It’s interesting being on the outside. I think everyone at my former department imagines that retiring from police work is wonderful, exhilarating and relaxing. They live vicariously, by making comments about how lucky you are, how jealous they are, how they can’t wait and isn’t it “the best?.” I think each of us has a unique experience, some grand, some… not so much.
For me, it’s been in the not so much category. Of course, we each retire to our own personal circumstances – family, relationship, physical and emotional health. I am certainly not going to bore you with the list of tough stuff. I think a few things will give you the idea.
I have always been a workaholic. I’ve also always been a workaholic that is emotionally connected to everything I do. It’s how I am made up. It’s strange not knowing all the inner workings of my former department. Not knowing how my team members are faring. I️ do miss being privy to some pending arrests or heady investigation, but it is the human piece that I️ miss much, much more. I miss the humor, the snide remarks and the laughter. I miss the taking care of others – not only community, but my colleagues. I guess I miss the belonging.
When it comes to crime, I️ turn to Berkeleyside for local tidbits, but knowing all too well about public information and/or “transparency” (yes, add air quotes there), I️ am not learning much. Is ignorance, is the not knowing, the bliss?
It’s been a strange transition, this going from 100% blue wool, Kevlar chested, badge wearing woman to….community member. Yes, community member. A 50 something woman driving her electric car (not a Leaf – gratefully, not a Tesla – disappointedly) around town. I️ still feel stuck in between. Stuck in this strange gray place that I️ don’t want to be.
As I️ head to my yoga class, (a new post retirement thing), I️ see a patrol car pass. Yes, of course, I️ always look. Is it BPD? (City of Berkeley Police Department) Naw, it’s Albany, it’s Kensington, it’s BART, it’s El Cerrito, it’s sometimes UC Berkeley police or Alameda County Sheriff Transit…. I️ had forgotten how many agencies passed through this city. Oh, there’s BPD. The officer is driving with purpose, eyes fixed ahead. I️ wonder what’s going on, but do I️ truly want to know? I am in that gray place again.
I’ve been hiding out more than I should. I’ve been posting occasional photos of my pup on Instragram. I wasn’t one for social media before I retired, but I am still pretty wary of the privacy issues. It is a strange way to stay “connected” or is it me trying to belong? I’ve been trying to figure it out.
This blog has served a purpose. It has been more use to me than anyone else. A curative, therapeutic process as I negotiated the last years of my career. I hope it touched someone as that is all I had hoped for. I know it has helped me.