One of the consequences of moving gradually from full-time working to retirement is the need to travel and  be away from home. This is something I do not like. I miss our new home. I miss the rhythms of working in the garden, daily shopping in the market, tending to the garden, drawing and preparing meals. I also miss time to read and reflect. These road trips vacuum a lot out of me. While I try to make the most of each trip, it still is draining—which further heightens my desire to be home.

While I would love to be fully retired, it is simply not possible. It is not possible for many reasons but the most important is my obligation to finish what I started. This was so engrained in me by my parents that I could not jettison these obligations without some serious psychological implications. Architecture, and the attendant process, is a long term endeavor.  Do right, it creates deep bonds with the clients and the communities. Libraries take many years from the expression of need to completion. In some cases this can be more than a decade. It is crucial for me to see many of my existing clients through to the finish line. Luckily for me, MSR has developed a very talented pool of second generation leaders—so this process is smooth. However, there are things that I am able to contribute that can be pivotable. Besides this, I see the need to be creatively engaged as not work.

So, while I will continue to resist taking on new clients, it does not preclude it from happening. Why? Because my nature is optimistic and generous. I like helping people. Giving gives back. Yet herein lies the conundrum. Letting go demands I not do this. Not doing this requires a denial of an inner drive. This conflict is creating a conflict that will be played out over the next few years. Compounding this vicious circle is my feeling that my days may be less than the actuarial tables predict. While this may seem fatalistic, it is really me just expression a deep hunch. Of course, I am trying to do all I can to forestall this—eating well, exercising, keeping mentally active and resting better. But what will be will be. At least I can be content with the knowledge that I am being both careful and responsible.

We shall see if the I can release the vacuum.


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