Monday, May 18, 2015

A week of riches

I quit my job five years ago next month, but this week I don't feel very retired. My life is full and interesting. I don't write much about the things in my life that are hard or sad or frustrating or scary. I focus on the good things. And this week, I felt like a rich woman.

1. Mother's Day. I have two children and Art has six. When we first got together they were all between the ages of six and twenty. We had a long string of adolescents with their usual angst, drama and mayhem, and then they were grown and gone. This year I received two bouquets, a box of Harry and David chocolate covered strawberries, and phone calls. It was all good.

2. I had a friend over for coffee. I haven't known Susan for long, but we spend time well together. She and her husband Craig left for Europe this week. One of their sons died last year and they will be spending his birthday with other family members. We talked about how people grieve in different ways and we also laughed about some of life's absurdities. I so appreciate Susan's openness.

3. I had lunch with Carol, one of my favorite people. She and I have been meeting once a week for coffee or a meal. I have longer conversations with Carol than anyone else I know.  She is newly retired, smart and interesting and an avid reader. I love that our schedules are open enough to spend the time together.

4. I am being trained to be a lead mediator at a district court in my county. This week I watched how the paper and the people get processed after I mediated between an employer and a recently-quit employee who heartily dislike each other. I got to remind one of the women to be respectful. At the next small claims session - next week - I'll be the person who introduces the mediation program to people in the courtroom and then gives them instructions in the mediation room. It will be a first for me. I've mediated in small claims court a couple dozen times and I've spoken before groups many times, but this is a new combination. I'll get a stipend for this work. I would do it for free, so being paid is a nice treat.

5. I had lunch with my niece and friend, Colleen at a Vietnamese pho restaurant. Colleen is bright and energetic. We have been getting together for several years now and our conversations are varied and interesting. She is the daughter of one of Art's five sisters but she is mostly my friend now.

6.  I facilitated a meeting at an area technical school between massage school owners and massage business owners. Art and I have an ownership interest in a Massage Envy clinic, and this meeting was organized by my business partner. Lillian and I spent multiple hours on a PowerPoint presentation and the agenda. The meeting was very successful. I even got paid for my work.

7. I have been offered a regional Massage Envy position to attend the state Board meetings as liaison for the 27 clinics in the Puget Sound area. Six meetings a year plus communications and prep. The regional director is willing to work around my snowbird status. I'm supposed to write up a proposal tomorrow for what I think the job will be like and what compensation I need. I see myself flying from Tucson to Seattle a couple of times next winter for a couple of days.

8. I had coffee with my friend Vicki. She was my project manager years ago - the best I ever worked with. Now that we are both retired we sit at Starbucks and talk about everything but work. Vicki and her husband Monte live on their boat in Mexico in the winter.

9. I visited my friend Nora in a local rehab center where she is recovering from a MRSA infection following surgery. She once told me we are cut from the same cloth, but she is wiser than I. I'm grateful for every conversation.

10. I bought my first new car in 17 years. Researched, selected, test drove, negotiated, caught the dealer's paperwork errors (saved $500), and drove it home. Honda Accord, maroon with beige interior and a BACKUP CAMERA to prevent any more of those accidents.

11. I went geocaching with my sister Alyx in a nearby town. I am seven years older but as we age we have more in common than when we were younger. I laugh more with Alyx than with anyone else.

Yep. A week of riches.


Olga Hebert said...

There needs to be a new word, because "retired" doesn't capture you at all.

DJan said...

I agree with Olga. You are perhaps retired from your old job, but you sure aren't "retired" by any means. :-)

Eileen said...

I agree with Olga, you've given retirement a totally different spin! Between your mediation, facilitation, and social life you're a very busy woman.

Arkansas Patti said...

You definitely take the "tired" out of retired for you are like the energizer bunny and just keep going.

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

You are indeed a rich woman. And reading this reminds me that even though I'm an introvert I need to reach out and get together with some of the people in my life. Thanks for that!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What a wonderful life you've built for yourself -- rich with friends, family and an encore career!

joeh said...

Maybe retire means to tire again.

Linda Reeder said...

You continue to amaze me. Compared with that list of activities, I feel like a slacker. And then I remember I am busy too, just a different kind of busy. As an introvert my busy involves a lot fewer people.

lyndagrace said...

I love that you visit with people you enjoy. How many times do friends say, “We have to get together sometime” and then neither follow up. Which reminds me I have to call my friend to actually make a date!

Retired English Teacher said...

I think I am a terrible slacker! I read your list and wonder what I do with my time. You amaze me. You are rich indeed.

Barbara Torris said...

Linda, I loved this list of wonderful things. You are very busy...please don't tell me you are going to quit writing though. You must fill us in.

Take care of yourself. If we get up your way I will call and maybe we can have lunch or coffee. Do the same if you are coming to PDX.