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

Let’s run away…..

running awayI was standing in the bathroom the other day drying my hair, when an idea hit me.  I’ve had some of my greatest epiphanies and revelations in the bathroom.  Doing something mindless allows my brain to wander down unbeaten paths.  I was thinking about a time years ago when I was between jobs. My husband and I packed up the car and headed west.

We had no real plan or agenda in mind;  just a general idea that we wanted to explore Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, so we grabbed the dogs and a few maps and wandered for about 3 weeks.  It was freeing and fun and undisciplined and as I mused about it the lightening bolt struck:  I want to run away from home.

There are so many things in life that can suck you dry.  Jobs, kids, marriage, parents, finances, health issues;  you’re not quite sure who you are or what you want.  It’s not a sign of weakness to admit this; it’s human.  It’s a sign that you’re about to grow.

Sometimes we need to walk away; to step back and break the monotony of ‘this is how we do things’.  We get up at the same time, drive to work at the same time, sit at our same desk, eat our same lunch, rush to meet our family obligations, plunk down in front of the tv/computer, fall into bed. And so it goes.

In the academic world sabbaticals are accepted and encouraged.  It could be a month or a couple of years, but your job is there when you get back.  What a fabulous perk, eh?  I have a great job, but I crave some time away;  away from the screwy morning radio hours; away from having to always have a perspective or an opinion; away from having to talk, talk, talk.

A sabbatical gives us a chance to check back in with ourselves. A chance to leave behind the rigid, soul-sucking routines that much of our lives can become.  A chance to re-connect with what feeds our soul or excise what doesn’t.  A chance to recharge the batteries of our passion and reassess our strengths and weaknesses.

I know it seems like pure fantasy; who can really just walk away from work to screw around and ‘find themselves’?  Not many of us and that’s a shame.  Imagine how much more productive we would be?  Nothing clears the mind and creates focus like getting away from the stuff that drives us crazy.  You can have the best job in the world, but there are times that you just want to walk away and regain some perspective on the rest of your life.  It’s nearly impossible to do that with deadlines, obligations, meetings, budgets or ratings banging at the back of your head.

So, let’s be practical.  Most of us can’t march into the boss’s office and announce that we’d like to take a couple of months off to recharge and come back as a more committed, valuable employee.  But, a girl can dream, eh?  Maybe it’s as minor as shuffling our routine, adding a walk at lunch time, changing our diet, committing to a good book in lieu of TV, spending more time with friends, saying no to an extra (and overwhelming) task.

Back to my earlier sabbatical years ago that inspired this post.  I left a great job and explored other opportunities for a year or two and then recommitted myself to my radio career and achieved greater success than I ever imagined.  Without that break, that time away to reassess, it never would have happened.  It was a big risk that paid great rewards.  Lesson learned.

December 4, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , | 9 Comments


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