Monday, August 24, 2009

What next?

For 3 years I have luxuriated in the ultimate of free time, many days not even needing to know what day it was when I got up. When people ask “How do you like retirement?” I immediately reply “I love it. What’s not to like?”

But I have recently come to see that free time is not a nirvana, that I’ve finally reached that point where I want more from life than another day of ease. My husband noted my lethargy on days when nothing is scheduled, when all I have plans for is exercise, reading, and playing the piano.

So I’m going to try over the course of the next few posts to figure out what I might do to change this situation. I welcome the input of anyone reading this, whether you have gone through retirement yourself or whether you just have an idea or two.

Here are some givens:

(1) I don’t really need additional income beyond my government annuity. But it would be nice to have so that we could do things like have the house painted without feeling guilty about spending all that money.
(2) I would like to do something that leaves someone or the world in a better state.
(3) My strengths are in planning, organizing, researching, making things, and at one point I was a good (computer) system designer.
(4) I love children, but don’t know that I would love teaching.
(5) I love animals even more.
(6) I love to write, but never saw myself as a professional writer.
(7) I don’t want to work alone, preferring a lot of interaction with well-intentioned or competent people (or both).
(8) I have a pretty high tolerance for most annoyances, including annoying people.
(9) I have a low tolerance for unnecessary bureaucracy.
(10) I (selfishly) want people to notice what I do and tell me I did a good job.

Put on your thinking cap. I hope you come up with something better than the result of my 8th grade multiple-choice career exploration that determined I should be a tree surgeon.

Stay tuned to more thoughts in the next few days as I think on these things.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could always visit Treasure Island.


1:44 PM  
Blogger lacochran said...

In this economy, I'd suggest you volunteer for a while, see what you like, then pursue a job when you're clearer.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Ulysses said...

Tough one, I'll leave it under my cap so I remember it if I spot something.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I agree with volunteering (even knowing that you already do) but that can mean so many different things. I'll keep thinking.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

FL -- Is that where you live? Sounds like a good title for a story...

LA, Kristin -- I do enjoy my current role as a volunteer, but I will share some personal thoughts about volunteering in the next few days.

Ulysses -- You're pretty good at coming up with solutions.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about taking a course in something you've always wanted to learn? It might be learning a new skill, or it might be something purely academic that you've always wanted to explore. That would provide structure to your days and might even lead to a longer-term answer to what to do next in your life.

Judy K.

8:16 AM  
Blogger LiLu said...

Ha- I LOVE #10.

I think maybe you're quick to dismiss teaching, in some capacity. I'm pretty sure you'd be amazing at it.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Humane Society or ASPCA? It would be great to work with animals, but I imagine a shelter environment could also be pretty tough.

My mom got trained in H&R Block tax preparation after she retired -- now she spends her springs doing other people's taxes. She loves it and enjoys the extra money, but it sounds tedious as hell to me.

12:02 PM  
Blogger bozoette said...

I wish I had a good idea for you! Perhaps a consultation with a life coach could help?

2:42 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Judy K -- I had always thought I would take the classes I never thought I SHOULD take in college because they weren't on my career track, but I obviously haven't gotten around to that. I was actually signed up for an Arlington County class in watercolors when I broke my hip. I think I would most prefer to take a class with someone I know. Are you available?

LiLu -- Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I fear I might suck bigtime as a teacher. Just disciplining my young friends at the homeless shelter for an hour of reading a month is quite a challenge for me.

Steve -- I'm giving some serious thought to volunteering in an animal shelter that does not euthanize the animals. I've heard there is one in DC that has that policy. I couldn't bear to see them killed.

Bozoette -- My friend M is the equivalent of a free life coach. I made great strides in a long conversation with her today.

Word verification is SINGS -- how cool!

9:52 PM  

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