Monday, August 03, 2009

Retirement: beginning the settling in phase

Retirement feels weird so far. As much as I've looked forward to it, now that it's here I feel like I'm cheating. Playing hooky. Shirking responsibilities. There's just something about the concept of never going to work again that's mind-boggling.

Maybe this is just a transitional phase, a rare period of time in which the final paycheck overlaps the newfound freedom. Right now I'm not experiencing any consequences of walking away from a perfectly good job. Maybe in a couple of weeks, when penny-pinching becomes my full-time occupation, I'll struggle at least enough to feel as if I'm paying a fair price for the privilege of being a woman of leisure.

I have big plans for the month of August. I'll schedule appointments with the dentist for a cleaning, the women's clinic for a mammogram, and the orthopedist to see for sure if I need knee replacement surgery. My family doctor urged me to take care of those last two items way back in March, and I no longer have an excuse not to do it. I'll also drag my reluctant behind to the gym to explore the idea of setting up a series of exercises to strengthen my upper leg muscles in case the knee surgery becomes a reality. I'm not looking forward to any of those things.

One immediate project that does excite me is the plan to clean out and totally restock my pantry so I can start cooking and baking again. Years ago, when I was a stay-at-home mom, I enjoyed the creativity of planning interesting, tasty meals, and I think I'll enjoy it again. Cooking for one won't be the same as cooking for a family, but it's bound to beat the frozen and take-out dinners I've become used to in recent years.

Prolonged grocery shopping (or shopping of any kind) does a number on my knees, so the plan is to break down the grocery list into several parts and string out the shopping over several days. One day I'll buy canned goods, the next day I'll buy spices, the next will be baking ingredients, and so on. My theory is that shopping this way will allow me to go to a single location in the store, gather up the items on my abbreviated list, and check out in the 20-items-and-under aisle. Today was dogfood-and-treats day (because we were out of rawhide strips), which has made me fairly popular with the pups this afternoon. I'll let you know how the rest of this plan works out.

There are some long-term projects that excite me, too, but they'll have to wait until some of the more immediate stuff is out of the way.

And there was one more goal, an important one and a big motivator in my decision to retire, that I hoped would be an easy one to achieve. Since it's after six p.m. and I won't be going out again tonight, I think it's safe to consider it already accomplished: I've made it through this entire day without once feeling the urge to call someone an a$$#ole.

Hmm. Maybe I can get used to this.


  1. aww. We'll have to find you someone to satisfy your urge to call someone an a**hole!

    Cooking for less than four is a challenge and forces me to use my rusty, not-that-good-to-begin-with math skills for division of things like 3/4 cup. Thank God for the Internet-now I know how many tablespoons there are in 1/8 cup!

  2. Hello Velvet, well hello Velvet, it's so nice to have you back to blog again...

    Your cooking plans sound great. And your creative shopping plans sound like they will be a good solution - for knees and pantry!

  3. It sounds like you are adjusting nicely. I would have no problem with the no work concept if it weren't for the no money part of it! I would be seriously happy to just stay home and make beads... Not clean them, photograph, sell or turn them into anything wearable... But just to make them would make me so happy! LOL!

  4. Janet, those not-so-nice urges were mostly inspired by the traffic I encountered going to and from work. Eliminate the work, eliminate the traffic.
    I don't mind leftovers, so I think I'll be okay on the cooking. Just need to remember to freeze some of it and not let it sit and turn green in the refrigerator.

    Duly Inspired, it feels good to be back. I just finished making a semi-permanent (but editable) grocery list. It'll help me with the pantry-stocking project, and for later shopping I can just highlight the items I need.

    CreekHiker, I think Kim feels exactly like you do: loves making the beads but could do without all the other stuff that goes into selling them. I admire both of you (and the rest of the beadmakers out there) who do those necessary things anyway. I don't think I have that kind of self-discipline.

  5. I bet you adjust just fine and love your life. The main thing is...if you have enough money. In our lives it often boils down to that...can I survive on the money I have. If you can you will be ok and I bet you can.

  6. Congratulations on your retirement! I retired in 1999 but ended up going back on a 'as needed' part-time basis. The extra money has come in handy as I am feverishly trying to pay off credit cards. I had everything pretty much to my liking, then they raised the interest rates. But it won't be long and they will all be paid off and I will never get in that trap again! So....enjoy's so nice to sleep in, especially on a cold, dreary rainy morning. p.s. I've missed you...I'm so glad you're back blogging!!!

  7. Sister-Three, before I turned in my resignation, I did the math forward, backward and sideways, and I'm pretty sure I can make it, but it's gonna be tight. I decided it would be well worth the sacrifice.

    Val, I've already had the opportunity to appreciate the ability to sleep in. My knees hurt just enough to keep me from sleeping until about three a.m. last night, and it was such a relief to know I wouldn't have to go to work in that sleep-deprived fog. I am LOVING not having to use an alarm clock.

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