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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Learning to do nothing: Part Three.


Journal Entry: April, 2003

Two months into retirement. 

My youngest  child's 23th birthday coming up soon. I miss him; I miss all of them and their families.  They seem in a hurry everytime we call.
We rush through conversations; we talk about the same stuff.

I'm writing this journal as I sit  facing the water, looking up often, catching various movements, the water current, the flight of ducks and birds.  What a far cry from any vacation when we glimpsed at the world and never saw much.

I'm noticing the different birds, the curl of their tail, the coloring of the bill, the expanse of the wing. I'm trying to understand why I ignored all of this for so many years.  There is a tiny squirrel that visits on the deck, constantly scurrying off at the slightest noise, looking all stressed, all the time.

There is a constant sense of longing, and regret, like a smell of clothes after a work-out that you need to shed soon.  It's a longing for the days when you felt on top of the world, when your presence and your ideas were valued and appreciated. Nobody asks you what you do anymore.  Nobody wants to know.  Yet, everything about you is connected to the work you did. I miss my work, the routine, the excitement.

I watch too much television. I believe I am making up for the times when I was too tired to watch television or read a book.  Television is a perfect distractor.

The chores around the house seem to be all mine.  I have noticed that there are two of us eating and two of us messing the place. Yet, I'm the one cleaning and cooking. Hubby is too contented to notice that I'm annoyed.

I must confront him.

The rain has returned. Between storms, there are hours of calm and sunshine when I go on a walk, meet and talk to people. I have a pattern for each day: Monday to Paradise Point, Tuesday to Agate Beach, Wedsnday to the Port, Thursday Battle Rock, Friday The Headlands.  On Saturday and Sunday we drive to places like Cape Blanco or down to the Rogue River. 


We need hiking boots, Gore Tex clothing. After a hike,we are soaked and cold.  This is no ordinary rain.

28 comments:

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Great post, this one and the one on the 20th. Very heartfelt.

Ribbon said...

Change can be difficult....
You've obviously ironed out all these concerns that you had in the begining.
Sincerely hope the housework is being shared :)

Thanks for sharing this.

best wishes
Ribbon

Snowbrush said...

Peggy is now semi-retired (24 hour workweek), and home A LOT more than she has ever been. It's nice but weird. I really enjoyed this piece from your early retirement days.

Janna Qualman said...

This is beautiful, very poignant and telling. I can't help but wonder about my parents, who are both retired, and think I should linger on the phone next call we make.

RNSANE said...

Oh, lakeviewer, this post brought tears to my eyes as I felt it so deeply. It has been eight months since the last day I worked and six months since I officially retired from my 21 years as a forensic nurse for the city and county of San Francisco. For eleven of those years, I worked for both the adult agency and, all of the time, I also did child sexual abuse cases. Since 2001, four of us covered 24/7 for the children, coming in all hours of the day and night, to collect evidence, interview the children, etc and we each worked on site twenty hours/week as well. I am bereft since budget cuts eliminated my job and forced me to retire at 64-1/2.

I still am part of the International Assn of Forensic Nurses of which I was a founding member but I miss that connection so much. I have been single most of my adult life, raised the boys alone, and am such a people person, I miss my work with so many different disciplines. The $100,000 annual drop in my income will limit my world travel and make a major change in much for me so I am slowly trying to find new avenues..such as blogging.

I can so relate to learning to do nothing!

Beth said...

You remind me to take a deep breath. Now. To sit back. To notice the details.

I needed to hear that.

Wander to the Wayside said...

I don't always retain information that I read, so, if you've already talked about this, forgive me for asking you to repeat, but ... this journal was six and a half years ago. I know you've talked about how you got rid of all your stuff and got only the basics to furnish your retirement place, how you love to travel or just stay home and watch nature, you're active in your community, etc. My question is, from the time of that journal entry til now, (a)what has been the greatest blessing to come with retirement; (b) what has been the biggest disappointment; and (c)what has been the biggest surprise?

Elizabeth Bradley said...

Hope your hubby started pitching in! Now that our kids are gone I am making mine do a lot more than he ever did before. I can't do it all!

I am loving reading your journal. And I remember Agate Beach from my youth

lakeviewer said...

Hi folks,
You all noticed that these are journal entries of the early months of retirement. If I hadn't written those things down, I don't think I could relate them now. The process was slow and painful. Stay tuned.

Wander...All in due time...

Natalie said...

I am loving these entries. :)

Alok said...

Loved it....Actually most of us donb't even realise that it is fruitless to try n run ahead of life...for sure, it will run ahead of us, one day......

Dimple said...

My former father-in-law was asked once after he retired what he was doing. He replied, "Not much." Then he offered this: "I have noticed that work expands to fill the available time."
I still remember him, though he died years ago and I have been divorced from his son much longer than we were married.
Enjoy your retirement. Share the chores.
Blessings!

Sophia said...

"It's a longing for the days when you felt on top of the world, when your presence and your ideas were valued and appreciated."......I so feel like that alot. My life has been turned upside down and around these last 8 months or so, and lately, the shock of it all is starting to settle in...

I hope you can find comfort and peace in your retirment soon. Sending you love and support from here. (hugs)

Brian Miller said...

i look forward to this continuing...noticing the birds and squirrels...there is a pace that is much better than the ragtag pace most of us put ourselves through.

God of Another World said...

The voice from the journals of history has always been revealing, honest, and (strangely) comforting. Thank you for sharing your thoughts from that day.

Lori ann said...

Like every big change, this seems an enormous adjustment. It's so great you kept a journal, before your blog.

Kim Kasch said...

We almost moved to Port Orford when I was a kid. Mom said there was an oyster or clam plant there. I think that was all back then.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I'm thinking that goretex and boots made a huge difference for walking in the rain.

Fun post to read your thoughts at that time of change.

valeria said...

I enjoyed reading this post, trying to figure out how I'd feel. Big changes in life need to be metabolyzed and it takes a little while. YOu have your husband and you live in a beautiful environment. You'll soon know what to do and you'll start a new page in your life, free from work, free to live, free.

Shadow said...

how nice to have these records of times gone by...

the walking man said...

I can't watch television in the day time...majorus time suckus that can be better spent doing nothing of any consequence.

Gaston Studio said...

You are so lucky that you have a journal to refer to and to remember things in detail. Wish I'd been as smart as you!

willow said...

My youngest son turns 23 soon, too. Where did the time go?

Helen said...

I wondered if others' conversations with their children were like mine ~ basically the same each time ... but maybe that's a good thing as nothing dire is going on in their lives. Like you, I notice the little things these days ... like a bevy of quail that make a trek across my yard twice a day. In the morning and in the evening. They are adorable. We aren't getting all of that rain you are - the Cascades are a good thing!

Eva Gallant said...

Gotta say I love being retired. It's only been since April, but it has given me time to blog, to write, to enjoy my grandkids.

Nitish Priyadarshi said...

Read your emotional experience. Really we forget to enjoy the present. When we realize it is too late.
Thanks for your comments on my earthquake article.
Take care
Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi.

The Things We Carried said...

I have flt some of these things as my own home has emptied of all the children who used to fill it, and my life of all the things I did back then. I love the last line, This rain is no ordinary rain...

Bernie said...

Wow! This is an interesting blog with all you have to offer. It is really valuable to have someone who has written down the changes in one's life as one ages.

My life ran a different path, but many of the same things apply. I subbed part-time (high school) and .spent about 10 years taking care of my husband. When he died recently, is when I realized some of my greatest changes.