Monday, October 8, 2012

Shaking off the Mantle

Every once in a while, the enormity of what I've done - this whole retirement decision - hits me. Today, it came in the form of a free-floating anxiety that settled on me as I lay in bed in my quiet house. I couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong, but had no idea what it could be. My husband had left for work, my daughter lay sleeping in the next room, and an entire, unplanned day lay before me.

Maybe that was it. I've been so busy - the intentional busyness of class planning and scheduled events colliding with an eventful weekend - that contemplation has been reduced to what comes next, how do I get there and what should I wear for it. Serious consideration about anything has been shoved aside to be dealt with later. This morning, it came knocking, settling on me like a heavy cloak someone had left behind after a party.

I said some prayers, but the cloak still lay at the foot of my bed, so clearly I had to deal with it. I threw back the covers, checked on my daughter and headed downstairs. The immediate urge was to run to CityVille, virtually escaping the cloak, but I knew it was so heavy that it would go nowhere on its own, and I'd leave my happy little place only to find the mantle still untouched at the foot of my bed.

And so I wrote. I wrote about what I suspected was at the root of these feelings - a mixture of guilt and fear that surfaces from time to time when relevant conversations linger in my subconscious long after they've ended - until I got to an answer.

It's pretty weird having an entire unplanned day stretching out before me, especially on a Monday. In fact, I've studiously avoided days like this, filling them with a mix of necessary tasks and fun things, beginning each day with a list for maximum efficiency.

But today I had no list. And instead of liberating me, it terrified me.

Seriously? How ridiculous.

And so I am approaching my day without a list - or a written one, anyway. Since attempting to turn off the running list in my head is even more exhausting than just letting it tick along, I'll simply put that one on autopilot and go about my day. I have no idea what to expect, but one thing is for sure.

I know I won't be needing that cloak.

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