Retirement - the First 90 Days
“You seem happier”.
Perhaps that’s the nicest and most encouraging thing that has been said about me in the past three months.
For three months I’ve been doing this retirement thing. It has been hard to get a handle on just what the experience is like because nothing has seemed normal since the day I last worked. First we drove cross-country for almost a month, rested a couple weeks and then flew to Paris with our family, got home and rushed to Texas to see my ailing father. Now we’re back home and establishing a routine.
I’ve noticed a few things thus far.
First, I have no clue what day of the week it is.
When I woke up this past TUESDAY, my first thought was that I had forgotten to prepare for the Sunday school class I lead. I’m becoming more and more dependent on my pill box to remind me which day it is. I use a seven day dispenser with separate compartments for AM and PM. I think this will be instrumental in helping me determine sunrise from sunset in the near future. When I complained that the words were rubbing off the lid, my wife stuck labels on each compartment to help me. But she accidentally switched the AM and PM so it has been complete chaos this week! I’ll get it all situated correctly the next time I refill all of them, but that in itself creates more chaos the following day when I have to determine where to start again with a full dispenser.
Second thing I’ve noticed is my wife needs space. Before our trip to Paris I went with her to a clothing store to help her look for one last outfit. I stood at the end of a rack responding to Instagram messages but thought she might want me closer to offer a valued opinion so I moved in between the racks with her. (but continued gramming) It wasn’t long before she spun me around and marched me back to the main aisle. That’s when I decided it was time to go look for a hat. I don’t typically wear hats by the way. Later, in the grocery store, I learned the valuable lesson that a grocery LIST is merely a suggestion and a starting point. In my desire for ultimate efficiency, I had always found it prudent to make the list in the order of the aisles from back to front and procure only what is on the list. Turns out, this is NOT how you are supposed to shop. Instead, there is to be a meandering path, somewhat back and forth on aisles as one product sparks an idea for another and googling a recipe throws in a whole new set of required ingredients. Ultimately, if invited, I now understand the proper position is about one or two feet behind her as she drives the cart. I am always available for security duty (watching her purse) and backtracking for items we have already passed (but she knows it’s not likely I will find what she requested). Watch for this next time you go grocery shopping and give the man in back a knowing nod as you pass.
Finally, I’ve noticed we can work together quite well but still need time apart. Last week (which is a vague reference to a few days ago), we did yard work together. Well, she was weed eating, doing her own task, and had to stop what she was doing to assist me using a chainsaw to cut clumps of decorative grass. But we did that together. We’ve also cleaned and organized entire rooms together which was really quite satisfying. The fact that it was MY idea had to have been a real love gift to her! Yet, we each need our own space. She has her sewing and I’ve yet to discover a way in which I can help or make that any more efficient. I have my sock drawer. Yesterday I took them all out of their individual color compartments, briefly held each pair to see if there were any special memories forbidding me to donate them, and then put most of them back into the same color categories. I have trouble between black and blue. (We could stop doing laundry right now and I would be good until sandal season.)
And of course I have my writing to keep me busy. But for now it’s time to alphabetize the cleaning products under the kitchen sink.