Monday, February 13, 2012

Moving Forward by Kaye Barley, Guest Blogger

If you've never visited Kaye Barley's blog at Meanderings and Muses, you're in for a wonderful treat. Not only does Kaye feature guest posts from a long list of writer friends she's made over the years, but she also writes enchanting posts about her life.

The current series on building and organizing her library is fun, especially since Kaye's photos of the project revealed piles of books that make my own book stash look puny in comparison.

Welcome, Kaye.


Moving Forward by Kaye Barley, Guest Blogger

Retirement. A time of opportunity.

And being a bit scared.

Lots and lots of things to think about when it's time to make that big step.

Sadly, there are many of us who realize we're bored a few weeks into it.

Sadder still--there are those who do nothing about it.

Becoming static is always a possibility.

But, like happiness--it can be a choice.

I know, I know--we're not always happy, happy, happy. I'm speaking of our most basic nature. I'm a believer in our own basic natures. I believe some people are basically nasty, while others are nice.

I believe some people are basically happy, while others are not.

And I believe if someone truly "wants" to be happy, they can make that choice and find ways to lead them to that goal. (I'm not too sure, however, about those basically nasty folks and frankly try to stay as far far away from 'em as I can.).

Being static may be comfortable for some, but I doubt it's ever going to be a happy place to be for very long.

Think about it. Where were you in your life ten years ago? Still there? How 'bout ten years from now? Will you still be in the same place?

It doesn't just have to be retirement that starts people thinking about these things, and it is NEVER too late in your life to make some changes.

Last week I went to my first ever creative writing class.

Two friends invited me, and I wasn't sure what to expect, but what I discovered was quite lovely.

I think I envisioned everyone sitting at a desk, an instructor at the front of the room giving us a topic, and saying "write it." And then we would each critique one another's work.

So wrong--so wrong. This is not that kind of class.

The name of this particular workshop should have given me a clue that what we would be doing would be oh so much more. "Women's Writing Pilgrimage: A Healing Journey."

What we had was a group of 10 women sitting on the floor in a circle. Women who were well versed in the Tarot spent time telling us about it and explaining the different decks--the ways some are different than others and their likenesses--and the basic premises behind the Tarot. I found it to be fascinating and the decks for each to be quite beautiful.

In the simplest of Tarot readings, and a perfect way of becoming familiar, we each drew one card. The woman seated to our right read to us what the card represented.

To back up just a step--it was entirely coincidental that this was also my retirement anniversary. One year of retirement, which has been the purest of bliss for me. Also coincidentally, the workshop was held in the building I had worked in for 14 years before retiring.

A cause for celebration--and spending my evening with these women doing exactly what we were doing seemed to be THE perfect way to celebrate. I told them, as we introduced ourselves, that the one promise I had made myself upon retirement was to spread my wings. This workshop was a part of my doing that.

I drew an Earth Card. #10. Fruition.

Here, in part, is what it represents: "Open now to fully experience rewards for long work well done. Enjoying life at its peak. Celebrate the ripe harvest and take time to smell, taste, and feel the abundant fruits of your labor. Celebrate."

This card spoke to me.

If I had forgotten my promise to myself about spreading my wings, this was just the little nudge I needed to get me back on track.

And I cannot wait till our next class. The topic is "Positive Magic."

Retirement can be scary.

Don’t let it be!

Spread your wings--it’s your turn to fly.


Kaye, thank you so much for giving us this thoughtful piece. I suspect you've tempted a few young writers with full-time jobs to look forward to growing older, just for the opportunities that come with "retirement."

For those of us who've reached a certain age, your words inspire and motivate. Try new stuff. Never stop learning. Be adventurous. It's our turn to fly.

Kaye has contributed to two anthologies: Clothes Lines (from 75 western North Carolina women writers) and Women's Spaces Women's Places (from 50 WNC women writers). Both are edited by Celia H. Miles and Nancy Dillingham. The anthologies can be purchased through Celia Miles' website.


Kaye Barley said...

Mornin' Pat!

Thanks very much for having me.

I finished the little library project yesterday, and today is one of those days that I feel like I might be about 100 years old. None of my limbs seem to want to move in the direction I want them to move in. But, it was worth every ache, pain and broken finger nail, I must say.

And yep, retirement rocks.

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - Thanks for hosting Kaye.

Kaye - Thanks for reminding us that there is no one set path we have to follow in life, and no one set time in life to do things. It's very liberating to know that we are free to develop ourselves always. That's what it means to stay young, no matter what the calender says.

Talli Roland said...

What a wonderful post, full of life and hope! Thank you, Kaye!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Hi Kaye -- Your library is very inviting. With a comfy chair and a coffee pot, I could spend a lot of time in a room like that.

Good morning, Margot and Talli -- I bet both of you are book addicts too.

Kaye Barley said...

Margot and Pat - Hi!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

I jokingly say I was born to be retired, but actually after having worked my entire life, it is so liberating to now have time for " me" that I am truly just loving my life right now.

Kaye Barley said...

Talli - thank you for those nice words!

Kaye Barley said...

Pat, you are welcome any time. That coffee pot is always on at our house

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Kaye -- now I'm off to tweet your guest appearance...

Meredith Cole said...

Always great to hear what you're up to, Kaye! Glad retirement has been so inspiring and liberating for you, and I'm looking forward to hearing more about your writing projects.

Jeremy Bates said...

I like this web site its a master peace !

Kaye Barley said...

Meredith - Hi! I will keep you posted (You KNOW that I will!) - Thank You.

Patricia has a great place to hang out, doesn't she?!

Sam Sattler said...

Kaye, what an inspirational piece this is... As I approach my own end-date of December 31, I am starting to get a little nervous about my immediate future of 2013 and beyond. Reading the thoughts of someone who is so obviously thrilled to be retired, makes me feel a whole lot better about my decision to call it a career at the end of the year. Thanks.

Susan said...

Great post, Kaye. I especially like the part about asking where you were ten years ago - it's a similar reflection that got me off my rear and writing seriously, even though I'm not yet near my own retirement. Great post, regardless of where a person is on the journey!

Kaye Barley said...

Sam - I think you are very well prepared for your retirement! You have many varied interests and your curiosity for learning new things will carry you far. I'm going to be watching what you do with great interest, my friend.

Susan - keeping that "Ten Year" thing in mind can be quite the motivator, I think. It's a way for me to think of life as a journey and a bit of an adventure if you're willing to put forth a little bit of effort. The rewards can be great! And if I've helped get you moving with your writing, then I've done a very good thing today - Yay!!!!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Kaye, your post has been a good reminder for me as well. It's too easy sometimes to forget how fast things can change. We not only need to spread our wings, but we need to stay in the air as long as we're able.

Thanks so much for this thoughtful post.

Mason Canyon said...

Pat, thanks for hosting Kaye.

Kaye, your post is inspiring no matter if you're retired or not. Happiness is not going to knock on our door, we have to open the door and go after it. Love your new library.

Thoughts in Progress

Ellis Vidler said...

Thank you, Kay. These are words to remember. I should post your blog somewhere so I'm reminded often. I don't want to waste my days when there are so many wonderful things still to be done.