Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Taking to Retirement

For two Tuesdays in a row, I've come home in the middle of the afternoon and just crashed. Apparently Tuesdays are the day when burning the candle at both ends catches up with me.
Unfortunately, I didn't rebound last night as I usually do. Despite a nagging (and long) to-do list, I spent much too much time watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory while pretending to work on my laptop. ostensibly chipping away at....something.

So, I vowed today would be a "reset." I was up and ready in time to meet friends at Starbucks at 7:30, thinking getting my day off to an early start would make for a productive day. I had two appointments, with plenty of time between them, I reasoned, to make some headway on that to do list.

I wasn't entirely wrong. It's just that with significant snow in the forecast, the list I tackled was a list of errands, rather than the teaching and writing responsibilities that are more time sensitive.

Since I had some down time between one errand and the next, I decided to grab a quick bite on the way to my next destination. As I bit into my egg white and cheddar bagel, savoring a taste I'm still surprised to find at McDonald's, I came to a horrifying realization.
I have joined the ranks of the retired who breakfast at McDonald's.

A quick glance around the room confirmed my suspicions. Although I was probably a decade younger than many of the people in the restaurant, this was, indeed, that time of day. Kids were at school Grown-ups were at work. Those surrounding me were decidedly, uh, mature in appearance. And you know what was even more horrifying?

I was okay with it.

I've been joking for almost two years about how my retirement didn't "take," and while I love the teaching and writing responsibilities that fill most days, a little taste (pardon the pun) of real retirement was not such a bad thing. Sure, that other to do list was tapping at my brain, but it was easily assuaged by the rationalization that my next two stops were writing-related.

When I retired, I never meant for it to be a "real" retirement. I wanted more time with my family, more time to write, less stress and more opportunities to pursue the things I enjoyed. It didn't take long for my schedule to fill and now, two years after I turned in the letter that overturned my world, my schedule is every bit as packed as it was before. Friends shake their heads and I joke about how retirement didn't "take."

But that's okay. More than okay, in fact, it's necessary. I have a teenager. I'm not ready for a life defined by golfing and cruises and wintertime trips to warmer temperatures. God willing, there will be plenty of time for that in my future, when my daughter's future takes her on journeys of her own and my husband and I are empty nesters, actually missing the feel of the hard, wooden bleachers at a basketball game.

But a little sample? A day spent sipping chai at Starbucks, running errands while everyone else is at work and savoring a quick, budget-conscious breakfast?

Not bad. Not bad at all.

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