Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Balance, or Lack Thereof

I am still struggling with this thing called retirement. While it seems that I would have more time to do all the things I love to do, the truth is time flies by and I still feel like I'm running behind and not getting to the things I need to do.

Today is a good example. We were up early, around 6:30am, so we could beat the heat and get some work done before it got too miserable. This has been a tough summer, lots of 90+ degree days and little rain. We try to water as much as we can mornings and evenings without overtaxing the well. I like to take a little "porch time" to visit the pets, drink my tea and watch the morning settle in.Then breakfast and get started.

That's all good. But after breakfast there are dishes and kitchen cleanup. Then house tidying, making the bed and so on. When all that is done it's time to start on whatever vegetables need processing. Today it was cucumbers. I sorted them and got them ready for making dill pickles. Meantime Larry brings in more veggies to be sorted and decisions need to be made as to what to do with them.

While the cucumber slices were soaking in salty ice water, I took care of some business--balancing checkbooks, calling about my defective new cell phone (such a long, tiring saga that has been ongoing for almost 2 weeks--AT&T, you do not win points for this), paying bills, etc. By the time I finished with all of this it was almost 2pm and time to finish the pickles. I got them processed, then worked on  Larry napped--he'd dug the potatoes this morning and was whupped. When he work up we had errands in town. Home for dinner and I began cleaning up the explosion in my office--so many programs in July led to major pile-ups in the office. I also pulled together some story ideas and other things for my programs this weekend for the Inland Waterways Festival in Marietta, OH. I stopped cleaning around 9:30 to go out on the porch and enjoy the sliver of a new moon and the night music of cicadas and tree frogs.

All in all, it was a good day. What did not happen, however, is telling: I did not write. I did not read any of the pile of novels and magazines by the couch. I did not work on finding new work for the autumn and winter months. Those things need to be done but the pressure of gardens and canning and recuperating from last month seem to be taking the driver's seat. It doesn't help that I seem to have picked up a sinus infection either.

Maybe I expect too much too soon. I feel like I am still playing catch-up as I sort and reorganize in my office and the rest of the house. There is a constant tote being filled for Goodwill, and the trash cans stay full as I work through files. The kitchen is always calling, for cleaning or cooking or canning. I wonder if I need to turn off that siren call, ignore it to work on the kind of things that produce something as green as garden produce--money! And yet, who can let a five gallon bucket of tomatoes go to waste? Not me!

This is actually my first 5-day break without a performance scheduled since I retired. After this week, I have many days without gigs. Which is good and bad--no work, no money. No work, more time. Will I eventually learn to balance all of these demands and learn to prioritize them? I think so. I hope so. Sometime in the next few weeks or months, maybe I will find that magical place called balance.

11 comments:

Nance said...

ah Sue, you will. I think you will learn the balance of the demands. One of my problems, and yours?, is that our parents lived through The Great Depression and World War II and the "waste not; want not" mentality is deeply engrained in us. That 5 gal bucket of tomatoes will get you thru the winter when the rest of the food is gone! (PS: it is so dry here, I'm about to start carrying my dishwasher outside to water my flowers! : ) something I remember my Mama doing in the mid 1950s, a dry spell.)

Nance said...

no, not my dishwasher! lol. My dish water!

Country Whispers said...

You'll find balance.
Now is a busy time with gardening, canning and simply enjoying the summer season and all that it brings. There will be time during the fall and winter to "rest". A time to organize thoroughly and catch up.

Chip "Rocket Man" Allen said...

Your preaching to the choir here, sister! When I was forced to retire after my accident I figured I'd be bored stiff. Not a chance and we don't even have a garden! I'd give anything to be able to go back to working 60 to 80 hours a week so I could get some rest!

Granny Sue said...

Nance, Larry and I were just talking about how people would not have let their gardens burn up back in those days--they'd have carried every speck of water they used out to the plants, and had the kids doing bucket brigades from the creeks. Now we have the backup of readily available produce. I've seen so many gardens just let go because of the heat and drought. Can't imagine the Depression folks doing that.

Granny Sue said...

You are right, Jessica. I keep telling myself that, but it apparently hasn't really sunk in. I can't describe how good it does feel to get up and know I can plan my day my way. I didn't mean to whine--but it does help to assess what I'm doing and re-format!

Granny Sue said...

I hear you, Chip! The days fly by.

Mountainword said...

GSue,

At least you have time to do all of this - by the time I get home from work it's too hot to do any yard work, and the garden (although we do keep it watered) would benefit from a thorough weeding. It is a combination of lack of energy and the heat that makes me do nothing outside. Simply keeping the grass mowed is driving us bonkers. Seems like even on days when the sun is not hot (below 100) it rains, so there we are. Then there's the things I enjoy - spending time with friends, playing with the cats, and the not so enjoyable ever present housework- that suck the day away. Somedays I'm living in a steamroom, the outdoors are a greenhouse that beckon and yet smother. Sometimes the top of the house (even though well insulated) still roasts out sweat with simple movements like putting up the laundry. At any rate, its a challenge keeping up with it all.

My neighbor Mary, who is nearing her 80s, told me that her mother had certain days on which she did certain housework - a day for laundry, a day for ironing, a day for etc, etc,.... so I'm thinking maybe a schedule is in order, although I am the worst when it comes to following a schedule. But if it worked for others, then it may work for me. It's a thought.

Granny Sue said...

I've thought about a schedule, Jason. It might be what I need. so much time for writing, so much for eBay, so much for Amazon (I sell on both), so much for promotion, so much for working on new material, so much for housework, so much for gardens, etc, etc. When I look at the list it seems there won't be enough hours in the day!

The other thing is that creativity can't be scheduled--it comes when it comes. I often have to push it back because more mundane things must be done. Then when I have time to be creative, the drive is gone! Ah, dilemmas.

JJM said...

Have you considered audio books on an iPod (vel sim.) while you're working at non-verbal tasks like gardening? I have friends who swear by it. You could also rehearse new stories as well as do some preliminary writing / planning by dictating into a portable tape recorder (again, vel sim.).

Like Mountainword, though, I envy you. By the time I get home from work, it's eight p.m and I'm way past having any interest in doing chores at home ... At least I have the commute for reading and writing. :) --Mario

Granny Sue said...

Mario, that's a good idea. I don't own an ipod yet but maybe it's time. Just got a smartphone yesterday and maybe I can use it the same way? Big learning curve ahead. I learn well aurally and often have CDs of songs I am learning playing while I work.

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