I thought waking up the first day of (r)etirement would be a shock. What would I do with my time? Should I linger in bed, or get up with my regular schedule? If I get everything done by 9am (as I would have in my previous over-scheduled life), what would I do with the rest of my day? Previously I would hurry up so I could relax. Would I do this? Would I feel I was contributing in my new life without a set schedule and planned deliverables for a company?
In reality the day was like any other weekend kind of day. The alarm went off at 5am. Sadly this was a mistake – I forgot to set it for later, forgetting that I no longer have to rush out of bed to exercise early!!! Soon my cats were at my door demanding their breakfast. (Note to self – retrain cats for later wake up time as well.) Since my husband was on a business trip, I was in charge of getting everything ready for the morning, and seeing my teenager off to school, so unfortunately with that alarm error, I just got up super early.
Now, I have established a habit of taking a morning walk, even when I worked. I find it refreshing to walk through my neighborhood, when no one is around, and watch the sunrise. Admittedly through the winter, I was not watching a lot of sunrises since I was out so early, but the intent was there to enjoy some quiet time. On my first day of (r)etirement, I set out later than I normally would. This turned out to be a real treat. Several neighbors were out walking their dogs, enjoying a nice Spring morning. I was able to linger, talk about what is going on with the kids, and truly connect. I spent about 1.5 hours walking the neighborhood, and returned refreshed and connected. I saw people I have not talked to much through the cold winter, and I remembered that there is a reason I live in a “Mayberry” kind of neighborhood. These are my peeps I’ve come to know and trust. I know their kids, who is divorced, who needs help, who cuts their grass in angles… It’s comforting.
With a pent up “to-do” list of things to do, I soon established my plan for the day, and it was like any other day. There was no shock and awe. No worries about what I would do with my time. I was refreshed, relaxed, and honestly was enjoying any time with people I came into contact with. This was what was more of the surprise for me – I was enjoying people. I was not rushing from place to place, cutting corners to get things done. When my mom called, I was not rushing her off the phone because I was limited in time. If the cashier took longer at the store, I was fine with it – not irritated. I think I’m turning out to be a nicer person as a result, not rushing and aggravated to get things done on my list.
Now I did have an unsettled feeling when I sat down to enjoy the sun in the front yard, and I drank a cup of tea. It felt foreign to me – to relax – to read magazines in my front yard in the middle of the day. The shame of sitting still! I had to get up and move. I just couldn’t do it. Perhaps that will come in time….ability to sit still…just take it in.
The next week is busy. We will be making some college visits, I need some minor oral surgery, I have a lot of house painting/maintenance planned, and I have a couple friends in need that just need me around. My master’s program kicks in again, and there is some yard work to be done. I’ll check in again after a week, but so far I’m thinking this taking some time off activity is one of the best things I’ve ever done. Maybe I can train myself just to sit an drink a cup of tea.
Keep in mind, it’s still day 1.