I have now been retired for two years. That in itself is something pretty amazing, but what follows amazes me even more. This past year has been a whirlwind of learning and growth, settling into my new life as a full-time artist.
It was only 18 months ago that I took my first drawing class – I wrote about it in Me? An Art Student?. I look back on those posts in this blog, and laugh at how awful I was at drawing. Today, my paintings are selling, and selling for a whole lot of money. If you had told me that I would be a successful artist at this time two years ago, I would have laughed in your face.
Imagine sending a chance message to someone who posted a pic of your deceased ancestor’s grave on a geneology site, and finding 240+ distant cousins a day later. Not only that, but those cousins are all in a Facebook group dedicated to the descendants of the ancestor that emigrated from Germany to the British Colonies in 1736? Yep. That happened to me. And it was awesome.
For the past 2 months, I’ve been researching my family tree. As I mentioned in a previous blog, […]
I can’t believe it’s been more than 6 months since I retired. So many changes. So many adjustments, […]
I had an unusual experience recently. I saw a picture of me – taken in the 19th century. It was very unsettling. It also started a new passion to explore in my retirement. No – the cover photo isn’t the one. You’ll have to read the story to see it.
Who is this person, after all?
That’s what I’ve been saying this past week, every time I see my reflection. For the first time in my life, I’ve consciously changed my hair color. Now, a stranger looks at me in all kinds of shiny surfaces. She has very pretty hair… whoever she is.
I’ve always viewed my life as a book – when one chapter finishes, the page turns, and a new one starts. This time last year, I was desperately trying to get on my boss’s calendar so I could let him know I was resigning. It would take me 3 weeks to pin him down, a fact that still gives me a chuckle. Fast forward one year, and I’m happily working on what is now my next career.
Working in the tight confines of the studio, I’ve learned my hair is a great place to hold pencils, blending sticks and vine charcoal. There have been classes where I looked like a porcupine with all the tools of the trade sticking out of my head. Now I need to learn to take them out at the end of class. I recently went to the grocery store and the dry cleaners with a 2B pencil in my hair after class, and no one told me. I am well on my way to being the Neighborhood Eccentric.
We are all creatures of habit, and changing 30+ years of fully-ingrained habits is about as easy as putting together anything from IKEA – there are always screws or bolts left over that you know should have been included, but you can’t figure out where they were supposed to go. You’re left with the sinking feeling the whole thing is going to fall apart at the worst possible moment.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life. No, that is not a trite simile. I am now retired. Yesterday was tough – all the final goodbyes, the packing up of my laptop and phone, and finally, looking at my now-bare desk. Bittersweet. This six month journey was filled with experiences – some wonderful, and some challenging. I have some final comments on my work transition before this blog really becomes about retirement.