“How do you like retirement?”
That’s the question I get from everyone.
My response? I pause. “I’m still trying to figure it out.”
Of course, I love it. Getting up in the morning when my body wakes up, instead of when the alarm goes off. Sitting by the kitchen window, savoring my coffee and reading the newspaper from cover to cover. Having the whole day stretched out in front of me to do whatever I want.
Time. That’s the gift I was given. I’m just wondering how to manage it.
I have so many things I want to do: two books to finish before the end of the year, freelance writing and editing, health coaching, keeping up with my blog, marketing my books, downsizing our house of forty plus years, getting together with friends. So many things on my list, but how do I work it all into my new life?
In my yoga class, we spend lots of time on breathing. Inhaling positive energy and exhaling the stresses in our lives. We’ve timed our breaths so we know how long to hold a pose. I found that I take six breaths in thirty seconds, an optimal amount of time to stay in the Tree Pose or Warrior II.
But how much time each day should I spend on my list of projects? How much on each book or on submitting short stories to literary journals or going through household items to sell, give away or discard or just having coffee with a neighbor? Do I try to do a little of each thing every day or divide it up over the week? This is my dilemma.
In yoga class, we work on balance. We stand in Tadasana, feet hip-width apart, knees pointing straight over feet, all four points of the soles resting with equal pressure on the floor. When in certain other poses, often all the weight moves to one leg, our eyes focused on one spot. These techniques keep us balanced. We sometimes practice breathing in one nostril and exhaling out the other, then reversing, inhaling through the other nostril, exhaling out the other. When we revert back to natural breathing, we feel increased energy and a sense of balance.
I’m new at this retirement thing. It’s only been a couple of months, which included two trips out of town. I realize I’m going to have to try different things, learn what works best for me. Maybe because it’s September now, end of summer and the beginning of a “new school year,” so to speak, I’m already starting to gain a little clarity. This week I’ve already entered two flash fiction stories in contests and one for possible publication in a literary journal. I’ve submitted the first chapter of a book to my novel critique group. Participated in health coaching webinars and registered to attend a session in town this weekend. Spent the afternoon with several neighbors at a Labor Day get-together and accompanied my sister-in-law with her sick cat to the vet. And—I’ve written this blog post.
I think I might be getting there, finding balance. Learning to honor and appreciate my new life.