I’ve heard this comment from almost every retired person I know – ‘I’m so busy now, I just don’t know how I had time to work.” So of course, newly retired, I’ve spent some of my time thinking about that statement. And I think it’s the wrong take on time and retirement. To me, it’s not that I am any busier. I am busy, but I have always been busy.
The difference to me is that "work" was always the huge elephant in the room. During the 40+ years in the workforce,
I got up around it, ate within it's very restrictive timelines, stressed about it, cherished it, ran from it, mulled it over, and basically, I was defined by it. Then, I SQUEEZED in my life - a wonderful husband, MiVida who was chasing his own time clock, and five equally wonderful, interesting, but often challenging children who were, rightfully, demanding their own fair share of that time. Oh, and I added a few outings, some exercise when I could resist diving into a bed that never seemed to get enough of me, some friend times, time with my parents and extended family and yes, impossible as it seems, some "me" time.
Now work is NOT how I'm defined. The rest of my life has come out of the corners where it was tucked away in a rather disorderly fashion, and that part has embraced me, challenged me, and enveloped in such a purposeful and delicious way. I have gained back something I didn't even know I had missed - the wonderful concept of "choice."
Now I choose each hour, each day, each week - what is important to me and where I want to spend more of this time. Well, of course there are commitments and responsibilities that interfere and complicate my choices, but they don't seem to overwhelm me. And sometimes, I CHOOSE work because I am passionate about my discipline of ESL, and that passion hasn't been erased. It's just that work doesn't control me anymore. I say, "I'm so busy with LIFE and loving every minute of it."
Postscript: If I hadn't worked so hard for so many years, I probably wouldn't have had the luxury of spending time on these reflections so you need to know that I have always been partial to elephants.