There were gatherings, lunches, parties, glasses of bubbly, cards and flowers, quiet moments, and loud cheers. And one really incredible poem (yes, it's below). My first week of retirement coincided with the start of our summer rains, both so desperately anticipated and welcomed like a cool drink to a parched throat. The rains have been fairly light at our house (torrential storms elsewhere); we've been waking up to gentle, cool winds; cloudy skies; and the smell of damp grass instead of the relentless, bone-dry weather of the last 8 months. It's been a perfect way to turn the corner from managing conference calls and meetings to suddenly empty calendars and deleted e-mail accounts. There's little opportunity to rush-rush-rush to cram every outdoor recreational sport I've envisioned for my empty days because, well, it's wet out. Cloudy, rainy mornings just beg for lingering on the back deck with my morning cuppa, for watching the hummingbirds wake up and start their territorial battles for feeder ownership, and for letting what happens....happen.
On my first Monday-is-now-just-another-Saturday, I thought what better day would there be to...wait for it... wait for it...dust the house? Why in the world would dusting be on the list for my first "Monturday"? Holy dust bunnies, Batman, I hate dusting. Take the framed pictures, the fancy glassware, and the knick-knacks off a shelf; dust the shelf; dust the stuff; replace the stuff; rinse and repeat ad nauseum. After about the third shelf I just want to burn the house down rather than ever having to deal with SO MUCH STUFF. So, naturally it gets put off (see Realities: Point Three, below).
But by the time First Monturday rolled around, I could no longer ignore the clumps of dog hair and everything becoming more opaque by the minute. I figured yes indeed, what better day to dust? It was the ultimate in celebrating "A day doing THIS is still better than a day at the office!!!" Out came the Pledge, the microfiber cloth, the Windex, and a roll of paper towels. I got to work.
|Stuff. But very good stuff.|
|More good stuff.|
|When weekends were just two days off during a work week.|
Check! A successful first day of retirement!!!
As the world turns and the stomach churns, so went my week. I got into a groove with pickleball, biking, reading (wow, I read a book!), knitting (I can see the light at the end of my sweater!), and a fairly consistent 4:00 p.m. happy hour. I paid more attention to both Bruce and Carly. And, I've had a few jolts of "this is my reality now!" (it is telling that I still feel the impulse to create an orderly, numbered list. Some things will take longer to let go):
1: My work accounts and e-mail inbox, calendar, and contacts were deleted. Before I left, I moved many of those contacts I wished to keep over to my personal email system. The process of who made the cut was a psychological wrestling match. With whom, really, will I keep in touch? Contact list or Facebook? Ugh, scary, a bit sad, but also freeing.
2: Things on my calendar have shifted from conference calls, meetings, and product due dates to....well....nothing. Other than Friend X Visiting this day and Husband Leaves for Fishing Trip that day, I have nothing. I'm leaving it that way for awhile before I populate it with self-inflicted responsibilities.
3: Things I Can Do During The Week: Sunday, I had the usual (weekly) realization that I didn't get some of my weekend tasks done. My first thought was "crap, they'll have to wait until next weekend," because that's what I usually think, as a typical Employed One who generally kicks more and more cans down the road because that's life. But then it hit me that I could just pick them up the next day! No longer do I have to wait 5 more days to wash the throw rugs or run vinegar through my Keurig. I could do that stuff on...a Tuesday!
4: Running to the bank on a Monday afternoon when the bank is wide open instead of frantically trying to get there before they close was one of those little things that made me realize that barely-bothersome-but-still-there stresses are falling by the wayside.
And then there's The Poem. Writer, artist, videographer, photographer, and most importantly dear friend Barb pulled this magic out of her creative gray matter for both myself and friend Ann, both of us retiring within a week of each other. Presented to us at a lovely luncheon hosted by Barb and fourth Musketeer Julie, we read it aloud. The quiet contemplation afterwards was a testimony to the power of the words that encapsulated what both Ann and I were blindly grasping for:
Free Range Living by Barbara L. Davis
Adventures abound for those who dare
To live life fully without a care.
It takes deep courage to choose a time
To leave behind that extra dime.
You are superb at what you do,
And your boss will feel the loss of you.
But the hour has arrived to claim your life
Free Range Living is without the strife.
Money be damned. Freedom is here.
You are all you need. Let go of career.
Live a life that takes you where you want to go
With plenty of time to make it so.
But - don't rush to the next thing without some thought.
Give yourself time to form a new plot.
A time to be without major choices
Will allow you to hear new inner voices.
There's much to consider as you move on
Like who you are now without the song
Of your past identity with allegiance to others.
It's time to play with your sisters and brothers.
Who you are now, is what the world needs.
Simply being yourself grows the seeds
Of ongoing life on this beautiful earth.
We're all better off because of your worth.
Thank you for your special career
Your work was beneficial far and near.
Congratulations to you. Retirement is your reward
For a life of work that truly soared.
You've given much to the world at large.
And stepped up to every charge.
It's time to relax into the gift of time,
And finally say, "This life is mine."
|Got more Facebook likes on this photo than any other I've ever posted.|
Many, many thanks to many, many friends, family, colleagues, and co-workers who helped me celebrate, who understood what this change might mean, and who gave me support and cheers when I needed it.
|Thanks, Sharon and John!|
|Thanks, Cathy and Jim!|
And from an extremely grateful and appreciative daughter, thank you to Mom and Dad; without your love, this happy life would not be possible.
|Nicely dusted as of July 9, 2018|