THE TGB ELDER GEEK: Readable
Vintage TGB: 19 October 2004

Retirement Sloth

If you are still working, today's post probably won't resonate much. But if you have been retired for awhile, perhaps you will know whereof Crabby Old Lady speaks. Or not.

Crabby was laid off from what turned out to be her last job in June of 2004. In one respect, the layoff was a relief and may have saved her sanity. The round-trip commute had been four to four-and-a-half hours a day leaving Crabby, after three years, with a bone-deep weariness bred of all work and no play.

Her routine had been immutable: awake at 4:30AM, home by about 7PM (sometimes later), a quick meal and bed with no possible variation if Crabby wanted to keep her job. Weekends were a rush to accomplish all the chores and errands that with a more reasonable schedule can mostly be folded into the week: cleaning, shopping, bill paying, laundry, dry cleaning dropoff and pickup and catching up on sleep. No time, or energy, left for socializing.

The next year was easier without the commute, but increasingly discouraging when Crabby's new full-time job - looking for a job - went nowhere. By mid-2005, deeply in debt, she was forced to sell her Greenwich Village home and leave the city. That took another year, so Crabby can't say she retired for real until 2006.

Since then, her time has been her own to use as she chooses. Because she had not planned to retire, Crabby had never given any thought to how she wanted to spend her final years, what she might want to accomplish or how she would spend her days. Due to circumstances beyond her control, she backed into retirement and has winged it, with some unsettling results.

Mostly now, she turns out Time Goes By and The Elder Storytelling Place. Crabby is not required to do this, no one's paying her, nor is she required to spend the amount of time on it that she does – a lot. But aging in all its aspects still interests Crabby – you wouldn't be wrong to call it a passion – so she treats the blogs as a job she goes to each day.

The commute, about 50 feet and ten seconds from the bedroom, is an improvement over that final paying job of her 50-year career.

In the first year or two, after settling into her new home, Crabby ordered her life in much the same way as when she was a working person. She spread out the house cleaning over the week, did the grocery shopping on a given day, gave over one afternoon a week to an outside obligation and made time for social engagements whether with friends or, perhaps, a daytime movie or short driving trip to places around Maine.

Crabby has always gotten more done if she has a schedule; even a loose one will work. The problem in recent months is that it has become much looser, too loose, and she falls further behind every week.

Laundry has been extended to once every two weeks for no reason other than it's not at the top of Crabby's hit parade. But for god's sake, how hard is it. All she needs to do is shove it in a machine. Fortunately, Crabby owns enough clothing, linen, etc. to be clean in between and it does save some energy costs, but turns the job into more of a burden than she wants.

Three shirts she likes to wear have been hanging in the closet in need of ironing for more than a month.

There are enough dishes in the sink at the end of each day that you'd think six people lived here instead of one.

Crabby hadn't gotten around to rearranging the deck for winter until the first night it was going to freeze earlier this week and then she did it only so the plants that can survive winter were properly protected.

This morning, something crunched under her feet in the kitchen – stray cat food – and Crabby realized she hadn't swept the floor in a week. It was awful looking.

She has had everything she needs for touch-up painting on some windows and doors for one whole year right out on a counter where she can't miss seeing it. But now it just blends in with the décor rather than reminding her to do the work.

Crabby meant to buy some bulbs this fall to plant in a drab, little strip of dirt along the driveway and didn't do that either.

Even the blog suffers. Crabby's been meaning to update the Elderbloggers List for about two months; there are a bunch of new ones she would like you to know about and still she has not done it.

Last January, she determined to do a redesign of TGB – it's more than five years old – and here it is, almost January again still waiting with only a page of notes made.

The only item Crabby can be pleased about is that she has stuck to her promise to shower and dress within two hours of rising. For a long time it was not uncommon for her to be at the computer in her granny gown and fuzzy slippers until noon.

So what does Crabby have to show for the extra time she's gained from her sloth? Maybe half a dozen more books read, but she can't think of anything else.

Worse, Crabby resents herself every day for blowing off both normal upkeep and larger projects. Several times a week, she has a conversation with herself. So what, she says. You do get around to the important stuff before anything gets too icky and who cares if the painting project is put off for a year.

Well, says the other voice, because you become irritated with yourself and if you'd just do those chores, you wouldn't have to listen to yourself. It's like being your own mother AND daughter – nag, nag, nag.

And so on...

Crabby considered wrestling her tidy side into submission and living happily with her sloth until she asked herself what would happen if she lives to be as old as Millie Garfield or Darlene Costner or Mort Reichek – all in their eighties. Would she put off the painting for another 15 years?

That's scary. Now Crabby is wondering if sloth is inevitable in retirement or if she's going through a phase.


Another episode of Life (Part 2) has been posted. This one is about a subject that may be even more taboo than sex and religion: money. Here is a short clip.

You can watch the entire episode here.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Jeanne Waite Follett: Safe Haven


Comments

Maybe it's the position of the moon that does this...I say tongue in cheek.

Ronni, unemployed for 5 months now, I did not plan to retire and am fighting it. Every day, I do look for jobs. That is my full time job.

Disheartened, I too have left home projects undone; sometimes don't get dressed at all; don't blog on a given day; and more.

I feel less energy which may be a form of depression or just lack of motivation. I choose the latter. I love people but somedays, don't want to talk or see anyone.

Since reading your blog this morning, I feel better...misery loves company? No, I realize we must all go through these "phases" of adjustments in life that don't meet our expectations. We're not stupid. We know, for the most part, our lives are what we make of them...yet....what do we want to make of them?

The truth is: I still don't know.

Crabby not-so-old-but-not-that-much-younger old lady agrees. It seem that the more time I have the less I do. Can this phenomenon be explained by Quantum Physics?

You are so right ... it takes longer and longer to do nothing.
The hardest part was to accept that all the important things to do were not all that important.
It becomes easier as I age to just play with the things that interest me. To explore, and drop at a whim without a twinge.
It's an interesting time of life, unlike any other. Freedom without guilt...it takes a lot of getting used to.

Oh I love it! Great post topic! I am retired but most of my friends still work and they express envy that I don't feel rushed or hurried to get things done, I do it in my own time. And I of course don't let on that all that extra times means I just don't get those things done, there's plenty of time, why rush? Sometimes I think a little more urgency in my life would be a Good Thing. Not all the time, but sometimes. I do like Savouring The Moment too.

When I was still working as a technical writer, I remember going to a seminar by a freelance technical writer who wrote those Computer Programming for Dummies kind of books, on the delights of being self-employed. He said that most of those C P for Ds kind of books were written by Naked Guys (sic), that one of the perks of self-employment being that you don't actually have to get dressed to work. I always remind myself of that when I am still in my PJs past noon, there are plenty of (self-employed) working folks doing the same thing! (I can't believe they're all Naked, surely they wear shorts or something!)

You accomplish a lot Ronni, I think a little sloth is a small price to pay! Crabby Lady must be having an off day.

I've decided that garden gnomes come to life in the middle of the night, break into the house and dirty up all the laundry and dishes.

That's my theory anyway.

A few flakes of snow fell in Montreal yesterday. No. Please. Not yet. I still have gardens to put to bed. Lately I haven't been able to write much. Family stuff. When that happens, I grab the vacuum cleaner and run it over the whole house like a deranged elephant, as if the vacuum will suck up all my anxiety. But even if it does, the stuff isn't going anywhere. It's still in the bag!

It's cold again today, but I am going to push my butt out to breakfast with some retired friends. We'll see what's on their plates.

Now I'm going to ask my cat to boot me, with all her might, in the butt, for bellyaching over nothing.

Ronni: those previous posts say it all & I agree, agree, agree! I've decided to go with the flow & lower my expectations. Who cares anyway? It's not the end of the world. Besides, you're doing a great job with this blog & that's what we all care about. Have a great day & w/end. Dee

I work from mid-August to mid-June and figure that all the things, projects, etc., that I did not have time for while at work, could be put off until those months at home. However, it seems with each passing year, less and less gets done or the really important things get taken care of about a week before I start back to work.

Too true. And it's got to be the expectations-of-others that kept us up to the mark. I was a stay at home mom and it still rings true as the same scenario. Now my husband and I are always doing something and, as my mother would say, 'getting nowhere fast." I wish I could just switch off to not caring but it gets to me.

Added note. I wonder if it's just afflicting women? What do the men say?

“Retirement sloth” is somewhat a more complimentary term than this “Crabby Old Gentleman” might use with regard to your subject matter this morning. I think referring to myself as a “retirement slob” is getting closer to a more accurate representation.

You speak of cleaning the kitchen floor weekly which I find as an admirable accomplishment – even if you do it in your robe at two o’clock in the afternoon. Oh if my kitchen floor could be so lucky!

My primary nemeses surrounding my life as a slob I suppose is dusting. I have long struggled with that chore. I finally decided that rather than do my dusting, since I enjoy sitting on my ass so much at a computer, I should just make a scientific experiment out of my lack of dusting and see how long, for example, it takes before the dining room table collapses under the weight of the dust. I could document all the results while just remaining there at my computer. Then perhaps at some point sell the data to someone like the Discovery Channel. Then some really smart people could come out with criteria as to when it is recommended that one dust before encountering catastrophic consequences.

In fact, after finding out I won’t be getting any more Social Security cost-of-living raises, it might well be an inventive way of continuing the lifestyle I have been accustomed to and still getting some extra cash. I certainly don’t want my selfish needs to impose any hardships on the banks and their struggling CEO’s.

Whatcha think?

Relax. Stop being so hard on yourself. You and I and so many others have been entirely too driven by our own conscience for too many years -- to be on time, to live up to our obligations to everyone and everything. I worked in the advertising business for over 50 years where we lived and died by deadlines every minute of every day, then hurried home to pick up kids, start dinner, clean up the house a little, and finally fall in bed every night too exhausted to think. And I have had a terrible time learning to live an eassier, less harried life. It had become an engrained habit that is hard to override.

I too get that itchy urge to get moving, do something, finish up something -- and then I realized that no one is going to go hungry or die or hate me if I don't.

We are the type who are too hard on ourselves. We are our own harshest critics. I have to talk to myself, too. I tell myself to ease off, relax, begin to enjoy life, and only do those things you want to do, when you want to do them.

Touch-up paint, doing laundry, and all the other things that used to drive me crazy can go take a long walk off a short pier.

I only have so much strength and time left, and I'm going to spend them reading, talking to friends, enjoying the sun and walking the dog. The other stuff won't go away, but it will not be a catastrophe if it doesn't get done for a year or two. My heirs can do them, if they are so inclined.

My priorities have changed -- a lot!!

Ronni, just put off that painting until you will no longer care. Believe me, it will happen. ;-)

Sometimes I'm a sloth out of necessity. I no longer have the energy to do things and that used to bother me. Now I think, "Who cares?"

I try to keep up appearances like 'that Bucket woman', Hyacinth. But if you looked behind the books and bric-a-brack on my shelves you would probably find inch thick dust (but I keep the front of the shelves dust free.) If you look under my furniture you might find something growing. Meticulous, I'm not.

I no longer have a schedule - the old laundry on Monday, iron on Tuesday, bake on Saturday, routine. When I have enough dirty clothes to fill the tub I do laundry. The same with dishes - when the dishwasher is full I run it.

I think the thing that keeps my house in order is my image (false though it might be). In the back of my mind is a little voice that nags, "What if you die today and your children had to see this." So I keep on making my bed every morning and straightening the house so things look neat.

Irrational as it is, I am not so fussy about my person. I may be sitting at the computer at lunch time still in my robe and slippers. Since no one comes anyhow I think it doesn't matter. Eventually I force myself to go shower and get dressed because I have to go outside to get the mail. If I didn't have to leave the house I wonder if I would ever dress. It's so comfortable to be in a nightgown.

In essence, I am a combination of sometimes being a sloth and sometimes being anal retentive.

Sloth be as it may....I admire you .

Most of my life I've been a bricoleur at heart -- I love to putz! Now, I can do it to my heart's content. If my critic acts up about doing something "useful" I respond that this time in my life is about just that, "my heart's content." Another line to meditate on: If I don't enjoy this time of my life, in spite of all its real fears and concerns, I will have somehow missed the whole point of living. The harvest!

I chose early retirement because widowhood more or less forced it on me: I decided to stay home and finish raising the kids. I enjoyed it at first. My job had been pretty high pressure and the dual responsibilities of fatherhood and motherhood (not much of that!) kept me occupied, both emotionally and physically. Now, though, the empty nest syndrome has me bored silly.

So, I've started the process of taking coursework in order to get certified as an editor. (My previous professional life was spent in technical publications.) The hope is that by this time next year I'll have some contracts.

But I sure get where you're coming from. There's something enervating about this retirement thing. I suspect that one of the reasons I want to work again is for the energy it brings.

I signed up for a retirement discernment group at my church, but at the intro gathering, I realized my nagging question to be discerned was simply, "Am I really allowed to have this much fun?" I guess I already knew the answer, because when it came to signing on for many meetings over many months, I decided it would take too much time away from cycling and dancing and Town Hall lectures and long walks. I guess I had wondered whether all this would be counted as sloth.
I love reading what everyone says about the talks they're having with themselves. Me too! And I'm thinking now we need to go just a bit further and acknowledge the "side" of us that deserves to be tidied up for and cooked for. I know I spent a lot of time yesterday baking bread and roasting squash and making soup for my Mary!

Retirement means living with your own rhythms, following schedules only if you choose to make them, doing what has value and worth to you. Since I have retired I have accomplished a great deal around my house and I find real enjoyment in things that used to be chores. Waking up when I'm sufficiently rested instead of to the blare of an alarm clock seems to fill me with energy. Also, I planned retirement and planned for it financially, as well. My needs are simple, but having enough money to meet them does make a big difference. I eat better, sleep better, exercise more, feel healthier, read and write more, and volunteer for favorite causes. I liked my job (most to the time) as a teacher, but I love retirement.

I read your commentary earlier this am, wanted to think on it, so went ahead with an appointment and find myself still considering the points and concerns raised.

Yes, I know people who say when they are retired, they hope to (fill in the blank) and some do - some don't.

I fitter away a lot of time - some days just surfing the 'net in hopes of finding something to "really" spark a new interest. Most last a few days.

Depressed - yes to some point, bored - a little bit at times but mostly stressed about the economy, bills and ordinary life. Friends lose their jobs - I can only offer what I read and where I search. I would like to say it is positive and it is to know you have friends and are not along - yet, it still leaves the emptiness of a no job.

Chores... I have a history of not doing as I should - but who made the "should". I do get myself up and dressed each day (sometimes I treat myself to a day in pj's) and I do the dishes everyday. Dishes in the sink for some reason really don't sit well with me and I find it rather relaxing to watch up the few plates we use. After that, it signals the winding down of the day.

I find that at times such as you describe, it is best to put some boundaries on online 'net time - read a novel,mystery, love story or a much loved book again. Lessen time with the news as I find it colors my mood and many times weighs me down.

A few friends are feeling the same way - a rainy Summer kept many indoors more than usual, the economy has kept many of us at home more than usual and even our, once, weekly get-together has been on the shelf. No specific reasons given but I sense much has to do with the daily stresses and economy to host a potluck for a larger than usual crowd etc.

I don't see structure or scheduling as a solution. I tend to feel that more relaxing and more doing of what you enjoy will put you in a better position to relax and have the ideas come to you. Sometimes a good idea comes when you least expect it.

In the 14 years that I've been retired, the old adage "Don't put of off until tomorrow what you can do today." has gradually morphed into "Don't put of until tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely."

My guess is that as we grow older our priorities change because we become more aware of the limited time we have left in our lifetime and we don't want to waste it doing things that we now find unimportant. Other than doctor appointments and the time I spend volunteering at the local SPCA, I have no schedule. I do what I want, when I want, and don't feel guilty nor nag myself about it. Aging seems to have brought me the freedom to just "be" me.

So, I think you're on the right track, Ronni. Keep it up and one day you'll realize that you've attained the freedom to "be" Ronni.

Maybe you just have to redefine sloth. I find that everything I do takes at least twice as long to accomplish as it used to. It's not that I'm lazy, I just don't multitask as well as I did when I was in my 40s or even 50s, plus my priorities have changed. Laundry is not very high on my list, and floor mopping is probably dead last. Working (writing and reporting), eating, planning, banking---those get done without much trouble, but all the rest has to wait. I quit beating myself up about it because I think it's good that I can still work, even if only for myself. Not everyone in their 60s can say the same thing. So, dear Ronni, maybe you need to cut yourself some slack, and pat yourself on the back for all you DO accomplish in a day!

I'll second that motion for you to cut yourself some slack, Ronni. To my mind, the fact that tasks remain undone fails to answer the question "So what?"

If retirement means, at least in part, that you're free to be your own boss, you need to take special care to avoid that terrible pitfall that many of us discovered in self-employment: the boss can still be a jerk!


Gee, Darlene, you should just call in a carpenter to cut out a mail slot in your front door so the letters are slipped right through into your living room, then you wouldn't ever have to shower and dress. That's what I did. It's 2:30 P.M. as I type this and I am in such a state of undress I think I could write one of those Computer For Dummies Books Annie told us about.

My mail is lying in my foyer and will be picked up whenever I damn please.

Ronni, you make a lot of people happy every day by writing your blog and by having guest bloggers who make our lives easier or more interesting with their music, computer tips, political observations,etc. I love Crabby Old Lady. She usually makes my day...

Your idea for the Elder Storytelling Place was exactly what some of us needed. We had a head full of childhood and young adult memories and no one to share them with until your site invited us to write those stories and have them printed by you for all to read. What a wonderful outlet that is for us.

You do more than your share and we appreciate your site and hope you never stop publishing it because you want to have more time to DUST......

Well, as a 50 year old still working stiff, all I can say is "More Power to You!!"

I have constant whining battles with myself over the weekend. On one hand I chide myself "you really must pick up this house, do some vacuuming, dusting...at least wash some dishes so that you can actually USE your counters for cooking something. Go do your grocery shopping, and make sure you stop at Petsmart and Home Depot" On the other hand I work hard all week long. When I come home at night during the week its to a household of felines that need to be fed, watered, pilled, played with and the most lovely job of all, litterbox cleaning. Then and only then can I think of making myself some dinner. I then read or watch tv then off to bed. I'd LIKE to be able to spend the weekends lounging in my robe and slippers, watching old movies on TCM and eating my latest fave, Pumpkin Spice bread. Mmmm, pumpkin spice bread...I know what I'm making this weekend! But first, I need to clean off those counters!

See, we all understand.

I hired someone to do the dusting, we eat in three to five days a week with the dishwasher running once a day on those days. I volunteer a few hours a week as does G. I go to school two days a week.....and love it.

With G job hunting every day, we make time to have fun outside the house....or else. When life get's unbalanced even in retirement, I collapse physically and mentally. Frankly, "my dear," I don't have time for that. LOL

I am, as you know, your age.

However, I work my tail off, though only FOR MYSELF and on things I want to do. Of course I'm unemployable, but I employ myself: I consult, write, and edit, run conferences, and go to meetings. I also exercise every day.

Since I was a graduate student, I have managed to outsource my house cleaning -- I would pay my last penny to do that. That's depressing right there, to have to clean:-)

Ronni, you are a smart woman, and I don't see why you don't just start a small in-home business. You are now an expert on aging issues, get on the speaking circuit!

Frankly, I think you might be a tad depressed, because retirement was "done" to you. Unretire yourself, girl,-- you have all the skills to do it. Think of it this way: you won't starve if your new business "fails," but if you make a little more money, you will feel more proud. You are right; you don't have enough to do for your energetic mind.

I'm a lousy motivational speaker, but I'm sure you know what I mean. And I say it all with love and respect. You can't move suddenly from New York to Maine and not have culture shock.

i can't stand dirty dishes in the sink. I do the laundry every single day. Sometimes twice a day. I hate having a BIG load of laundry to deal with. So much easier to keep up day by day.
I fold up everything as it comes from the dryer. I DO NOT IRON. If it has to be ironed I don't use it or wear it.
I dust once a week and clean the bathrooms once a week. The sheets can go about 10 days or so.
I cannot stand clutter so the newspaper goes out the same day it comes in as does the garbage.
I do not like cooking but I do like eating so i must cook sometimes.
Mr C doesn't mind grocery shopping so that is one less chore for me to do.
I always shower, use makeup,dress, and comb my hair everyday even if I am in all day.
I do not plan to be a slovenly old lady toddling to the mailbox in my house coat and slippers with curlers in my hair.

Why should I give up just because I will be 80 in December?


Sloth rocks!
No shoulds or have tos.
Less stress for the aged.
Sloth rocks!
Enjoy.

Warren

Don't be so hard on yourself, Crabby Old Lady!

I think it has been healthy for you to do this blogging not only for pleasure (or work at times) much as the commitment you've made to your professional paid employment. Probably has served as a good transition for you through the employment-seeking years.

Since I started blogging, then my husband died several years ago, I've had months of not working, then occasional weeks/months when my part time job was the equivalent of a full time one. Most recently I've been off since mid-July and just agreed to only about 4 hrs on several Fridays this month.

Even when my husband was living I had begun working only part time years earlier. Somewhere during that time it dawned on me I no longer had to follow rigid scheduling that had previously been my routine. I didn't need to always clean the house that same weekday, or do the laundry in the same manner on its day, etc. Now, when I have a load of dishes, or loads (half-loads) of different laundry groups is when they get done, day or night -- throw in a load then get on with whatever else. During the high energy summer usage we're asked to voluntarily not use our appliances until early evening, so have no difficulty accommodating to that.

Years ago I quit buying any clothes for myself or children that had to be ironed. I make my bed each morning. I delight in days when I know I won't need to go out and am pretty confident no one will be coming to my house (but keep my robe handy, just in case) 'cause I sometimes lounge around in my P.J.s the whole day. This doesn't happen every week, maybe a few times some months, but my husband and I used to have fun doing the same thing years after he retired.

I work-in picking up whatever groceries, fresh fruit, veggies I need, usually when I'm returning home any time of day or evening from other activities as stores on my way.

I do little cooking, at least in the manner in which I did for many years with husband and children present. Fresh veggies go in microwave, lots of fresh fruit of all kinds and other raw veggies, green salads with all sorts of additions. One store, noted for healthy natural products features regular sales on a few of their prepared items I like, so just as cost effective for me to purchase them.

Cleaning of all kinds in the house is no longer done regularly on specific days. I eyeball the different areas of need and take care of them when they obviously need it. If I know I'm going to have guests, or others visiting for days/weeks I do get all in acceptable condition before they arrive.

That said, there is a lot of interior sorting, discarding, arranging still in progress here that I delayed a few years following my husband's death. This is a major source of personal aggravation, self-flagellation and guilt for me. I get annoyed with myself that I go about rectifying this undesirable situation ever so slowly, and sometimes not at all. Seems I can allow anything and everything to take precedence over that activity. I don't understand what that's all about 'cause I'd be much happier in this house if I'd rectify this situation.

As for my blogging negligence, I had real difficulty when I established this blog a few short years ago feeling guilty I wasn't as efficient, didn't post new pieces often enough, didn't have time to research as much and as thoroughly as I wanted, didn't visit as many blogs as I wanted, or didn't devote enough time to it as a quality blogger seemed to do and I thought I should be expected to do, too. You were the model to be emulated. I also realized as a new computer user, much less blogger, there was so much I needed to know and was interested in learning that I couldn't seem to get to. For me to not do so was not doing the best I knew I could do, if only..., and I was letting down those who expressed confidence in and support for me as a beginner. I may have deliberately excuded confidence but was often insecure (a quality I much later learned new widows often initially experience for a period of time.) I was very sensitive, in retrospect, to having initially made a few Internet usage judgment errors because of thinking for a short time of this medium as more of a toy than the significant part of the media it can be.

I eventually realized as I was sorting out and adjusting to so much other in my life that I had to find my own Internet/blogging usage rhythm and pacing. I accepted that I might need to settle for doing less than what I ideally knew was the kind of blogging of which I was capable, would enjoy doing, but simply could not do because of other important aspects of my life. I came to realize that it mattered to me that others read some of what I wrote, that there was far more about which I wanted to write than I could possibly make time to do, that it might be fun to have advertisers on my blog, but only on my terms of honest and clearly stated paid product attribution (of course, I've had no delusions my limited readership would ever attract quality advertisers, or possibly any other kind.)

My outdoor patio gardening for several years hasn't been what it once was. Only in the past year have I begun to pay more attention, but still erratic, to what I had once given more caring time.

I've concluded that what has been happening to me in all my adjustments and adaptations is what is known as living. I think you are simply living, too.

Dear Ronni and Everyone....I think Syd and I fall into "all of the above" category. WE STAY HOME 'cept when we have to go out. Walden Pond's soliltude - to a great extent - fills our lives. It just seemed to happen. There is so much pleasure to be had from the quiet home and doing what we want, when we want to do it...that at times I wish I had always been retired. Being anal, certain things must be neat and tidy. But with no more criticism and back biting in my world and no bosses to put me down and ZOLOFT...I am "happy." Hope I can stay that way till it is "time for me to go."

never mind what it must look like, but the day finally came last week when i realized my apartment SMELLED dusty! like an old person's!! so i went out and bought, for $26, a perfectly wonderful little vacuum stick thing that REALLY WORKS! does floors, rugs, the couch, whatever. the place smells great!

in celebration, i put my old, unwieldy vacuum out by the dumpster in the hope someone else can use it. (they could. it was gone in minutes!) i have been putting one thing a day out there for a week or so. no more beating myself up for not renting a car to haul boxes of stuff to goodwill. one thing at a time, free to a good home.

what i absolutely love about retirement is the time to think. no TV--my gogglebox has punished me for not watching it by conking out altogether. that'll be the next thing to go outside. what a good idea! i watch DVDs on my laptop anyway (perched on my stomach as i sprawl in the blue chair or in bed).

i am very lucky in that a friend keeps me supplied with freelance work of a very challenging, useful kind--for which i get paid! yaay!

and that i live practically on top of a metro stop (with a nice long array of bus stops by the curb) and walking distance to the library, an organic food market, CVS, and just about anything i could want to see or do.

i'm working on my post-work social nonlife and other self-improvement things by doing the six arrows thing the native americans in the SW did/do: make three black arrows--for three things you want GONE from your life, sprinkle tobacco in a circle around them, and set fire to the whole shebang. they frown on setting fires in our apartments, so i just wrote the three things on a piece of paper and ran it through my shredder. (it's the thought that counts!) then you make three colorful arrows--one for each of three things you want IN your life, and bury them in a special spot outdoors north of where you burned the other arrows. once again, i wrote them on another piece of paper and put it in my god jar, which actually IS north of my shredder.

anyway, i have given myself the task these days of being awake, appreciating my incredible riches, and watching out for the sangha. that community to which we belong just by the fact of our existence: no dues, no tithes.

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