Friday, October 28, 2011

I Am What I Am

It is very interesting to be "retired".  In previous blogs, I have talked about the ideas that are elicited by this word, but it is a very unique experience to go through.  When I turned 50, I rejoiced in the fact that I liked myself, and I didn't care a lot about what others thought about me.  I was my own woman who had accomplished a lot in her career and life.  I didn't have my youth, but I had my experiences and the wisdom that came from them.  I liked that!  However, now that I am "retired", I am finding that I am at times a bit insecure about myself!

Let me start by saying that I have wonderful friends.  However, most of them are much younger than I am.  I also have a husband who is the same age but very physically fit.  I, on the other hand, am not!  Intellectually, I think I'm doing great, but I am a very quiet person.  I am not dramatic, beautiful, funny, clever, or particularly social.  I am a true introvert!  Many people think that introverts don't like being with others, are socially awkward, or can't speak in front of a group.  I was a teacher.  I was a high level professional who addressed a room full of people easily.  I was a human resource professional who liked working with people.  So, that is not a true definition of an introvert.  It is all about how you re-energize!  

My husband is very quiet but he is truly an extrovert.  He gets jazzed by being with people!  He loves groups of people and is very comfortable no matter what-even if he doesn't know anyone else there.  This gives him lots of energy.  I, on the other hand, prefer small gatherings, talking one-on-one and parties where I know most everyone.  Parties and new people exhaust me!  I am friendly, smiling, can hold a conversation, enjoy myself, but it saps my energy.  I need to be alone to recharge!  

As a result, alone time is very important to me.  However, I am finding that I now have too much (I can't believe I am saying this) alone time!  Working provided a nice balance: seeing people during the day, recharging at night.  Granted, it was sometimes hard to socialize on the weekends because I needed more time alone, but I did have a better balance.  

My friends are lovely!  They are open, giving, smiling, energetic, clever, funny, attractive, sexy, make-you-feel-good people. Now that I have enough time alone to recharge, I am eager to socialize on the weekends.   I just feel boring and uninteresting.  A term that was used at work a lot in the last few years was "value added".  In my retirement, I started wondering what value I add, and then I had a moment that has seemed to bring my balance back!

Have you ever seen "La Cage Aux Folles"?  My husband and I recently saw the Broadway Tour of this musical.  We had seen it many years ago, and I loved The Birdcage which was the movie version.  However, this time it spoke to me in a different way.  If you have ever seen it, you know that there is a riveting, emotional scene at the end of Act I where the much-maligned character of Albin sings "I Am What I Am".  The words to the first verse are:
I am what I am
I am my own special creation.
So come take a look,
Give me the hook or the ovation.
It's my world that I want to take a little pride in,
My world, and it's not a place I have to hide in.
Life's not worth a damn,
'Til you can say, "Hey world, I am what I am."

This is how I felt when I turned 50.  This is how I again feel about myself.  I am a great believer that you have to be aware of the world around you, because there are messages and lessons for you if you look for them.  I believe that this message was there for me as a reminder.  It seems to have reset the balance for me.  So, here I am; take me for what I am-no more and no less!  Be joyful in who you are and in the world around you.

Have you found your joy today?

No comments:

Post a Comment