From My Window
Reflection on Year One of Retirement
By Jane Thibodeau Martin,
I have now been retired for a full year. It has gone by so fast, I am astonished when I realize it. Since my retirement I have learned a few things, and for what it is worth, here's my reflections.
1. I hear people say "I don't know what I (or he/she) will do with myself (or themselves) after retirement." I simply can't identify with those people. At all. My problem is trying not to overschedule myself " there are so many opportunities to be of service in any community, it is merely a matter of sifting out where you can or want to make the most impact. It may be in direct assistance to a family member or close friend, or to some sort of service group " but everyone is in need of talent, and no matter what yours may be, someone could really use you. You can make a significant difference, and people will be grateful to have your help. Selfishly, I am often rewarded by a deep feeling of satisfaction.
2. You know those clocks they sell in catalogs, that tell the day of the week, instead of the time? I need one of those. It seems like every day I stop to think several times what day it is. I do have a schedule of activities that varies by day; all the same I draw a blank sometimes on what day of the week it is. When I was working, I always knew exactly what day it was. And what else is different? I'm okay with having to stop to think about what day it is!
3. Most of my life I've been working on an endless list of things to do. I still have the lists, but now I allow myself to get distracted. If a storm is coming in, I sit on the porch swing and watch it. If the dogs are pleading for a walk, I sometimes add a bonus walk to the day. Sometimes there are three or more "halts" in my day. The result? I feel better, much more relaxed, even if I get less accomplished. I have always been very task-driven " still am, but in a more healthy and balanced way.
4. Like lots of other lucky retired people, I have a grandchild to spend time with. She's just 5 months old, and I babysit her one day a week. On my Baby B days, I go to my son and daughter-in-law's home so they don't have to travel. (See item 1 " be of service to others!) Baby B isn't mobile yet, of course, and naps twice a day. I originally thought I would help out doing some housework or laundry while I am there, but find to my surprise Baby B keeps me hopping all day long. And when I get back home again, I'm tired. It is so much fun to have this time with her, but it makes me wonder; how the "h@ll" did I manage to go back to work when my first born was six weeks old, and keep up with my house, cook meals, and do laundry? I can't imagine!
5. I established a couple of new "habits" for myself when I retired. One of the ones I enjoy the most is a daily "coffee break" around 2 p.m. I have my break all by myself, in a quiet house. I don't read, or do anything else during coffee break. I just savor the silence. I look forward to this time very much.
6. Speaking of peace, I never turn on the TV or any music until 4 p.m. except for tranquil yoga music for my workout. I find the silence amazingly enjoyable. I worked in a busy, noisy environment. It is an absolute luxury to go about my lists in such a tranquil atmosphere, free of politics and other completely depressing news. After reading the morning paper, I always need this "outside distractions" break.
Every person fortunate enough to retire will create a different version of their new life. In this past year, I have quickly found my path. I am preparing myself, however, for my husband to join me in retirement early in the new year. That will bring a new set of adjustments. However, I am totally confident that I can "train" him in a month or so. Coffee for two at 2 p.m.!
You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: Janiethibmartin@gmail.com.
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