I have completed nine months of retirement. It’s like carrying a baby to full term without the pain of labor and delivery. As I sit here ready to begin my tenth month of retirement, I am admiring a spider web outside my sliding glass door. The web sways with the breeze and has ten sides and many intricate threads that catch the light. There is one long thread that runs from the web to the ground: a spider escape route. Retirement has been my work escape route. The spider that constructed the web is a very creepy-looking Texas Orb Weaver. I wish she would move on because this is a retirement home, and creepy-looking, hardworking spiders make me feel guilty for enjoying the leisure that retirement offers. I’m thinking that this guilt precipitated last night’s bizarre dream.
I had returned to work to fill in following the departure of my replacement. I tried to help someone but couldn’t because I didn’t have a work ID and I hadn’t re-established my computer credentials. I went in search of an ID, but got lost along the way, and had my eyes sprayed with a toxic substance for seeing things I shouldn’t have seen. I finally found the ID-issuing staff, after regaining my sight, but was told that they couldn’t help me because the entire group was going out for a walk.
I decided to try to find another way to help, and attempted a data search on a piano. After numerous attempts, complicated by my lack of ability to play the piano and the fact that pianos are not designed for data entry, I was able to input the information, but was further frustrated when no data was returned. I realized that the problem was the piano’s lack of database access. I also realized that I would not be paid for my work because I was officially retired. I tried to leave, but my car had been stolen. What would Freud make of that? Probably that I haven’t always known what I was doing as I’ve attempted to navigate retirement. Why should retirement be any different from the rest of my life, Doctor Freud?
The Texas Orb Weaver is not a beautiful spider, but it makes a beautiful web. It’s like the Phantom of the Opera spider; scary to look at, but talented. I am retired, and have the time to admire a spider’s web. I can be gentle with myself in these retirement mornings. There’s no hurry up and get to work. I am scary to look at in the morning, but I’m becoming talented at seeing and hearing the subtle beauty that surrounds me.