Sunday, May 15, 2011

The End of Week One: Some Thoughts

Tuesday was my last day at my full-time job. Today is the end of the first week (although not a full week) of retirement. Several people have asked, "So, how's it going? Are you bored yet?"

Bored? Shoot, no! This week has been full of so many activities I fall into bed exhausted (but satisfied) every night. So, how is it going?

First, I think Larry was apprehensive. How would it be for him to have me around all the time? He's used to being here alone during the day, planning his own schedule and doing his own thing. What would it be like for me to be here all day and all evening too?

Second, would I be missing the daily contact with people and the challenges of my job? Would I be wanting to go out every day to get my people fix?

Third, what would I do all day? Would I wander around trying to find my place, or would I stay online all day as a distraction from being so far away from "everything"?

To answer those questions in order:
As for me "being underfoot" all day, that never seemed like an issue to me. Larry has his things to do, I have mine. And years ago when we both worked evening shift and rode to and from work together, we got along quite well, working together as a team and getting a lot of things accomplished every day before leaving for work. I could not see why it would be different.

But it is different in some ways. First, Larry has diabetes and that means a special diet. The man has worried me to no end the past few years because he would not take the time to prepare and eat the food he needed to eat. So this week I've taken over meal preparation, focusing on his diet and trying to keep our meals somewhere close to what he needs with the occasional cheat meal (like this morning's homemade waffles and strawberries!). He's mostly okay with this although I think he gets tired of me being the watchdog. I just want to keep him around as long as possible, and I think he understands that--and maybe he'll get used to the diet after a while.

The other way it's different is because I seem to have more energy than he does. This surprised both of us because I've had a desk job for the past 8 years and I was sure that sedentary job was going to mean I would not have the energy or stamina I needed to do the physical work this place demands. So you can imagine my surprise that I can work longer without rest or breaks than my strong hubby. Again, this is the result of diabetes--and I sure don't have the muscles I used to have! I can't even pull the crank rope on the pressure washer to start the darned thing, and that's a piece of cake for Larry. Back in my heyday I carried 100-pound sacks of feed and had my own chain saw, but I doubt those days will return.

As for the second question, I have to be honest and say I have not missed that daily commute or the daily stress and routine of my job at all. I do miss some of the people, but I know I can email or call them any time--but miss the daily drive, phone calls, city streets, and all that? Not. At. All. And not likely to either. The job duties were the reason I retired. When I was a library branch manager, I could determine the course of my day. I have a creative streak that needs to be fed daily, and as a branch manager I could plan my day's work to fill my personal needs: if I was feeling creative, I could plan programs, find crafts, do displays. If I needed rote work, I could shelve books. If I needed people contact, I worked the desk. If I needed intellectual stimulation, I could work on collection development, staff development or a myriad of other tasks. It was up to me to decide how my day would go. But as the facilities manager, my day was filled with problems and crises, or at least that is how it felt. There was no room for creative or artistic expression; I handled security problems and knew more about the police records of some patrons than I ever wanted to know; I dealt with leaking roofs, malfunctioning air conditioners and faulty toilets; I wrote reports, RFPs and other dry stuff. I do not miss any of it, and I seriously doubt I ever will.

And what do I do all day? The days are as varied as I want them to be. I have worked in the gardens; I've planned and presented a program; I've worked on some writing; I've cooked; I've planned; I've cleaned; I've been learning about selling on eBay; I've spent time just listening to the birds; I've pressure-washed the patio and porch; I've worked in my greenhouse and herb garden. I've slept until I woke up naturally, without any alarm clock telling me when to get up. And I've only scratched the surface of all the things on my to-do list.

So that's how it has been so far. I marvel at my freedom to do what I want to do, and I hope retirement continues to be this interesting. I am still wondering how I managed to find time to go to work every day. Those of you who are already retired are quite familiar with this territory, but for me it's like discovering a new country, in my own home.

19 comments:

Witch of Stitches said...

Good for you! Glad you're enjoying yourself.

Nance said...

This is all very interesting. I'm soon to be 61 yr. So to retire? or not to retire at 62. I'm a thinking that your posts are going to help me make that decision. Keep 'em coming, Sue!

Angela said...

I'm so glad that you are enjoying your retirement and getting a lot of things done that you want to do! There is always something to do when you live on a farm!

Rowan said...

I'm glad you're enjoying life as a retired person, you'll never be bored or short of things to do because you aren't that kind of person. Life is full of interesting things to see and do for those who look, I've been a housewife for over 38 years and have never been bored yet:) Have fun!

TheresaandJay said...

I agree with Rowan, whatever you are doing, you are doing it well! You will enjoy retirement immensely and I am of course also amazed at all the things you could do and work full time. :) Love and hugs.

Granny Sue said...

Well, I just wrote a LONG response that disappeared! This one is a test to see if it will work this time. Blogger is certainly having some issues lately.

Granny Sue said...

OK, that worked, so:

witch, you know I am :) much to do and much to enjoy--and now I have time to do both.

Nance, the biggest worry we have is money--but when has that not been the biggest worry for most of us? We'll know in a month how much we'll actually have, and at the end of 6 months we'll have an even better idea of how we're doing.

Thank you Angela! There is so much that needs to be done, and lots of stuff that's been waiting a while too. Today we will put the porch back together--I pressure-washed the patio and porch yesterday and boy did I get wet and dirty! Now we want to rearrange the stuff on the porch to make room for the swing, and a lot of things won't be put back. Too much has accumulated out there!

Rowan, one of the things on my list is more walking, more time in the woods and more exploring as we travel about doing storytelling. I always enjoy your posts about your travels, and while mine won't be as exotic, there is a lot to see in my little corner of the world.

And Theresa, you know how I am--can't seem to quite finding new things to add to the to-do list:) Poor Larry!

Janet, said...

Have fun Susanna, and don't work too hard. I have been a stay at home mom since I was married and have never lacked for anything to keep me busy. Charley has been retired for a little over a year and I don't think he has adjusted to it yet. He's not used to being home all the time and wants to go somewhere all the time (Even though its just usually down the road to Ripley)but that gives me less time to do what I have to do, because he wants me to go with him. I used to get lots more done when he was at work, because I stayed at home and got it done, instead of running around. :o) And we are now finding out that the smaller pay check is an issue to get used to.

Mary said...

Good luck to you in this next chapter. I know you are too creative to get bored, and believe that the money will come . . .
I found I didn't miss the 5 a.m. alarm or the pressure of six classes a day, though I still think fondly of my students and colleagues. I love the change from "human doing" to "human being."

Susan Atkinson said...

ENVIOUS!! That pretty well sums up my feelings today after reading your post. I've got a couple of years to go before I get to make that choice. Looking forward to seeing you in June and/or July here in Gilmer and catch up. Meanwhile, I'll read your blogs and sigh...
Susan

Granny Sue said...

Janet, I think I'm keeping Larry home more :) With the price of gas trips to anywhere have to considered carefully.

Granny Sue said...

I can relate to that, Mary. When I left my branch library, I sure missed my teen volunteers and the patrons and staff. I still run into them sometimes, and keep up with a few of the teens on Facebook. They were so much fun to work with.

Granny Sue said...

Susan, I felt like it would never come, and then all of a sudden it's here. I bet you'll be one busy lady when you do retire.

Susie Swanson said...

Congratulations on your retirement. My husband retired and couldn't stand it to long. He took a temporary job. Us women can always find things to do around the house. I love this time of year anyway.

Country Whispers said...

Glad you are enjoying retirement!
I being a SAHM don't understand how all working people have the time to do all the things that need done in a home plus work a full time job!
For that, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to stay at home and take care of all that it entails.
Best wishes to Larry and his diet.
Every diabetic needs a watchdog so it's good that you will be able to do that.
:) Maybe not so good for Larry though!

Granny Sue said...

Susie, I may find that we need the extra income--if so, I might apply to be a substitute teacher. But there is so much to do always around here, plus my storytelling and writing, that I won't take a job unless I need to.

I know, Jessica--poor man, everything he likes seems to be not on his diet.

Brighid said...

I'm sure you'll do fine with this new stage of your life. Your too spunky not to.
Things are tight money wise for most of us, I think. It's amazing how much we can do without, as long as we have friends.....

Granny Sue said...

Brighid, I need a like button for your comment :) Friends and family get us through don't they?

MK Stover said...

Granny Sue, I'm so happy for you!
May your days be long and happy on the earth :)

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