Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saying "YES" to dreams and adventures that "stretch and test" - and the "r" word that makes us squirm.

"When faced with uncertainty 
about taking a leap of faith, take the leap."
- Chris Guillebeau
Life is awaits (and expects) exploration.
When I was growing up, my dad taught me a particularly important lesson. An engineer, his training was in physics, the science of matter and energy - but he was also a dreamer. My mum, a teacher in her younger years, demonstrated the necessary practicalities that help to make those dreams come true. I'm not sure they could have given more precious or lasting gifts. My parents are both gone now, but their expressed "joie de vivre" and wisdom weave a thread through each passing, present, and promised moment.

In six months now, we will retire embark upon a new course. Such a decision sometimes invites comment -  always welcome of course (why not?). Such feedback can sometimes be very interesting. A couple of folks confided that they didn't feel we were quite "old" enough. (Um, I did get the "senior's" rate at Scottish castles and was offered free coffee at a fast food restaurant!) Others have gently suggested that the timing may not be "fiscally responsible". (Point taken.) One caring soul wondered out loud why we would "retire" when we are still healthy and active. Now that question was really confusing! :) All "conversations", rumoured and heard, have been helpful in the process.

We have weighed all these things for some time now. The fact is, one of us is not all that far off the "conventional" retirement age. We will both have spent almost four decades training for and then practising our vocations. We know we will need to significantly downsize, in every respect. That, in itself, however, is quite appealing. And as for health, well, as they say, "life turns on a dime". We have seen too many folks wait, cautiously, until the overabundance of "ducks" are in a row - and then, sadly, it's been too late.

Now, as for the word retire, it makes us both squirm. To "retire" sometimes suggests withdrawal, rest, retreat. That's not very appealing. This upcoming transition is more akin to launching the narrow boats for a multi-day expedition in waters never paddled (which we look forward to doing) or leaving the trail-head to run along unexplored trails. The kayaking image above, gets close to our understanding of the nature of this transition - a simple vessel, continuing to move forward in a vast ocean of possibilities.

As for what will we do when the time comes? Probably many of the same things but, perhaps, in a different context. But maybe life will nudge us along to unexpected "shores" and serendipitous experiences. It will always be important to try to make a contribution, to do something that enriches the lives others - for therein lies life's greatest source of meaning. There is great appeal in all of these things.

It's worth investigating this place, in Sansum Narrows, between a rock...and a rock.
Life is large, it begs exploration, and continued learning, and growth. Life's "nooks and crannys" also invite observation and exploration. Even the darkness promises illumination. Life issues an invitation to continually seek out new sources of meaning, to risk and then savour new experiences. The alternative is to fuss and fret about the consequences of "change" - and end up settling for less than life offers. None of us should ever tempt "regret"!

Dreams need to be nurtured with hope and expectation - and then we usually find a way. Sharing our aspirations with one another, allowing them to unfold in "conversation" is a sure way to move towards them with increased confidence. A compass, a horizon, and the faint image of a destination may be all any of us really need to entice us on.

Emerson, essayist and poet, said, "Always do what you are afraid to do." Quite frankly, I've found that that has always been the secret.

Are we "retiring"? (Squirm) Um, no, just "reconfiguring".

Are we anxious at all?
Yes, a little.

But that's always a promising sign! :)

Wishing all, good health and continued adventures that both stretch and test, in 2012.



Image: A launch from Gabriola Island with Entrance Island lighthouse and the Coastal Range of Canada's west coast on the horizon.

The quote from Chris Guillebeau is from his book, The Art of Non-Conformity: Set your own rules, live the life you want, and change the world - a good read.


  1. YES! Happy New Year's, guys, from "sky to sea"! Gen.

  2. Thanks Gen. Hope you're getting some "real" winter outdoor fun there. Darn palm trees are flourishing here! :)

  3. Retirement??? Heck no... call it realignment of what life has to offer you.

    Happy New Year

  4. Roger that, guys. "Realignment" has a nice sound to it! ;) D.

  5. Retirement, is all good stuff. Stop squirming and get excited about all the new adventures coming your way. (easy for me to say....the r word is a long ways off in my life. LOL)

  6. Yes ma'am. Understood!

    (You always tell it like it is, L. That's why we hope you'll stick with us!) :) D.

  7. Thanks for this one. really rang true in my life as well. And thanks for the book idea...I need another walden...if thats even possible!!

    Thanks again; really enjoyed the words of wisdom.

  8. Glad it spoke to you, Lee. Thanks for that. Keep on exploring. And watch out for those waterspouts on the North Atlantic! Duncan.

  9. Will do. I move for a similar change in my life tomorrow morning at 06h30. To the future we go!

  10. Looking forward to hearing about the direction of your explorations, Lee. Keep in touch! D.