Monday, November 14, 2011

Play before work

This past week has been a great one for visiting friends and catching up.  Lunch with a couple of friends, a ladies night out and a small art party got me reconnected with people I care about.  It's funny that when I was working, I often saw people in the hallway but didn't take time away from work to have lunch or get together.

I am finding that in retirement it's exactly the opposite: time with friends is the first thing on the calendar and completing my to do list is secondary.  It's really the only way to keep important people in my life since I don't see them regularly.  Mike has followed this approach since he retired several years ago, but I didn't get it until now.  It's ok for play to come before work!  It's but another example of taking a whole lifetime to get my priorities straight.

Of course my midwestern work ethic and Catholic guilt don't make this new approach easy. Getting a house ready to sell is a heavy burden, and I beat myself up because it's not moving fast enough since I'm obviously not working hard or long enough.  It's a weird thing really because we are making progress. Many things on the to-do list are getting done but we're just not at the finish line yet.  I know, remember it's the journey and not the destination.   And maybe the title of this posting should be "Play but still work".

I've been cleaning up years worth of clutter the past few weeks.  Someone recently told me that anytime they buy or bring one more new thing into their house, they get rid of two other items.  That philosophy along with moving every 3 years keeps their "stuff" in check.  Guess I might have screwed this up by staying in one place 16 years...

Books are my focus right now. Pack boxes with books, lift boxes into car, lift boxes out of car and deliver to Half Price Books. It 's not making me rich, but it is building strong arm muscles.  From today's perspective of e-books, it seems crazy to have collected so many books.

Looking through these books and the phases of favorite authors is like replaying my life on an old phonograph. As I pick up and look at these books I remember the Robert Heinlein phase, the Stephen King phase, the Pat Conroy phase, the Patricia Cornwell phase and the Jonathan Kellerman phase to name a few.  Ok, I am keeping more books than planned, some for historical reasons and some because I love the writing style.  Plus, I can't go cold turkey and get rid of everything.  Hey, this is my life we're talking about here!  

So the adjusting to retirement continues.   I don't know that I have figured out how to optimally use this gift of time, but I don't take for granted the freedom to choose how to spend each day.  I continue to learn and enjoy this new and interesting journey.


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