Present Tense

What am I gonna do?

retire sunriseI am freshly retired and since it is so fresh, I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. Right now, it’s mostly relief, mixed with a bit of anticipation and yes, some trepidation.

The trepidation arises from the hundreds of people who have asked me, “What are you gonna do once you stop working?”. My response for months has been that I just wanna ‘be’ for awhile and see what bubbles up. I’m here to tell you that for many people, that is not an adequate response.

“But, what will you do. Will you travel? Will you work? Won’t you get bored”? Honestly. I. Don’t. Know. That’s the point of this next phase. I will watch and wait and see what fizzes up. I’m giving up the planning/forcing/controlling urge to have the next 20 years mapped out.

After a few days of these question, I started telling people that I’m going to watch Breaking Bad on Netflix and that’s as far as I’ve looked into my future . Many laughed; many just looked at me with pity.

We live in a culture that requires a 5 year plan, a mission statement and a jam-packed schedule. Busy, busy, busy! We are judged on our accomplishments, much more so than our happiness or emotional well-being. Which could be why so many people looked at me with such concern when I said I have no real plans.

They worry that I will be ‘bored’ and I probably will; as if that’s the cardinal sin of our time. But, what’s boredom? Time with yourself? Solitude? A chance to sit and think and reflect, without having to be going somewhere or doing something or just filling time?

I will adapt. I will develop new routines and interests and paths. I have no doubt that I will miss my radio family and the laughter we shared every morning. I will miss the forum that the radio show gave me to voice my opinions and perspectives, but that energy will be channeled elsewhere and there is a very good chance that I will find something even more fulfilling.

So, here I am. Freshly retired and I have no freakin’ idea what I will do today, other than breathe.

November 23, 2014 - Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , ,

43 Comments »

  1. Brava! Nothing wrong at all with not planning. I admire your courage to take a step towards taking charge of life. Breaking Bad it’s an awesome place to start. Go for it Jane…be you….whoever that may be. Enjoy just being…I totally understand.

    Comment by Janice | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  2. Good for you Jane, you knew the the time was right to do what Jane needs to do.
    Enjoy, just enjoy!

    Comment by Dianna Marquez | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  3. I went through that when I retired, Jane. It is nice for awhile , not to have to get up at zero dark thirty, but I got bored, and that is not good. I don’t have to tell you to treasure every minute with your Mom, but it is time to also build a bucket list for you and PCP. TRAVEL while you still can. There is so much to see right here in the good oil’ USA! Use your talents! Maybe teach a class at a college that has a Mass Communications Dept? A memoir that inspires the rest of us? Self publish it! Take some classes in things that interest you. Learn to speak another language. Garden and enjoy the farm, but it sounds like that might not happen until Spring comes and the snow melts. Enjoy the holidays with your family and the joy they can bring. Most of all, make the most of each day and appreciate all that you are blessed with. You have so much to offer others.

    Comment by Marcia | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  4. When I stopped writing my newspaper column, I did miss my voice for sure. But…it was also nice to pass that torch, to blend in… And as you say, breathe without anyone noticing. It’s refreshing.

    Comment by Elizabeth | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  5. Jane, I love this post! Good for you just taking a turn seeing what the world will open up for you…I think uber-planning prevents us from seeing so many possibilities. It’s your turn to finally enjoy the ride! I can’t wait to see where this new adventure takes you!

    Comment by Shay | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  6. I’m so happy for you! I retired the end of August after 26 years and felt exactly like you…a little scared, but a lot happy! I haven’t started Breaking Bad yet, but it’s on my “to do” list. So far I haven’t been bored once!

    Comment by Paula | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  7. I have made many decisions based on the premise, “What will make me happy?” Most of them have worked out. None of them have been regretted. It has taken me longer to get to my current place in my life had I made decisions based on another premise but I saw a lot more, learned a lot more, and, i’m certain, had a lot more fun – and my path looks something like I was inebriated as I walked it, but it beats the heck out of the straight to and from and I could have travelled.. There is nothing wrong with not planning and making decisions no further in advance than “Today I feel live writing.” Those naysayers who are not you…how can they have any idea what’s right for you in this moment? Living in the moment is one of the hardest things in the world to do and in the end, not forming a plan? That’s a plan in itself. So kudos to you for your plan to just “breathe”.

    Comment by Sher | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  8. To just Be is great, To just Breathe is great. To be Happy is the greatest thing of all!

    Comment by Shellie Berninzoni | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  9. Love the perspective, you are so right about it all, enjoy this next phase.

    Comment by Natalie Haydon | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  10. I honestly don’t think that’s a bad thing Jane. Just taking time to be, to think, or whatever you want to do. It sounds like a little slice of heaven to me. I find myself so busy most days that I forget about the other people in my life. I worry so much all the time that one day those wonderful people in my life will just not be there anymore. Then what did all that busyness really do for me? I am so glad that you have chosen to stop and just take a look around for a while. Even if that plan changes later at least you were able to do it for a while. I’ll live vicariously through you for a while too. Good luck!! I think it will all work out just fine.

    Comment by Danielle | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  11. Just one question: Can anybody tell me why “pity” is pronounced like witty when it should be pronounced PIE-ty???

    Comment by Rick | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  12. ….Oh, and I think you’re on the right track, Jane. 😉

    Comment by Rick | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  13. Just chill you got this!

    Comment by msrge beem | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  14. …and that’s OKAY. To not know. You’re right, everybody and everything is so busy and fast and go-go-go. Just be. Ya know? (Stillgonnamissyourvoice) 😉

    Comment by Adella Gonzalez | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  15. Good for you! Breathe and enjoy your quiet time. Time will let you know what is next. I’m happy for you!

    Comment by Barbara Heatherly | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  16. my hubby retired 3 years ago. He is an MD. Has not missed a day of it. Learned to surf really well and has such a chill life. Has found renewed interests, travels, hangs with me, got a dog and found a new passion in helping people. but loves the relaxed life.. enjoy it.. you’ve earned it..

    Comment by sammy swesey | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  17. My husband retired at 55 after 33 years with UPS. He had no plans-did what ever he felt like doing for almost 2 years. He lost some weight, BP went down and he was so relaxed. We took some trips–all in the US and he took the time to enjoy himself, the kids and grandkids. He found a part time job he likes and is very happy.

    Do what ever YOU want–this is your time–you have more than earned this. Your mom will love having more time with you. Open yourself up to all the wonderful possibilities and joys life has in store for you and nothing take life as it comes.

    Peace my friend.

    Comment by JC Ford | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  18. I’m in the “I envy you right now” camp. I am struggling with my own issues (fairly minor in the grand scheme of things) but they do consume me lately. Waking up every morning stressing about work sucks. My point….enjoy just being! And please continue to share with us how that feels so we have something to (hopefully) look forward to! All the best to you.

    Comment by Ginny from Parker | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  19. BRAVO!!!! I have been getting asked that question since I announced I was retiring. I simply say “Whatever I want.” Then I get a weird look. I have been bound to someone else’s schedule for 24 years. Sometimes for 24 hours a day when in on call status. I want to wake up when I want, go places when I want, and just do what I want for awhile. I think we have lost site of just being in a moment. I am ready to be in my moment for awhile.

    Comment by Carol | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  20. Inspiring. ❤️

    Comment by Laura | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  21. So, maybe I will repeat others thoughts as I haven’t read the comments. Forgive me if I do.

    It is so true that our lives today are jam packed with things to do. I get the look of Pitt from those that don’t understand. It occurs when parents ask me what sports and activities my boys are in. We haven’t packed their schedules with them. We have allowed them to be. When they have an interest we support it, but I never felt the need to pack their schedule. Of course that may have been slightly selfish as running them around means me running around.

    So I say congratulations on your choice to be and see what life brings your way. Enjoy your journey!

    Comment by danistrimbu | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  22. good for you jane…a very wise person once told me that all we have is the now….yesterday is gone and tomorrow is promised to no one…it has taken me some time to really believe that but now that I do, I find it curiously liberating…may all your “nows” be full of joy and laughter and reflection…speaking purely for myself I will truly miss you in the mornings

    Comment by lin | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  23. You’ve never been one to march to people’s drums, don’t start now! Find your own beat as always, don’t worry about the shoulds they suggest, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

    Comment by Susan | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  24. You don’t strike me as anyone who ever gets bored when by yourself. Congrats on your retirement. I wish you continued opening and discovery.

    Comment by Diane | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  25. People really need to stop the glorification of busy. I’ve never understood it. At 39 my main goal everyday is to stay more positive than negative and propigate as much peace as possible. I have a good job, but it’s my job not my identity. I say good for you. Enjoy the ride and the blessed unknown.

    Comment by Jason Law | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  26. Do what YOU want to do, not what others think you should, or feel that they have done so correctly in their retirement. Enjoy the incredible lightness of just being. Once you have done that, you will get some ideas. Enjoy it, you earned it. Clean air, happy doggies, great prince. Eat good food and take some great walks. If you want to.

    Comment by Tim Lankerd, Ann Arbor, Mi. | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  27. A few years ago, my kids gave me a Winnie the pooh coffee mug that says, “Nothing to do, nothing to do . . . what a happy thought!” It is spot on for me.
    My parents retired young — early/mid fifties. Between then and now (Mom is almost 82), I cannot count the times my Mom said, “I just don’t know how I ever had time to work.”
    Enjoy. As with everything else, look ahead and plan if you want, but the reality happens one day at a time. Peace.

    Comment by Susan Herr | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  28. Jane, have a friend, retired airline pilot, your age, talked to him today and he is busy for the rest of the year. Doing what? Anything/everything I always wanted to do. With your talent, you will occupy your time in your time frame.
    Me, I retired (little older than you), working in a field I love, but no stress, no numbers to make. I’m happy in my retirement. To each his own. I will miss you on the Dom & Jane show, but life goes on.
    Best of luck to you.
    Keith

    Comment by Keith Mobley | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  29. Jane, Happy that you will continue blogging. You so often say what I am thinking – I can’t wait to see what ‘we’ do next!

    Comment by Beverly | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  30. I guess my question is “who says you have do anything?” I thought the whole point of retirement is to just get up and do whatever you feel like doing that day? Maybe it is hanging out with PC and the dogs. Maybe it is just reading a book or writing a blog post? Whatever you choose do, just enjoy it. :-). That is what life is all about.

    Comment by Laurie S | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  31. My Mom wonders what she did before she retired…she is busier now than ever and loving it….Congratulations Jane! You are an inspiration!

    Comment by Cindy | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  32. I loved listening to you on the show and I wish you the best in this next phase. I think your thoughts on people being “uncomfortable” with you not knowing what you’re doing next was spot on. “I don’t know” has become unacceptable but I think it’s liberating. Things flow as they do and things will turn out just fine. Enjoy your life as it unfolds and thanks for the time I (and we) got to share with you on the radio.

    Comment by Amanda | November 23, 2014 | Reply

  33. Fizz away, Jane! 🙂

    Comment by Lorna | November 24, 2014 | Reply

  34. Day 1: Breathe and take solace that you are not in Buffalo 🙂

    Comment by Ted Lytle | November 24, 2014 | Reply

  35. I actually envy you being able to retire early—I have 7 more years till 65 and work for the Ins. benefits. Our small medical clinic is being ‘integrated’ with a very large Medical Network in our area. I’ve been here 25 years and am starting as new employee the 1st of the year. At 57 it just seems like a hassel. Have to travel to another town for work. So I envy you and would love to be able to retire and have time to persue things that I haven’t had time for in the past!! I say enjoy this time!! Bravo!!!

    Comment by Debbe | November 24, 2014 | Reply

  36. You will find so many things to do that you’ll wonder how you ever found the time to work 🙂 No need to provide an explanation to anyone, this is your life to do with what you please. If that means sitting on the porch, watching the hours pass by, then kudos to you. Enjoy the peace.

    Comment by Renee | November 24, 2014 | Reply

  37. Just breathe Jane! You are right where you are supposed to be. I will miss your voice, but I am so happy for you!

    Comment by Carol Brust | November 24, 2014 | Reply

  38. This is a great perspective. I have some friends that when we went on vacation, had everything planned to the minute. I had a general idea of what I wanted to do and told them I’d meet up w/ them later in the day or at the hotel. It was nice to allow for anything to happen… I had a blast and came back at the end of the day w/ lots of stories – mostly they were all grouchy because they were too busy sticking to their schedule to really enjoy where we were.

    Comment by Kris | November 25, 2014 | Reply

  39. I can so relate to this. I had many people ask me the same thing and my first response was “sleep.” I would be those that were the least satisfied with your answers are those that are still in the working world. They too will understand when they reach retirement and discover the feeling of freedom that the lack of plans provides. Enjoy yourself!

    Comment by Susan | November 26, 2014 | Reply

    • Dang it – that’ll teach me to not proof read – make that “I would bet”…..

      Comment by Susan | November 26, 2014 | Reply

  40. Jane…I know you consider yourself a Buddhist, but where does that get you? Upon your demise, your body dissolves into some molecular state of being, according to the Buddha. You are relatively young, 55, and now you are jobless. As we approach Christmas, how about a re-evaluation of the feast? Christians believe He came to earth to redeem all of us, and is probably doing so in many other galaxies even as I write this. It’s interesting you mention God a lot…maybe you are agnostic. The Triune God has the unique person called the Holy Spirit. Breathe Him in and may the Spirit of God lead you and yours to the One who said “I am the Way and the Truth.” Yogatize your breathing and breathe It in. Ed

    Comment by edspolitics | December 9, 2014 | Reply

    • Ed:
      How are you? I would say that I consider my spirituality to be Buddhist-inspired. I can’t quite claim to be a practicing Buddhist. I would also say that Buddhism and Christianity are not mutually exclusive. In western countries, there are actually quite a few buddhists who also attend Christian churches and find that they meld quite well.
      Personally, I think that the Beatitudes from Christ’s Sermon On The Mount go very nicely with my beliefs. I find myself reading them periodically.
      So, yes, I do mention God because it’s hard to look around and see this beautiful earth and not know that something created it and gave us our spark. I just don’t necessarily embrace all that is attributed to him in The Bible.
      I’m not of the mind that we have to choose a religious team. God gave us choice and a heart and a soul and sent us out to figure it out. So, I’m hardly jobless; I have plenty to do, not the least of which is to love my neighbor.
      Be well and I will breathe him in.

      Jane

      Comment by janelondon | December 9, 2014 | Reply

      • Jane…I am completely with you on not embracing all that is in the Bible. I wrote a book entitled “Understanding the Bible”…a Layman’s Guide to the Historical-Critical Method. You have a Christmas gift coming. Also, I have a four part series on uTube and Slideshare, explaining the Catholic Church’s position on how to interpret scripture. Yes, there are those literalists who take every word as true. Nonsense. Christ always taught in parables,and there are many, many in the OT. Etioligies I call them. So take heart, I think we’re on the same page. Ed

        Comment by edspolitics | December 9, 2014


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