A high-powered executive decides to dedicate her retirement to a spiritual, emotional, and physical transformation in this debut journal of a New Age seeker.
For 36 years, Ramsey was the main breadwinner for her family, working in the upper echelons of retail administration to support an affluent lifestyle for herself and her stay-at-home husband, Rich, who did most of the work to maintain their household. As her retirement approached, she found herself suddenly demoted from VIP to PIP: “a previously important person,” facing the daunting prospect of structuring a new life and identity to fill her free schedule. She approached the task with gusto, devoting herself to “meditation, exercise, healthy food, painting, studying, and time with friends.” As her retirement began, she made a commitment to document her journey in a daily journal for one year. The author’s process includes both the sublime, such as a trip to a luxury retreat in Arizona and a European odyssey, and the mundane, from the sleepless frustration of training a new puppy to the agonizing trauma of trying to help a self-destructive sibling make more life-affirming choices. Throughout the pivotal year, Ramsey’s tone is open and inquisitive, whether examining the changes in sexuality in long-term relationships or the differences and similarities between Islam and Christianity. The author is a committed and candid diarist, disclosing the missteps and insecurities as well as the pleasures and achievements of her retired life. Her writing is conversational and cogent, and some sections provide a short course in the religious principles that Ramsey studied during the year. Some readers may tire of the overly detailed descriptions of sustainably produced dinners and puppy pooping schedules that make the text seem repetitious and overlong. Others may be alienated by the unacknowledged privilege of the author and Rich’s situation, which allows them to leave their two unruly dogs to attend obedience school without them as they depart for a tour of Europe. But the depiction of a family’s struggle to help an addicted relative is heartfelt, and Ramsey’s quest to find meaning in life after her busy career is documented with openness and sincerity.
A revealing, if at times tedious, chronicle of the first year of a corporate executive’s retirement.