Jul 20, 2015

My Annual Blog Break and Clean Up on Aisle Three

I'll be back for sure to post as the Muse for the Muse Challenge Blog on August 3rd....and then for sure by Labor Day or sooner!  Until then, I thought I'd share how retirement is going.

Last Thursday, I was at Target checking out Dirt Devils v. Shark mini vacuum cleaners, because there is a lot of dirt that needs sucking up around here, when a young woman with two kids stops and starts talking to me.  She shares a story about her schedule, her kids, how hard it is to juggle her life. 

This woman is a stranger. 

I feel funny that her kids are hearing her say how hard it is to take care of them and work and have her husband have different days off, so I assure her that I remember those days of running from cooking to working to driving to homework to everything.   I told her that all of a sudden it will end, and she and her husband will be alone and I promise she will look back on those days and miss them because her kids were with her.  That they will grow up and leave and her days will be very quiet.

So I choke up and she chokes up.  Two of us are in the mini vacuum aisle with tears in our eyes.

(Do men approach total strangers and share their stresses and cry in Target?  No, they have heart attacks and drink too much beer.)

That conversation could not have happened even 6 months ago.  I would have been at the office on a Thursday, and I paid someone else to clean my house.  I was stressed out commuting and working and all that.  I was surrounded by things to do.  In fact, every day had a work and a home To Do List.  If that woman had approached me back then I would have joined her.

Almost 4 months into retirement, I am more restless than I anticipated.  I thought I would stamp and blog almost every day, that all the paperwork in this house would have been filed by now, and everything would be organized and clean and lovely.  I thought I would cook real meals rather than my usual mediocre meals.  I thought I a lot of things!

Apparently, I like having a list of things to do that doesn't just include organizing paperwork and cleaning and cooking and stamping and blogging and volunteering one afternoon a week.

Who knew?  A friend of mine warned me that retirement is a process.  I am so lucky to be part of this process as I do not miss going to the office.  In the meantime,  while I figure out a new To Do List, I am headed out of town this week without the husband.  I'm sure the lady in Target would enjoy the trip and I hope she gets to take it someday.  Until then, I hope she can enjoy the juggle, hard as it is.

ps.  I got the Dirt Devil and it does suck up a lot of stuff!

18 comments:

  1. Finding a new normal after a major life change is indeed a process. Thanks for sharing and have an awesome trip!

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  2. Your words are ringing true to me..Thanks. I'm living in the moment while my kiddos are still young. this ol' house will be quiet someday.

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  3. We'll miss you here, but isn't it lovely to not have to coordinate with the office staff so that it's always covered? That's the first thing I enjoyed in my retirement. Enjoy and be safe.

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  4. I am close to the time where my house will be quiet. It arrived before I had a chance to contemplate it fully. My daughter is looking at colleges and my son is starting high school. I remember missing time for sick babies, doctor appointments and school plays. It's so much easier to look back at the frantic days with a little bit of a rosy tint, but I'll miss them nonetheless.

    Enjoy your time away! And I always love reading about your retirement... process and all!

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  5. Always love your blog posts - they almost always make me laugh. I retired in 2002 - at 46 . . . . At the time, I was a wreck. I had worked as a legal assistant for 25 years, most of which was for the same firm and the same attorneys. I loved my job - loved it and hated it. Mostly because of that juggle you refer to above. But I retired nonetheless. So did my husband. Thought that would be a problem. But it's not - he golfs and I craft. So it works. But I can tell you that we evolved to where we are today. I was so full of angst after about 6 mos. of being retired, that I went back to work. One day a week - for a jerk. Did that for two years, and then retired again. Did that for about two years, and went back to work again. For three more years - for a nice enough guy. I could go to work when I wanted to, and didn't go when I didn't want to. Ultimately, I found a life . . . one that I liked way more than working! But I can honestly say I didn't feel "settled" until a year into the last retirement. You'll get there - hopefully sooner rather than later, because being retired is the BEST!!

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  6. Can we talk? ��. -your SIL Maggie

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  7. Enjoy the time off, Joan... We are also now at the point where the 2 birds have left the nest and it is just the hubby and I. And yes oh yes... I miss the school runs and watching netball games and and and... So true.

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  8. Thanks for sharing - looking very much forward to my own retirement, although that is still 10 years away....Enjoy life!

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  9. always enjoy reading your blog Joan and your reflections - i am 4 years into total retirement (substitute taught for 8 years after retiring) and loving every minute - never lack something to do and even doing nothing but reading half a day doesn't bother me. i feel so blessed to be able to travel, visit my children, make cards, volunteer, be with friends and on and on - and don't mind at all being by myself. life is good.

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  10. Have a wonderful trip to wherever, Joan! Wish it was close enough that we could visit in person. :) I've "retired" a couple of times now (when Carter was first diagnosed -- that lasted 8 years, then again when we moved last year) and I'm once again adjusting my sails to eventually re-enter the workforce in a whole new capacity. My nest will be half-empty with Truman leaving for college in a month, but I think all of us are ready for that transition (famous last words!). I think any kind of shift in life is hard; hard can be good, bad, or both, I think. Very rarely, though, does anything end up looking/feeling like I anticipate it to! You'll find your new normal eventually, and it will be great. Just like you are. :) Have fun, be safe, and hurry back to us! You were gone too long last time you took a break!

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  11. Retirement can be an amazing thing, if you use it wisely -- as I see it, you did an amazing thing with the "lady on aisle 3". Thanks for investing in someone else's sanity. Meanwhile, we will miss you but know that we will be waiting for your return and send blessings as you have your break...

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  12. Good going, Joan. Life is good. Life is hard. Life gives you challenges. Life is as good as you make it. Sounds like you're doing just great most days... p.s. - I love the bits you're sharing with us!
    =] Michele

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  13. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. I'm getting closer to retirement & hope that I can have a smooth transition, but am sure there will be ups and downs. Your encounter with the young mother was touching - yes, women do those things & men may, but it's usually in a bar after a few! Have a great trip & break from the blog. I always look forward to your return. Big Hugs.

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  14. Thanks for sharing your fun story. ... I have been retired for three years and am living proof of Parkinson's law, which states that "work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." In other words, on many days it takes a long while to do a lot of nothing. On other days I may or may not be a whirling dervish, but I definitely enjoy being retired. ... Have a good break. You've earned it!

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  15. I'm three weeks from retirement. I guess it's different for everyone. Some say they've loved it always with no angst-filled transition period, and others say they miss the structure. It's impossible to predict, but I'd wager I'm going to totally enjoy it. I suppose it helps to have a retired husband with whom you share interests. Good luck getting past the restless period. I hope it's just temporary.

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  16. I just hope I'm not too old to stamp by the time I retire! Every summer half my brain tells me to teach a class or two and the other half screams, "TAKE THE SUMMER OFF!!" Work always wins. Why is it so hard to not work?

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  17. I enjoyed your writing, Joan! You have a gift there! Congratulations on your retirement which I know you will soon be embracing without any restlessness. It is a transition, but it is a wonderful transition to get to the place where To Do Lists become post-it notes stuck everywhere as reminders and that's about it because To Dos become less important and Whatevers rule. Also, I'm pretty sure there's a rule about retired people being required to hire house-cleaners as a medical and psychological necessity, lol! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!! Hugs, Darnell

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