Thursday, May 26, 2011

I’m Retired. Go Around Me

After almost two months of not working, I still feel like I have been set free!!! I retired on April 1, 2011 after 33 years at my job. The job changed over time, but the company was the same. It was a grand place to work, serving the elders of our community, and because of the modest pay, fulfilled my need for community contribution 100% of the time. But now that is done.

I could have worked longer to bolster my nest egg, but wanted to retire and improve my health in order to still be alive to eat the egg! Well, fine. The days now are so….peaceful and satisfying. I have had outings and talks with friends and family, started classes at the Y, started writing my memoirs, enjoyed walking at whim along the creek below my condo. I have done an uptake on my appreciation for line drawing and music, the domestic arts and creative writing. I feel like a different person!

I keep wanting to pinch myself, (I don't--that would hurt) and trying to form words to describe the way in which I look at the world in such a different light. I wonder every day at my new ability to 1) not rush to the next thing, whether task or play, 2) be able to stop doing with such heartfelt relief paid work that was so much a part of who I was, 3) change course in random activities, ignoring efficiency, at a moment’s notice, 4) sleep as much as I want; the feeling of being tired all the time going away, and 5) spend little money with no problem! I don’t know how long this attitude will last. I know my activities now bring me happiness. Being busy with just the common occurance gives me energy.

Although I managed a computer department and liked the digital world very much, I also have enjoyed, over my life, the pleasures of homemaking. Studying home economics was always a treat, particularly when a link was made to the way my ancestors were domestic. Fascinating! It’s been years since I could find satisfaction in doing really excellent work. Time constraints associated with computers and probably my brain power or diminishing enthusiasm eliminated that pleasure. But homemaking is slow-making. Ahhh!

There is a fine line between resting and busy-ness to create satisfaction. I don’t have a sense of contributing to the world in the way I had imagined I did at work. But I contribute to the lives of people in my life. Maybe that has as much or more impact. So I must recognize that as contribution. Last night I watched Oprah's last show, in which she said with wonder that she could stop at Starbuck's on the way in to work and enjoy that simple pleasure. She said it twice, awed by the difference in perspective. I understood exactly what she meant.

My financial adviser says I might take a year to decompress. My daughter says that was true for her too. People ask me questions that sound to me like they worry if I’m keeping busy enough, and here’s the truth: I’m not!! How I love to go slow, and putter, and meander! Maybe later will come a craving for a faster, more productive pace, but the end of 33 plus years of marching to someone else’s drum must be bringing me this great pleasure of release. Filling my days with the imagined needed activities just seems like more insistent drumming. Now I don’t have to cut corners to meet a deadline. I can pretty much let life happen at its own pace. I have ideas bubbling gently in my head about ways to make some extra money, but for now, ahhhhh!! I am just enjoying it for what it is for as long as it lasts. (Smile)