When days like today come along, and there have been plenty before today, I have to sit back and ask myself the question of when did I have time to work? Seriously! My job was not the kind of job that I could close my door and do what I needed to do with phone calls to insurance companies, doctors, plumbers, electricians, computer repairs and everyone else that it takes to keep your house and yourself up to par. Most definitely, it did not include being able to go on line for tickets to performances that my husband and I wanted to see. I also am thinking that when my husband and I got home from work, how we rushed around like crazy people to get dinner going, laundry moving through, dishwasher emptied or loaded, and an exercise routine or to stop off at the gym. How did we do it?
We ate dinner much later than we do now, which meant that we went to bed later and we got up each work day at 5:30 A.M. How? Now, that is the question that I ask myself. How did we do it? I know most days that 6 hours of sleep was the best that we could do, and we were lucky if we got that. Some how we managed on it. Now, with me retired and working from home, things have changed.
Things have changed for the better, that is for sure. I do have to pinch myself just to remind me that when days like today come along, which was just a constant interruption kind of day, it is okay. Things will work out in some kind of fashion, probably for the best. Each day I start with a short meditation and put a positive mantra up for myself on FaceBook. Today, before the day even got into the frenziness of it all, my quote was from Oprah, "Sometimes when you plan a little less, you experience a little more." YES! This is so very true. Another way of wording and interpreting this is that we all need to just go with the flow when 'stuff' starts to happen. It is all okay that your plan went out the window because you may actually get to experience new and unusual things that will surprise you in a good way.
For example, it is a sweet and infrequent treat when our daughter gets to stop in to say hi (and I might add with a no fat coffee frappuccino just for me). Also, the two of us schemed up a few wonderful gift ideas that just popped up out of nowhere. We took total advantage of that. I wish I could go into more detail on these two ideas, however our husbands read this blog and it would give too much away for now. Most definitely a future blog. Another interruption treat that was taking place was to get tickets to a local Shakespeare Company for Much Ado About Nothing for the holidays. All of these things that I am writing about came about with no prior planning. That is the beauty of letting a plan go or planning less in order to experience a bit more.
Speaking of holidays, trying to get gifts wrapped in a timely fashion without all being piled up as if to say to me that there is no way you can work ten hours a day, take care of your home life and wrap all of us. (much less shop for them all) I still repeat my question of how in the world did I have time? There is an answer. We make time. We do without needed sleep. Must we put some things on the back burner for a time? Yes! I was never really very good at that. Only when absolutely necessary did this happen in my life. Still working on that.
Probably the biggest surprise for me about retirement is not the fact that I am busier than I was when I was working a 50 - 60 hours a week; it is the fact that there are retired people who are bored. Actually, I had to do a little research on this subject in order to wrap my head around the concept. Now I do get it...we don't wait around for the Maytag repairman on a daily basis. Good thing, because who has that kind of money in retirement, much less when we were working in the "real world."
What the surprising thing was that they had not planned on any particular thing to occupy their time and their minds. It may take some trial and error activities to sort it all out, yet this is the fun of it all. Just start jotting down things that you did not have time to do when you worked that you wished you had been able to do. Let's see:
- learn a new language
- join a card club
- get involved in your family tree
- learn a new instrument
- community classes in cooking or other interests
- mentoring at a school
- rent an rv to see the United States
The list is endless. The point being is that we are only limited in what we can pursue by our own imagination. It is our own responsibility to fill our days with our own creative endeavors. Most other retirees that I talk to and meet are doing just this very thing in one way or another. Every once in a while, I hear from usually the child or the sibling of someone who is not taking to retirement so well. In fact, besides sleeping the day away, watching tv , not dressing or getting out, they are not doing much of anything to enjoy their sense of purpose because they lost it somewhere along the way. This is not how retirement is supposed to be.
Retirement is change. From long, long ago Socrates said so brilliantly, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Don't we all want to build the kind of life that makes us happy? Life doesn't come with a rewind, fast forward or pause button. Once it starts, it plays until it ends or until you press stop. Please don't press stop.