I did, I really did and I also thought that I would do it much more gracefully than I have been so far. Oh magnanimous me. I was not going to be one of those people who go out to dinner and spend the entire evening talking about aches, pains, surgeries and medications. Well Ha! Don’t I just catch myself doing that all the time? Lately I’ve taken to doing the Mona Lisa smile routine. I am not going to monopolize an evening cataloguing my aches and pains. Unfortunately sometimes there is nothing else going on in my brain. I can’t think of anything else to say. So I say nothing.
I do love to babble on about painting. But, it hasn’t taken long to learn just enough technique and theory to where the eyes of the casual observer starts to glaze over and I know I’ve talked myself off into the weeds. So I yank myself back to earth and ask them about their day.
Recently, I’ve taken to asking people about their day and actually paid attention to their answer. Most talk about work which takes up the majority of a working person’s time, of course. Then they switch to some generic topic like the news, or what’s on prime time TV. Maybe I need to rephrase the question and ask “what went on in your head today?”
The painting class I’m taking is helping put this aging thing into perspective for me. I’m one of the babies in my class. It’s been great and encouraging to see these women in their 60s and 70s just rocking on having a great life. There is hope for me yet.
Since I retired a year ago, Monday has become my favorite day of the week. I have a whole list of reasons so that’s what I’m a gonna do. List them:
- I can practice gratitude: Thank you, Mr. Husband, for giving me this glorious opportunity and the time of my life. You are why I named this post Mantastic Monday. You da man!
- I’m not at work yet, and don’t have to work at all, instead I’m on the patio drinking coffee and blogging.
- I can pretend it doesn’t exist and go back to bed I want to, even stay there all day. Don’t have to answer to a task master at the corporate mill.
- I can go shopping on a slow day, instead of joining the teeming masses in their mad scramble to consume on weekend days.
- I have the whole week ahead of me so I can weasel my way out of any self-inflicted guilt trip on what I “should” be doing. Got 4 more days to get it done. Boo Yaaa!
- When the phone rings in the evenings I don’t get that old sinking feeling of “oh shit, what did I forget to do today?” It could wait till morning, but most bosses seem to feel it is their right and duty to call you at home and bitch about something. Funny, they never call you at home to tell you what a fantastic job you are doing the other 98% of your time at the grindstone.
- The sprinklers are not coming on today and neither are the yard men so I can run around naked and with a bubble maker if I so choose. We have a 7 foot wood fence around the back yard so if someone wants to see in, they have to make an effort. And that’s their problem not mine And furthermore, seeing a 57 year old grandma running around in her birthday suit will send them running to better peeping grounds, I’m sure.
- I don’t schedule anything for Mondays if I can possibly avoid it. My Mondays are sacred!
- On Mondays for some reason my brain is off the wall even more than usual and I spend considerable time pondering deep thoughts like; do days of the week have a flavor, or a scent?
Now Tuesdays, that’s another story for another day.
This blog is turning into an interesting way to remember where my head was a year ago. Last April, I was in countdown mode to the big R, retirement. Today I can’t figure out how I managed to squeeze 40 hours a week of corporate drudgery for pay into my life. Nor was I dealing well with others stuck in the same boat. That could be why I was on the verge of tying a bundle of stuff on the end of a stick and running away.
This retirement gig has been a real eye opener. I found out that I can do impersonations. Two Toed Sloth is my best one so far, followed by couch potato, slug a bed coming in at a close third. But, I’m getting better at this whole retired thang. That nagging feeling of a shoe hanging over my head for being “lazy” is gone, well mostly gone anyway. My house is slowly turning into a dust free, shining beacon of domesticity, or as close to it as I’m ever going to get. What I finally realized was that it took me almost a year to catch up on my rest after that 40 year spell of working in offices.
I did go through a period of angst/rebellion with my blog. I inadvertently turned it into my job and so began to resent it. As a result there was the self-induced guilt when I slacked off. Why do I do this to myself? I pushed past that and sorted out that I blog because I love it. Committing thoughts to paper comes as natural to me as breathing or drinking beer. I don’t have to write and it’s not my job. The only person who can fire me is me, and I have no plans to do that anytime soon.
Post from a year ago, April 8, 2011: My Tongue Hurts
Well NaNoWriMo came and went. I saw, I tried and it kicked my ass. Then I spent another week kicking my own ass. Tried and failed, blah, blah, blah. Couldn’t commit to paper a measly 50 thousand words in 30 days.
Never mind that’s a huge task. It never ceases to amaze me…the things I say to myself. I wouldn’t say such things to a friend or loved one, but I’ll rip my own self a new one at every opportunity. If I lived back on the dark ages I would probably be one of those people who whipped themselves occasionally in front of a cross.
Outrageous deadlines are always in the top 3 of the most hated aspects of corporate life. So what does the great and logical me do? Assign my own self a huge honking deadline and tell me it will be fun. The same thing I struggled with at the corp beehive. It’s a challenge! It will make you a better person. You never know productive you can be until you push yourself. Ah, such pretty words. But, such deadly words. Productivity just for the sake of being productive is a hamster wheel, but familiar. I was floundering around in this “retirement” phase of my life and thought this would be the ticket back to safe and familiar ground.
Well, I am no longer a retired person. I don’t like that label at all. It makes me feel like I’m a past tense ghost of my former self. I’m a writer who just so happened, in the past, to work in a big high-tech rabbit warren. That’s the past…moving along now. Nothing to see here. It is simply part of what made me who I am today.
So every day is a new day. Going to stop trying to sew patches on my old life. I spent the last 6 months doing that and it didn’t work well. Now it’s time for me to reinvent my life wheel. Set my own standards and be me. Whoever the hell that is. I’ll figure it out.
Heading into the 6th month of this retirement adventure, I have to laugh at myself. Been bouncing back and forth between ecstasy and fits of blubbering. Mr. Husband demanded a few nights ago that I find something that I want to do…that involves leaving the house. Sounds familiar, I’ve made the very same demand of him.
My dealing and sometimes not dealing with this radical change reminds me of when I learned to ride a bike oh so many years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Watching the other kids zipping around I remember thinking, “oh this will easy.” Well it looked easy. It wasn’t. On the first try the whole front end of the stupid bike spun around and flipped me over the handlebars, face first in the grass. Then I tried to hold the damned thing upright by sheer force of will. That didn’t work either. You have to move forward, you can’t just stay in one place and stay upright.
An older boy in the neighborhood laughed and offered to teach me. In rare moment of humility I accepted his help. This is the hardest thing for me to do. Even at 6 years old, I was determined to do everything by myself, and do it right, the very first time. He held onto the seat of the bike and ran up and down the block with me. Then that sneaky little dude ran along behind me claiming he was holding on. I noticed that his voice didn’t sound close and looked back. With that I headed off the sidewalk into the thorniest bush on the planet. I was a doing it, but I as soon as I realized he wasn’t holding up the bike, I crashed and burned.
So this glorious retirement of mine is turning out to be trickier than I thought it was going to be. The travel part is way fun. The day-to-day living, not so much. I’m not nearly as self-motivated as I thought I was. It’s liking learning to walk all over again. Or coming out of 40 year coma and looking around wondering where the hell I am.
So here I am floundering around in public kind of way. My first attempts are not so star athlete but who cares. I’ve flubbed up before and got laughed at, to boot. Once I had to go to the emergency room because I jumped off the dock at the beach when the tide was out. Well duh. Sprained my ankle. The doctor and nurse closed the curtain after examining my ankle and started laughing. “ha ha ha, that idiot jumped off the dock.” I yanked the curtain back and said “excuse me, I can hear you laughing, you know!” So what if the timing was a bit off, at least I jumped.