Thursday, March 06, 2008

Accountable to No One

Time and accomplishments take on a different meaning when you are retired. I found myself comparing notes with a recently retired choir member tonight as he faces his first full week of retirement from a busy job at Fannie Mae.

He commented that his day started out as always with everyone getting up around the same time. But then they all go off and I have the day to myself and that’s just a little scary, he said.

He said he took a picture to be framed today, something he had been meaning to do for a long time. I countered with the fact that I had repotted two plants this week, measuring my accomplishment in DIRT! I had also repaired a wind chime and cleaned out half of one file drawer.

I woke up today with an empty slate and so many expectations of how I would fill it. But nothing turned out as I had planned. I spent the entire morning re-doing the binding on my quilt, mostly because I don’t really know what I am doing and I care way to much about mistakes. The newly done binding is an improvement, but there are still glaring imperfections. And it remains to be quilted before it can be hung.

Just as I was about to settle into some of those things I had intended to do today, I decided to check on how my young Guatemalan friend’s baby was doing, knowing the baby had been sick for the past two weeks. The school said I could reach her at home, not a good sign.

She sounded tired and discouraged when I called. The baby now had a cough in addition to diarrhea. Her appointment at the clinic was at 3:45. I volunteered to pick them up at 3:15. I finally got home at 6:15 after waiting at the clinic and then taking her to get prescriptions filled. I had managed to pick up the book Kimy recommended on the way there.

Where had the day gone? What about practicing piano, exercising, and practicing my tap dance? They would just have to wait until tomorrow because I was off to choir practice tonight.

Tomorrow once again is a day free from appointments. Everything I want to do should fit nicely in the morning, leaving the afternoon to read, go to the library to pick up the book Pauline recommended, and play with Jake outside.

But something tells me it will not go quite like that. I suppose the beauty of retirement is that I don’t have to apologize to anyone or even offer up any excuses for things that just don’t get done. I have to learn that a day is no longer wasted. Instead it is just re-programmed.


Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Better play with Jake this morning - it's going to rain this afternoon.

ah, the best made plans of mice and Barbara ...

9:14 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Reya -- I bow to the weather gods and re-program my schedule. Go find your kong, Jake!

9:47 AM  
Blogger kim yanoshik said...

I always carry a little notebook where I write down things that strike my fancy, this post reminds me of one such item about retirement which seems apropos to this post:

"retirement is when you stop living at work and begin to work at living."

2:09 PM  
Blogger Aileen said...

Your days sound rich and full to me!

6:20 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kim -- Exactly! I need to carry around a little notebook...

Aileen -- I haven't quite gotten beyond the frustration of not accomplishing what I set out to do in the morning when I woke up! But you are right -- my days are still rich and full and I am grateful.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I love that you can have a list but most of the things don't really matter if you don't get to them. You can use the list or allow your day to evolve in another direction.

11:35 PM  

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