The Definition of Retirement
By Annie Benjamin
The traditional definition of retirement is “withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life”(Websters). That is certainly the meaning that I accepted growing up: a vision of parents and grandparents moving to the sun belt and doing nothing but sitting in the sun and eating early dinners! Not that this is a BAD goal in life IF it is something that will make you feel happy and fulfilled.
I prefer a more esoteric definition which comes from the old French word “sospiral” which means a vent, or deep breathe. There is also a more common but hidden description of the word in the dictionary as “a place of privacy or seclusion… a retreat.” Certainly I feel as if I have RETREATED to a place of greater calm and peace. But this is not to say that breathing deeply comes easily! I think the results of stress and a face paced profession build up almost like scar tissue inside one’s soul. You need to LEARN to shed this layer slowly to really feel a sense of balance and joy.
For me this process has meant not judging myself for taking the time to experience life at a slower pace: lingering in the green market to talk to the farmers, staying a bit after yoga class before rushing back out into the busy city…reading a book in the middle of the afternoon…planning a good meal and taking my time to prepare it. These are just a few examples. I still wake up to WCBS radio in the morning as I have for 40 some odd years but I listen DIFFERENTLY. I care about what goes on in the world but not because it will affect what my day at work is like but because it makes me aware of how small my problems often are in the face of global tragedy. Perhaps I am learning to be less self centered and more intent on sending my happiness out into the world as best I can. As I said not an overnight achievment but it is my goal as I continue finding my new path.
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About the Author: Ann Benjamin is a 30 year veteran of ABC NEWS where she was the director for programs such as World News, Nightline, 20/20, and major special events. In the fall of 2010 she followed her heart and left that world to pursue her dream of teaching yoga. In July 2011 she was certified by Laughing Lotus NYC. She now divides her time between her passion for yoga and those media projects which she finds interesting and rewarding. Check out her website at www.inlightyoganyc.com.