Tag Archives: retirement

Partly Worried With A Chance of Panic

24 May

So.  We’ve had a run of greywindyrainycool weather lately, and all the dreariness has taken up residence in my head.  The result?  Partly worried with a chance of panic.  I’m worried about how already 5-years-retired DH will adjust to me being in the house more often.  A lot more often.  He has a sort of schedule he follows—will I fit in there?  Will I be in the way?  Will he be resentful if errands don’t get run, email doesn’t get answered, finances don’t get managed because I got a wild hair and decided we should go buy a new tree or something?  Will I be resentful if he needs to get his email answered when I want him to come out and play with me?

Will I lose track of my school and library friends?  What will I talk about at parties with them?  We always commiserate about stuff going on at our respective schools.  OMG!  I’m going to be like our spouses who feel excluded from the conversations!  Ack!!!!  Should have been more understanding of THAT—hindsight!

And what about money?  A pension is not the same money you make being a 26-year employee with a master’s degree in a large school district.  We don’t have a ton of bills hanging over our heads, but less is still less.  And, Mr. 15 is on the verge of a driver’s license, and moving ever closer to college.

Breathe. 

OK.  So I feel a bit better just writing this all down—after all, it’s only a few paragraphs—not nearly so insurmountable as it had been when it was just lurking around in my head.  I’m feeling the need to balance out the panic with some reality.  On to the stuff I’m NOT worried about.

It’ll be OK.  Lots of people retire and live to tell about it.  Many of them even enjoy retirement!  I know I’ll be busy; I’ve joined the Band Parent’s Board of Mr. 15’s high school, the greenhouse wants me to work more hours, we have a lot of landscaping to repair now that the addition is complete.  I have a ton of the usual “oh, I’ll clean out the storage shed when I’m retired” stuff.  We want to travel and visit friends and new places.  I’ve promised to go play in friends’ libraries and bring them mochas.

I will have the freedom to not be TOO busy.  I’m definitely not going to be too busy to have that second cup of coffee and listen to the birds welcome the morning.

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What will you do when you’re retired?

21 May
Evening in the veggie garden
Evening in the veggie garden

This is the most asked question these days.  A close second is “how many days left?”  For the record, the number is 6 after today.  One of my answers to this question is “putter around in the garden.”  Last night I finished planting my veggie garden for this season.  There are 8 kinds of tomatoes, 5 of which are heirloom varieties, onions, shallots, 3 kinds of peppers, 2 kinds of beans, 3 kinds of squash, corn, cucumbers, carrots, tomatillos, potatoes, peas, dill, garlic, cilantro, basil, lettuce, arugula, spinach, radishes, rhubarb, asparagus, and strawberries. (whew!)

Potatoes are planted with beans, each keeps a bug off the other, carrots planted with tomatoes, they help each other grow.  Tomatoes are kept away from potatoes–they hate each other and don’t grow well together.  Squash are in their own bed in anticipation of this summer’s epic squash bug war.  As the tomatoes start setting, I’ll tie bird tape to the tomato ladders, hopefully discouraging the birds from sampling my tomatoes (MY tomatoes) before I get a chance. 

I took this picture last night after I’d finished planting and turned the water on.  It was about 7:30.  Birds were singing, the roosters next door were crowing, there was a light breeze whispering through the pussy willow.  The sun was still illuminating the Mesa in the distance, and dancing around in the top of the cottonwood.  Just being in the garden made my shoulders relax and placed a contented smile on my face….ahhhhh.  My garden is such a wonderful place. 

You probably noticed the tall fence around the garden; it’s not because of deer, but to keep out bunnies.  A bit of overkill, but the chainlink was free, so a tall fence it is!  Bunnies are cute and all, but can be voracious–decimating entire sections of a garden overnight!  The beds are all raised, filled with quality soil we brought in and amend yearly.  The native soil of this place is way too alkaline for growing much of anything.  It seems like commando gardening here sometimes–a lot of hard work and effort is needed to harvest enough food for dinner, let alone canning for the winter.

But, in spite of the bunniesbugsalkalibirdswindheat, I LOVE to garden.  I love going out in the morning to see what will be in my omelet.  I love gathering fresh basil and tomatoes for a caprese salad, I love making salsas and tomato sauce that let me taste summer all winter long.  I love how stress is left at the garden gate.  I’m looking forward to enjoying my garden well into the fall when I’d normally be back at school.  Ahhhhhhhhh.

The Ghost of Retirement Yet To Come…

16 May

Today was everything I hope retirement will be:  sleeping in, lazy breakfast, coffee on the deck.  Then gardening–I planted most of my tomatoes and squash, while DH placed new drippers into a couple of wine barrels repurposed as planters.  All the while, the usual Sunday stuff that is laundry was going on–hanging out clothes to a mockingbird seranade.  Just a beautiful day. 

In the afternoon, we drove up the road a few miles to the Reeder Mesa Winery for the wine club pick-up party.  Doug and Kris throw THE best pick-up parties.  Not only do you get your new wine club offerings, but they provide all sorts of appetizers, wine tastings, and barrel tastings of wines yet to be bottled–my fav today: the 09 Cab Franc–beautiful dark red, lots of spice!  Hung out with lots of other wine clubbers, including a friend from work who is retiring this year too.  We lifted our glasses to each other and toasted the good fortune of retiring in a great place, with many years of parties like these yet to come. 

Now home, watching the sun set over the Uncompagre.  Last load of laundry is on the line.  11 days left, only 8 of those with kids in the building.  Then everyday can be like this day, or however I decide it should be.  It makes me smile contentedly just thinking about it.  Ahhhhhh…..

Release the Kraken

12 May

A retirement affects more than just the retiree.  Completely logical.  Different people react in different ways to the impending leave-taking.  Sadness.  Abandonment.  Indifference.  Anger.  Unfairness.  Happiness.  I hadn’t really thought about the possibility of  such a range of responses as I released my “Kraken.”  Actually, never thought of retirement as a Kraken until experiencing the negative effects it’s having on others.  The Kraken is here, confronting them on a daily basis.  

The response that caught me completely by surprise was Anger.  Anger with me because I choose to celebrate the end of my career and the beginning of the next part of my life.  Anger from the assumption that if I’m happy with my decision to retire, I’m being a drain on those around me, detracting from the quality of my work.  The assumption that I’m a “short-timer” and have no motivation to do a good job.  Nothing is farther from the truth. 

The reality of retirement is that it’s change, and change is hard.  You get to choose how you handle change.  I’m choosing to learn and grow from it.  I’m choosing to let others deal with the Kraken how they see fit, but I’m not letting him drool his negativity on me.  I’m just gonna have another cup of coffee and plan out what to do with my first day of “freedom.”