It has been 80 days since I officially retired from working and I have to tell you, I didn’t know how weird it would be. Before retiring, I thought of work as a necessary evil, something that I must do in order to finance the life that I wanted and do the things that made my life worth living, running the wheel, like a good hamster. We work so we make money, so we can spend that money and when the money is gone there’s always a willing lender to gently guide you to the endless wheel of debt and repayment. The vicious cycle ensures that you will work until you can work no more, running on a wheel to nowhere. Of course, it wasn’t all horrible or I don’t think I would’ve made it 21 years; people have and always will make it or break it for me and work was a shining example of that. Some folks made the days more bearable while others tested the limits of my patience, as well keep my violent thoughts from becoming violent actions. I woke every morning checking what day of the week it was, counting how many I had left until the glorious reward of the weekend. I existed, but didn’t really appreciate the gift that I had been given or understand exactly how much I really needed it. The stability, the schedule, the routine all served to keep me occupied and away from the greatest enemy I have ever faced; boredom and too much time in my own head.
Fast forward to current times and what do I have? Endless amounts of time, limited resources (no motor vehicle currently) and a cavalcade of thoughts, perspectives, rumination and of course, various shades of regret. I have no specific reason to get out of bed, I have no pressing engagements or responsibilities outside of the basics; eating, sleeping and tending to the needs of the body. No one is expecting me, no one is waiting for me and the days stretch out before me like an infinity ring, no beginning or end, a circle closing upon itself. The weekend and the weekdays blur like trees on a fast drive; the sun rises, sets and does it all over again and the only difference is the weather and sometimes not even that.
While it may sound like I’m complaining, I can assure you I am not. I am merely marveling at how when my prayer was truly answered, I could not expect just how that would play out. After all, I’ve never retired before and I’ve never done all the things I’ve done in the last 80 days. So why then do I feel as though I should’ve expected this? It is my personal belief that this is fairly typical of me in general. I’ve said before, I am always looking to the next thing, to move forward/move on, which in itself isn’t a problem. The problem is not appreciating what I have and instead wishing for something else, then realizing just how much it/they meant to me. I can’t travel back in time, although I’ve binge-watched enough Marvel movies that the thought certainly is lodged in my subconscious, which in itself is a sign that I need to maybe add some new activities to my rotation, once I get some activities and/or a rotation. The only option is to take that lesson and apply it in the present time.
So, to all the folks I’ve worked with I want to say I miss you, I wish I would’ve told you more often how much you mean to me and how grateful I am for your encouragement, your friendship and your role in helping me to find my value, my contribution and my worth as not only an employee, but as a person. Thank you for helping through those times when I couldn’t be there for myself; your love and fellowship carried me. Your spirit, your love of life and sense of humor lightened the dark days and gave my heart hope. The bonds that were forged will last the test of time and even though we don’t see each other, I know we will pick up right where we left off when we do see each other again. That is a priceless and precious gift all to itself. The last 21 years have also been a complicated mix of blessings and burden, but isn’t that just the way of the world?
I will not waste this time, this reward, this bonus round; you have all encouraged me to write and I am making a promise to you and to myself to become the writer that you believe I am already. I have read that for one to be a writer, we must declare ourselves as such. I’ve never done that and maybe that’s a good place to start.
Hi there. My name is Michelle and I’m a writer.