Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Hours between Lunch and Happy

The hours between lunch and happy.

 I used these words recently to describe my visit to a popular area of Atlanta at a time when a good parking space was mine for the taking and I could get alfresco seating at a trendy restaurant without a reservation in order to drink my Diet Coke and enjoy the view.  More recently, as I've thought about it, I've concluded that these particular hours illustrate my vision for my new and untested retirement, while they also, in fact, offer up a bit of a problem.  On the one hand, I do now have the time to do many of the things that, in the past, I was too tired and busy to do and I’m available during the hours when most people are at their desk, their post, or their station.  On the other hand, some of these very same hours sit and laugh at me from my couch and call me names like loser and has been, which hurts my feelings.

I’m a routine-oriented person which has allowed me to survive and enjoy over 40 years in the field of Education.  I like to do the same things at about the same time and in the same way and I like to know what those things are in advance.  You will never find my picture at the top of a Google search list under the key word “spontaneous”.   

I’ve been this way since I was a young child.  I remember as a little girl sitting in our small TV room on a summer’s day writing down my vacation schedule, which went something like this:

9:00     Get up
9:05     Brush teeth
9:10     Breakfast and TV
10:00   Draw
11:00   Read
12:00   Lunch and TV
1:00     Get dressed
1:15     Go outside
1:30     Draw
2:30     Make bed
2:45     Read
3:45     Snack and TV
4:45     Practice piano
5:00     Make something
6:00     Supper
7:00     TV
9:00     Read in bed

Aside from some different time slots and an exchange of internet for drawing and the addition of an evening cocktail, I’m afraid my retirement schedule would look very much like that of my childhood.  Also note that, with the exception of "make bed", there was nothing akin to "clean room" on my schedule and that certainly hasn't changed.

Here’s the conundrum:  I retired because I did want more time and freedom and I do want to be able to plan my day my way and I definitely want to be able to spend more time with my kids and grandkids, but I still need something else, especially since I live alone and get tired of talking to only me (and those annoying hours that keep ridiculing me).  However, I do believe, in the past, I’ve allowed my full-time job to keep me hemmed in and safely away from things I might, under just the right circumstances, be interested in doing, things that just might scare me a little bit.  Now that I’m unhemmed, I'm also unhinged just thinking about the possibilities, which seem limitless (within my teacher retirement financial limits, which are definitely limited).

I’m getting there.  I’m holding on to some of the old by continuing to teach on-line for my old college bosses and teaching a writing class at my old school.   I’m also doing some new things with volunteer work at the Atlanta History Center (I get to wear a Civil War-era frock and bloomers) and I’m planning writing trips to North Georgia and Stone Mountain, all within the hours between lunch and happy.

The only problem is that those hours, according to my schedule, are for watching TV, having my snack, and making my bed.


Olga said...

I remember feeling something like that when I first retired I took some long term sub jobs for a few years, Then I got over it. Now I really don't have enough time in my day.
P.S. Driving through the southeastern corner of Georgia this afternoon we past a car that had written on the back: Yard maintenance and house cleaning...$40. per month. I wanted to flag them down and sign them up, but Mike just kept driving.

cile said...

We tell ourselves some of the darnedest things about what 'will be'! I found out when I was unemployed that I was a terrible time manager for making dreams come true...pretty good at getting somewhere as expected by others though. I had plenty of practice. Tell that nasty voice to butt out. There's a new girl in town and she's learning how to think and plan differently! I think you are in retirement shock, Marcia, and my bet is it will pass if you don't let that 'nagpie' take up housekeeping.

LC said...

Sounds to me like you have a busy schedule. Even not a single, I find I have the need for the kind of interaction that work with a group of creative, funny, thoughtful, gifted people provided.

The daily contact required no planning when I was working. Most of them are still on the job. Time together requires layers of planning. So worth it, though! Enjoyment will quiet the mocking of those irreverent hours between lunch and happy.

Friko said...

With the extra work you're doing I can't see the problem. What is wrong with sitting and reading - even watching chosen TV programmes - for an hour or two every day? Or blogging, for that matter?

I've been retired for years, don't do any paid work at all - nobody would have me - and I never have enough time for the things I want to do. Admitted, these things could come under the heading of idling more often than not. I do't even have grandchildren to look after occasionally.

Marcia, let me tell you, you'll get there. You started out well as a kid on vacation, surely you can't have lost the knack?

Celia said...

You'll get there. I find myself in somewhat the same place, had an unpaid "job" two days a week doing homeschooling with my grandgirls. They moved and are going to public school. am alone with myself again. I did prep another day for art class. But...she says, this isn't the first time since I retired I've had to start over. I got my camera and sketch book out, doing plants and flowers, and maybe watercolor, a medium I never conquered. Still feeling directionless but I know that will change after time.

I am learning to enjoy the days I don't get dressed until 10am, and piddle around making a mushroom fritata for myself.

I do plan on finding somewhere or two to volunteer, living alone does move that up the list for me for some regular social contact.

marciamayo said...

Celia, I do think it makes a difference when you live alone. Thanks for helping me realize I'm not the only one dealing with this.

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh Marcia, you're back!! I'm so glad, I had just about given up.

You're as fresh as ever, I think a new passion (something, anything) is in order. Taking not too much time but just a lift to the neurons? H'm?

Enjoy la belle retirement!!


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