Monday, July 26, 2010

Treading Water

I've been thinking about treading water all day.  Earlier I left a comment, in my arrogant, self-assured way, on another blogger's post asking her if she felt she was treading water.  When I read her post I felt strongly that, although she was writing about being dissatisfied with her life,  she was refusing to take any action to change anything.  Kinda like treading water.  Why is it that it is easy to see patterns of behavior in other people, but so darn hard to figure out your own?

So instead of working on the grant I'm supposed to be writing for a local school, here I am reflecting on treading water.  Retirement has been a little like floating down a gentle river.  I bob along, quite enjoying the ride, going wherever the river takes me.  I don't know where the current is taking me; I'm just treading water.  I have done nothing to guide my passage on the journey.

When I was working it was important to have goals.  I was always reaching for the next thing.  I was always taking a class or completing some certification and building my resume.  It was important to move forward. 

In retirement I haven't had external pressure to move forward.  Today I asked myself if, just perhaps, it was okay to not move forward but to just bob along and tread water.  Would I be happy with no goals, no direction?  Is it enough just to enjoy?  Is an occasional dynamite blog post or witty comment in the forum enough? Perhaps reading, writing, and building my extensive knowledge of television is enough?  Mixed in between vacations to tropical beaches, cruises and trips to see the grandchildren of course.   Or, maybe the bigger question is, can I enjoy retirement without a sense of accomplishment? 

Okay, I need one of you self-assured and arrogant readers out there to give me the obvious insight I can't see from my perspective.


  1. Not self-assured or arrogant, but experienced! Just kidding! I went through the same phases, the feeling that I was threading water. Seven years later, I'm accepting my laziness, my lack of goals. The way I see it, you only have a few years to do just what you want before health problems or some other necessity bumps you from your perch.

    I began my retiment almost resentful. I too felt I had way too much to contribute to be sitting around. So, I volunteered, ran for office, spread myself around. It worked for a while; now, though, I realize I don't have to do anything for anybody; living a day at a time, spending time the way I want, is a wonderful feeling.

    So, go ahead and feel guilty. You spent time earning a living, contributing to society. Now, take your time to think about how you want to spend the rest of your days.

  2. Interesting thoughts. I, personally, think it's a mixture of both.

    In defense of those "treading", let it be known that prior to this current state of bobbing along, there has been definite moves in some directions (won't go into them here).

    I see it more as a two steps up, one step back sort of dance, rather than a holding pattern.

    Although, admittedly, sometimes I feel like the wind up toy that has run into an obstacle, but whose wheels continue to spin.

    I think where you are in life is completely different, and what I envision you doing is more "going with the flow" rather than treading.

    Thanks for your insight!

  3. I would sort of side with Kate and lake on this one.

    You appear to be drifting down a calm river you created for yourself with the work and labor you provided. Now Kick back and enjoy the ride. Stop for a swim once in a while or just ride it all the way to the end. Your Labor got you there, Your Choices to do what and when you want.

    Being a bit younger than you but having a stuck at home situation(you know why Nana), Live it up while you have the chance and Enjoy every minute of it because we never know when.

  4. Just a slight difference in perspective: Have you given all you want to give to the world yet, except for your family and your grandchildren?

    If yes, enjoy the float!

    If no, what's left?

  5. This is a misquote, but I think it applies nonetheless:

    "How dull is he who, full of care, can find no time to stand and stare".

  6. I have no words of wisdom. You post has given me a lot to think about. I want to retire soon!!

  7. A friend of mine once wisely advised, "Just ride the horse in the direction it's going." I don't think goals are the be-all-end-all because when one is focused on them, s/he can lose sight of the process. And sometimes, the process teaches wonderful lessons. Too, there's nothing wrong with treading or floating. Either way, you're not sinking!

  8. I think that once one has left the life where one's goals are more or less imposed upon one, there might well be a period of drifting happily. Goals will appear, but they will be goals born of one's own interests.
    Example: I have no interest in studying birds, keeping track of the birds I see daily. But if I had Daily Time To Observe, I'd learn a lot more without a lot of effort, just interest.

    I think there's not a lot wrong with treading water. Thrashing and gasping and floundering, and not checking, from time to time, to see where the shoreline is in order to head that way. There's something a trifle self-indulgent about that.


Related Posts with Thumbnails