i’ve been “retired” for a month now (i put it in quotes because i don’t really think of myself as retired, just taking some time off while i figure out what to do with myself), and have found good and bad in it. the good is my life can be lived at a slower pace (always a good thing, even more so with multiple sclerosis, which needs its rest). i don’t have to drag myself out of bed at 6am, “race” around (i haven’t actually raced around in years) get dressed, make breakfast, pack a lunch. i don’t have to be concerned with getting to bed by a certain time, or that i can’t sleep – since i can either sleep late in the morning, or take a nap during the day, or at the very least spend a good portion of the day resting in my comfy chair reading/snoozing. the good is also i can set my own schedule for the day, or, frequently, not even bother with a schedule. i can do what i want with my day. (within limits, of course. not driving puts a bit of a crimp in my style.)
the bad is that it gets boring. spending my days with no real direction, after a while, i actually yearn for something i’m supposed to be doing. it is difficult to set my own agenda, to put a project on my plate and then convince myself A) that what i have chosen to do is actually important, and B) to actually do it. believe it or not, i miss a little pressure. i’ve taken on a tiny little freelance copywriting job for cuddledown, the company i used to work for, and there is at least a little pressure in that.
but overall, i find it difficult to find importance in my day to day. like when i was a home-dad, any value derived from my occupation really has to come from within myself. and that can be hard to maintain. with no client or boss or co-workers to tell me i’m doing good work, or that my efforts are necessary, i find it difficult to locate the value in what i do. not that i really “do” anything. i imagined that, after a month of resting, i’d have the energy to take on the bulk of the housework, vacuuming and the like. but even that i often can’t manage, and instead watch my already hard-working wife clean the bathrooms, do the laundry, vacuum, etc. it is hard not to feel guilty for lounging, and for not contributing either physically or financially, to the household.
i am sort of redefining myself, searching for meaning in what i do. it was sort of the same as when i was a home-dad, but then at least i could point to what i had done all day. (rosanne barr used to say that if her husband came home, and the kids were stil alive, she’d done her job.) now, i have to figure out what i CAN do that is meaningful, outside of just meaningful to me (tho that is hard, too), and then figure out how to do it.
my wife and i often ask the heavens, “why is everything so hard?”
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