I’m Carole and I’m a recovering workaholic…

Today is the second Monday of my retirement, and I’ve got to say, so far it is not what I expected.

Before my last day on the job, I made ambitious plans, signing up for five classes at the community college, packing my calendar with a bunch of long-postponed appointments and vowing to give every closet at Casa Carole a thorough going over.

I would walk a mile in the morning, a mile at midday and a mile in the evening. The 7 pounds that have taken up residence on my hips and thighs would melt away, and I would return triumphant to the “skinny” side of my clean, reorganized closet.

That was the plan anyway.

So far, I’ve taken one walk. The closets remain untouched and impenetrable.

Appointments are being kept, but the night classes have now been spread out over a few months instead of a few weeks and will be much closer to home. The first one required an hour-long commute during evening rush and an even longer trip home in the dark of night. By day four, I was so wiped out from hurrying around that I napped twice — and then slept all night too.

I feel like a hyperactive hamster hurled, suddenly, off its ever-spinning treadwheel — off kilter and a little confused. The abrupt absence of daily deadlines and demands is dazzling.

No stories to edit. No husband waiting at the nursing home, eager but impatient for my visit. No rush to wash, dry, fold, dust, scrub or even cook. No need to bookend a day or week at the office with more work at home.

Today, it dawned on me that I’m not shackled to anybody’s schedule now. For the first time in my adult life, I can do pretty much what I want, when I want. And what I want right now is a taco salad, a glass of wine and a good book.

Oh, and a clear calendar.

I’ll worry about filling it one of these days, when I get a mind to.

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4 thoughts on “I’m Carole and I’m a recovering workaholic…

  1. My circumstances were very different from yours (unexpected retirement as opposed to planned; intense caregiving as opposed to none), but I also went from extremely busy regimentation to “what do I do now?” Not having a road map, I used the first several months to simply decompress. My financial situation was decent, so I didn’t have to worry about money for the short term. I kept my schedule open and fluid, scheduling only necessary appointments. I did things I wanted to do as they came to mind. I did a lot of gardening, walking and cooking (my wife claims she gained 5 pounds after I retired). I remained social and engaged, and kept contact with former colleagues and potential new ones (though I wasn’t looking for full-time work). I lost my job in August and decided not to decide anything until the end of the year. In the meantime some freelance work sort of fell into my lap. By January, I was ready to actively look for more. I signed up with some freelance agencies and got some work, but more work from former colleagues fell into my lap. I took a job as an usher with the local minor league baseball team. Minimum wage but maximum fun — I’m back for a second season. Now I have about as much work as I care to have; I’m paying my bills and have enough left over for entertainment; I’m healthy; and I’m enjoying my retirement. I’m not qualified to give advice to anyone, but what worked for me is: First, decompress; then remain engaged and stay open to opportunities. Good luck and enjoy.

    1. Our circumstances are the same except that Joe was in the nursing home for 11 months, which let me get a little rest during that time. Underscore little. I thought I would just dive back in but now, not so much. But I am a quick study. I think I will follow your “12-step” plan and begin by decompressing! Thanks for the sage advice. (Typing on a smart phone and hoping this passes the “copy desk”! Ha!)

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