January 2, 2021. (Why do I hear William Shatner’s voice when I write that date?) Two months ago, today, we arrived home after seven months and three days on the road. I ended the vacation of my dreams and officially entered retirement (I keep referring to it as graduation for some odd reason). In those two months, I have learned a lot about myself and my husband who you would think I had nothing new to learn about after knowing him almost my whole life. What I have I learned? I’m a list maker so here’s a list.
- My natural state is inertia. Unless I have a to do list, a deadline, or a crisis, I am content to sit in a chair with my eyes closed dreaming of things I could be doing. So, sometimes, I invent a reason to get up now and do something. Dreaming of a garden? Then, it must be completed by Thanksgiving. Dreaming of a quilted table runner? Invite friends to dinner, and I sew like a mad woman.
- I am made for a schedule. If left to my own devices, I will sleep until Noon, wear my pajamas all day and not start supper until 8:00 PM. I always suspected I was a night owl, but workdays and the need for sleep prevented that type of schedule. I miss a lot by sleeping the day away. And Glen is a rooster ready to start a project by 7 so sleeping late, I miss time with him as well.
- I have ADD when it comes to housework. I wander around (in my pajamas) and start emptying the dishwasher. One second later, I become distracted by the dog hair under the fridge. I go to the bedroom to make the bed and emerge two hours later with a clean closet. Or I don’t do anything at all and sit on the couch reading all day and at 9 at night look up to find a disaster area.
- I have a lot more ideas than money. I live on a fixed income now. One that is half what I made when I was working. But I keep spending like I still have a paycheck coming in.
- I miss working in an office. In an office, away from the dogs and the house and a husband, I was more efficient. I got things done. I was the woman who people came to for solving problems. Now, I can’t even remember what day it is. And don’t even talk about how many bills have been paid late because I forget about them.
- I am content with my own company. I forget I have friends. I sleep late, don’t get dressed, post on social media and repeat my days with no routine. Then, someone calls and invites me to lunch or suggests a class. The lazy side of me says no, but the polite side says yes. End result: I have a great time, remember why friends are important and think, “Why don’t I do this more often?”
- It is easy to slip into a mentality that life is all play. I’ve done my time. I am no longer in a position of influence. I can’t have an impact on my community. While we were away, I felt guilty for not being home to participate in the discussions and training to help our community be more inclusive. I saw what other communities were doing and had ideas about how to do something similar to impact my hometown. But now that I am back, the inertia is hard to combat.
I think these tendencies are why I miss being on the road. Despite the wanderlust image, being on the road requires a schedule and routine. If its Monday, we must be at the Grand Canyon, right?!
So, what am I doing in this New Year to try and overcome my current situation?
I am trying to retrain my body into going to bed by 10 and getting up by 9. (Or 9:45).
I try to at least be dressed in something besides pajamas by Noon.
I am trying to use up what I have (which is a significant amount of fabric, a Kindle full of unread books and more clothes than someone who wears pajamas all day needs).
I am setting aside certain days each week to do the things I love (and the things I don’t) while leaving room for flexibility.
I am making it a priority to call friends just to say hello, to socialize more, invite people over (with social distancing in mind),
Finally, I refuse to let myself think I have no value. I said as I neared retirement, I wanted to be a bridge builder. There are so many opportunities for me to use the talents I’ve been given and honed my whole life. Now, that I am free of the restraints of employment, I can use them in new ways. I’ve said yes to some requests for help considering where I can be most effective and with the goal of building bridges. But, in order to do them, I need to get out of bed and dressed! Well, I can do some things remotely in my pajamas! As long as it is not afternoon.
Happy New Year! What new ways of living and thinking does 2021 hold for you?