How do I answer the question “What do you do?” in my new situation? I can tell people that I am retired although I have a hard time making that word come out of my mouth. The word retired seems too passive – to retire is to go to bed or withdraw, to retreat or remove oneself. OK, I have removed myself from the trading time for money world but I certainly have not gone to bed or withdrawn from the world. The word just seems to be loaded with images of sitting in the living room with my feet up waiting for someone to come visit me so that I will be entertained.
No – that’s not what I am doing.
Someone offered “refocusing your life” but that seems odd also since I try not to spend my time focusing on my life but instead figuring out how to live each day.
One of the challenges for me has been the lack of routine that was so easy when I got up and went to work. The clock was very important. I had to be out of the house by 6:50 to beat the busses so that I could be at my desk at the appropriate time. Lunchtime was 11:30 to avoid the long line of students and have a quiet table to eat with my co-workers. There was always a small congregation around the coffee machine in the mid-afternoon where we chatted about our lives, our children, our spouses and the general state of the world. 5:00 was time to go home and try to fit in the personal living part of my life; the part that wasn’t attached to my paycheck. Days at work looked very similar to each other.
Now my days are filled as I please and I am in charge of what I fill them with. There are still the daily chores; the ones that I used to do on the weekends or in the evening – cooking dinner, laundry, and cleaning. A small part of each day is used to “keep the house”. The rest, I am figuring out.
My energy has been returning as I recover from 6 months of chemo. The garden is always there and patiently lets me sit or weed as I please. Last week, the little barn needed shelves. This week the peaches are ripe. I only focus on the clock now to see when my husband will arrive home from trading his time for money.
Rather than closing the aperture on my life’s lense to “refocus” on something other than work; it seems like it has opened up to its widest setting. With this new time, there is also new possibility, there is new light and new energy. I have only to imagine.