The editor of ‘finewiner’ has again asked me to write about how my process of retiring is going. Again, I don’t think I will write anything that is groundbreaking or new as this is a common process for most of us that have retired. Four months ago, I wrote how it was five months after closing my practice.
I mentioned then that I thought I had a ‘cause’ that seemed relevant to me—changing the outcomes of mentally ill and chemically dependent residents of our county jail. I was a strong advocate of starting a Suboxone treatment program for those with opioid dependence in the jail. To my surprise, a major grant was approved last week for this program. (Hoorah!) I was embarrassed a bit that in my time of meeting with the Sheriff, who lost the last election, that this grant was in process of being approved as we spoke. This made it clearer to me that I was outside the system and therefore, I might not have any influence.
This has been interesting as it brings up my disappointment and also how strongly I’ve tied my identity to my past. Clearly this is a ‘failure path’ for me. The Buddhists comment about how “all life is suffering.” As I understand their comment, part of the suffering comes from attachment to ‘things.’ For me, my attachment to my ego/identity has caused some suffering. In the old days when working I’d come across many clients that had been disappointed in something. My advice to them, and now to me was, “Lower the bar.” Lower your expectations of what it is they (me) are looking for.
My next attempt will be to find something that I can directly do myself without the support of a ‘system.’ I talked to a woman who seems close to homelessness herself last week. She gave me a great idea of talking with the school counselor at the local, new elementary school, as this person will know the specific kids that come to school with clothes that don’t fit, or shoes that don’t fit or have holes in them. I am not wealthy, but my wife and I have more than enough and I’d rather buy some clothes or shoes for some kid than to buy some new thing for my motorcycle.
This happens to be Martin Luther King Day as I write this and I’m reminded of his thoughts that until everyone is ‘free,’ nobody is free. Perhaps I can do something to lessen the suffering in my own community. Maybe over time, I can find others with similar ideas.