Retirement rhythms and regrets

Two weeks in, I’m settling into a retirement rhythm.

— Sleep till 8. (Unless the landscapers crank up the mowers at 7:30, in which case cuss a blue streak!)

— Coffee, newspaper and computer games on the porch till 9-ish. (Essential to brain health!)

— Walk a mile or more. Smell the honeysuckle and new-mown grass. (Free aromatherapy!)

— Do something (anything!) productive. (So far, I’ve arranged a train trip with my granddaughter, paid bills and enrolled in Cobra — all tasks with deadlines of one sort or another. Still procrastinating on closets and dealing with Joe’s things — no deadlines, no urgency.)

— Eat dinner during the afternoon. Walk it off after the “CBS Evening News.”

— Retreat to the porch until dark.

— Write when the muse strikes.

I’m a Type A so this may be as close as I ever get to relaxing.

I do believe that the worry lines etched by years of newspapering and caregiving are softening just a tad. Will I ever achieve that rested, calm countenance that news refugees always seemed to have when they visited the paper? Probably not. Unless Cobra covers Botox. (But wouldn’t it be nice?)

Regrets? Of course. These are a few I’m trying to work through now that I have the time to reflect:

— Joe wanted me to retire. I wanted to squirrel away more money. I wish I hadn’t let my greed trump his wish for more time together. Who knew we had so little left?

— I wish I hadn’t been more attentive to career than to family over the years. So not worth it in the end.

— Most of all, I wish I hadn’t been so impatient and so unkind.

I pray God will help me let go of the regrets I can’t do anything about and that He will help me become a patient and kind old lady.

(PS: A little divine intervention with my worry lines would be welcome, too.)

5 thoughts on “Retirement rhythms and regrets

  1. Love this, Carole. So much wisdom here about life whizzing by us. I’m personally glad I left the newspaper when my kids were 5 and 3, because I wanted to spend more time with them. The brief break I took from FT work (about four years) was so worth it in terms of time and relationships. In terms of money? It took me 15 years to get my salary back to what it was when I left the paper. Still worth it. I’ll remain a fan of your blog!

  2. Evelyn, You are so right: It takes a long time to recover financially from the decision to devote all one’s energy to family, but it is so worth it.
    I didn’t start full-time newspapering until age 29, because I decided to spend Joe Jr.’s first five years with him at home. It took years for my paycheck to catch up.
    Your comment reminded me that I DID spend Joe Jr.’s first five years with him at home and paid his preschool tuition by volunteering as a teacher’s aide. Maybe I was being a little hard on myself in this post.
    Thanks, Ev, for reminding me.

  3. Carole, those 5 years with Joe Jr. were a huge case of prioritizing family over career. That counts for a lot. Some of these decisions are always cases where you will have some regrets and some satisfaction no matter which course you take. I have to add that as a mentor (a role you voluntarily took on!) you showed me much patience and kindness. You don’t always know how you look through other people’s grateful eyes. Thanks for sharing this journey with us.

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