Saturday, August 06, 2011

Planning Ahead



I've been practicing for my retirement. This coming school year will be my last. This summer, I've only done what there's time for in a day and let the rest go. I rise early, greet the sun (or the rain or the mist or the heat), do a little yoga, a little house work. I take an afternoon nap, rummage in the garden for fresh vegetables for supper (always pulling a couple of weeds here and there to keep ahead), ride my bicycle for a few miles, and take a book to bed. Each day I try to add in one of the million other things I want to do (draw, paint, write, go to the library, watch old movies, visit the grandchildren, etc.). I’m sure if I had a plan book I would pen in such activities, but I like the freeform-ness of my days. I wouldn’t remember to look at the plan book anyhow.

Come fall and winter I will once again be at work, thereby severely limiting my private time. I will have to fill out the date book in my purse, stuff more things into the weekend hours, push against that heavy Monday-morning feeling that settles on my shoulders at bedtime Sunday night. But I am building memories for my retirement-in-the-offing, memories of hummingbirds deep in the hollyhock blossoms, of cardinals singing me awake and crickets singing me to sleep, of time just to sit and think. I will fetch a packet of green beans from the freezer in the dead of winter and remember the heat on my shoulders as I picked them from their leafy rows. I will open a jar of pasta sauce and recall this summer's tree-high tomato plants, or make a pie with the berries I’ve picked and put by. I will remember the quiet time, the rush-less days, the easy waking, and the restful nights. And I will look forward to the coming summer, knowing all these will be mine in full again.

From here, retirement looks mighty good. My friends wonder if I might get bored with such easy living. I tell them the only time I can remember being bored was when I was stuck in some building, working at some job that didn’t keep me busy enough. Once I no longer have to work, I imagine boredom will just disappear along with that plan book.




photo credit: www.artexpertswebsite.com/ pages/artists/

18 comments:

Star said...

Hi Pauline, I am recently retired and love it! You will love it too, I'm sure. You will have more time to do the things you want to do and more time to rest, an important part of a retiree's day. I'm sure you will count the days with a little nostalgia but from what I can see, it's definitely better than work!

Brian Miller said...

you have a way of seeing the beauty in the world so i think you will be just fine come retirement...hope that the next year is one full of memories....

Judith said...

Bored? You?
Hardly!
You might start two/three more blogs --
Count the stars in the Milky Way --
Paint/collage/origami --
Learn a foreign language --
Stand on your head regularly ---

The sky's YOUR limit! Just hang loose for that One More Year, and enjoy NOW just like you're doing.

Brian Hayes said...

I think you said practice for retirement is forgetting your own schedule. "Count the stars..." HA! "Stand on your head..." woot! Seems to be a plenty full daze, ey wot?

June said...

Retirement is still somewhere beyond my horizon, but OH! how I look forward to it . . . to use (or not) just as you anticipate doing. When people say, "Oh, you'll get bored," I tell them that perhaps I will, but at least I'll be free to go do something I want to do to unbore myself!

Tabor said...

I think you will have enough fullness in your retirement from reading the above post, that your days will be rich with wonder.

Pauline said...

Thanks for the encouraging comment, Star. I will miss the little kids for sure but not the rush to be at school early, nor the interminable meetings!

Brian M - I'll make sure to remember the best moments!

J - I agree. There will not be enough hours in the day!

Brain H - I plan to make the best of those days!

June - exactly! I bet I'll be able to "unbore" myself without any difficulty!

tabor - when you are in love with life, every day has some magic to it :)

Out on the prairie said...

I never really plan much anymore. When I first retired I subbed a few times still. It faded away and now I do what I feel like.Keeping busy is key in my life, and I have a lot of fun doing it.

Teri said...

It seems that no matter what I think I may want to do (or not) with retirement, something always comes along and fills up the idle hours. I find it hard to fit everything in now. So many things to do. I don't even know the meaning of the word boredom.

Pauline said...

OOTP - "something always comes along" - looking forward to being able to do those things instead of putting them off!

Teri - I've heard that from a lot of retired friends, those that were always able to keep busy still keep busy but those who had a hard time entertaining themselves outside of work were bored. Guess you just continue your lifestyle...

Barbara Shallue said...

I totally understand what you're saying - I don't believe I could ever be bored if I had the freedom to choose how I spent my day (in other words, didn't have to go to work!) Congratulations on your upcoming retirement!

Barbara said...

With all of your interests, you will never regret for even a moment your decision to retire. The days are never long enough!

Kerry said...

Pauline, I am dumb-struck with the coolness of this post. I think this will be the last year of teaching for me as well, and people tell me I need a plan. My plan is a lot like yours.

Friko said...

Dear Pauline, do you have a surprise in store for your retirement!

If you are anything like the majority of retirees I know - and I'm one of them - you will wonder how you ever found time to do all your doing AND go to work.

In retirement you will suddenly find a million and one things to do you never even knew existed before. It's fun, but exhausting.

We are right on the edge of the Midlands, Shropshire n the Welsh border. Far away from civilisation.

Ruth said...

I could use that retirement now too. How anyone could be bored in such times, I haven't a clue. What you describe sounds perfect. It's a shame we can't all live like that our whole lives. I for one have to go back to work today after two weeks vacation. I enjoy my job, thankfully. I guess the trick is learning to fill our lives with the treats we want now.

Beautifully written, Pauline.

Pauline said...

Barbara S - In the moments where I find myself at a loss for something to do (this summer was SO hot that I often had those moments), I lie down, The minute I'm prone, I think of the ten thousand things I could be doing and up I get!

Barbara - that's what I'm thinking, too. I've managed to fill a whole summer's worth of days with pleasurable activities :)

Kerry - My plan is to let it all unfold for the most part. I will do some babysitting, I know, but other than planning those specific times, I hope to just let life fall into my lap for awhile. Then I may go back to school or take up a new hobby or simply enjoy the old ones.

Friko - I'm counting on that!

Ruth - I like my job too but it's the hurrying and living by the clock I don't like. I am looking forward to doing things on my own time schedule and not someone elses!

Gary said...

Your last year teaching! When I was younger I thought retirement would be so depressing but now that I can retire in about 11 years I think when it arrives I will welcome the time to do exactly what you described. I love that you mention hummingbirds. I saw one the other morning and as I looked out the window to watch him he turned to me and looked in the window. He stared at me for a while as the goosebumps rose on my body and I felt very hot. Was he really looking at me? I found it thrilling. But I digress, enjoy the rest of this summer.

Pauline said...

Gary - I've been working since I was eleven years old. I'm tired! I know I will miss the kids and the daily challenges but I'm hoping to rest up a bit, slow down, and have time for all the things I put aside while work beckons! We should get in touch in eleven years and see how you like retirement!