Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An Exotic Bird, Jubilación, and Granny D

"You have to keep the young adventurer inside your heart alive long enough for it to someday re-emerge.... Granny D
It may take some coaxing and some courage, but that person is in you always -- never growing old." Granny D

An Exotic Bird
"For me, the vast marvel is to be alive. For man, or for flowers or beast or bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly and perfectly alive." Al Purdy

We happened upon the wonderful parrot in the pictures on a stroll in a Portland park in July 2008. He was perched on his owner's shoulder. I have to wonder who owns who... Aren't we the ones captured by the wildness, that exotic beauty, the sumptuous colors? I couldn't resist taking several photographs. This one is for my current photoartjournal project on birds.

I will soon share more photos from a more recent trip I have been on... meanwhile...

I just passed my 6th anniversary of being "retired". It's hard to imagine it's been that long ago already. First let me say, I detest the words "retired" and "retirement" as they have a connotation, if not a stereotype, that seem to conjure up images of settling into a rocker for the final few days. Not that anything is wrong with sitting in a rocker, it just always seemed to me that it used to mean that life was almost over, and in our culture, you might become one of the invisible folks, the aging, that are not as revered as the youth culture.

Anyway, I happened upon the word for retirement in Spanish - it is "jubilación" -- jubilation!!! Jubilation in the English dictionary means: a feeling of or the expression of joy or exultation or shouting for joy. What a wonderful word to describe the next phase of life after work. Because, in many cases, I'm sure, people didn't do for a career what their "purpose" called them to do, but instead, perhaps as I did, fell into their line of work by accident or as a practical matter of making a living. So leaving and entering the next stage may be with some jubilación, as you become freed to do more of whatever your heart desires.

But, as with any change in life there is what I call the "land of in-between" where you have one foot in the past and one stepping forward into the unknown. I remember vividly my last work day having stayed late to "finish" things up, feel that completion, while everyone else had gone home. I had the card key pass that I left for a manager on her chair, then hesitated as I walked out the door for the last time without the key, knowing I would never go back in. I was closing the door on that world, a thirty-four year career, and walking into an unknown world.

There is that one moment of trusting the momentum of the step forward, and releasing the energy in the foot stuck in the past that propels you into the new. And suddenly, in a step, a blink... life is different. And you might wonder why you resisted at all. And you might realize that there you are, everything you were and are, is still there, the adventurer, the artist, the person with experiences that have prepared you with tools, still there. New and different, but still the same after all... we are such paradoxes. And that land of in-between is always with us as we shapeshift from one phase of life to another...
Granny D
Here's an interesting life story of "Granny D" who just passed on at 100, what an inspiring woman. I read about Doris Haddock a couple of years ago and was so impressed. She walked 3200 miles across the country at 89 years of age just to make a point, stand up for her beliefs and educate people along the way about campaign finance reform. And she even ran for the Senate at 94. Her autobiography, written with Dennis Burke, is being republished soon, "My Bohemian Century" with the subtitle "You're Never Too Old to Raise a Little Hell." Don't you just love that? It's on my list to read. And, we are SO, never TOO old if we stay awake to our possibilities........

Here's a You-Tube about her; copyright the Boston Globe and filmmakers:

And another; copyright Arts Alliance America and filmmakers:


Paula McNamee said...

Thanks for your post on jubilación- It's a great feeling to be able to follow your bliss and start a new adventuresome phase of life.

HeartFire said...

Nothing could be better than to empty the mind and begin a new journey and adventures... yes, Joseph Campbell did put it well to "follow your bliss".