For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, Linda G. Hill has given us “on your/my plate.”
Back in the day, when I was still working, I had a lot on my plate. Between managing my team of product consultants and software developers, working with installation managers, sales people, senior executives, prospects, clients, and vendors, as well as caring for and providing for my wife and kids, my plate was constantly full. Sometimes overflowing.
And I loved it. I thrived on the pressure of meeting deadlines, fulfilling client expectations, demoing our software solutions to new clients, running meetings and webinars, closing new business, and finding a balance between work and family. It all gave meaning to my life. It defined who I was.
And then I retired. For five decades I had defined myself by my work, by what I did for a living. I woke up one day and that was all gone. Not only did I not have all of those job responsibilities anymore, but my kids were grown up and out on their own.
I felt a sense of panic. Who was I if my identity was my work and I was no longer working? I remember telling my wife that my plate was now empty and I didn’t know what to do with myself.
But the good news is that my plate is still full. I’ve got grandkids who give me tremendous joy. I’ve got my blog, which enables me to interact with fellow bloggers from around the world. And I’ve got a wife who is happy to keep adding things to my “honey do” list.
So, in spite of my early fears that upon retirement my plate — my life — would be empty, the reality is that what’s on my plate today, in retirement, is just fine. I can now define myself by who I am, not what I do.
Now how about you? What’s on your plate?