1. : point, apex: asa : a point of transition (as from one historical period to the next) : turning point; also : edge, verge <on the cusp of stardom>
(from Merriam-Webster online dictionary)
A cusp is a point that marks the beginning of a change. Being on the cusp of something means you are facing change, usually a big change.
Cusps are uncomfortable things. There’s always a “bated breath” feel about them, a hovering between things past and things future, with only uncertainty ahead—and possible instability, insecurity and dismay.
Maybe that’s just me.
That’s where I am now: teetering on the edge of a new beginning. I am about to retire. After 45 years of working (I started very, very young), I am now contemplating a life free of wage work and structure, free of determining my days according to someone else’s priorities.
I’ve been looking forward to it for years. I’ve enjoyed my working life tremendously, but just thinking of all the free time I will have to write leaves me giddy with joy. It sounds like a grand adventure, doesn’t it?
But that’s the thing about adventures: they are uncomfortable, sometimes even dangerous. What if I’m leaving too early? Should I have a fatter cushion before I throw myself off the ledge?
And what about the social aspects? I’m an introvert, so I get most of my social needs met at work, interacting with colleagues and clients. Will I now turn into that strange lady who lives down the street?
The future is a little murky.
But really, is it that much different from how I write my stories? With every story I start, I am sailing off into the darkness, with no idea where I’m going or what’s going to happen…
I may be in trouble…
But… I mean… the process works for me. I never know where I’m going to end up in my stories, but that’s what keeps the process interesting for me. It keeps me writing. So, maybe we all have our own ways of coping with change, and cusps. Maybe this retirement thing will work out, after all.
Now, please excuse me—I have to go check my sails.
What about you? Any “cusps” in your life? How have you dealt with the major changes you’ve encountered? With panic? Grace?
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