I am actualizing my talents. I spent most of my life practicing the various aspects of living. I practiced being a husband, father, employee, friend, and etc. I practiced being a photographer, videographer, brewer, model railroader, gardener and may other avocations. I tried enough of those things to realize that I had one primary talent, and that I could only focus on the one if I were to have a chance of becoming the very best at something. I chose photography.
I sometimes rue the fact that I could have stayed on my job, and that I would be much more fiscally secure than I am now. I took a calculated risk that I would find a lifestyle that offered up the maximum fulfillment possible. I realize that living a "typical" retiree's lifestyle was not something that I would miss. I do not need to go on cruises, nor do I need to take expensive trips. I just need to avail myself the freedom to practice my art. I all ready live in an area that is overflowing with artistic possibilities, and all I have to do is step out the door to be engulfed with opportunity.