Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Taking stock

Six months after my last day of work, I'm taking stock. Here's what I know today:

1. My body is no longer 30. It's no longer even 60. The aches and pains I used to hear about from older people are part of my own life now. Some things are just a natural part of aging. But some can be changed. It's up to me to get the exercise, the strength training and the conditioning I need to maintain my body - even in the winter - so that I can do the other things I have in mind to do. I could choose to be sedentary. That's easier in the short term, much harder over the long haul. So I've recommitted to exercise. And also to being watchful of what I eat. Every extra pound is a stressor on my achy back.

2. I used to be quite competitive. I still am when playing Boggle with friends, but not so much in other areas. This is a good thing. I might not even be a Type-A personality any more. I might not even be a Myers-Briggs Extrovert-Sensing-Thinking-Judging any more. I'm not even going to take the test again to find out. It doesn't matter.

3. I can make goals, but they don't have to be cast in stone. No one is going to give me a performance evaluation on how I spend my time these days. How wonderful!

4. Dark winter is not a good time for me. If I have gloomy thoughts, I need to turn on my light box and remain aware that the gloomy thoughts go with the winter territory. And I am responsible for getting away from the darkness. Lots of places have bright light - either snowy places like Idaho, where we were two weeks ago, or sunny places like Puerto Vallarta, where we're going on Saturday. I am not a victim of the climate unless I choose to be.

5. If someone seems very cranky to me, I need to listen or give them space, and consider that I may be doing something to aggravate their crankiness - like trying to manage or organize them. Sometimes the best thing to say - or do - is nothing at all. For me, that's much easier said than done.

6. I love having grandchildren, and I'm a good grandma. But I'm fine seeing them only from time to time, rather than all the time. I haven't got as much energy as I did when I was raising my own kids. They are tiring little bunch - especially since my preference is to have them visit without their parents.

7. There may be such a thing as too much travel, but new trip ideas come up constantly for me. I should probably be more realistic. Not quite yet, though.

8. I am a little weirded out by our retirement budget. This year we'll have no income from work. The spreadsheets say we're okay, but you never know. The Bag Lady within me is alive and well this week. She may be posting a few of my blogs this month.

9. I get most of my news online. I've decided for this year I'm not going to read the comments people type in under the news stories. They're just too hateful and negative.

10. I see fellow bloggers writing on matters of substance. I'm going to consider being more substantive myself from time to time.

I've been reading about "one word" describing intentions for this new year. Mine, I decided yesterday, is "release". As in releasing expectations, releasing habits, releasing opinions. I've been risk averse most of my life. That means playing it very, very safe. I think I'd like to loosen that up a bit this year. I probably won't skydive, but maybe I'll take a road trip where I don't have every motel booked before we start off. That would be a beginning, at least.


Linda Reeder said...

Oh, I do that too - road trips with every motel booked! It seems very controlling and unspontaneous, but it is also relaxing to know where you will sleep.
This is a great list of self awareness discoveries!

Arkansas Patti said...

All good goals, I really like #5.
I never prebook and kind of fly by the seat of my pants when traveling. However most of my destinations are family oriented so it is only the travel part where I wing it. Most often it is just fine, sometimes I do end up in a rat hole, too tired to go further. Think there should be a happy medium but I haven't found it yet.
Travel while you can. I plan to kick mine up a notch this year.

DJan said...

I also resonated with #5, since when my husband and I got together, the one thing he couldn't tolerate is me trying to manage him. We worked it out, and it freed me from that desire to "help" when it's not wanted.

Since I traveled with my job, I burned out on it and still really like traveling from my front door to town or into the wilderness areas. It's enough for me these days.

Teresa Evangeline said...

Linda, Great post. I like #2: "It doesn't matter." Having time really puts things in perspective, doesn't it? Priorities change, too, as you've discovered, and beautifully. Releasing is something I need to keep practicing...

Linda said...

Gracious, you have been busy thinking and have done an excellent job of it. Isn't it interesting how our priorities change in retirement?

Dana G said...

Great writing, Linda. It IS substantive. Pre-booking lodging.... on "out there" trips what works well for me is booking the night I land, doing some research (ex. making sure everything not 100% booked or that camping is a back-up plan option) with some back-up plans and letting the rest flow.

Dana G said...

btw -- did you take the photo?

Sally Wessely said...

You blog post was helpful, insightful, and thought provoking. Thank you so much for sharing.

Lili said...

Oh I had to laugh I can so relate to no more performance evaluations, how I feel a sense of release from that!! Pleased to "meet" you Linda. You have a beautiful place over here and from what I can see you have a lot of sage wisdom here too! Enjoy your upcoming trip to warmer climes! ~Lili

Jo said...

What a wonderful post. You're a good writer. :-)

Your post sounds very positive to me. What is it Bette Davis said? "Growing old ain't for sissies." I love that. We can all do things to stave off the deterioration. In the meantime, have a wonderful time in Puerto Vallarta...! You lucky duck...!

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

I hear you on lots of these, but especially number 1. I know that if I don't exercise more, I won't have the energy and flexibility and strength to do all the other things I want to do. As I get deeper into retirement, I'll probably compare notes with you on more of these items.

Deb Shucka said...

I think your writing is plenty substantial.This list is a great example of that. It was really great to read. I especially loved number 2, the not caring to find out if you've changed styles or not. Plus I'm an avid Boggler myself.

My word for this year is surrender. Not the one I might have asked for, but it's the one I've got.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

I too have seen a lot of those intention in 1 word type posts & stories & they seem impossible to this writer lol. In only one word I can't imagine being able to sum up my goals, theories, or intentions for an entire year...unless maybe that word was intention!

No such thing as too much travel in my world! The chance to explore and learn about new places & people is like a drug in our household. Enjoy your travels & adventures this year, looking forward to reading all about them :-)

Unknown said...

I am so glad we have crossed paths, I am a HUGE FAN of this blog! Keep on posting Linda, you're an amazing writer!!! We'll see you around the resort, can't wait to read your next post :)