Showing posts with label Retirement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Retirement. Show all posts

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I used to feel I wanted to be touched.
I waited for not only the physical whispering touch
on the palm of my hand,
but the sweeping touch on my heart,
and the powerful touch on my mind.

The touch that would make me swallow my breath,
give me flight
to soar over the universe
and see all and conquer all
and understand all.

The touch that made me into


The touch 
Kindling a fire that never failed to
burn bright and white hot
for its brief time.

The touch that reduced the impossible
to possible.

The years now trail politely behind me
offering only faint memories of smoke and ash
and little warmth, with a few glowing coals
as I walk away
to meet the not so distant future.

This is the time in my exploration
of the universe
I realize that
I want to be that touch.

I want to electrify,
to be the contingency in others before I die.

I want to punch potency
into others hearts and minds.
I want to send them up on a
spiraling cloud of heat rising
to see the universe with new eyes
and new possibilities.

My ego
Wants them to remember my touch
when they face their not so distant future.

Monday, September 17, 2012

I Am the 1 Per Cent!

We have certainly had the luxury of travel often in our retirement, and my son, on this recent trip with him and his future wife, pointed out that, if my retirement income was rated globally,  I am among the 1%.  I am retired but get to travel when I want and pretty much where I want.  You may very well be among that group also.  All you need to be a part of the global 1% is an income of $34,000!  No, you cannot travel when or wherever on that income, but the perspective of this figure pretty much makes you sit up and realize how lucky you are to be in this strata.  It also makes you wonder how much of your life is producing waste and could be better budgeted and more generous.

I only have one home, do not keep money offshore to avoid paying my fair share of taxes, nor send my business manager to a Caribbean island for 6 months so that the IRS cannot reach her, as an acquaintance of my son's did!  I have this status, not because I am brilliant or sneaky, but because I lived and worked overseas for the first 7 years of my married life and did not have to pay for my housing or the cost of an automobile during that time.  Since both my husband and I had a combined income during this time we invested every dime that we could and that gave us the head-start that we needed to have the retirement we are now enjoying.  It was luck and the willingness to live outside my country in a country that had water and electricity just often enough to keep me comfortable.

I will not have this luxurious life-style I now enjoy if the stock market crashes once again.  I have no respect for Wall Street folks as the money they make has nothing to do with improving the United States or the lives of its citizens or creating jobs.  How much money does a billionaire have to have before he invests in a small business or two?  Their supercilious lobbying forces will destroy this country again thanks to the "non-activist" Supreme Court Judges that were appointed under conservative Presidents and passed the Citizen United ruling.  This country has been bought and if you want a voice you had better demand the repeal of Citizens United from your representatives.  I mean this in all seriousness.  Both parties are beholden and only if we take back our country (perhaps with a third party), will we return to a true democracy.

I say this because I have done my research carefully and read the data.  You can scream the dangers of class warfare all you want, but the rich are not suffering in anyway in this.  WalMart family has more wealth than the combined 40% of the lowest income of our society.  It is no where near a class war until they have reached the wealth of the combined lowest 4%!!  It is up to you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Lost It Somewhere Along the Way

While I like to think I am an upbeat and optimistic person, most people would probably describe me as a little too straight-forward, sometimes condescending and often too honest with everyone including myself.  But honesty is the best policy if you want to know where you are standing in the chaos.  Thus, I have to be open about something I lost...and may never find again.

I do not think we are dishonest with ourselves purposely.  I think it is rarely a bad habit.  I think we are dishonest with ourselves because we see ourselves through the huge thick fog of the life we have lived.  The cacophony of memories distracts and clouds any sharp view we could hope to have of who we really are at any one time.  We end up swatting at flies and eventually just shrug off any hope for the clarity we were looking for.

In our early thirties we catch a refection of ourselves and for a second think we see an aunt or uncle or parent.  Gosh do we really look that old and that adult?  When did that happen?  Well, of course, now we are adults.  That had to be.

Then in our 40's we are no longer the center of attention in the room.  Our jokes are old school or our attention span is too short because of our heavy schedule.  It seems all the fun action is happening elsewhere at the other table.

By my 50's I didn't really care so much about myself because I was focused on kids that were moving out into the world.  I was focused on saving money for the long years ahead.  I was focused on ailing parents and my responsibilities to them.  I was focused on expensive changes in lifestyles due to loved ones' college or health issues.  I was focused on trying to get a promotion to cover those expenses.

Then as I entered the 60's came the big change.   I was retired, had lots of free time, was financially secure.  I could once again focus on myself.  But I looked through my transparent self to see a nagging smoke cloud hanging just off my shoulder that I had been ignoring for quite some time.  When I admitted it was there I also had to admit that it was some depression, some sadness.  But I could not identify why?  My life now was pretty much OK.  Sure I missed loved ones that had passed on, I missed the closeness of various family members...but...what was this?

Some would tell me it is impending death.  It is the fear of the end of life.  No.  That is not it.  I realized the other day that it was a death.  The death of that vital and energetic woman who was an active mother, wife, career person.  That women who was responsible for changes being made.  That women that spoke out with solutions at meetings.  That women who remembered everything and forgot nothing.  

I guess I am sad because she is gone.  She has left behind a faded replicate.  I am still here but with nothing truly important to do anymore.  Introspection is a lovely walk, ...but when you get back home it is also nice to have something important to take care of.  Art and hobbies are gentle distractions, but it would be nice to once again accomplish something that helps others change their lives.  I miss that.  I mourn for that.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Time is Such a Moving Thing.

I somehow missed the headline in the Science section of the newspaper about how the earth is ever so subtly speeding its rotation.  I failed to learn that the earth is on a new scary speed.  I guess that is why I had the conversation below:

Tabor:  Is today Wednesday?
Hubby:  Nope.
Tabor:  Thursday?
Hubby:  Nope.
Tabor:  FRIDAY??
Hubby:  Yep.
Tabor:  Oh s**t...!  (I only swear like a sailor when it is truly important and it appears that someone or something stole my whole week.)

Not too long ago my week was composed of 5 long days and two very short ones.  Now my week is composed of three very short days.  I am still trying to figure out how this happened and to adjust.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Are You Bored Yet or Just at Peace?

It is happening.
Slowly the simpleness levels you.

Smooths out all the interesting edges,
Grays down the highlights,

Fades the lowlights.
No quick intakes of breath.
No sharp laugh to stifle.

No surprise in plan.
Just smiles now.
Just yoga breathing.
And that all important focus
on what we shall cook
for dinner.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Cold Windy Day!

Being retired means, for most people, that everyday is Saturday or Sunday.  Baring economic hardship, you can pretty much do what you want.  Baring guilt trips or health restrictions you can pretty much do it as long as you want.  Baring the attitudes of people you live with you can do it all day if you want.

Lie in bed and pull the covers over your head on a cold windy winter morning.
Grab the binoculars and watch the bird feeder for hours until your stomach reminds you that you have eaten nothing yet today.
Drink your coffee slowly and mindfully rather than in scalding sips on the way to work.
Read an entire book in one sitting.
Watch more than one movie on DVD in an afternoon.
Spend an afternoon wondering how on such a windy and cold day the geese can manage to tack their way flying down the river pulling into stalls and then tacking to the other side to continue with their progress.  Takes them much longer on a day like today.  Spend another hour trying to get a good photograph of that challenge.

And if you have a little Puritan work ethic in your soul, as I do, go through all those old files in the basement with your husband and reduce them to 30% by tossing or shredding the 60%...
OR actually exercise through an entire episode of NCIS which you have seen several times before!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lifting Fog

The best time of the day for me is when I get up around 6:00 AM. The house is very quiet since hubby sleeps in until 7:30 or 8:00.  The house is also still dark because it is winter.  I make my coffee and open blogs as the sun slowly climbs up into the cold sky. In winter I hear the geese flapping and honking their way out of my side of the river into their bigger world of abandoned corn fields or sometimes escaping the hunters when I hear the pop of guns on the other side of the field. Today, I saw them high above the fog over my house looking as if they were ghosts of geese heading out to some mystical retreat.  I hear the crows distant cawing ordering the rest of the birds around.

Yet, it is still relatively quiet here in my little corner of the world. I am surprised that I still need a little corner of time in retirement that I treasure. Time to be alone with my waking thoughts and time to write and create with my photography. Time to think about what lies ahead in my non-activity filled day.  Time to hear my breath.  Time to wait for the fog to lift.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Open Wide

Retirement to a country life is deemed romantic by some and is usually a less expensive life style.  But it has some distinct disadvantages.  One of these is finding a reasonable selection of health care workers.  While we retained our connection with specialists an hour away such as my husbands prostate cancer doctor, we did change all of the others.  Our primary care physician is scattered, sort of nerdy, and reminds me of my uncle who was a 'momma's boy'.  He has correctly diagnosed a few illnesses we have had since moving here. We are continuing to use him, but really hope to find someone we connect with more.

Our optometrist is young and cute and female.  Hubby has fallen in love with her. He claims he likes her because she looks him in the eye (!).  She uses all the latest technology, and her office is nearby so we will keep her. 

The dentist was selected on a whim while driving by his office in a delightful building on a side road.  He is charming and his whole staff is pleasant and very good at what they do.  The only problem is that he is off network for our insurance.  This means our insurance will require us to pay 40% - 60% of all expenses.  Hubby does not want to give this dentist up and start the search for a new one.  In-network dentists are quite a drive from where we live.  Hubby also strongly feels that the health of ones teeth are more important to general good health as we age.  He is right of course.

We asked what insurance this dentist carried and we looked at getting that as a rider.  But it would cost about $900 a year for the two of us. At that rate, after three or four years it might be cheaper just to pay for dental care out of pocket!  I am looking at a filling replacement  and a small bite correction in the near future.  I have until the 15th to change my health insurance in any way.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Review of Retirement

"Do not let yourself be bothered with the inconsequential. One only has so much time in this world, so devote it to the work and the people most important to you, to those you love and things that matter. One can waste half a lifetime with people one doesn't really like or doing things when one would be better off somewhere else." — Louis L'amour, Ride the River

And the above is why I retired.

But I still know how to waste time as well!

Haven't done this in years. I am still the anal retentive type and begin by sorting into containers by color and/or straight edges. 1,000 pieces...only 980 to go, but who's counting?

Friday, February 06, 2009

City Mouse versus Country Mouse

Bob Brady at PureLandMountain featured this article about the human brain in a recent post. Since my blogfriend at One Woman's Journey has been dealing with this issue---as have many of us retirees--- I found the article most fascinating. (After you read it, you can talk among yourselves.)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Habitual Carelessness

Retirement has been a wonderful gift for which I am daily thankful. I have good health and reasonable economic security, neither of which I take lightly, as I know like everything else in life, both of these will change over time. My life today has been the result of planning, learning, hard work, but mostly luck. I am lucky to be born in this great country. I was lucky to be able to go to college and pursue a career. I am lucky to have two beautiful and healthy grandchildren and two wonderful children. I am lucky to be married to a patient but energetic man. I was lucky enough to never win the lottery or some contest which would be a true burden in this simple life I now have.

Thus, I do carry some guilt with me as I do not think I have 'earned' this.

I carry some more guilt because I have not yet ventured out to share this time in a structured way with others who are not so lucky in this new community where I live. I am guilty because I do not feel lonely for being able to go for days at a time without meeting or talking to anyone, especially when my husband is on travel. I could so easily be a hermit.

I think this temporary withdrawal is because I was so bitter about the mediocrity and falseness of my last 5 years of employment. I was paid very well by the American taxpayer and not allowed to accomplish anything. I worked with people who created budgets that were never implemented and listed goals and milestones that could not be met without a fixed budget which we never got. It was a Dilbert world without the humor. (Our illustrious leader was a political appointee...need I say more?) Thus, I retired early taking a cut in retirement income. As a Type A, the alternative would have been slitting my wrists.

Perhaps, this procrastination now is because I feel as if I still have wounds to lick and a mind to heal.

But I have also learned that all those times I used to tell myself, "Once I get some free time..." have arrived. "Once I have more free time" I will exercise every day...not happening. I will sew those curtains after the New Year...fabric is still sitting in a plastic bag. I will paint the front room built-in so that it matches the trim...guess I will wait until spring so I can open the windows. I will repaint the trim in the kitchen so that it matches the cabinets...ditto. I will start with babysteps and drop by the local library and see if they need a volunteer or have a list of volunteer programs...soon I hope. I will garden more...that one is easy to do.

It is scary how easy it is to procrastinate especially when there are no immediately seen consequences for your bad habits.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thursday Thoughts #17 for the New Year

Looking back is not something I enjoy doing as the road back is longer than it used to be and the scenery starts to blur as I squint to that far horizon.
  1. 2008 was a big year for me as I retired in so many ways...not just from the daily grind. I began to let go.
  2. 2008 was the year I got better at being a grandma. Instead of staring at how fast they were growing I started to participate in the event.
  3. In 2008 I lost 10 more and no less...but there is yet 2009.
  4. In 2008 I evolved into a much better cook with the time to be creative and invented new dishes with all the herbs from my garden and ideas I gleaned and modified from my many cookbooks. I learned that you can teach an old dog (cook) new tricks.
  5. In 2008, speaking of gourmet cooking, I made S'mores with the grandson and I haven't made S'mores in decades!
  6. I have pretty much taken 2008 as a laid back vacation doing only what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. I am so thankful for such luxury.
  7. In 2008 I lost 100's of thousands of dollars (I have lived pretty frugally most of my life) in the stock market and I don't care because I realize I don't need much in this new life I am living.
  8. I do need $1.99 persimmons and I splurged and bought 4 of these beauties yesterday.
  9. In 2008 I did not beat myself up for wanting alone time anymore and accept the fact that this is one of the ways I charge my batteries and restore my soul.
  10. In 2008 I also accepted the fact that just looking at a flower or interesting plant this year can restore my soul for the rest of the day.
  11. In 2008 I also learned how high energy my husband is and I am trying to meet his needs as we walk together into these days ahead.
  12. 2008 was the year my youngest turned 30. That was harder on me in many ways then when I turned 60!
  13. My resolution this year will be to get back on a schedule and try to give more of this precious time I have to others.
I made it to 13 and that must bode well for the New Year, doncha think?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shop Until You Drop

I had to drive my husband to the airport and also was asked to babysit the two grandchildren over the weekend. This left me 1.5 free days in between to myself to spend in the 'magic mall.' The 'magic mall' has one of those tremendously large consumption arenas where you can walk for almost a mile before getting to each store and can spend as much money as you want on stuff, things, junk and treasures which will eventually fill a landfill across the ocean.

I only go to the mall when I absolutely have to shop for something, and since my retirement, that is maybe once every three or four months. The holidays are fast approaching and as somethings abhor a vacuum, I abhor volumes of people rummaging through piles of crap looking for that one good bargain. Thus this time before Thanksgiving and "Black Friday" as it is know in the U.S.---the shoppers best sales day---I decided to enter the arena and purchase a few items and browse for some ideas.

If you have never been in a major city mall, the decadence of variety and the stupidity of junk will amaze you. You can buy any tiny crystal thing to spend your life dusting, any exotic lacy boulder holder to truly reveal your age or recent surgery, any latest facial cream to pretend that you do not have wrinkles, any number of fuzzy wuzzies to keep your feet and hands warm long before the first snowfall, any number of electronic devices that vibrate (not that kind!), beep, blink and talk to you, and any number of ball gowns, if perhaps, you are attending one or more of the Presidential Balls. There was an entire store devoted to ties, another devoted to cell phones and a third walk-in store that sold only pictures...really ugly those of Elvis singing. In addition there are pretzel palaces and coffee corners to satiate your hunger and thirst needs forever. Interestingly enough, there are very few clothing stores for anyone over the age of 25.

It is not unusual to forget where you entered the mall and where you parked at the end of the day---I now write this location down when I leave my car.

Some new things that I noticed were an abundance of very helpful sales people. I had one woman offer to give me a free make-up session OR a free facial at least three times while in one store. She accosted me in the sweater section, the shoe section and the men's pajama section---this last a little unnerving. Another 18-year-old male offered me a paper cup of face cream as I passed his kiosk. I clearly do not have a memorable face, or on the other hand, perhaps I really need some help with my face!

This mall is in a rich area of the city and had quite a few shoppers who did not appear to be affected by this recession or the pouring rain. BUT the prices were being slashed almost everywhere. Some stores had 20% to 30% off on everything in the store while others had racks with 50% to 75% off on items. It is sort of sad that in this time of my life when I don't need anything and want even less, there are so many bargains. Such is life.

I did manage to get a few gifts purchased, downed a latte and croissant, and did some people watching which is a favorite sport AND found my car at the end of the day.

Monday, September 15, 2008


For those of you who have passports, can you remember the first time you got yours? I can. I was heading out to live in Palau, Micronesia, and while a passport was not absolutely necessary since it was a U.S. Territory at the time, it was a good idea. After all, we were going to be pretty close to Asia and I might get a chance to visit those many exotic and intriguing countries...and I eventually did! I was in my early 20's and had never traveled outside the U.S.A. This passport was like a luxurious cruise ticket to me. I felt very sophisticated and as if the next best part of my life was just around the corner.

As a teenager I wanted so much to get out of that tiny farm town and see the world. I had no money and was barely able to save and borrow for college. But the best part of the world was just beyond my reach. I was so sheltered at that time, that a trip into Denver got me excited! I even considered joining the Peace Corps to insure travel, and while I got the big intimidating envelope they send out, after reading each page, I felt I could not afford the two years as a volunteer. I had to get on with college and get a job.

Kenju had asked in the prior post if I had passed up a trip to Hawaii just so I could cook. I am a little embarrassed to admit that, in part, I did. I am somewhat jaded by my life experiences. While I love each and every unique island in Hawaii, I have been to Hawaii maybe a dozen times. I actually lived on Oahu for over a year when I went to graduate school there. I spent my honey-moon on the big island---which is very interesting life story in itself that I have to blog some day. I have passed through the tropical state and spent weekends recuperating on return trips from living or visiting various parts of Asia.

So, yes, Kenju, I did pass up the trip to Hawaii. I do know that I am not so jaded that had the month been January or February, I probably would have thrown a swimsuit into a bag and jumped at the opportunity. But for now, retirement and free scheduling around my house are still very fulfilling. After all, yesterday I cleaned out the refrigerator for the first time in two years! And today I have on my schedule to paint those two large iron suns that hang above the garage doors so that they match the window frame colors more closely. (Smile.)

Sometimes, being jaded just means you have lived a pretty rich and fulfilling life.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall is the busy season

The fact that my husband is again off to Hawaii means once again I can enjoy a free schedule and alone time. Thus I finished the apples and peaches and have a freezer full of pie fillings. Next my energies were focused on filling ice cube trays with parmesan pesto to use up a lot of the basil. Then I filled the cookie sheets with leaves of Thai basil, licorice basil, and lemon basil and then put those trays into the freezer for about 20 minutes. Then working like Speedy Gonzales I placed the flat leaves into zip lock freezer bags for this winter's meals.

Finally, I have begun to fall behind on using the fresh tomatoes---and believe me, this year we have a very small harvest because my husband put in a fast garden. I dread the tons of tomatoes we will harvest next year when he really gets his game on. I had to preserve the plum tomatoes and so I made my version of tomato sauce---which means I am too lazy to remove the seeds---and I got about two quarts of garlic, basil tomato sauce which I froze. I might have been able to make more if I had been less sloppy!

One of the nicest things about retirement is that one can enjoy life's harvest at leisure. I do not have to cram all this cooking into a weekend along with doing the laundry and driving kids places and paying bills! I can actually slow down and smell the sauce and take my time in labeling the zip locks and plastic containers so that I know what in the world these gray freezer bags contain when snow is on the ground and I need something for dinner. I can actually take time to rearrange the freezer under the refrigerator and the chest freezer in the garage so that the older things are near the top. (We finally finished the last of the frozen crab from last year this summer!)

Yes, one of the things about getting old is that it tends to be all about food!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The City Mouse and The Country Mouse

The majority of my recent adult life I have lived in the suburbs and most recently I have lived in the city...or within walking distance of one of the city centers. I enjoyed the ability to be able to walk to a large movie theater and safely walk home after seeing the movie. I enjoyed being able to walk to restaurants, and even better, being able to visit a large Borders Book store and waste away a Sunday afternoon.

Then we started and finished that epic part of our lives where we built the cliche retirement home in the country. We are so far into the country that,
if I have my bedroom windows open, I hear roosters crowing in the distance in the early morning. I hear strange noises in the night such as large limbs falling from trees in the ravine or screech owls as the dawn breaks. Yes, living in the woods is just as noisy as living in the city.

I love the country, but schizophrenic soul that I am, I also miss the city. I miss the restaurants and plays and museums and little stores for shopping. Last year we learned that our small town, which consisted primarily of a brand new post office, a corner gas station, a liquor store, and the elementary school, was going to build a new shopping center...actually two little centers within a quarter mile of each other. These were not malls, but traditional shopping centers: one anchored by a SuperGiant grocery. It has been exciting watching the one area go up with a doughnut shop, a cleaners, a pharmacy, a steak and ale house, a small exercise gym, a real estate office, a nic-nac shop and a second liquor store among others.

The second and slightly larger shopping area started with a Starbucks! This got me excited but in the year it has been open, I have driven by each time on my way to the post office and not stopped once. This second center, which is just down the road, added the Giant grocery, a Food Shoppers grocery, another cleaners, two pizza restaurants(!), another pharmacy, another liquor store, another doughnut shop--this one with an ice cream wing, two mexican restaurants, one Korean restaurant (totally awful food and terrible service), one Japanese/Chinese restaurant (serving even worse food in a clinical plastic table atmosphere), and a paint store. There are several finished buildings waiting to be leased, but I have long since given up any interest.

Is this a country thing? What economics planning went into this development? This is a rural community, although with a nearby military base and all the resulting contracting companies, a nearby atomic energy plant that is adding another reactor, and a growing community of city retirees---I don't view this as a typical rural community.

I drive by a large dirt filled area behind the new bank and hold my breath while wishing for a movie theater with a wine/beer/cheese bar attached and a little second hand bookstore on the side or a branch of the library which is 12 miles away. I also would love a non-chain restaurant that serves interesting and healthy food.

Yes, I know. If I want all this I should move back to the city.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Big Weekend or A Precautionary Tale

This blog entry is a tale for those future grandmothers/grandfathers wondering if their young adults are ever going to get it on and present them with some grandchildren. Remember, it is said that you sometimes get what you wish for...

Recipe for potential disaster, mix the following carefully:
4 thirty-somethings--two males and two females
2 toddlers--11 months and 12 months
2 preschoolers--3 + years old
2 old farts

If your first-born grandson sleeps in your room because the baby sister is sick with a fever, you will not need an alarm clock. He will present you with a rubber snake before the sun is up.

Fortunately, he can pretty much dress himself. This is very useful as your eyes are not yet open, and, unlike him, you cannot form complete sentences. Thus, you are not much help.

Baby sister does not let a little flu bug hold her down. She may have gotten the household up three or four times crying with a stopped up nose and congested lungs, but she still takes her morning crawl right after a breakfast of blueberry pancakes. Note to new had better keep up! Mommy is barely functioning.

Once you pass the test to see if you can get to all the dangerous places in the house before the crawler and retrieve all the bugs you thought you had vacuumed, then it is time to go on the post-breakfast constitutional. This usually results in one or the other being carried on the way back as the morning gets hotter. Do not hold your breath as you will not be the one to be carried.

After lunch it is time for the mid-day swim. Remember to keep your camera dry because you will get wet even though you do not get into the tiny pool.

No one is safe from getting wet including the local wildlife.

The first day begins to wind down with a toe counting exercise. As luck would have it all of them have all of their toes!!

And, as usual, it is the male of the species that crashes just before dinner as the sun is receding behind the trees.

1)The adult males were the only ones who had time to play several games of ping pong, fish from the dock and actually stay up late and watch a movie. How in the hell we let them get away with that I don't know, but we continue to let them think they are the stronger and smarter.

2) This visit 90% of the folks were excellent eaters and praised my meals until I got that warm glow of energy to do it all again the next day.

3) Tabor lost 1.5 pounds!! I have been putting in two miles on the elipitcal many mornings with out budging any fat cells. I just need more weekends like these where I never sit and rarely eat.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This Sunday Morning

Although I have been retired for some time, I do not seem to be falling into much of a regular pattern of daytime/nightime activity. Yesterday I slept until 7:30 (after being lightly wakened by hubby at 4:00 who was heading off for a fishing trip with buddies) and this morning I woke up abruptly, looked at the clock and saw that it was only 4:30. I tried to drift back to sleep, but after 40 minutes I admitted defeat and got up.

Sitting here on the stairwell balcony, where I blog, I can smell the coffee that is ready in the kitchen, hear the faint chirp of birds just waking and hear the deep and regular breathing of my husband in the bedroom below. Today, like most days, is a totally free day for me. I can do whatever I want. Yes, I have a project list, compulsive creature that I am, but I also know that 90% of the things on this list do not have emergency status.

I am not yet too full of free time, not yet satiated and ready for something scheduled that forces me to get up and get going. Perhaps this winter I will look for something to do that fulfills that need, but now I am still in wonder at this endless free time given to me each day. I sometimes think of my mother and father and the early years of their retirement. I wonder what thoughts they had about this time in their life with their children grown and involved with their own lives. My parents were busy and hardworking people and idle time did not come easily to their generation. I know that in their last years watching baseball on TV in the afternoons was my father's respite after clearing weeds and working in the garden. My mother would do her flower gardening and some canning in the summer and then look forward to an afternoon nap. Was this enough to fill their day and the all the rest of the days of their lives?

I do know that the nagging concern I had about having too much time with my husband and not enough alone time, which I so desperately need, has not been a reality. He is a self-starter most days and we spend about 50% of our time doing things together and 50% on our own separate projects. He does not need me to be his oxygen and that is a relief. He also continues to let me be the bossy one in structuring many activities and I am trying to be more compromising in that area. Now that I have so much unstructured time I do not feel the need to be so regimented.

Another good thing I have noticed is I am becoming less anxious about this thing called retirement. Eventually, I may more easily accept it as my new way of life!

Friday, June 27, 2008

If the Shoe Fits

The luxury of both wild and domestic raspberries!

I have been retired almost two months now---58 days. But I still feel that the shoes don't really fit. It is like I bought a lovely pair of Manolo Blahniks on sale and have worn them for 58 days straight and am still conscious that they are on my feet and that they fit a little stiffly. They also are so luxurious and attention getting that I keep thinking I don't deserve them and they don't quite go with my personality or my pace.

Don't get me wrong. I have no regrets about quitting work. I do not feel lost when I get up in the morning and do not have to rush off to work. In contrast, I luxuriate in the opposite, pacing my morning with a slow cup of coffee and reading while the sun comes up.

I do not feel badly about being on a tighter budget and once again in my life looking at price per unit and looking at coupons when I shop. I am so lucky in having everything I want that a little frugality is a nice seasoning to my life. (Of course, if this administration continues to ignore the downward spiral of this economy, I may be wearing tennis shoes soon.)

But I have so much time to ponder my future. The work that I am doing now (gardening, cooking, decorating) does not require focused thought and so I have time to let my mind wander in other directions. To overwork garment analogies I guess I am waiting for the other shoe to drop!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Just Askin'

Chancy (For some reason Blogger won't let me link) recently left a comment that got me thinking about my overly aggressive activities that are filling my retirement days. She got me pondering about this space in time I now have. Am I hurtling through this free space so fast because I am waiting to hit another dimension…some great new insight…a black hole…a sudden stop at the brick wall? Am I keeping so busy trying to finish my extra long list because I need to? Is it because I really want to? It certainly isn't because I have to. Is it just habit that all the responsible things on the list are first and all the fun stuff is near the end? Will I ever outgrow this bad habit? Am I afraid that I will not have something to add to the list as I get near the end? Am I afraid to really look at the list and find nothing important is on the list?

Am I afraid that if I have nothing to do, it means I am close to death? That is certainly a morbid thought and I am pretty sure I can’t find this thought in the forefront of my mind anywhere. But then, at this time in my life I misplace almost everything at least once! I do know that I actually feel guilty sometimes that my dear kids have to work so hard and wish I could share my free days with them.

I remember a training course I took where one of the exercises was to write your own obituary. Maybe I need to do that over again.

Am I afraid that if I get some empty space, I mean days here not hours, I will realize my life has become more meaningless and less important? Now that is a heavy thought. If we are not saving the world or running people’s lives are we all that important anymore?

Well, after re-reading the above, I think the reason I am keeping busy is that I am a very depressing old fart.