People often ask what I’m doing to stay busy – now that I’ve retired and all. I loathe and fear the question, which probably accounts for the ridiculous things I’ve done since leaving the 9-5 world.
The main reason I competed in the Nashville Half Marathon was so I would have something to say when the dreaded question came up. It motivated me to hike the Sipsey State Park in the dead of winter, and climb up on the controversial horse sculpture recently erected in front of a strip club over on Highway 45. We are lucky we didn’t get arrested. Now that would be something to write home about!
The bad thing is I retired early and most of my friends are still working, so I have very few people to play with. The good news is more of my buddies are leaving the work force each month, and we’re thinking of starting up a playschool for seniors. Our children can drop us off each morning on the way to work and pick us up on the way home.
The truth is, I spend most of my time wrestling with that little voice in my head that is telling me to do something more constructive.
I had big plans – three pages worth of activities – some recreational, some philanthropic, others more literary in nature. Here I am coming up on 18 months as a retiree, and the only one I’ve completed is to bake a cake from scratch. What’s the big deal on “scratch” baking anyway – the cake was a big disappointment – even the dogs turned up their noses.
I’ve taken to praying for rain so I can stay inside and read murder mysteries. If it’s pretty outside, that voice in my head nags me to get out and push dirt around the garden. That same voice wakes me up at 4 a.m. even though there’s absolutely nothing you can do at that hour.
The most insistent voice is the one urging me to volunteer for some worthy project. I kept putting it off, saying “Wait until winter is over,” or “Wait until my hang nail heals.” My favorite excuse is “wait until I lose 10 pounds (that will never happen) or “until I get my braces off.” (I don’t even wear braces.)
That same voice insists that I go to the gym at least five days a week. (I’ve become really good at ignoring him.) Another entreats me to eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day – preferably green. I sure hope green M & Ms are considered a vegetable, because that’s the only green thing I’ve had since Sunday.
This fall, I will celebrate two years of freedom from the working world. That’s probably enough time to “find myself” and delve into more important stuff. I’m still looking for the woman I intended to be when I no longer had to spend eight hours each day in an office environment. I guess she’s “out to lunch.” No pun intended.