A New Perspective
April 24, 2018When I was employed, we would sometimes describe working in our rapidly changing environment as "building the bridge we are walking on." In a way, this also describes what my current turning point in life is like.
To the external world, I am retired. I have already made all those financial decisions associated with retirement. I am not working. I am doing things retired people do: re-engaging in photography, an activity I have always enjoyed; joining Toastmasters to keep connected with other people and my mind active; taking Tai Chi class to maintain physical fitness. Typical solid retirement lifestyle.
However, the world looks different to me than it has. Statistically I have approximtely 12 more years to live. The decision regarding whether or not my husband would receive a medical treatment was based on his age. Theoretically, if he had been one year older, the recommended decision might be to not receive treatment because statistically he would have only 9 more years to live. On the assumption that we both are retired and could travel more, I changed my medical insurance, swapping one that paid for fitness but had limited geographical coverage for one with greater geographical coverage but no fitness. It is now not clear how much traveling we will do.
I am learning to rely on myself more to find answers – to research google, read the manual, take time to think things through and ask the "next question." This is no longer a matter of personal development, this is a survival skill. We anticipate the likelihood of a time when my husband will not be there for me to rely on.
Let me tell you something I find interesting. I am taking a 5 week photography class called "Journey through Personal Creativity." Next week is the last class. The focus is on having us be clear about our purpose/intent for taking a picture as a way of finding our voice. We then take this idea and create a mini-project, exploring this idea. My focus is on form, color and texture and I've been taking photographs that focus in on key details – for example, on a segment of a plant, a section of a weathered doorway, or a part of a tool. The instructor has recommended I take more photos from the horizontal, since I tend to like capturing things vertically.
I have begun feeling bored with taking the kind of pictures I had been taking, because it was clear to me that I know how to do this well. While exploring a local beach last week for "shape, color and texture" pictures, I had also taken some pictures of a path through the dune. After much thought, I decided next time I would take pictures of pathways where you couldn't tell where the path was leading. Clearly a concept meaningful to me now.
Sunday I went to a local park that has a pier into the bay. This felt the same as a pathway to me so it counted. I took photos from multiple perspectives, each giving a different perspective on the same thing – the pier in the water. I also took two of birds sitting on pilings and three of plants on the rocks. The pier doesn't show up in these, but these are part of what is in the pier's environment.
All these photographs are horizonal. All of them focus out to give a broader perspective on the the world the pier is in, yet still reflect form, color and texture. I take all this to mean my perspective on how to navigate life at this stage is changing.
Michele Obama commented that the Presidency doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are. I think the same is true of dealing with getting older. Right now I feel that there are new challenges ahead and I must be able to expand my capabilities in order to navigate successfully.
Growing up, parents and teachers told Barbara she would be a great teacher, so that is the career she prepared to enter. She got a great job with a great school and highly motivated students and lasted six months. After bouncing around in entry level jobs for a while, she began her 15+ year career in higher education administration, working in public, private, small and large institutions. Relocating to Florida provided a fortunate opportunity to change her focus. She is a Board Certified Coach, with a 20-year career providing outplacement and talent development coaching in the business sector. Barbara's approach has been to help people see the potential in themselves and in the world around them. She retired last year and is now exploring the potential within herself and in the world she is now living in.