Walking Serendipitously.

Retirement – what a wonderful new adventure. After years, or perhaps even decades of living a very prescribed life with all of its security and predictability, I have launched into a new adventure that feels more dependent on the fluidity of a moment. It sounds exciting, but I have decades of habits in place and it can be pretty unnerving to feel so little control over the path ahead when derailment can lurk at each turn.

I have always enjoyed the notion of the phrase, “all who wander are not lost” but maybe it was the militant declaration I actually loved. Suddenly, I find myself asking what that actually means? If I don’t have a map I feel lost. I plan and list and run scenarios and make contingency plans and habitually over-think. It is exhausting.

These last couple of months, however, I am also beginning to understand the benefit of letting go. I wasn’t always so plan heavy and can vaguely remember my early 20s when I was driven by discovery and celebrated the surprise benefits of living in the moment. I wasn’t afraid to turn on a dime and head a new direction knowing that all of the possibilities had the potential to be wonderful. It was exhilarating and imbued with hope. That is the wander!

I can feel change happening. I can feel it in my day to day structure as I determine when or IF a plan is needed and I can feel it in my work. It is true that planning is necessary for budgets, for meal planning, for scheduling social events, and more. On the other hand, planning for potential negative scenarios with their probability ranking too low to give any credibility to, is self sabotaging. It will take me a little time to break some seriously bad habits but thankfully the change is already happening.

I have been gifted the opportunity to wander several times these last two months and gratefully, have a husband who is helping me keep the planning more fluid. We are allowing ourselves the flexibility to talk about wants and needs and change our minds as much as we want. We didn’t build in excessive plans and commitments and we enjoyed the simplicity. We found ourselves remembering what we liked and didn’t like about historical reenactments and reaffirm why we continue to do them. It is a gift to be able to look at all kinds of behavior in my life and decide, like I would a poker hand, what should stay and go. Once a person allows themselves the grace to change after objective introspection it begins to pick up speed, and feeds peace.

Throughout this process I have no doubt that it will directly impact my work and I daresay it can only be positive. Last week I began a 16 x 20 oil on canvas of a photo taken of me several years ago. I started to feel uncomfortable with it and realized that I wasn’t fond of the size or layout. I found myself staring at a half done canvas and realized I couldn’t go on. That isn’t unique. What happened next was. I decided that I could choose to change it. Paintings, while in process, aren’t precious! They are merely insight of what is going on in me as I synthesize what I see and should not ever have the power to dictate my actions. This is a breakthrough for me. I decided to take it off the stretcher bars, find an oddball size frame in the basement (I have too many to admit to), and crop this silly thing to see if it’s redeemable. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t but I get to choose.

In the weeks and months ahead I will no doubt continue to evolve and grow and become. I like that idea. We have an art show in Freeport, Illinois next Sunday and several historical events coming later in September as well. It will be good to go into the fall with an open perspective, and even though I don’t know what the future holds for us I am celebrating the growing happiness I feel. I will pop back in here and show you how this painting turned out – actually, it is my intent to be more active here overall.