No Training Wheels On My Retirement Bike

Artist: Oleg at

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.

5 responses

  1. Your titles rock!

  2. I’ll swap you 4 kids, a husband studying full-time and trying to get his driver’s licence, a full time job and a stack of bills if you like. Not for long, of course, but I could do with NOT leaving the house for a week! Sleeping!

  3. You’re still settling, darling… in another six months you won’t be able to imagine life any other way…
    On the other hand, weeks do go by when I scarcely leave the house. My friends have given up trying to lure me into town with promises of jumbo fat-free muffins and decaf lattes… I am so over that – though I do miss them from time to time and wander in… but I’ve got so much to do, so overcommitted without leaving home – I can’t believe I ever wasted all those hours every week on a job!

  4. I felt this way when we moved to Vietnam and I stopped working. How disorienting that was. I don’t know retirement exactly, but I suspect it must be similar to how I felt–dislocated–like that sprained ankle of yours. Hang in there. You’ll be riding in no time!

  5. I think we have a lot in common. I’ve always wanted to do it myself without help, and then there was the time I dove into a shallow pool, after everyone warned me not to do it, and came up with a bloody nose. Hang in there.

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