Throughout my life and yours as well I expect, we have all made and will continue to make transitions from one time, place or experience to another. Transitions come gradually and sometimes not so. The choices we make may determine which way we will transition. Some of us can get quite nervous or apprehensive about change. Learning to embrace it and taking a glass half full approach can stave off the anxiety.
I made a change in December 2019 when I decided to retire as a school bus driver. I had my 10 years in. I wasn’t crazy about the job, but that in itself was a transition that I chose to do for my family, for the benefits. The flexibility of the schedule provided studio hours. I went through weeks of training to learn about driving the bus and passing the strict road test. The learning curve is exponential when the kids are in the bus. It’s a different day every day, some good some bad. There were days when I was close to quitting. But, I made it through and grew as a person over the years. Even today my bus driver skills take over in my car. Retirement wasn’t something on my radar. I had always felt I had to have millions in the bank to live out my days on this planet. If you have ever heard the expression, I want a life not a living, you know what I’m talking about. No one, on their death bed ever said they wished they had spent more time at the office. I decided at 62 to get back to my life.
The day came to submit my paperwork and completed the process. I informed my boss and a few friends of my intentions. Everyone was happy for me. Can I do this? What if some catastrophe occurs? I wasn’t worried about not having something to do since my art would get more of my attention. Note I said more. 100% is difficult but I’m a glass half full person. The closer I came to retirement the less stress I felt. My final day, December 20th 2019 finally arrived. Technically I retired January 1st 2020, but my last day driving was the day before the Christmas holiday break. We had purchased an RV and made plans to head to Florida for the first of what we hoped will be many “snowbird runs”. More transitions took place although necessary. Car to a truck, learning about Rv life, towing a big 5th wheel, “set up” and “take down” living in a small space, the dreaded “black tank”, packing less and driving a long trip. I experienced the stress of preparing but I knew with good planning it all would go well. I’m a bit of a “list maker” which my wife finds incredible but it’s my way of avoiding chaos. Mostly, I was looking forward to getting away from it all. I didn’t retire to be a full-time construction worker on my house but I was spending more time fixing things than making things as in art. The balance was out of whack. Something had to change.
It will be two years in December 2021 since I retired. I’m still learning how to be retired, if that’s a thing, but I’m not sitting around reading the paper, doing the crossword puzzles and planning the next ship cruise to wherever. We cruise in the RV. Sometimes I can’t sit still. Sometimes I sleep til 9. But hey, I’m transitioning. That might make a good T shirt. Very slowly I am making the steps to the 100% attention to my art. It’s a balancing act. I have a book titled “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow”. Its true. Keep your eye on the golden egg.
We have two trips to Florida and back under our belts. We have met many great people, and visited some interesting places. Being away from the northern cold of course is the main motivator for the trip. We spend our days doing nearly nothing. I paint by the RV or find something to paint nearby. Sometimes the RV needs some sort of repair. My wife reads, takes the dog for walks and visits with friends. Change can be good. As I write this, we are eight months from the third trip, but who’s counting? Prior to this last trip I had emergency gall bladder removal just 11 days before departure. Laparoscopic surgery is a blessing and so the doctors that perform it. Lets hope for a less stressful time this December.
Regardless of your current state or position in life, welcome transition. My father told me it is a critical part of life that helps us move through time. Be it a person, job, accident what have you its not always under our control. Covid has caused many unwanted transitions and changes that have been damaging and some uplifting. We are transitioning to a “new normal” as what we knew before covid is for the most part, lost. Keep your sense of self if you can.
In my next blog I will tell you how I am organizing my business in an effort to gain control of finances, manage inventory, new processes for glassless framing of art and new projects under way.