Somehow I thought when I retired I would be writing more, at least that was one of my goals. Instead, in my first semester of retirement, I taught just about half-time as a substitute for my old district, and I started doing more as a pastoral minister for my church. People often mention to me about ‘all the time you have now’, and not always kindly.
It took me the first semester to truly separate myself from my old job. Substituting so much was part of it, and I appreciate the trust and the money that goes with being a sub, but I often felt like a retired ranch owner who had sold out only to go back to work as a hired hand on the old place. It just wasn’t the same, nor should it be.
Now I have achieved some emotional separation and one reason is the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I have written about it before, but in a strange twist of fate, being ‘retired’ earned me more money than I would have made had I stayed fully employed by the same district. People have been driven near crazy with my focus on the pilgrimage: some have been supportive, some just think I am crazy. It is fair to say I have been a little obsessive at the thought I might really live it rather than dream it. I have saved enough money that I bought tickets, and made arrangements, and upped the daily walking mileage, but who was it that said “Man proposes, God disposes”?
A couple of days ago a test showed I might have a serious medical condition. I have received a ‘false positive’ on the same test before, but it is one that can’t be ignored. While various bureaucracies have fought for several days about scheduling and paying for the test, I have pondered about losing my trip, and losing my life. Of course, being a normal human being, losing the trip seems much more likely, and yet the other is inevitable, sooner or later.
Somehow since I retired time moves faster, not slower for me. I am conscious of the fact that I have ‘more yesterdays than tomorrows’ in a way that is much more real to me than it used to be. This is not to say that I am morbid about my life, quite the contrary! I am just very determined to use my time wisely.
I have done all that I can for my family in terms of financial security. I think I have done all that I can to get my children launched into life, and then to not interfere, too much, in how they choose to live. I have made whatever impact I can as a teacher; for good or ill that time is past. I think I provide a service as a pastoral minister, but the parish would survive quite nicely if I did not do what I do. So what to do with my time? Not so much ‘what I want to” as much ‘what I need to’, and I need to go to Spain.
The Camino will take me about 33 days of walking. Counting travel time I may be gone for six weeks. I am not sure why it is so important to me to go, but I know it is important, and if I can get on the plane in 36 days I will. I do not feel the least bit guilty about asking for six weeks out of 57-plus years to do something that is important to me. I feel time is “slippin” and I need to go.