I live in what I have always thought of as a fairly average community. Macomb can be characterized by middle class families, nice homes, lots of chain restaurants, and plenty of malls. The traffic is always intense and the stores are always crowded. This remains true even in light of today's economy. Up until this summer, I thought I had a pretty good sense of where I live.
Something has changed, however, I am now looking at my community through the eyes of a retired person. I look at the people I encounter during the day as my peers. After all, we all belong to the club of folks able to hit the malls during the day and sip Starbucks at will. But I'm having a difficult time making it all fit. For one thing, I have noticed that this community is full of senior citizens! Nobody drives over 35 miles per hour during the day and stop signs, red lights, and yield signs are mere suggestions rather than rules. I don't know what happens during rush hour. The folks I am now aware of must scurry back to their homes by 4:00 PM.
As I continue to pursue my new identity as a retired person, I find it difficult to find my place. Being on the young side for retirement, I'm unable to identify with the senior citizens who emerge between the hours of 9:00 and 4:00. I haven't trained myself to slow down yet and when in traffic have to keep repeating the mantra,"you have no schedule to follow!" By the same token, harassed young moms carting around screaming children (and perhaps dreaming of the day when school resumes and they can experience some respite from parenting) seem light years away from my current reality. Is it possible I fall somewhere in between?
I'm sure the answer will present itself over time. When I start to fill my purse with sugar packets from the restaurant, or demand my free coffee from McDonald's,I'll know which direction I'm heading in. Although, I do find myself talking to random strangers at Target these days.............