Millionaire's Row - Capitol Hill - Seattle
In retirement, with no real obligations except those you set yourself, time takes on a whole new meaning.
So here I am, alone with myself and my future, not knowing if today will be a typical day, a special day, a day filled with meaning...but here it is.
9:00am Got up, but had to make myself.
I could have slept and slept. I have never been a morning person, but this is ridiculous. Am I going to go back to my teen and early twenties days when I could sleep until noon? Must be this hot weather has a soporific effect on me. Anyway, I'm up. Decided, OK, Monday and the first day of the rest of my life. Better weigh myself. You could have heard my howl all the way into the bowels of hell. Geez. Not good.
Padded downstairs for some sparkly water from my beloved, Sodastream, vowing to not put one carb in my mouth ever again (and, by the way, if you don't have a Sodastream and you like sparkling water, it's a revelation.) Read the paper, and yes, we are some of the few who still subscribe to a print version of the paper. On days off, I usually spend an hour or so getting caught up with my magazines. I love magazines, everything from" People" to "Self" to "Vanity Fair." Then cleaned up the kitchen and made some tea.
10:00am Again, out of habit, took my tea upstairs to my office.
Checked Facebook (where I overshare like mad), email, bank accounts, etc. All part of my usual morning. Then turned on the TV, put in the contacts, made the bed, put on those pants with an elastic waistband, which I know is a recipe for disaster, and watched "The View." Wouldn't you know. A special episode about people who have transformed their lives through extreme weight loss! I absolutely cannot abide Elisabeth Hasselbeck. She annoys the hell out of me, from her nasal voice to her interrupting all of the time to her smug views. Can't wait until she is off the show. Then my sister called to wish me well on my first day of "real" retirement, assuring me I will love every minute of it.
11:00am This is the "sweet spot" for me to go to the gym on my days off.
If I am not out of the house sometime between 11am and noon, I just won't go. I am going, but first, I am going to add something new to my repertoire. I have been reading about meditation and mindfulness and I want to add this to my life. I really recommend "Wherever You Go there You Are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Very informative about mindfulness and very comforting as well.
So settled down in a chair in my office, set the timer, closed my eyes and started counting my breaths. One - breathe in, two - breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, letting my thoughts float in and out like clouds passing through the sky like I am supposed to do, thoughts like "I wonder what time it is?" "How many more minutes?" Time passes slowly in this state of calm. Finally I just have to see how well I am doing and how many minutes have flown by as I get in touch with my inner self. It must be at least 30 minutes. I sneak a peek at the timer. Oh, geez. TWO MINUTES. Ok, this is going to take some practice. Better head to the gym.
11:30am Put the top down on the Mustang. Crank up the Bob Seger. And head to the gym.
11:45am. Arrive at the gym.
Wouldn't you know, right out in front, the "Measure Your Body Fat" clinic. Nope. I will save that for another day when I am really desperate for something to do.
2:00pm Back from the gym.
Now what? I realize this isn't like a regular day off from work. I may be retired, but Hubby isn't. So he is in his office working. On a usual day off we would be planning our afternoon - stairwalking in Seattle, a nice lunch or dinner somewhere, a movie...now it's just me. Can I save the world in one afternoon? Nah, I think I will watch TV. No, I shouldn't do that.
I will go outside and read. Am reading Amanda Knox's book "Waiting to be Heard." If you followed her case, there are some interesting new facts presented here, not to mention insight into the young woman herself. I was already aware of the details of the case because she was from Seattle, so found the details of the trial a bit long.
3:00pm OK, that's enough sun for one day.
And it's hot, hot, hot. The only room with air-conditioning is the bedroom, so headed up there where the TV calls to me.
It won't hurt if I watch just one thing.
4:30pm Got totally sucked into "Celebrity Wife Swap" and the Anna Nicole movie. I know, I know. I'm a hard case.
Too hot to cook, but thinking about dinner and cooking something, because I enjoy the act of cooking, but the refrigerator is already jam packed with leftovers from my cooking frenzy over the weekend. Hubby gets upset when I make huge batches of food when it's just us, but I love to try new recipes. I cook it, I try it, and then he has to eat it all!
5:00pm Well, I made it through my first day - well, to Happy Hour, anyway. Hubby and I had a nice tete a tete on the deck with a refreshing adult beverage and shared our day. Lots of talk about our upcoming concerts - Robert Plant, Pat Benetar, my idol, Gladys Knight - lots of schooling about music by the hubby as he plays a song on Pandora and says, "Recognize this?" He loves to do that but it's all good. He is also very supportive of my current road to discovering "Leisure Rosy."
7:00pm Dinner over.
Was happily ensconced in the air-conditioned bedroom watching a "48 Hours," when hubby arrived wanting me to watch a YouTube of Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, Bruce Hornsby and Shawn Colvin singing "The End of the Innocence." It was awesome.
10:00pm Followed by The Real Housewives of Orange County.
(I didn't want you to see that part).
So as I get ready for bed, I reflect on my first day.
I can see this whole retirement thing is going to be harder than I thought.
When you have worked your whole life and then spent your free time with your family, your other interests and ideas take a back seat. In your career, you are driven by that whole thing about feeling like you need to either be working on or producing something significant every single day. Then the kids move away, you retire and need to rediscover that non-working, non-care taking self. When you are producing something you can point at, then it seems like it's OK to waste time on reality TV and sitting around. That's the dilemma for me. So it's all about finding that real self and creating structure, purpose and community in this new world.
Day 1 of reinvention over and not a lot of reinventing took place, but tomorrow is another day. I've got the chess board out and a "no parking" sign on the chair in front of the TV.
Here are the questions "the experts" say you need to ask yourself to make retirement work:
What is extremely important to me?
What makes me happy?
What made me happy in my childhood and teens that I want to do again?
What made me happy in my career that I would like to do again or continue?
What talents or skills am I most proud of?
What special talent have I neglected while putting in long hours in my career?
How would I like to make the world a better place in my own way?
What sort of legacy would I like to leave?
You would think those would be easy questions to answer, but I am finding them difficult - difficult to translate into this new world of leisure.
But I will keep asking, just like I will keep working on meditation. Maybe tomorrow I can make it to 5 minutes!