Practice Makes Perfect
She does not know it, but she has been preparing me for my upcoming retirement. But does she have to be so ruthless?? As a teacher I am subject to “snow days”. I do not think that I have worked a full week since the beginning of November. Between snow, ice, sub-zero temperatures, holidays, and some other appointments, I have not clocked in a forty hour week yet!
So with her unsolicited help, I am learning how to professionally downsize on a gradual basis. In the process I have come to realize some things that I think are worthy of sharing:
#1 Go to bed and get up at your usual time. You won’t need more sleep and the day slips by just as quickly, no matter where you are.
#2 Keep your routine and don’t miss the window of opportunity for a shower. Once I let my usual morning slot get away and I found myself still busying about, un-showered at 4pm when I finally rinsed off.
#3 Try and do something physical each day and if possible, get outside for some fresh air. Maybe you can only open the garage door and sweep out the road dirt, but boy is that good for the oblique muscles!
#4 If you take medications, think about getting a weekly pill dispenser. Last week between the no school days and the 2 hour late starts, I never knew what day it was! When I saw at the end of the week that the compartment marked “F” was still full, I was reminded to take my Friday medication.
#5 Don’t get upset if you are not sure what day it is. They do kind of blur together. My sister who worked in elder care told me a cute story about an elderly gentleman that she accompanied on a doctor’s visit. The physician started with an informal screening for dementia and asked his patient what day it was. It was an early appointment so the man responded, “I don’t know, I haven’t read the paper yet”. Let’s face it, when the Today Show comes on and the opening graphic shows the date and day of the week in big, bold letters and they are announced in a booming voice, we are officially off and running.
#6 Don’t make cookies every five days. You will eat them, and you shouldn’t. Make soup instead.
#7 Don’t clean the bathrooms every day. While it may seem like a good idea, wait for a little more build up of toothpaste and body hair to get the most out of your cleaning products.
#8 Limit your “phone time”, you could miss lunch! If you must converse, try multi-tasking. Unload the dishwasher while you are talking or take the clothes out of the dryer.
#9 Ladies, always put on lipstick and a little foundation. You never know if a handsome delivery or service man comes unannounced.
#10 Don’t measure your day in “what you did” measure it in “what you learned”.
I will be officially retiring whenever this school year finally comes to an end. At this point I might be holding a sparkler on the 4th of July on my last school day, but it will end. When I looked up the word “retirement”, I was put off by one of Webster’s definitions: “the period after you have permanently stopped your job or profession”. My, that sounded so final! I want to make sure that I keep the forward momentum of my life. The final chapter will provide plenty of time for rest, and that will be pretty permanent.
Yes, I am looking forward to a shift in my life from alarm clocks and school bells to one of freedom and spontaneity. I think I rather would like to say that I am “realigning” my life. Webster did not scare me with that definition: “to change the position or direction of (something) slightly usually in relation to something else”. I am anticipating more time for my writing and speaking, while still keeping active.
So, bring it on, I am ready for a change in position. And thanks Mother Nature for the practice. I think I am starting to get the hang of it now so you can hold off on any more “snow days” and just let me get to the finish line!
Where ever you are on your life’s timeline, try and keep moving forward and “realign” your goals and priorities along the way as you need to.