Monday, July 2, 2012

It's a learning curve...or maybe a sharp corner.

Much has changed as I’ve gone quietly kicking and screaming into my sixties and retirement. It’s a good thing I like learning, because there’s a definite learning curve to the whole situation.

First thing you need to figure out, said my friend Cindy, is to say No. If the request is for something you don’t want to do, just don’t do it. So far, I haven’t had to say No because I haven’t wanted to. (Except for when another friend, Debby, suggested skydiving. I have a vein of cowardice that runs full width and very deep.)

Second thing on the list of learning is to make a list. If you live in the country, as I do, and don’t intend to move inside city limits, as I don’t, you need to make a list of Things To Do before you go to town. Filling the car with gas takes too much of a retirement check to even think of driving 26 miles round trip for only one thing. Usually, when I get home, I will give my husband all the details of where I’ve been and what I’ve done. The other day, I just said, “I stopped at eight places!” and started to tell him what they were. Duane said that was good, but he didn’t particularly care to hear about all eight of them. I don’t know what his problem was.

Third, in addition to making a list, make sure you keep a calendar. (While you’re at it, remember where the calendar is.) I keep one in my purse and one on the laundry room wall. What is unfortunate is that sometimes the information on both calendars doesn’t jive and I end up needing to be two places at once. I managed this just fine when the kids were growing up, but I’m not so good at it anymore.

Fourth, establish a routine. I only say this because I’m almost certain it’s a really good idea. But I haven’t done it yet because not having a routine is really fun.

Fifth, be careful what you commit to. I told Duane that when I was retired, I would devote 15 minutes a day to housework. This is not a joke; it is an illustration of just how much I don’t like “domestic engineering.” At the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I will say I have stuck to that. Some days, like the ones when I clean out a junk drawer, I’ve nearly doubled the 15 minutes. Other days, I kind of stretch out how long it takes to make the bed because I really don’t want to do anything else that has to do with…you know…housework. When I get the aforementioned routine established, I’m going to cut back to 10 minutes.

Sixth, when you wake up and it’s snowing, it’s perfectly all right to roll over and go back to sleep. Or get up and drink coffee and not feel guilty. Either one works. You can also do this when it’s not snowing.

Seventh, cooking is fun when you’re retired. So is looking up recipes and deciding maybe you’ll try them later. Or not.

Eighth, it’s amazing how much stuff you can consign to Goodwill or Salvation army in 15 minutes. And if you get the bag into the car to deliver before someone else gets home, he’ll never miss it. You can put it at the end of your list of errands you ran while you were saving gas, and he will have stopped listening before you get to, “I gave away the jeans you haven’t worn since 1977,” anyway.

Ninth, if your mind wanders and you can’t remember what you were going to say next, it’s okay to just…uh…

Till next time.
Life is new and wonderful for Liz Flaherty these days. She retired from the post office in 2011, promptly gained 15 pounds—she swears it was overnight—and promised her grandkids, The Magnificent Seven, that she would make each of them a bed-size quilt. She also planned to write all day, every day.

What was she thinking?

Her fifth book is ONE MORE SUMMER, by Carina Press, available both digitally (everywhere) and in print from the Harlequin website. A SOFT PLACE TO FALL (Harbourlight Books) and JAR OF DREAMS (Carina 1/13) are next.


Linda Rondeau said...

Too true and so funny.

Jenny McLeod Carlisle said...

Very timely. Monday will be my first full day of retirement. At this point, I'm thinking I'll have to say No to myself. I have so many things lined up in my head. it will be impossible to do them all at once!

TNeal said...

#8 hits home. I gather. My wife scatters. I'm leaving for 2 weeks on a short-term mission trip and I know something will be missing when I return--just don't know what. In all the years Ellen's dumped my stuff, I only miss the fishing hat she decided looked hideous on me.

Liz Flaherty said...

Thanks, Linda!

Jenny, I hope you have fun. I enjoy every day--if not for one reason, for another.

T Neal, I would sympathize, but you know... I will admit that my husband wore a fishing hat while he was in Vietnam and I don't know what happened to it, but I've always regretted its disappearance.

Thanks, everyone, for coming by!

Margie said...

Now, I want to retire. You made it sound like such fun.

And Duane's lucky you committed to 15 minutes of housework. I'm lucky to get 5 minutes done unless I get in a mood-those happen about 4 times a year.

Cathy Shouse said...

I'm with you on the housework, Liz! You make retirement sound fun. I'll bet your job at the P. O. Was pretty confining. They never close for weather. :)

Dee J. said...

Great list. I might steal a few of those things. All except the cooking part. LOL. Very timely, too, since we're having a garage sale this Saturday. Now I have to wade through the crap, move it to the front lawn and hope it goes with the wind.

Patty said...

I am no where near retirement, but I've decided I like you a whole lot! :D Great post!

Veronica Scott said...

Loved the list - I like your 15 minutes a day housework plan!

Liz Flaherty said...

Thanks to everyone for coming by!

Ellen B said...

Ha, I polish some old oak furniture and spray lemon spray--looks and smellslike I've been cleaning. I retired from teaching English at a college and am SUPPOSED to be writing all day too.

Funny how when you have no time to be someplace, it takes longer to get there. Bet I've READ a million books in the past year.

I've actually noticed some rust on the edge of the stove while I was playing with the cats

Only thing I always get done is a trip to Ireland.