Tag Archives: retirement

Sharing My World 77

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Share Your World – December 4, 2017

What household chore do you absolutely hate doing?

I half-assed hate all of them.  Vacuuming (and sweeping and washing and polishing) floors is brutally hard on my back.  And even when it isn’t I will complain that it is.  Cleaning bathrooms is puke inducing.  Laundry is just an annoying pain in the ass.  I guess it’s ass day here at Breathing Space headquarters.  Sorry.

Okay, if I absolutely hate it, it’s probably something I never do, like washing walls or cleaning blinds.  It’s insane to ever do something you absolutely hate doing.  Nothing insane about me!  My daughter dusts my blinds.  It’s just one of the many reasons why I love her.

At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

Right after I retired and really, ever since to some degree.  Except I’ve calmed down a tad lately and no longer wake up every morning screaming in my brain OMFG I DONT HAVE TO GO TO WORK TODAY OR TOMORROW OR ANY OTHER DAY EVER UNTIL I DIE!  And not even after that, as far as I know.  I guess going to work was a chore of which I was less than fond.  Not that my job was horrible, it’s just that being the boss of my own time is infinitely better.  I certainly roll my eyes a lot less.

I have passionately pursued my art and redecorating and decluttering since retiring.  Along with sleeping in.  That is a popular one.  Now I believe I’m in a transition phase, although I have no clear vision of where I’m transitioning to.  Hopefully it’s not permanent couch potato status.

How many times have you moved in the last ten years?

Zero.  We are stuck in a house bound rut.  I just counted on my fingers sixteen different places I’ve lived, but don’t quote me on that because my math skills are less than stellar.  Our next move, should we choose to get off our asses and make one, will be to something smaller with no stairs and minimal yard work.  Preferably self-cleaning.  My mother-in-law, in her nineties, still lives in the two-story, laundry-in-the-basement home W grew up in.  I don’t know whether I should call that amazing or just down-right dangerously nuts.  Well actually I do know, but I try to be polite and mind my own business most of the time.

I hope we both are smart enough to know when it’s time to down size and simplify and give up doing things like cleaning out eaves troughs and trimming trees and driving vehicles and operating machinery and going up and down stairs and cooking eight course gourmet meals.  (Already ditched that last one, if it’s possible to ditch something you’ve never actually done before in your life).

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.

I love that my grandchildren are growing up and heading ever closer to adulthood and even though every one of them faces difficulties and issues and growing pains, it’s okay.  Because I’m not the one who has to deal with it.  Haha.  Yeah.  That IS a selfish bad grandma attitude despite the fact that of course I’m here if I’m ever asked for help or advice, but I’m also perfectly happy to stay out of it.  Our parents had confidence in us to deal with our kids without interference and I have the same confidence in mine.  So the inspiration for that little rant came from a weekend visit and conversations with my son and with my daughter-in-law.  Yes, kids, we talk about you when you’re not around, but you are in good hands.  Just don’t be assholes.

I’m running out of ways to incorporate the ass word in this revealing share, so I see no point in going on.  Plus I’ve taken the “sitting still” thing to its maximum limit for today.  Oh, who am I kidding.  There is no agreed upon limit for that.

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Sharing My World 63

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Share Your World January 9,2017

If you lost a bet and had to dye your hair a color of the rainbow for a week, what color would it be?

If the choices were strictly red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet,  I would go with red. Bright fire engine apple red.  So that people would stop and stare and make funny remarks about the crazy old lady with the flaming red hair.  But if it was ok to go with any hue you can come up with, I would much prefer pink, the colour of fluffy cotton candy. And maybe not quite so many startled exclamations from strangers.

If you could choose one word to focus on for 2017, what would it be?

Writing.  Or maybe Living.  I can’t decide. They are both things I am trying to focus on, but so far I’m doing my normal lackadaisical hit and miss break-taking job of both.  Nothing happens.  Then things happen that I don’t want to write about.  I have days where I would rather just obsess over them in silence.

Last week I learned of the death of a 67-year-old man I knew through work.  He died two days before Christmas, halfway through his work day.  I joked with him once about retiring, but he said he tried it briefly and got bored because his wife was still working so he came back.  Stories like this drive me nuts.  It’s like people decide to work themselves to death.  He was too old to be working and much too young to die.  And of course it is absolutely none of my business how anyone else chooses to exist.  Or ceases to exist in this lifetime.  Sometimes it makes me sad, and sometimes I think deceased people are lucky they won’t be around to face whatever happens next.  I know, it’s messed up.  I don’t want to talk about it.

What was one thing you learned last year that you added to your life?

I learned a whole lot about cleaning up and sprucing up and redecorating an old house.  Mostly I learned it’s a lot of work and I don’t ever want to do it again.  I also learned you should do it completely for yourself without trying to please anyone else.  It will just make you sad when the next people move in and decide to gut the place.  So I have added serenity.  I have subtracted mountains of clutter.  I have greatly simplified our next move.  If I die before then there’s way less crap for the living to sort through.

If life was ‘just a bowl of cherries’… which fruit other than a cherry would you be..?

A peach.  You have to work your way through the fuzzy skin to get to the good stuff.  Obviously I have no clue what this question means.

Optional Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for my knee recovering from whatever its problem was.  I still walk around being cautious and aware of it, just in case.  And probably looking sneaky and weird in the process.

I am grateful for surviving a back-to-back full moon and Friday the 13th.  Although as many sources predict, next Friday could be infinitely more frightening.

Next week W goes for his one year follow-up on his hip replacement surgery.  Other than that madly exciting event, I’ve got nothing specific to anticipate.

More lists, though.  I’m not done with the lists. I will work on being slightly less morbid.  Yay for that, right?

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Ritualistic Showering

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Where the ritual occurs.

Think about your day. Select one of your daily rituals and explain it to us: why do you do what you do? How did you come to adopt this ritual? What happens on days when you can’t perform it?

Thank you Daily Post for this intriguing set of questions.  In a couple of weeks I will have been retired from the work force for a year.  Since cleaning my fridge in August I have not done anything worth blogging about.  Yes, I guess that is kind of sad, but it also makes me extremely happy to have such an uneventful life.

Unstructured, seemingly limitless free alone-time probably sounds boring to a lot of you.  But to my fellow introverts I know it sounds like heaven.  Imagine being asked what you did all day and “nothing” pretty much sums it up.  Bliss.

Okay, I may be exaggerating slightly.  But this got me thinking about my day (please refer to the part where it says ‘think about your day’).  My daily rituals include

  1. drinking coffee
  2. taking a shower
  3. getting dressed
  4. filling or emptying the dishwasher but usually not both on the same day because it’s just me here at the moment, which means no one cares
  5. feeding myself
  6. wondering what stage I left the laundry at
  7. doing important things on my iPad
  8. thinking about art, checking art supplies, staring at blank canvases and that thing I started and don’t like and can’t motivate myself to finish
  9. doing totally unimportant things on my iPad
  10. wondering how it got to be so far past midnight and going to bed.

So the one I am selecting from this list and explaining to you is the ritualistic shower.  Because my Gawd this will be beyond interesting and exciting, won’t it?  No matter what my plans for excursions beyond the front door for appointments or shopping trips for the day may be, this is the one ritual I must perform every day.  Even if I’m not going anywhere except maybe to the basement.

Why do I do what I do?  How did I come to adopt this ritual?  I was born in 1949.  (Don’t panic, I’m only going to hit the shower related high points of my life.). The first farm-house we lived in did not have a bathtub.  The second one had a bathtub but no shower.  My brother thought it was hilarious to hold my face underwater at the beach, instilling in me a lifelong fear of getting water on my face and being unable to breathe.  For years after I moved away to places which had showers I would wash my face and hair in some place other than the shower, and then shower myself from the neck down.

Yeah, strange phobia, but something that was easy enough to live with.  Then I got married and had kids and none of these people I was living with were afraid of water so I slowly made myself get over it.  I passed the tadpole swimming level and the rest is history.

I don’t LOVE the water on my head part, but I can do it now and it certainly saves time.  Because I need a lot of that to get all my nothing done, right?  Anyway, now I can’t imagine a day without showering.

Oh, wait, yes I can.  There is no shower on the island where our summer camp is.  I am going there next week for about seven shower-less days.  Which brings us to the final question – what happens on days when you can’t perform it?

I cry a lot.  Just on the inside.  Outwardly I sigh and begrudgingly use the bathtub and the sink and the river.  And many wet wipes.  This is called roughing it in the wilderness.

The other day I showered and dressed and left the house and went to see my doctor for my yearly physical (and mental state I guess).  One of the questions she asked me was, on a scale of one to ten, how happy would you say you are?  I said seven or eight.  Because, let’s face it, nobody wants to claim they’re a ten.  People would be pestering you all the time for your secret, which would probably drop you down to five in a big hurry.  On days I don’t shower my answer would be two.

However, not drinking my morning coffee would immediately put me at a minus one.  So there are worse things in life I guess.  Showering is just one of my privileged life luxuries. Going without it is simply a kick in the butt reminding me to appreciate it.

Art du Jour 52

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The verdict is still out on this one but its growing on me.  I think with the right frame I might like it better.  I have love/hate relationships with my art.  What a luxury it is to have the time to let them hang around unfinished while I determine their fate.

We have had a busy week doing spring things, and enjoying a visit with good friends on their way home to northern Ontario after wintering in B.C.  We were able to sit outside in the sunshine, go out for dinner, stay up too late, sleep in, shop and barbecue.  We are just a bunch of old retired people living it up.

It’s Thursday, and garbage day, and the end of another week already!  Time just keeps slipping away whether you’re paying attention or not.  And that’s probably the most brilliant thing I’ll say today.  I like to keep my expectations low.

Have a great Thursday!

 

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This looks a little like one of my granddaughters!
This looks a little like one of my granddaughters!
And this doesn't!
And this doesn’t!

Scrolling through art boards on Pinterest has become my new thing, thirty days into a successful retirement. Well, can you fail at retirement? I sincerely hope not. Although having the inspiration fairy whack me over the head at midnight is never a good thing. I’m working on a weird multi media composition which I hope to finish today and share tomorrow.

W wants to know if I expect to make money doing all these projects. All I care about at the moment is keeping my brain in gear with something other than spider solitaire.

And my pencils sharp.

Let the Bells Ring Out and the Banners Fly

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It’s October! The start of candle burning season!

 

My job is done. The latest paying one, anyway. I’m inventing new jobs for myself by the dozen, although not working very hard at any of them so far. I feel as if I have all the time in the world. That’s probably foolish in the long run but at the moment it just feels good.  How I imagine it would feel to go through a portal to another dimension where fantasy and reality have traded places.  Although maybe slightly less weird.

Yesterday, on my first official day as a retired person, I got all my pre-op tests and reports and preparations done. Lab work, diagnostic imaging, papers, forms, faxes….now I wait for a phone call with a date and time for my day surgery, which they hope to schedule in the next two to three weeks.  I also had my doctor refer me for a hearing test.  She says it often takes up to eight months to get in.  Good thing I can read lips.

All the activity yesterday was more exhausting than showing up for work, since I added in some other running around too, being out and about anyway. What a luxury to know I could just come home and nap if the mood hit me.

There was a minimal amount of fanfare surrounding my leaving work.  I am thankful for that. Well, if you want to know the truth, I practically begged them not to do anything. I hate a fuss. I worked up to the last minute of my schedule, gathered up my stuff and left like it was any other day. Except for hauling away a couple of gifts – a beautiful flower arrangement (artificial because I kill things) and a desk top easel (because apparently I have talked about nothing else besides painting for the last two months). I’d say both of those things are perfect.

Already I’m having trouble remembering what day it is.  So I think I may need a calendar with a schedule on it.  Or I may just sit around on the couch watching Netflix for the rest of my life.

That’s not the only possibility.  I might also sketch and draw and experiment with water-color pencil crayons and consider all the possibilities of mixed media and get lost on Pinterest and never write another thing…..

Nope.  Going to make up a schedule.  The only stipulation will be that I am not allowed to get upset if I can’t stick to it.  It’s not like anyone will notice unless I’m foolish enough to share it.  So,  yeah.  I’ll get right on it.  You’ll know I’m done when you notice some semblance of organization and routine around here.  Not to mention pictures that make sense.

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Sharing My World 3

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Did you ever get lost?

The first time I remember being lost was at a fall fair when I was six.  Six was a magical all-grown-up age for me, so I was, of course, totally done with holding on to my mother’s hand. That was for three-year-old baby sisters, not for me.  The three of us were walking across the crowded midway to the exhibits building and I was gawking up at everything in all directions. (Even though you’re grown up at the age of six, you’re still short.) So I got turned around and disoriented and found myself looking up at a strange mother who was definitely not mine.  Panic glued my feet to the ground.  I had no idea what to do next, so I didn’t do anything.  It crossed my mind to yell, but I wasn’t sure what would be appropriate.  Mom?  Help?  Save me?  I’m LOST!  I couldn’t find my voice.  I thought I might cry.  And then suddenly my mom and sister were there in front of me again, having been missing for maybe thirty seconds total, and I was awash with relief.  Mom told me how smart I was to stay in the same spot and not go running off in some random direction so that she wouldn’t know where to look for me.  I’ve never forgotten that.  Now when I think I might be lost, I stop moving.  And thus I don’t get even more hopelessly lost than I already am.

Who was your best friend in elementary school?

The best friend thing also started for me at the age of six.  It was a very good year.  We moved to a different rural township just before I started school and at some community function during that first summer I met a little red-haired girl.  We discovered that we would be starting school together.  We were giddy with excitement. Well, I think she was excited too, although it’s possible I had enough enthusiasm for both of us.  We spent the next eight years together moving through the grades in a one-room schoolhouse, and as much time together in the summers as we could.  Shirley was my best friend well beyond elementary school, even though we went off to different high schools.  We got summer jobs together, lived together for a year at University, tried to always stay in touch.  But life happens.  I moved north and then to a province on the other side of the country.  We both got married, had kids and jobs, sent Christmas cards back and forth.  It really is all down hill after elementary.  Now we’re grandmas, five and six times over.  My hair is grey and hers is still red.  Not everything in life is fair.

Since the new television season has started in the US, list three favorite TV shows.

The only TV shows I watch are on Netflix where there are no commercials and season after season of exciting episodes playing until the battery on my I-Pad dies.  If you’re going to waste time, might as well make a marathon out of it and get it out of your system.  Or not, since that’s never actually happened to me yet.  Dr. Who, Psych, The Good Wife, Hemlock Grove (don’t ask), Sherlock…..(so now you know the above picture of London is not some random thing I threw in for no reason).  OMG!  I just noticed Netflix has new episodes of Once Upon a Time and Covert Affairs!  There goes another month of my life.

If you were a mouse in your house in the evening, what would you see your family doing?

There’s just me and W.  He’s downstairs watching football and I’m upstairs sharing my life with strangers.  The mouse got bored and fell asleep.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

There are so many things I’m grateful for I hardly know where to start.  Top of the list I guess is my health after many tests and procedures and appointments and a month of heavy-duty antibiotics.  The investigation continues.  At my follow-up appointment today the specialist and I agreed that there hasn’t been any change, for better or for worse, and that it’s now time to delve deeper and excise the demons.  If you don’t know the whole story, don’t worry.  I like to be dramatic.  I’m having a lump below my jaw surgically removed in the next 2 or 3 weeks.  It has been assessed as inflammation and benign, but it’s still a lump and it’s still worrisome.  Now I have a bunch of papers and requisitions for pre-op tests and lab work, starting with a patient history and physical on Wednesday morning. All the details you didn’t need to know will no doubt follow.  Because tomorrow is my last day of work.  Now, instead of my work schedule scribbled on the calendar, we will have it filled up with medical appointments and I will have nothing but time on my hands to tell you all about them.  Hey, isn’t that what retirement is all about? I’m looking forward to it, even if you’re not.

 

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Share Your World Week 39

 

Work Should Not Be Such Hard Work

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I have all but officially given my notice of intent to retire from the workforce on the last day of September.  Of this year!  Like in about 42 days.  Just have to put it in writing and hand it in and try not to look too ecstatically happy in that moment.

It’s time.  I can’t remember the last time I was enthusiastic about my job, or truly happy to be doing it.  Situations don’t suddenly become horrible, but deteriorate gradually with ups and downs until the downs tip the balance and you just accept that as normal.  It’s not enough when a pay cheque is your only source of inspiration and joy.  And the job itself is slowly sucking the life out of you.

Okay, where did that come from?  Time to make my escape before I kill somebody, by the sounds of that.  Plus I’m very old.  Cranky old ladies eventually get cranky enough to call it quits.  And the world should probably thank them for that.

In anticipation of being home all day with nothing to do, I have made a start at setting up a place to create fabulous works of art.  This little section of the L-shaped living room was originally used as a dining area by the previous owners.  It’s too small for that.  The last thing it became was a place where W had his favourite chair and footstool and could read his paper and fall asleep.  I figure he can do that anywhere, so I moved him across the room.  This spot will have great natural light when I get around to opening the blinds.

Those little white drawers are chock full of unfinished projects.  I have three times as much stuff elsewhere throughout the house waiting to be assessed and organized and resurrected or chucked out.  W found my old easel in the rafters in the garage.  I picked up a few new art supplies.  I had forgotten how much I love a blank canvas.

Obviously I will need a chair, and something to protect the floor, and it will never look this clean and tidy EVER again once I get started.  I’m good at folk art and not terrible with acrylics, but I’d like to take classes in watercolor, and try encaustic painting (painting with hot wax.)  And mixed media where anything goes.  And then of course there’s writing about all the disasters later, and sharing a brilliant moment or two.  Hopefully at least two.

This week is a hard one at work because we’re down to a skeleton staff with the manager on holidays and no one to hire and our part-time people quitting and going back to school.  Inventory coming up.  And me in the middle of it all, having a difficult time giving a crap about anything.  It’s lovely to know it won’t be long before I can walk away.  And never come back.  Take a new path to a different destination.

Remember what it’s like to really love what I do and who I am.

Rainy Days and Mondays

011This picture was taken a couple of days ago when the sun was shining, the sky was a beautiful blue filled with fluffy clouds, and I thought W would like to see what the neighbors new fence looks like.  For which we owe him half of whatever it cost.  W is off to his island again for most of the summer, sending me texts and drinking rum.  And fishing.  Let’s not forget all that fishing.

Today the sun is shining somewhere else.  The sky is a thick grey blanket.  It’s spitting rain.  It’s Monday.  I have to go to work.  Talk about your double-double whammy.  For now I don’t have Mondays off anymore.  My schedule has always been at the whim of circumstance and a boss who schedules our lives like it’s some kind of random crap shoot.  Sundays, Thursdays and Fridays are now my days off.  Now that I’ve put that in writing it’s likely to change completely before the month is over.

Do you ever feel like the only reason you can live through something is because you know it will eventually end?  That it won’t last forever? Must be the gloomy day talking.  I have about a hundred and thirteen days to go before retirement.  Give or take ninety if I decide to work until my license expires on December 31st.  I am old and tired and would like to have EVERY day of the week off.  I read three posts the other day by three different bloggers who all used the tag ‘aging’.  It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my feelings about this process.  I don’t like knowing there are things I just can’t do anymore.  I thought I would age gracefully but often I’m just cranky and sad about it all.

So it’s time to bring Jazzy back and live vicariously through her eternal optimism and snark.  Maybe some of it will rub off on me.  Yes, I’m being completely weird because she can’t say anything if I don’t make her say it.  Poor thing.  I love this thing going around Facebook where people do 100 days of Happiness and write some happy thing every day.  What a great way to be grateful and recognize the good things in your life.

Stay tuned for “Jazzy Does Happiness” from whenever I start until the day I kiss work goodbye.  It’s looking like the end of September.  I can stay happy until then or die trying.  God, I hope I don’t die trying.