I've decided to retire. People look at me funny when I say I am a retired teacher, since I am only 35. But life is too short and far too precious to waste it doing anything that is not fantastically rewarding. I see this as a blessing for my life, but also a rebellion from society. Society expects: you will go to college, major in something "useful", get a job in that field, work very hard in one career for 45 years, and retire with a pension; you will work from 9-5 but then also work a little over the weekend and be "on call" at your cell phone all other times; you will feel frazzled, frantic, unfulfilled, and like a failure because you are never good enough, there is never enough time, and you can't ever seem to find what you are looking for. Society thinks all of this is ok. Nay, even good.
But I don't believe any of that. I believe we should seek the most important parts of life all the time, and now. Your bucket list shouldn't be something you do once you retire just before you die. You shouldn't have to wait until you are 70 and physically compromised and mentally exhausted to learn to play the ukulele, attend a dance class, travel to Sicily, or ride a horse. You can't wait until you retire to play more with your children because they will be grown. You can't wait until you retire to enjoy the company of your parents because they might not be living. You can't wait until you are retired because too many people are robbed of life before they can retire.
So, I am going to write, dance, quilt, sing, garden, paint, and figure out ways to share this happiness with others. I will read voraciously, I will perfect those hard songs on the piano, I will play with my children every moment I can, I will invest time in simplifying my life and staying in touch with friends. And if I work a little to make money, that will not be who "I am", nor will it be some marker of failure. I am indefinable.