I've been retired almost three months, and if you were to peruse my Facebook account, you might think all I do is hike all day, every day, and that every day is pretty perfect. But that would be wrong.
Here is a pretty picture of a lake I hiked to recently:
What you don't see: the first mile and a half was as icy as a skating rink. I slid even with spikes on. I giggled inwardly as I caught up to and passed some young guys in their 20s, but then double timed it to stay ahead of them. I carried my snowshoes nine miles and didn't need them. Not having eaten, I ate chocolate like a wild dingo at the lake and then discovered it was 500 calories. On the way back I heard a loud noise in the woods and yelled Hey Bear loudly as I slid down the trail.
Last week I didn't post much on Facebook. That's because I was crankily perched in front of my computer, completing a helicopter manager refresher in Microsoft Teams so that I can stay current and still go on fire assignments. The cats walked across the keyboard, attempting to send messages in the chat. My camera refused to turn off for awhile after I stopped talking (the horror!) A glitch locked me out of the meeting for an hour. Meanwhile, it was sunny and in the 50s outside.
Other days, I wake up and don't feel like gathering all my cold weather gear and driving a long way to a trailhead. Hiking with friends is still logistically complicated; often we take separate cars due to covid, leaving cell service and hoping everyone will make it to the trailhead. Some days I just drag myself to the gym in the middle of the day, joining the ranks of people who seem too young to be retired, and either are remote workers or have trust funds. It's not very exciting, so gym pictures rarely make the cut.
When I was still working, I fiercely envied retired people. I imagined their lives to be carefree. Time, I thought, would slow down. Well, nope. It's great not to be working, but there are still plenty of bills to pay. Days seem to hurtle by even faster than ever. And if you were considered an expert in your field, you are suddenly not relevant. It's a lot to process.
So, for every trail photo you see on social media, there are exciting nights devoted to reading books (Nomadland: read it) and eating cookies. It's not bad, but it's not perfect either. It's just life.
|I hope my snowshoes enjoyed riding in my pack for 9 miles|