Life Topics

A Fabulous Retirement

I dream about retirement these days like a dog dreams about a bone.  That blessed and well-deserved day when I get to call it quits.  I imagine the leadup to “o-dark-thirty” may be stressful trying to wrap everything up for the next sap, I mean person, who takes over my job.  My boss will say, “Jo, make sure he/she is well trained…and will you be available if we have any questions?”  I’ll be like, “absolutely, and I will be around if you need anything”.  Right.  Of course, I would never leave anyone high and dry, but already my priorities have changed.  Sometimes learning OTJ is the best way.  I’d be doing them a favor if I was unavailable.  Baptism by fire and all that.  When I’ve finally fulfilled my parting duties, there’ll be no more looking at the clock, no meetings, no deadlines, no projects, no managing people and no boss.  A blissful life full of nos.  But even more so, a presence full of yes’, for anything I want to do if it’s within my newly fixed income.

I’m not what you would call a “planner.” So I may be in a bit of a financial crunch when I stop taking in my lucrative Public Access pay.  I could learn to live meagerly if I had to.  Coupons and day-old bread could be adopted into my routine.  On the bright side though, I’ll be rich with time and an overactive imagination.  Think of the possibilities!   Lunch with friends, reading novels, showering daily, writing stories, walking the dog, sitting in the sun, doing light chores, getting a haircut, maybe do artwork, plan get togethers and floss my teeth.  And, if I get even the slightest bit bored, especially with the personal hygiene, I can get a little part-time job for some pocket change and mental rescue.  As long as the job’s hours are short and flexible with an obscenely high pay rate.  I most definitely plan to live a dilettante life.

Who do I want to be when I’m done being a grown up; fabulous, absolutely fabulous.  My life of leisure will be outrageously delicious.  I will amusingly pretend to forget what day it is saying, “is it a weekday, or weekend day?” I’ll laugh as I say this, feeling clever and witty; feigning confusion.  I’ll be old enough to be excused for being obnoxious.  The only people who would take offense would be those who begrudgingly must work the next day.  Pontoon boat rides in the summer will be a daily activity, staying out late, as there are no more “school nights” to worry about.  Young people may seek my worldly, yet practicle, advice on everything from boiling an egg to changing their motor oil.  I’ll arrogantly think I have it all together, or maybe just bluff, like only a seasoned retiree can do.

I’ll have to wait a while to become that eccentric, retired old lady.  There is still a whole decade before I start to live this fanciful existence.  In the meantime, I’ll practice saying “get off my lawn!” and “God love ya’”.  There’s time enough now to start my retirement hobbies on the weekends to prepare the future.  As far as my job, I really like it and have little to nothing to complain about.  It has served me well.  My mid-life has had no crisis and is mostly unremarkable.  My fifties have been a training ground of fetching rocks and putting out fires, teaching me how to be a stronger woman. All these experiences have helped create a solid gateway to my next phase.  Afterall, a fabulous life must be built, it doesn’t magically happen one day.

Life Topics

What I Know

They say write about what you know.  I don’t know what I know.  I guess I can do laundry, fly an excel sheet, take care of a dog, raise two children, chew gum and walk, give up smoking, take up vaping, kill a bottle of wine, knit a sweater, take out the trash (if I have to), almost balance a check book, recite lines from a movie, walk like a chicken, sing badly, play solitaire, half read a book, edit video, send an email and attempt to “dress for success” (not usually done well).  Are any of these things worth writing about?

Instead, I sit at the keyboard trying to dream up an interesting topic.  Find one thing that makes you want to keep reading.  Are you still with me?  Good.  I’ll take baby steps to figure out where I’m going with this.  Kick around a few ideas.  Do you want to see me walk like a chicken?  Probably not.  Can I interest you in a spreadsheet demo?  No.  Maybe some dog tricks?  I’m at a loss, as I fidget and scratch my back with a pencil, wondering what to put on this blank screen.

Here I sit in the glow of the computer.  The 11 o’clock news is on in the background, with the dramatic music to make everything seem urgent.  The dog lies at my feet, breathing heavy, ready for bed.  My laundry basket sits in a dim corner of the bathroom, overflowing with a hint of yesterday’s odors.  I take deep drags from the vape blowing out stress and anxiety, thinking about what needs to be done tomorrow.  I know, I’ll make a list, YES a list!

Not like a “bucket list”, but much simpler.  You know, take notice of how I do things, and try not to do them anymore.  Live in the moment as they say.  Do all the usual stuff, but do it differently, better.  I will think of it as a “don’t” list.

Here goes:

  1. Wake up and don’t dread the morning.
  2. Take a shower and don’t curse your body in the mirror.
  3. Have breakfast, and don’t forget the medication.
  4. Go to mass and don’t fall asleep during the sermon.
  5. Say “I love you” and don’t just walk away, hold his eyes.
  6. Walk the dog and don’t forget the poop bag.
  7. Do the laundry and don’t leave a load in the dryer to pick thru all week.
  8. Call your parents and don’t cry when you hang up because they are so old.
  9. Text your sons just because and don’t forget the little hearts after you say ILY.
  10. Watch a documentary and don’t judge the hoarder, the family or the victim.
  11. Talk to the neighbor and don’t just give a small wave.
  12. Eat the ice cream and don’t feel guilty.
  13. Knit that sweater you’ve been working on for 2 years, and don’t get discouraged.
  14. Work on the computer and don’t lose track of precious time you could have with Jamie.
  15. Say your prayers and don’t leave anyone out.

My eyes are drooping so I have to go to bed now.  This life of mine, like most, is made up of small pieces that have made me the person I have become.  Sure, I can walk like a chicken and work a spreadsheet, but how can I be a better friend, daughter, Mom?  More important questions.  Will people think of me as negative if I feel guilty about the ice cream or too busy to talk to a neighbor, or have a bad body image?  Maybe they won’t even notice.

I finally know that I have to work my “list” in a positive, thoughtful way to make my journey one of love, generosity and faith.

“Time for bed McDermott.  Do you want a treat?”