A bit more than nine weeks ago, I was standing at the entrance of the Cathedral in Santiago, overwhelmed by the fact I had walked 500 km and saddened at the fact that the trek as I knew it, was over.
Little did I know that although I was at the end of one part of the journey, the other part was just beginning. “What part is that?” you may ask? The part that incorporates what I learned and lived on the Camino.
I spent 28 days doing the same things however part of that same daily ritual was the constant evolution of my changed view of life. From day to day, I relished in the beauty of the countryside, stood in awe of amazing buildings (or parts of buildings) full of incredible history and reviewed my life through known memories and to my greatest surprise, new memories!
I recognized that my new lifestyle would need to be different than my working lifestyle. I know could spend my days without deadlines, long hours of work and often pressure-ridden moments. However, I would also be without the excitement of “go live” days, without the massive team effort needed to complete our tasks, without the challenge of a new client, location and project presented all at once.
There were many many GREAT times during my work life, and there will be many many GREAT times during my retirement life. All will be different, but my challenge now is to recognize that even though this life style is much quieter and with less pressure, there will be opportunities to get the same level of satisfaction and achievement albeit in different ways.
My lessons from the Camino are still to be identified – some were apparent from the onset (such as taking more time to enjoy nature, history and the joy of quiet times) others will manifest themselves in their proper time.
The Camino was a fabulous transition journey from my corporate life to my retirement life. The Camino is a special place and time that allows for many “ah-ha” moments, insights and re-evaluation of life. I will always be grateful for this journey, and do plan on returning next year to include the part I didn’t experience (France and the Pyrenees and other Spanish cities).
Perhaps I will never truly recognize the total impact of my Camino journey. I just know now, that nine weeks ago, I felt my journey was ending, and today, I know it just was beginning a new chapter.