Saturday, October 2, 2010

I'm getting it

During our two-week stay in Maine, I was without internet access most of the time, and I was without my to-do list. For the first week I was on a schooner, with other people around me. For the second week, I was in a quiet island house, where my biggest concern was keeping the laundry done, since I hadn't packed for the right weather.

My biggest concern was the laundry! That's a shift for the woman who went to work for the last time on June 25 and had a list of goals to start working on right away. In Maine, I had nothing but time. In spite of myself, I used that time to slow down and consider where I am now, three months into not working.

Here's where I am now. I still have a to-do list, but the only things I do - unless I feel like it - are what absolutely needs to be done: pay the bills, file amended tax returns, and reread my writing group's collaborative piece in time for our Tuesday night meeting. The rest of my time is open for whatever I say "yes" to.

For some reason, I'm surprised to be doing more writing. It wasn't on my list of goals on June 25. I've been writing for years, doing not much with it, so I hadn't given it any thought when I was setting my goals. However, I am committed to saying "yes". And the writing is coming up more often in my list. (1) Blog today (2) Work on the piece about the schooner crew - which idea came to me when I had no intention of doing any writing (3) Look into self-publishing the Vietnam memoir written in 2006, which I spent a year and a half writing and then never sent out because it didn't fit any writing market I could find.

Maybe it's because writing requires chunks of time, and I never had that before. Or because writing is hard, and working on spreadsheets is easy. Or because productivity looked virtuous.

One of my goals on June 25 was to learn to teach ESL. Since starting my online course, I've been procrastinating, which I don't usually do. I've now realized it's because I don't want to teach. I just want to help learners. I'm finishing the online course, but there's no fear now, because I've more accurately assessed my ESL goal. I probably don't ever want to stand in front of a class again. But I do want to sit at a table with someone who wants to learn. See, I'd misstated my goal. Multiple friends, both online and face to face, have made that gentle suggestion. When I was in Maine, I got it, and I feel much better.

Another of my goals is to work with Habitat for Humanity, and I'm participating in a build on October 9 and October 16. I knew I needed to get in shape, and I had ideas for a rigorous exercise program. What's actually happened is that, when we were in Maine, we used our feet and public transportation to get around. Last week we walked 32 miles, but it wasn't to get the exercise - it was to get to town or the library or the farmer's market or the LLBean outlet or the Apple store at the Maine Mall. And we carried our luggage a bunch. So, in the course of my life I got my exercise. Not in the course of going to the gym. This seems more sensible to me, but of course I didn't get it before because my time was taken up with all the things I had to do when I was working.

I have a retired friend who said, "Don't squander your time." I used to think that meant to keep busy. Now I think it means use the time well - whether that means taking a nap when I'm tired, spending time in conversation with friends and family, or playing a game of Sudoku each morning. Or taking time to slow down and consider where I am now.


11 comments:

Teresa Evangeline said...

Linda, your title says it all! :)

DJan said...

Now that's progress! It sounds like you're finding your way into retirement much in the way I did, except I set out to get a social group through regular classes at the gym. I am motivated by having a set routine and a bunch of the same people every day to work out with. And for me the hard part, the not squandering my time part, if doing what I want and not what other people tell me I should want. Congratulations!!

Linda Myers said...

Art and I walk 1.75 miles to the local rec center on M,W and F to take the Senior Sneakers fitness program. By the time we get home we've got the walking done and some strength training. That's a fairly regular group of people.

septembermom said...

You have many noble goals. Good luck with all of them :)

Linda Hoye said...

Beautiful post and wonderful goals. Oh how I look forward to my own time to slow down!

Linda Reeder said...

I'm glad you refined your ESL teaching goal. I don't ever want to stand in front of the class and teach anymore either, but I still like helping people learn.
And when exercise comes as part of daily living, that's the best!

Georgia said...

Hooray for you! Don't you love that we never quit growing and learning?

Linda said...

Your post shows you to be in a very good space in your retirement life. We all go into retirement with goals but it takes a while to determine if they stay on the list or get moved off, replaced by a new goal. You are doing very good work.

Deb Shucka said...

This is wonderful to read - your peace and new insights and the happy energy that seems to settling around you.

Pearl said...

THe whole thing sounds like heaven to me, bless your calm little soul!

Pearl

CherylK said...

This was a really good post for me to read...it got me thinking about my own goals. And I love how you've worked yours out. Maybe I need a week or so in a quiet island house :-)