I didn’t do much at all. I kept the kitchen tidy and the usual grocery shopping and evening meals, but I didn’t do much else.
For the first two days, I read books and watched movies and had endless cups of tea. By the third day I was bored, and I decided to really clean out my closet. I put all the clothes I didn’t want on the bed and started to sort them into piles. “What will I keep what should I give away..?”
Finally I took a few deep breaths and put them all into bags and drove straight to the charity shop. I felt really glad that I did that. My closet looked organised for a change, and it was easy to find what I wanted. The remaining garments fit me and I like all of them. Job well done.
Then I tried to sort out a linen closet next, but half-way through I got bored and gave up.
“I can do this closet tomorrow” I thought. Or next week. Or the week after that…!!
I thought, “I can do all these things when I want to. There’s no rush.”
It has taken me over two years to figure out this retirement thing.
I can do what I want to and in my own time. No clock watching and no reporting to any one but me.
During my first few weeks of retirement, I was dashing around, meeting people and wandering around the shops. Then I became tired of shopping and meetings, so I slowed down my activities. I became a bit depressed I think … and did nothing …. and, I do mean nothing.
I had to really force myself to do everyday things. I had to give myself a little lecture … “Get organised now and decide what it is that you really want to do”, I said.
I missed the camaraderie of the work place so I decided to volunteer at a charity shop. I started off with one morning a week and now I do two mornings. I love it. I have reconnected with a few ladies I knew years ago. We chat and have a good time while sorting through the donated clothes.
About that time my third grandchild was just a baby and then sometime later my fourth grandchild was born and my days got busier.
Even now there are days when I get a mild feeling of anxiety … “Is there something I should be doing instead of reading..?” … and I realise that it is a left-over feeling from forty years of organised structure in the classroom and a specific purpose to each day.
I am still working on this retirement thing and maybe one day I will be totally relaxed and not so anxious when I have nothing to do but please myself. Maybe I need to be retired for a while longer before I can be really relaxed about managing my own time, and not always worried that there is something else I should be doing.
In a few weeks I am travelling to Scotland with my grandson, leaving my daughters and the other grandkids behind. I am feeling stressed about . But I want to go. I know they are capable mothers and they will be fine for two weeks. That’s only a few days in the grand scheme of things, and it will do me good to see family and friends and relax.
I’m not so worried about my husband and the dog … he quite enjoys being by himself (my husband that is, not the dog …..she will miss me ;-)) Hopefully our daughters will keep an eye on him. I will return a re-energised grandma and wife, bearing gifts.
Maybe I just need to be retired for a while longer to be really relaxed about it all. Time will tell. ’
By Sheena Storie