Friday, November 4, 2016

Going Home

Having recently returned from an Alaskan cruise, I know first hand that travel is a great way to enjoy my newfound time in retirement. With endless places to explore, I could spend weeks, months, even years touring the world—that is if I had endless financial resources.  I don't, and so at some point I have to go home. 

When I say go home, I'm not talking about my two-story Colonial in rural New York. Instead, I'm referring to a new way of living—a new orientation to life. If you're like me, you've found that retirement disrupts the sense of direction and purpose you knew in the workplace. Abruptly we face a blank calendar and open schedule, with very little to orient our day. This is one reason travel is so attractive. As long as there is the next trip to plan or excursion, we're relieved of the responsibility to create this next stage of life.

So what is home? For now home may feel unfamiliar to you, like you're journeying in an unknown land. As William Bridges says in his book The Way of Transitions, "Things aren't the old way, but they're not a new way yet either." And yet, maybe home is something we've known all along.  According to Glinda, the good witch from the Wizard of Oz, "Home is knowing, knowing your mind, knowing your heart, knowing your courage. If we know ourselves, we're always home, anywhere."

If you don’t feel comfortable taking instruction from a fictional witch, then consider the definition of home from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. In her Ted Talk, "Success, Failure, and the Drive to Keep Creating," Gilbert states, "For me, going home meant returning to the work of writing because writing was my home." Furthermore, "if you're wondering what your home is, here's a hint. Whatever in this world you love more than yourself. Creativity. Family. Adventure. Faith. Service…. Your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies to such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential."

My Alaska trip was a wonderful experience and a reminder that I definitely want to include travel in my retirement years. However, vacations are not going to keep me from discovering the other amazing places my life can go when I'm happy being home.

Copyright 2016. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

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