Writing this piece feels strangely like whining, yet I do not intend it to be that way. After all, life is treating me well. I am having a very good time; keeping active and productive. Still, I feel a need to write about how it feels to be done with a major life-changing project. Perhaps it might offer something to others. If not, writing this today was an activity other than cross-stitching or cooking or practicing music (or being the doggy door-keeper). That is, in fact, relevant to the topic - filling the void left by something that used to fill your time.
Some years back, I retired from my full-time career - teaching. The void left in my days made room for a process of self-examination that led to my rebirth, not just as a woman, but as someone aware of her inner motivations to a much greater degree. Working had not just filled my days; it had occupied my time to the exclusion of nearly everything else. That process of self-examination took the place of work in a very real way - occupying a large part of each day. I became both learner and teacher while discovering what it means to be me.
When one retires, a danger lies in having a void in self-identification. When we are introducing ourself to others how do we do it?
"Hello, my name is Halle. I am ..."
We fill in that blank space with our place in the world as defined by marriage or not, children or not, and often, what we do for a living. For me, being a teacher (and, therefore, a learner as well) was much more than a job; it defined my personality. I am a teacher by nature. These days dear K gets to be on the receiving end of my need to teach and study, poor thing. She doesn't seem to mind though.
Having transitioned is a retirement of sorts; a huge, all-consuming project now complete to a very great extent. Certainly it is a pleasant change to wake in the morning and be greeted by thoughts having nothing to do with dysphoria . If I think about anything to do with my body when awakening now, it has to do with a trip to the loo. I definitely do not miss those feelings of misplacement. Yet, there is a void left that feels strange to me.
I am guessing that the teacher/learner still wants a place in my life. One very intense focus for learning has been removed. To replace it will require a heady experience, filled with a feeling of adventure.
It may be that those activities mentioned earlier will have to suffice; yet arts and crafts are not life-changing in themselves. So it seems I shall have to either become satisfied with learning the finer points of needlework and the world of oboe reeds (a lifetime study I've heard) or find another intense focus to chew upon.
Hmm ... the weather is getting pleasant here. Might be time to get the golf clubs out and dream about the satisfying click the club can make when contacting the ball properly.