It feels like years that my life has been in continual disruption and now, having put some thought to it, I realize it has been literally years.
From mid-2004 to mid-2005, I looked for full-time work full time without success. For the next year, until mid-2006, I prepared my New York apartment for sale, then spent half of several days a week away during showings and traveled frequently to Portland, Maine, to find a new home.
After moving in June 2006, I spent the rest of that year designing and overseeing renovations, learning my way around my new city and settling in. I hadn’t moved in 23 years and had forgotten how long the details of making a home comfortable can take, not to mention that I was 23 years older and tire more easily than two decades previously.
Last year, I traveled more than I anticipated and took on several projects that required most of my extra time. Finally, on Sunday, I finished the last project and have sworn there will be no more for at least the first half of this year.
What I want to do is find my natural retirement life rhythm.
For our entire lives, from kindergarten until retirement, our time is bound by schedules set by others - first in school and then by our employers. Even the self-employed must align their time with customer and supplier schedules. Our days are ordered by those requirements and our other responsibilities and interests must be squeezed in around them.
By the time we retire, after five or six decades of slavish attention to others’ clocks, we have no experience at ordering our days. Vacations don’t count.
Some people thrive on no schedule, flitting from one thing to another as whim takes them and they manage to get the essentials done. Or not, and maybe it doesn’t bother them. I’m not one of those people.
I’ve chosen to make this blog my retirement job and now I can figure out where it best fits in my day rather than working it in around obligations. Maybe I’ll set aside a certain time of day to deal with email (once I catch up with the 100-plus I’ve flagged - if I can remember why they’re flagged). Definitely, I’ll mark some hours of the day to read the piles of unread books. And set a specific time of day to get in some additional exercise. It might actually get done that way.
From what I read, many people are suddenly faced with empty time the day after they retire. That’s not my problem, but I’m eager to see what kind of rhythm I can give my life now that my time is my own.
What about those of you have retired? How have you worked out the rhythm of your days?
[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Edna Henke takes a wry look at the indignities time can inflict upon us in Broken Body Parts.]