In 2015 I retired.
Not like my father retired, with a pension, a long dreamed about move up north, and extended bouts of driving around North America in a camper. And not the kind you read about on the web, where a pair of 35 year olds have managed to save half of every paycheck they ever earned and are now cutting loose to live the #vanlife.
Retirement was imposed on me. I left a corporate role – a role that was core to my identify, and that I imagined was challenging and rewarding – due to disability.
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2011. Four years later, despite deep brain stimulation in 2014, movement was increasingly difficult when I was under the tiniest amount of stress. My executive function was gone. I couldn’t sleep, didn’t know how to nourish myself. I couldn’t do my job. Sometimes I could barely move.
So my partner and I embarked on a journey. We sold our home. Moved to the northern lower Peninsula of Michigan (aka up north). Spent some time mourning the past and wasted some energy being angry over the PD.
As I write this, it is 2017. And I am ready to do this retirement thing. To let go of my corporate persona. To heal my body, and to feed my soul. To live in the most alive way I can. This next leg of my journey seems to be about optimizing my life with Parkinson’s and being a resource for others who are wondering what they will do all day when they don’t go to work.
For me this looks (right now) like repairing 40 years of stress on my brain and body by slowing down, resting more, and taking the time to discover what true health is all about. Learning, and then building new habits. I’ll share what I’m learning on this blog, and I’d love to hear about your journey too.