Saturday, March 19, 2011

Retirement Issues - Seeking Identity

This morning I woke up and realized that I’m finally retired. I am no longer the Executive Director of a nonprofit federation. On my “to do” list: get new business cards, but I won’t be running off to Staples to get ones that read “Elaine M. Decker, Retiree.” Also unacceptable is: “Executive Director, Emerita;” it puts the focus on what I was, not what I am. It looks like I need to find a new identity.

Obviously, I’m a blogger. Some of you know I’m also a freelance writer. Combining those gives several choices. “Frogger” is the most obvious, and while I admit to being a Francophile, “frogger” sounds too condescending. It also reminds me of the nickname my brother’s dorm mates gave him when they learned his hometown was Green Pond.

“Flogger” is no improvement, as it implies that I beat my writing into submission. True, I edit a lot, and “wordsmith” may be a cousin to “blacksmith,” but I do not beat my words. Nor do I mince them. Slice them and dice them, perhaps. Massage them, certainly. But flog them? Never.

Then there is “freeger,” which sounds like some nefarious trade or a delivery method for illicit drugs. Switching the order of things gives me “bleeger,” which too closely resembles the surname of a tousle-haired young singer with first name Justin. “Bloglancer” feels too archaic for my edgy writing.

Some other hats I wear are marketer and web developer. That gives us “webmarker” and “marloper,” both of which leave me cold. Although I could live with “marvel,” it’s not a good fit with my self-deprecating tone.

Clearly the concatenation approach is not bearing usable fruit. I need to think more esoterically. I’m a philosopher (too stuffy) and a ruminator (conjuring up images that remind me that a post-retirement goal is to exercise more. Not something I'd want on my business cards.)

"Satirist" is a possibility, given my style, but I’d worry people would think “satyress,” considering how often wine shows up in my blog posts. "Entrepreneur" is another option, especially if it brings good karma so I make some money off my various ventures. Of course, we all know how likely that is.

As a last resort, I could always append a status word to the end of my name. Several of my attorney friends have cards that read: Legal Eagle, Esquire. Since I probe the pressing issues of our day, perhaps mine could read: Elaine M. Decker, Inquire (too much like a newspaper.) Or, looking to my desire to become the female Dave Barry: Elaine M. Decker, Aspire (too… well, aspirational.)

It looks like this is going to take some time to sort out. But I should probably make it a point to do it soon. The last thing I want is to have my cards read: Elaine M. Decker, Expired. It would give ironic new meaning to having the last word.

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