Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Slice of Life, #10

            It’s taken me most of my life to realize that almost nothing is all good (well, maybe orgasms) or all bad (okay, slavery, genocide, serial killers). Most everything else has something both good and bad about it.
            Take retirement. While too many are forced into it by a layoff, or a mandatory retirement age, or illness or disability, retirement is usually seen as freely choosing not to work full-time, and that’s what I decided to do two years ago. Since then I have noted the pros and the cons.
            I am not a morning person. It can take up to an hour for my brain to clear and I can have a reasonably coherent conversation and feel like I am truly awake. So retirement was freedom from the tyranny of the alarm, the need to have breakfast, run out of the door, and get to the office on time to get my work done. Taken to its extreme, though, freedom can feel oppressive.
            I’ve taken to setting my alarm so I won’t sleep away too much of the morning. Take today:
  • --radio goes on at 8:30
  • --not really awake until almost 9
  • --out of bed shortlt after 9
  • --reading about Joseph Roth in a magazine in the bathroom until 9:45
  • --stretch on bed (for spinal stenosis) while continuing to read about Roth until 9:58
  • --start to read about Syria in the same magazine, return magazine to bathroom, remove J.’s bench from the bathtub, fold up clothes from drier and put them away, finished by 10:15
  • --make bed, shower, dress by 10:35
  • --eat breakfast, read the paper, to 11:35
            I'm not ready to "do" anything until almost noon. I don’t feel happy about this. Yes, I can lie in bed and doze on and off while listening to Morning Edition. Yes, I can read as much of the New York Times as I want to. Yes, I can read a magazine article that strikes my fancy, when it strikes my fancy. But there’s so much more I want to do (writing, reading, going to movies and museums, etc.) and need to do (errands, exercise, filing insurance claims, etc.). Even in retirement, there’s never enough time.
            Is this a privileged whine? I know I am fortunate compared to many, especially those forced to retire and unable to find work they want and need. Maybe this “whine” will kick me into using my literally free time more productively.


  1. I want to agree right out the gate that orgasms are ALL GOOD! The bad stuff you mentioned is all bad. Now, let's discuss your time management privilege....I can relate some what because I have quite a bit of free time myself.

    The cure or fix for this is scheduling 1 new thing a week and then increase it as you see fit. Make sure you do at least one blissfully happy thing a month so you can enjoy yourself. Make a list and just pick something randomly even if it's fold one pair of socks you will feel accomplished.

  2. This sounds a lot like what my husband does now that he's retired from teaching. He reads a ton, mostly the newspaper and is very well informed. I would agree that scheduling is a good way to accomplish some goals, and also joining some groups so you go out and do things with people. It's fun and helps you schedule. Good luck with your retirement!

  3. I know this feeling - I want to stay in bed and read but feel bad about not getting things done. My new way of having time for fun, reading and tasks is to actually put them on the calendar. Today was sorting papers, Thursday I set to plant seeds for my garden. It has helped me to put things down where I see them. Good luck!

  4. This sounds a lot like what my husband did in the early days of his FireTirement. He read. He did crosswords and jumbles in the paper. He emails. He went out to breakfast. THen, he went back to school. It was fun. He does a little real estate now. He is happy. Schedules and things to do....volunteer...part time.....retirement does not mean doing nothing....at least not in my mind.

  5. This piece of writing clearly did not convey my actual "problem." I do lots of things: I'm in a women's group, a book group, a movie discussion group, three writing groups or writing partners, co-moderator of a workshop on east European women & gender... I'm not doing nothing. But Becky and Joanne remind me that I am not doing what I had planned to do, and that is make a schedule for each day, even if one day is "no schedule today." Thanks for helping me sort this all out.