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.