Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Long Goodbye, Part 2

Four days to go until I join the ranks of the unemployed.

I have said my goodbyes and am now waiting out my time.  I know what a lame duck feels like. The phone doesn't ring, no future assignments, no problems to solve.

So my mind is switching gears, away from the details of my work and more toward the details of my new life.

What will change?  What will I miss? What will be lost?
First of all, what in hell am I going to do with all of those suits I have?  I guess that I may never wear them again, because when I dress up it’s not going to be a suit, I guarantee you.  It’s going to look more like this!

This was the fashion dichotomy I lived with during my entire career as a librarian.

Since I won’t be getting ready for work anymore, I guess I won’t be watching "Inside Edition" (I Tivo it), while putting on my make-up, a habit that has crept up on me.  Will I miss the exploits of the Kardashians or Amanda Bynes or those cute videos at the end where a baby laughs uncontrollably or a kitty curls up with a gorilla? 

And speaking of make-up…will I stop wearing make-up?  Will I stop caring what I look like?  When does that moment occur when a woman stops dying her hair or wearing makeup or shapewear or stops that continuing never-ending attempt to lose weight, and puts on the elastic band trousers and lets it all hang out?  When does “little-old-ladydom” set in?

Will I miss my paycheck?   Probably no more $200 opera tickets.   Am I destined for the nosebleed seats at concerts and shows, or heaven forbid, no more concerts or shows?
And shopping?  Will my shopping now consist of window shopping and my wardrobe get forever stuck in the year 2013? 

Travel?  Yikes.  Since most trips to Europe cost thousands of dollars, will we have the money for that again?  Don't even mention staying in a hostel.

And dinners out.  I have been working on eating at all of the fine restaurants in Seattle from A-Z.  I haven't gotten to Z yet!  Am I destined to eat forever at Mickey D's?

And what about purpose and meaning?  Working as a librarian, I have had the opportunity to impact people's lives.  I was able to contribute to the community.  I knew that what I was doing was important.
So working has afforded me a lifestyle I have become accustomed to, habits that are hard to break and a sense of worth, but I shouldn’t dwell on what will or could be lost.  I want to look forward to what I will gain.

I love my house.  We have a lovely piece of property that we have designed for our lifestyle.  While working, I didn’t get to spend much time there.  Now I can wander my property to my heart’s content or sit up in the aerie-like master bedroom and watch a movie every day if I like (and listen to my neighbor's power tools, which is a whole blog unto itself.  But I digress.)

I will gain quality time with the dogs and possibly turn them into good dogs.

This is a picture of a good dog.

This is a picture of a not-so-good dog.


I will gain closet space, as I pull out all of those suits to make room for other more fabulous clothes (that I may or may not be able to afford in future, but I am not going to dwell on that now).
No more getting up earlier than I like. Mornings will start late and leisurely and include meditation.  (The hubby has to put up a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs to keep those not-so-good dogs I was telling you about away from the bedroom door, whining for their morning treats.  He's a good hubby).  And please don't laugh about the meditation.  I am on a "journey" here, folks!

And I can get to the gym and take those zumba classes at 10am (and by the way, who are those people who can go to 10am zumba classes?  Why aren't they at work?).
Hubby and I will celebrate Fabulous Fridays and get dressed up and eat and drink cheap, but good food and wine at Happy Hour at those fine restaurants!  I am determined to get to "Z!"

And when we can't afford to dine out, I will cook up fabulous meals like my buffalo chicken wings or Asian turkey in lettuce cups.

Whether or not I have the money to travel or do other things, I will have the time. 

Time to read, time to visit children and grandchildren, time to volunteer, time to write this blog, time to figure out what the last 65 years have been all about.  Time to add even more meaning to my life.

And time is something money can't buy.

What will change when I turn out the light in my office, turn the key in the lock and walk away for the last time?  Only time will tell.



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Long Goodbye

Welcome to my blog!

I hope the newly retired, as well as those of you who have been retired for a while or are thinking of retirement will have some fun with me, as I explore this whole new world, while at the same time giving a “mature” perspective on films, fashion, food and whatever strikes my fancy.

Prior to this, and as part of my job, I wrote a library-oriented blog for my library. I was well-known for my satires and dogs in costumes (thank you Freddy, Mildred and Tarquin for putting up with that!).

Right now, I am in the throes of my last days at work – the long goodbye.

I am not very good at saying goodbye. I think I get that from my Mom, who was not very good at that either. She wasn’t one for showing emotion. When I would go home for a visit (I lived clear across the country from my Michigan upbringing), and it came time to leave, she would wave us off quickly, so we wouldn’t see her lips quivering as she held back tears. Now that I am a Mom with grown kids who live far away, I know how she felt and how hard it was to say goodbye, when she knew she wouldn’t see me for a long while.

Here at work, I felt I needed to give almost two months notice, so there have been many goodbyes, many “So what’s the first thing you want to do when you retire?” or “What are your plans?” type questions.  Not easy questions. How do I respond?

I could reply

"The first thing I’m going to do...

 is wear nothing but elastic waistbands and see what happens.”

“I’m going to watch a Real Housewives of Orange County Marathon and drink wine with my dog.”
(that's another whole blog right there)

Catalog my spice rack

Start a thimble collection


"I plan to...

Win an Academy Award

Write the Great American Novel

Become a star on the Food Network

Train for the Olympics

Seriously, though, who knows?

Isn’t that the point? Once we don’t have “work” to get in the way, we have the time to ponder those questions. What do I want to do with the rest of my life?

Here are some more realistic plans:

Take zumba classes
Join a book club
Learn to meditate
Read more
Volunteer at the local senior center
Have the freedom to visit my children and grandchildren without having to ask permission
Find meaning

But mostly I look forward to the freedom to just be.

I always used to say, when you get to a certain age, you shouldn’t have a landlord or a boss. Now I won’t have either and won’t have to ask anyone’s permission for anything.

But now, as I am still in the throws of my last days at work, I am experiencing the bittersweet highs and lows of... 

The Long Goodbye.

I am meeting with each staff member to say goodbye properly and to let each of them know how much I have enjoyed working with them. I had the privilege of working with a wonderful group of people and I will take away many happy memories of them.

 And they threw me a lovely English Tea Party, because they know how much I love all things British.  We all wore fascinators and drank out of lovely teacups.
Here I am sporting my fascinator.

And that makes the leaving all the more difficult. I can’t help but wonder how I will fill that space of daily interaction with good and fun people with something else.

Who knows…maybe I WILL sit and watch TV wearing those expandable trousers and have wine with my dog. At least for awhile anyway.

But that’s the point. It will be my choice.

So I am turning the long goodbye into a long hello… to freedom.

And for those of you who miss my old blog, this is for you.