Thursday, June 18, 2015

Keeping Busy, Having Fun!

I'm finding it tough to find a blogging groove that works for this transitional stage of my life. While I suspect you may tire of reading my concerns about what I do and don't feel obliged to do -- those 'shoulds' Ive been mentioning in recent posts -- I also suspect that the only way to move toward a blogging pattern that will work for my retired self is to write the process rather than try to push it behind the screen. There is a screen, of course. Sometimes it's translucent, sometimes opaque. Occasionally, you might have the sense that it's completely transparent, and you're looking right into my real life. Impossible, I must remind you. If nothing else, the screen is fabricated through the twin process of selection and combination: what I pick from my "real life" and how I arrange those choices into some kind of narrative here. And, of course, that selection and combination are affected by my energy levels, time available, discernment or perception of your interest, my need to tell or desire to guard. It's a fascinating and complicated pastime.





For the moment, I've been trying to sort out how or why it is that doing some of the "people things" I've wanted to do for too long should have worn me out to telltale giant-cold sore-on-the-lip levels. And how will I moderate my social/family activities in retirement to stay healthy? Last week, my daughter and her two little ones were with us for four wonderful days and I was very happy to be able to run with the two-year old and walk and rock the two-month old. But then we followed up with travel to the city where I did a 40K cycle with my husband and then attended a concert the same evening. The following day was a marvellously convivial four-hour luncheon in a friend's garden, a gathering of 14, only four of whom we'd met before. And since then another long cycle with my husband; a quick dinner with my son's family as they passed through town on their way back home after vacation; a 13.5K run on my own; an afternoon shopping. All fun activities, play, not work. Down-time, right? 



So why the damn cold sore, which sends me a loud, clear message I ignore at my peril?



That's where I'm at today, then: thinking about how I'll sort priorities and stay healthy without work as the gate-keeper. Meanwhile, my onerous activity for the day is to meet another blogger for lunch. It's a tough life.



I'm kidding, obviously, but I do need to figure out how much wear and tear the social stuff entails and then figure out when the wear and tear is worth it, when to say "no" and how to build in the necessary recovery time. Meanwhile, for whatever reasons, Instagram has been suiting my need to connect at an energy cost I can manage. Because I've been naturally turning to IG so often, I thought I'd try blogging from BlogGo, the phone app that might let me try short-and-sweet rather than longer, perhaps more cohesive posts. And I'm throwing in a few photos I've IG'd lately ( and some I haven't), just because...



Let me know what you think. Otherwise, I'm just babbling away here on my own.

45 comments:

  1. I think you really will need to set some limits on your activities going forward - your last few days sound exhausting! I'm sure you'll work it out - no point in being retired if you have to take to your bed in a feeble heap! (You won't let it get that far, will you?)

    I've hit a bump in the running track - a calf injury. I already went back too soon, so I'm taking at least a couple of weeks off this time, before joining in the Learn to Run clinic again (I had hoped to go on to the 5k one).

    Love the selfie with you and Pater!

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    1. I won't let it get that far, no! But I can see it will take some working out.
      Sorry to hear about the glitches in your running , but the injury is a blessing in disguise, motivating you to train some of the supporting players. You're taking the right approach, looking on this time off as part of the training. Have you got a set of exercises to do while you're waiting? Do you have a good coach, maybe even a physio? I find the latter invaluable.

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  2. I imagine that your dilemma is not an uncommon one among the newly-retired. All of those pent-up activities that could find no spot on the calendar before, and no "excuse" to hold them back. BTW, I love that diaphanous skirt in the top picture!

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    1. You're spot on, Sue. Judging by the wonderful comments below, this is a rather common response to the early days of retirement. Now to figure in some moderation.... Re the skirt, TY! I love it too, picked it up in Rome last summer. Silk outer, cotton liner, instead of the horrid poly so often used as lining, destroying the cool breeziness (whoops, funny how those rants sneak u!)

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  3. Slow down! You just crammed more into one week than most would do in two...no days doing nothing, I note. Try that. Sit. Stare. Write. Mooch. Walk not run. The Retirement Police aren't going to knock on the door and demand a full explanation before cuffin' ya.
    Also: Netflix.

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    1. Ah, don't worry, I've been logging the Netflix time too. But I her you and next week has some serious Do Nothing days written in the day planner. These ten days, though, got filled with some opportunities that had fixed dates. Saying "no" meant missing out for good, and I felt they were worth the fatigue. Going forward, though, I'd like to see that coming and manage it better. Mooching ahead, definitely!😉

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  4. You are in a transitional stage and I think you could slow down a wee bit!
    You'll figure it out as time goes by and it is healthy to have some scheduled "down time." Reading, knitting or just sipping a beverage while gazing out at the ocean...those activities will nurture and restore a heathy balance.
    Blogging inspiration waxes and wanes...
    Often I wonder if anyone will stop by to read my blog and what do they like best and am I getting boring...it's a curious hobby.

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    1. Absolutely agree. See above on temporary logjam...

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  5. I have been pouring over these posts as I find I have decided to retire this fall (and am very excited). 'Do nothing' time is important to me but it is hard to say no when social opportunities come calling. Thank you so much for sharing as much as you do; I am just a reader, not a blogger, so all of the work is on your side and it is very much appreciated.

    Is that the skirt you got in Rome? Beautiful! And versatile...perfect combination!

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    1. You're so very welcome, Georgia. There's no denying the blog is work, but you readers are my happy reward.
      You get my dilemma exactly. These social opportunities sometimes have to be grabbed, although saying "no" has to be considered...and yes,good memory re the skirt.

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  6. To share my own experiences over my part time retirement of almost 8 years (because it keeps evolving) one consistent thread is my amazement that I managed to actually go to work 5 days a week (in a demanding job with lots of extrovert demands on my introvert self).
    Now I think through a week at a time and try to schedule at least a couple low demand days with perhaps only a yoga class "away from the house" in between more social/work/family obligations. The one thing I find impossible to pass up on is time with the kids/grands. In my life these wonderful but demanding treats are balanced by weeks with no kid leavening at all.
    But it takes time to develop the new rhythm - you seem to be demanding of yourself that you get it all right all the time, immediately out of the box.

    Cheers,
    ceci

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    1. Thanks, Ceci. This helps, knowing that others have developed a working rhythm but that it takes time. I'm with you on not ever wanting to say "no" to time with kids/grands. Those four days last week got added to an already full schedule, but I'd suffer another cold sore or two before I'd give those up!

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  7. Babbling on your own? Naw. Never. I enjoy reading about your process.
    I like how the last photo gives you an out - "emergency." If you get in trouble, just follow the signs. Heh.
    All your down time activities sound like fun, but, yes, each takes fuel. Pie at ACME is a good place to find it. Or just alone at your beach watching the sunset. You'll find a happy groove.

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    1. Okay, I don't know about ACME and it sounds as if I should. You and I could have a meet-up next time I'm over.
      I thought of you when getting my guy to take the stairwell photo...😉

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  8. Such "babbling" is a refreshing contrast to the minimalism that characterizes other blogs - and I also enjoy reading about your process and relating it to my own. I had a wonderful day yesterday simply driving an hour one-way to visit a friend and have lunch - but today I am paying for it in that I have already run out of energy and haven't even started dinner yet . . . such tradeoffs are worth it, I think, but it doesn't hurt to be aware that even the fine times come at a cost . . . (of course, time spent reading worthwhile blogs is also to be considered as fun but costly if you let yourself get carried away, as I am wont to do!). Now I must pull myself together enough to get that salmon in the over - fish won't wait a day, I find!

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    1. Thanks, Marsha. Good to hear the babbling is worthwhile! Your example is so pertinent to what I'm talking about. As I've answered in comments above, this particular "perfect storm" was just a series of social opportunities I just didn't want to say "no" to. All good stuff, rejuvenating in some ways, but also exhausting. Now to build in the balance.
      Hope the salmon as delicious...

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  9. Oven. Sorry. Get it in the oven.

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  10. Yup, that's retirement for you. Harder than work because now you've forfeited the right to complain about being exhausted. The good news is, for most of us, the "weekend warrior" phase of retirement runs its course after a few months of whirlwind activity. Either that, or you start playing with notion of going back to work because you need to put some limits on your schedule.

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    1. It's so good to hear that those of you who retired earlier have exprienced this And moved through it. Amusing to hear that work might seem an option for respite...

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  11. The things we choose are interesting. I wonder if the long runs and bike rides so close together might also be wearing? As much as I hate to admit it, I am finding that my body can take less wear and tear as I age and I have had to find different forms of exercise -- more swimming and less running, more yoga and lighter weights, etc. I also think major lifestyle changes take lots of energy. You have to think of yourself in a different way, and that's hard even when the change has been carefully chosen. Thoughtful people have to sort things out -- I love your process!
    Lynn

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    1. Thanks, Lynn, it is a process, isn't it? I'm trying to listen to my body....the cycling was actually a concession, in place of running. I have a pretty solid baseline of fitness, though, after many years, and generally, I find I gain energy from it. If anything, I know I need to build in more stretching time, more yoga classes.....anything that reminds me to Breathe....

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  12. Remember.....dolce far niente!
    Heather

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    1. Ah yes! I should write that in the day planner on at least one day a week....

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  13. I agree with those who suggest you may be trying to do too much - maybe ignore that puritan conscience and unashamedly take a break over the summer? Not easy, I know - I'm ostensibly retired myself, but continue to do research and write as an 'independent scholar'. But a real sense of fatigue (manifested in, among other things, a cold sore - is there an epidemic or something??) has convinced me that I need to do just that myself. Will I? Who knows. But take it gently - retirement is a huge life change, and you don't need to step into it fully formed overnight. Whatever course you take, I look forward - as ever - to reading about it.
    Rosemary

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    1. Good advice, Rosemey. thank you! Good to know so many of us are sharing this process. as I say above, part of this fatigue I've hit this week is a result of a very specific constellation of lovely opportunities. The weekend will be busy as well, but next week I'm hunkering down with music and books at the beach. afternoon naps every day!

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  14. I've found out in the last few years that emotional wear and tear is as energy draining as physical. And by emotional I mean the good and the bad. I remember one long weekend I flew back home for my high school reunion. I had SO much fun; I never stopped talking for three days...and I was sick by the time I got back to Ottawa. You're right about work, ironically, providing a buffer. I remember when Stu first retired, and as I was leaving for work I would always say "What are YOU going to do today?" And I suspect that I might have sounded the teensiest bit condescending one day, so he replied..."It's easy for you. You KNOW what you're going to be doing all day. I have to make mine up as I go along." We laughed, then, but I remember that statement now when I feel compelled to fill my days. And it was a lot harder for him...Mr Type-A personality.

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    1. Another great example of what I mean. You wouldn't have wanted to miss that reunion for fear for tiring yourself, but it would have been tough if another equally desirable, once-in-a-blue-moon event came along within the week... If that happened mid-term when I was working, I would have said No, unhappily, to both. Now I say Yes to both, and it may be that won't work. It's been exhilarating to try, though, after such a long social desert....and I really relate to Stu's characterization. The decision-making, life-shaping choices exert their own demands on our energy levels...

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  15. I'm sure that we all are enjoying reading about your thoughts and dilemmas. And rethinking ours
    It is beautiful to have time for things we hadn't before and were longing for it! But ,not all in two days! I am sometimes more exhausted hanging out,even with family and friends,than working
    Retirement is one of greatest stress factors,body and mind have to forget old paths and establish new ones and it takes time. We can give advices but it is you who has to be with yourself alone sometimes and let some things go and make place to embrace new ones
    The skirt is gorgeus,it is better to have dilemmas and to be in a whirlwind in such a beautiful skirt :-)
    Have a nice weekend
    Dottoressa

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    1. Such wisdom here, Dottoressa. In the end, even as we share experience and advice, we ultimately have to choose what works for our personality and circumstances. And having a skirt that twirls beautifully in a whirlwind is a great help!😊

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  16. Ah yes, so far - 2 years into this, the only thing I know is that it is a process! With many fits and stops and starts. I, too, went through the doing too much. Still not under control but working at it. I love it when I can schedule "duties" every other day and have the intervening to contemplate life but it also makes me feel guilty I am not "doing!" Then I look at those who retired after I did and they make me dizzy with all they are still trying to do.
    As I explore, much as you are doing, I am looking for meaningful activities, a way to contribute that is comfortable for me and a fulfilling community. I am still working on defining and finding all of those. First I thought it would take a year, then three, now more like 5 or 6, someone mentioned 8! Also as I change the goals change - moving targets. I guess the best advice is to enjoy the ride.
    It is very good to hear others are doing the same thing. Sue

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    1. It really is good to hear others are doing the same, and thanks so much for adding your experience. So perhaps by 70, I'll have a rhythm.....but then surely Life will throw some interesting spanner into the works...

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  17. Resetting the ebb and flow of one's days is, I have found, the most challenging and rewarding part of retirement. For me, at least, it's meant looking at my entire self in retrospect.

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    1. Yes, yes, and yes it's about so much more than simply sorting out a schedule. Learning, knowing, understanding oneself both at and from this perspective ...

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  18. There are many good thoughts here. Moving into the retirement stage of life requires, I would assume, intention equal to that of adapting to a working life. I'll be curious to see how it all works out and hope that you will continue to share your thoughts about it.

    On our trip I used the Blogger mobile app on my I-phone and found it adequate for the postcard posts. Editing photos was impossible, but other than that I was pleased.

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    1. Thanks, Lorrie. I expect it's going to take me some time to figure out, but I'm well aware that's a privilege in itself.
      And thanks for answering my query about the mobile blogging. I didn't know Blogger had a mobile app now. I use Blogsy on my iPad and BlogGo on the iPhone, but I might download Blogger mobile and see how that works.

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  19. I think you're starting retirement in exactly the way I would - hardcore! :-) It's impossible to put limits when you don't understand the new rhythm and all you can do (till you learn it) is to use the former pace. The good news: You have time to figure out the new pace!! It's all good Frances. You'll sort it out AND you're going to be the fittest grandmere on the planet (if you aren't already).

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    1. I think you've sussed me out pretty well. I'm working hard at figuring out the new pace. And it's q bit tough right now but I'll get there. (I have to make sure I'm fit--hefting these little ones again at my age informs and reminds my body of where it got all those back weaknesses in the first place!)

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  20. I've been reading your blog for 2+ years. This post finally got me to comment. I laughed when I read it. I've always wanted to blog and I thought retirement would be the perfect time to do it. It's on the "to do" list. Perhaps one day it will happen, but for now, too many others things are filling my time2

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    1. Well, if that's what it took to get you to comment. . . ;-) Seriously, happy to know you've been visiting regularly and happy to hear that you too are finding retirement a busy, but happy, time.

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  21. I remember you telling me my body was sending me a message. Your's is too. And please remember, your "ramblings" help us all. Isn't that the purpose of blogging?

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    1. Yes, my husband always chuckles, a bit ruefully, that my body isn't likely to let me get really sick because it gives such clear warning signs. Cold sores are one of them. . .
      And thank you (I think!) for encouraging my ramblings . . . I do think that is what blogging has to offer, within reason of course ;-)

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  22. Oh yes. I think the hardest thing I found after stopping work, perhaps not so much retiring as quitting, was that there was never a reason to say no so I said yes to all the things I had wanted to do when I was working, at whatever level of wanting. This last eighteen months or so have really challenged my energy levels because layering in a weekly six hundred mile trip to see my father plus the emotional challenge of giving him a good time while struggling with how hard I find it to see a great man brought to ruin has left me buffeted by too strong a wind. I have always loved taking on things that others seemed to find too much, biting off more than I can chew. I am learning very slowly and with great difficulty that I need days of nothing to counterbalance the days of too much in order to stay healthy and happy. Good luck with yours. If you find any short cuts let me know! Xx

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    1. It would be horrid to say that I'm glad my parents died (and his) before I retired, because of course I'd still love to have them with us, but yes, I'm sure their care would drain any energy I hope to put into rebuilding a post-retirement life. (I suspect that the care I did manage to give while I was still working is part of the reason I didn't last as long at work as I'd thought I would).
      Like you, I've enjoyed, in the past, being able to balance more than others thought I could or should, and I still love the mix of activities but it empties my bucket far more quickly now. Those counterbalancing days have to be scheduled rather than left to chance, I'm beginning to learn. No short cuts so far, but it does help to know others are on the same road.

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  23. I see a certain similarity here in the urge to go and do and miss nothing, and then being brought up short by the surprising amount of recovery time needed. Perhaps you will find better balance than I, but having the balance of a partner helps as well. I tend to not realize I am overdoing anything until I am overdone.

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    1. Yes, Mardel, that's the similarity I see, and I see it with Elizabeth above as well. You do make a good point about my fortune in having a partner for balance and to point out that I'm heading in an overly busy direction.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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