And now, I find myself asking myself….what now? What comes next?
When I retired 5 years ago (getting close to 6 years!), what I wanted was change from my working life. After so many years of regimentation, of living my working life according to the clock and the bell, of having to be a certain place at a certain time prepared to do a certain thing, I was relishing the prospect of no limits. No routines. Do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.
Sounds good. I drifted through the first summer, which didn’t count anyway. It was in the fall, when everyone else in the world went back to school, that I finally felt retired. I kicked it off with a great traveling experience to the Pacific Northwest with a couple of friends. And then I proceeded to create a routine for myself. I started a yoga class. I joined Curves. I started going to a regular Wednesday afternoon knitting group. I began working parttime at a yarn shop. I started a direct sales business in scrapbooking.
I became a grandmother, and reveled in the occasional babysitting I could do. I did some more travel.
It turned out that I’m no good at total freedom. Left with nothing planned, I do nothing. I was happiest on my scheduled days; totally at loose ends on loose days.
Over the last year or so, I’ve kept to my routine of three weekly knitting groups….Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I added volunteer work at the hospital. I started a different direct sales business selling jewelry. I traveled to see children and grandchildren. I worked around my increasing mobility issues by doing fewer things that required mobility.
It hasn’t been a bad retirement at all. Mostly I am happy. But there is some inner fulfillment not being met. I like to be useful. I like to be productive. I like to problem-solve. I like to feel in the middle of things that are happening. I like to be around people. At the same time, I still don’t want to set a clock in the morning. I don’t want to make commitments that I can’t easily put off. I don’t want to be regimented.
In many ways, I feel like this is a second retirement beginning. When I am done healing, I will be much freer to do as I please. Now I have to figure out what really pleases me. I am still drifting, and that doesn’t feel right anymore.