Our life is full of choices. Always choices. If not just do or don't, but always choices, more often multiple choices, some never going away, patiently persisting on the sidelines of your mind and memory, "Oh, I forgot about..." And then, there in the foreground of your mind. We make the moment we wake up (to rise or stay under the covers a little more) to the time we put our head on the pillow and close our eyes from the day.
And when we retire, choices don't disappear. They don't even dwindle to fewer or lesser ones. It's the nature of life today. We face the same choices just to get through life. It's age independent. But when we retire we are faced with the ultimate one, what to do with time. Our time.
When I chose to retire, I also chose to start a new career, to further develop my photography into something better and a personal business. Little, and naively, did I know how much that entails for time and effort. I also added I wanted to get back into shape from sitting in the office for too many years. And then I wanted to develop my own Website and work on a photography guide to Mt. Rainier NP.
And now almost four years later, I'm still working at all of it, but I'm also noticing the choices aren't disappearing or dwindling but adding as I get older. More to do and more to learn. And the world keeps getting larger with even more choices every day. Nothing is constant, especially the choices, and not even me.
I didn't realize how the photography work would go. I bought a digital camera system to help and a 4x5 system to enjoy and learn. I expected to get the personal business started in 3-5 years, but to o what I didn't know. I now produce photo cards and prints for family, friends and others wanting them for gifts, announcements, thank-you's, etc. I haven't yet decided how much to become commerical.
The problem I've learned is that every time I do photography I feel guilty I'm not working on something else or just taking care of all the stuff of life I've put aside all these years thinking retirement would be good for it, but I haven't done it. And I've discovered that approaching 60, my health and fitness aren't what I had planned, so doing photography is more work than before or thought.
So, there are weeks the camera bags sit ready to go. They pick up their ears when they hear me coming into the office, and they stretch their feet to wander toward the door to get in the way and remind me what camera gear is for, taking photos. And all too often this last year or so I've simply stepped around them or moved them aside for other things, saying, "Sorry, guys, maybe another day."
I also didn't realize where the photography guide would go. I only knew I wanted to produce the first book version in 5-7 years. I knew I wanted to develop the book to market to a publisher, and if not, then self-publishing through the Website. But to do that I needed to learn the production side. And alas, I learned what it takes to get, run and use a computer for photography, Website work, and a book.
In short, more time than I had, after you subtract life and everything else that knocks on the door wanting your attention and time, and expending energy chasing problems or something you didn't cause, didn't want, but found you anyway. It's the rule of entropy of life, more energy lost in the friction of situations and events, not contributing to anything except being spent.
The fact is that sitting still or doing nothing anymore will only find yourself going backward relative to everything else. And the reality is that not only is the body just not what it was, it's slower and less able, meaning just geting old. And it seems true to form, problems wait until you're retired to find you.
In short, the harder I try, the more tired I get and the longer the body takes to recover. It's not new, just new to me. And it's the limitations my body has, as we're given. The reality of being and being older. There's no choice there except keep trying and keep going. Otherwise, the alternative isn't all that fun.
And I'm always living on the edge of my Dysthymia. Again, no choice there, it's what I'm given. Only the choices are how to live with it and get on with life. Sometimes like the evening winter rain here, darkness outside, rain falling all around, and only the light I make inside to see. The weight of the world, life and all the choices, many not made or lying around waiting.
And that's it. Simply choices. And those we make, whether we make them or not.