I woke up that first morning after retirement with a feeling that I was on vacation without the nagging worries over work projects in the back of my mind. For the next six months I enjoyed hours on the back deck reading books and languishing in leisure.
Then I took up all the home projects that I had no time for while working: cleaning out closets, organizing recipes, pictures and clothes drawers, taking long lunches with friends, cooking special meals for my husband who was still working. When all that was put to rest, I looked for something else to fill my days. I floundered instead of flourishing. I needed a schedule!
I had lived by a schedule all my adult life. In order to accomplish the things required of me, I had to have a schedule and a plan. I had no desire to go back to work, but I had to be productive. I talked with a nurse friend of mine who had semi-retired before me. She had, like me, planned her retirement years before it happened. Rather than just quit everything, she continued to work one day a week. (Nurses can do that. Most of us can’t.)
So what could I do? Many people volunteer. There are plenty of needs to fit your talents. But I had volunteered all my work life and that was not what I was looking for. I remembered the Atlanta Journal article outlining the 5 phases of retirement (mentioned in my blog “The Decision to Retire”) and realized that I was experiencing Phase 3. disenchantment and Phase 4. reorientation.
I was already reorienting myself to something new. I had interviewed a host of retirees for a newspaper series on retirement and like them I wanted to feel that I was contributing to society and was continuing to grow and learn.
Out came the calendar and my days were scheduled with visiting family and friends, lunching with friends, learning new techniques for quilting, cooking, using the computer, and (today) following my passion, writing books and blogging!
Oh yeah…in between the cleaning, etc. and the writing, I was fortunate to keep each of my middle son’s three children the first year of their lives! What a blessing!