Monday, May 10, 2010

Retirement Can Be Messy

Putting order into chaos is messy business. What initially prevails is more chaos. And that can be very disconcerting when what you are trying to accomplish is order. Many of you will know of what I speak - conceptually.

I actually have no excuse for succumbing to chaos other than that I am often easily overwhelmed when faced with too many decisions and, evidently, too much time in which to make them.  If I look back on my life's history, it's easy to see that I accomplished the most when I had the least amount of time in which to do the accomplishing. (There's a Murphy's Law in there somewhere, I'm sure of it.)

This week marks a rather distinctive milestone: I have just gained more personal time by dropping down to a three-day work week (I retired, then immediately began a curtailed work schedule) which will, I am sure, after the order sets in, result in more free time for me to pursue the things that retired, or semi-retired, people do. For me that would be recipe development, cooking, photography and the constant learning thereof, gardening, blogging, travel ...  I have a long list.

So you'd think, with the onset of my first four consecutive days off, that I would just get to the business of doing all those things that I love while catching up on some of those not so pleasant chores that can get shoved into corners waiting for when I have the "time" to do them.


Laziness set in almost immediately. What I put on the list of things to do for the first day quickly got moved to the list of things I would do on the second day, which then got moved to the list of the things I would do on the third day.  And now it's the fourth day.  I haven't even answered comments; something I find as abhorrent as telling your best friend he/she should go suck eggs.

The laundry piled up while I was outside sitting with my face lifted to the (finally!) warm sun. Spiders made cobwebs in corners while I took leisurely walks. Dust settled on tabletops and house plants while I pulled a weed here, mowed a strip of grass there, talked to my horse, my chickens, my dog; anything but catch up with chores, cook something exciting, research a recipe, take a spectacular photo.

Waiting to be planted tomato seedlings wilted in the greenhouse while I read a cooking magazine. Dinner didn't get started until 9 PM while I spent hours in that zone you can get lost in while looking up something on the Internet, then forgetting what it was you were looking for in the first place.

It's the fourth day and here I sit with a list a mile long, facing my three-day work week then a long weekend out of town from which I will return to go straight to my three-day work week, then another long weekend out of town.  See what I mean?  Chaos.  For this I (semi) retired?

Recipes are waiting in the wings. Maybe with the looming time scrunch I'll get some posted. But first I have to go put order into that chaotic pile of laundry. Then maybe brush away a cob web or two.

One baby step at a time ...

Have a great week!

Copyright © 2005-2010, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. I'm not sure when it was after I "retired" that I discovered there was never going to be retired the way most people seem to talk about it. And chaos, well, I've about decided that is the normal state of things and I try to control only a minimum of order in a small space of my being.
    I find what you did with your new "retirement" time glorious. Your or it's only fault is that you'll have to learn that you can enjoy days like that in 'retirement'. Least I'm using that as my excuse. Enjoy the moments. Leave the guilt and worry for those still working ;0)

  2. Like all changes, this one will take some getting used to! And then you'll really enjoy your new-found time off. Congratulations on your semi-retirement!

  3. I think you should allow yourself to enjoy the first month of semi-retirement just taking it easy and doing whatever you feel like, then start on the to-do list after that! Congratulations!

  4. OMGosh! Maybe it is a mini miracle I have discovered you today. What did you retire from? I have been a public school teacher for 29 years and have a meeting with my retirement counsellor tomorrow with my husband. Have already been to the seminars. I will continue to supply teach when I retire... but, really, I am exhausted. I am spent. I love my work, but all I can do it my work these days, and I have so much living I have planned. What did you use to do... tell me more about your transition. If you can...

  5. Christine Cooks with words! You really described very eloquently an experience we've all had. Perhaps the lesson learned here is that we all need downtime with nothing to do except what absolutely strikes our fancy at the moment. And you apparently had some catching up to do in the downtime department. I'm sure the critters appreciated the interactions. Don't stress--though you will be tempted to over the next couple of weeks when all your days are booked! This is a wonderful opportunity to simply (in ALL senses of the word) live in the moment as you move toward fulfilling your obligations. May the blessings flow while you accept and relax!

    In awe of your wisdom and ability to express it,

    your seester Cynthia

  6. Thank you for this well written post!! You expressed deeply how you feel!

    Since my mother & father retired, they had to get used to the fact that they were living another life from now on,..No more pressure!
    It neede a little ajustment but in a good way. I am an only daughter & now, I have to phone them & they have to see in their agenda when I can come over,..they are so busy!!! More then ever!

    You will figure it out!! I am sure!

  7. You expressed it well. I am retired and find that chaos is always just behind a corner. I start out with good intentions each day, but find myself just drifting with my whims most of the time. Maybe we are all just conditioned to be "doing something". I have come to terms with the drifting in the moment and try not to worry about what I should be doing. Glad to hear I'm not the only one.

  8. Enjoy the down time! I often wonder how my husband and I ever found time to "work" with all the interests we have now. It appears we are busier than ever, therfore, I think we have "not really retired"~it only appears that way.We are actually writing down and making lists of everything we need to do during the day,sort of an organizational routine because we don't want to leave anything undone.The greatest thing, no schedules! You are on your own time! Enjoy this special time in your life with as much gusto as you can render!

  9. Sounds like some nice relaxing days to me! Enjoy! ; )

  10. Hi I just wanted to take a moment and say hello! We'll be meeting at "Camp" on Friday. My name is GREG and I am Sippity Sup!

  11. Christine -

    It was a pleasure having dinner and wine with you last night at Camp Blogaway! Look forward to more posts.

    Lovely blog.

    And - happy retirement!!!


  12. What great advice from you all! Thanks so much for your comments. I am among a wonderful group of friends here. I'll be around the visit all of you shortly.

    I just returned from Camp Blogaway, a food bloggers' boot camp in the San Bernardino Mtns., where I learned so much and met some fantastic bloggers. And this is just the beginning!

    Kim, it was great fun to meet you and spend quality time with you. Best of luck with your upcoming ventures!

  13. Envious. All on fronts.

    That's me.

  14. Wow, this post popped up when I went to read about your cooktop, and I'm reading it and totally understand it all now.

    I chuckled when I read my comment from 2 years ago.

    I could have written this.

  15. I'm so glad you stumbled upon this post, Mimi! I've just re-read it and am so glad I did. So much has happened since then: travel, grandchildren, house retro-fit, new garden, life without chickens, a bounce back son (and we are grateful to have him), and so much more. The one thing I am dissatisfied with is that I'm blogging less - with more time on my hands! Go figure.


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