She who is Brave

The great stoic philosopher Seneca (4 BC- AD 65) once said “He who is brave is free” . These words (slightly modified for my Feminist view) have become my personal Mantra. While I have often been told I am brave, it is not something I dwell on. I follow my heart and always fight for the right to live a free life. Whatever your version. Retiring was an act of freedom for me.

Today is day three of my retirement. People are asking me how is it? At this stage a little like extended vacation. I no longer know what day of the week it is and dates are non-existent, not my usual way of living. I only know that it is around July 4th as my dog is quivering from the boom of fireworks.

Now truth be told the vacation is well earned and needed. I have not had this much time off since I began working at age 15. I have a few projects lined up (refinish a table, finish painting the kitchen I began 6 months ago, varnish the stairs, paint the doors, read a book, ride my bike etc.) and of course get up every day and look for work. To those of you who know me personally, this might keep me busy for awhile but not forever.

I like routine, so I am trying to set one up , so far I get up and have coffee every morning and then log on to my computer and scour the local and not so local want ads. Then I apply for a few select jobs. After that I decide whether to clean the house, do laundry or just be. That last one is particularly difficult for me.

While my feelings about retirement are conflicted and run the gamut of What a waste of time to Wow, I can go anywhere, it is best to explain how I ended here at 58.

First I should say, I retired from government work, I did not retire from working. I just haven’t found that new gig quite yet. I am learning to relax (for my version see above list of projects). The actions that precipitated my exit from government work, were months in the making, fault on both sides.

I was burned out. 20 months of 12 hour days was too much. An hour commute in I-80 traffic , (an adult version of the video game Frogger), 30 extra minutes from parking to my office, the unpredictable weather and the minimal career fulfillment with my position were the first steps toward exit.

When I began my position back in 2017, I was filled with optimism and was on a helium high that finally I had achieved a career that fulfilled me and helped others at the same time. Shortly after joining the organization I became aware of certain organizational behaviors that I deemed unprofessional and unacceptable to me. I did not voice my opinion, I remained in a silent hell.

I witnessed others being slowly pushed to the same decision I eventually made, because the organization did not value their worth and they too went quietly into the retirement. When my turn came to be extinguished (in my view) it was carefully orchestrated step by step to the point of push coming to shove. I shoved back.

I decided that my life was mine and I am in charge of the direction it takes and I took it back. I would not be intimidated by lackluster review of performance based on a vastly splintered set of responsibilities nor micro managing superiors. I had a choice, there were options and yes I could retire, take my small pension and start again. Which is exactly what I have done.

I rolled the dice and came up fighting.

As I look forward at this time of Independence, it seems perfect to reclaim mine.

She who is Brave, is free.

I am.

Until Next Time,



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