This blog project has been enormously therapeutic for me as I prepare for retirement. Sometimes I’m amazed that people keep reading because it feels awfully self-centered to keep writing about myself, and I don’t like being the center of attention, but the whole purpose of the blog is for me to write my way through this last year, so I guess it’s a paradox I have to live with. The comments and emails readers have shared, and the quick face-to-face conversations I’ve had with other readers continue to astonish and overwhelm me. Thank you all.
I’m starting to realize that I have to go through a grieving process that has already begun. I have to let go, to separate from this school and this huge chunk of my life. All things must end.
But how can it end when I’m not finished?
Those people who know me fairly well are familiar with my constant attention to Myers-Briggs personality types. This summer I became certified to administer the instrument, which of course deepens my interest. I’ve been teaching it to my students for ten or more years, and that’s what we’ve been doing recently in my classes, so lately it’s been in the front of my head even more than usual.
My type is “INFP,” and I’m convinced that’s why this whole retirement thing is hard for me. There are many web sites devoted to Myers-Briggs type theory, and www.personalitypage.com says this:
When an INFP has adopted a project or job which they’re interested in, it usually becomes a “cause” for them. Although they are not detail-oriented individuals, they will cover every possible detail with determination and vigor when working for their “cause.”
One other characteristic of people who share the “P” or “Perceiving” way of ordering their life is that starting new projects is appealing, and we often begin with extreme enthusiasm. We may have trouble finishing, though, and that may be another part of the equation here as well.
Teaching has been my quest for nearly a quarter century, and it has continued to gain momentum as time has passed. Of course it will be hard for me to stop! In applying logical thinking to this point, I just need to find a new cause and throw myself into it wholeheartedly.
I think I’ll start by throwing myself into the Christmas spirit. The mall opens at 9:00 this morning, and I’ll join the throngs of shoppers, FINISH my list, dig out the Christmas decorations, put up the tree, wrap everything, bake some cookies, and then . . . we’ll just see what comes next.