Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Free to take a walk

Back when I was working I’d glance out the window at the subdivision behind our building, a pretty neighborhood with tree lined streets. Often there would be someone walking their dog and I’d be struck with such longing. I wanted to be out there walking my dog in the sunshine on a weekday morning, enjoying the breeze, the light, the freedom.

And that’s what I was remembering this morning as I walked my dog up our neighborhood street enjoying the late summer blue sky, the cool breeze, the quiet. The houses were largely silent, empty of their people.

People who were off at work while I was out walking my dog.

I recognize how lucky I am to be retired. Katie recognizes it too, though she’s too much a princess to admit she enjoys the extra walks, the extra treats, the extra belly rubs. But she clearly does.

On today’s walk through the neighborhood she was too busy sniffing pee-mail on one side of the road to notice the twelve geese standing in a driveway on the other side of the road. They turned as a group and silently moved up the driveway, away from the princess. I smiled at them and we kept moving. Out of the corner of my eye I saw another three geese over in the yard. I turned my head to look at them as Katie tugged me down the road.

They weren’t geese. Standing stock still were three sandhill cranes — probably a couple with this year’s offspring. Without movement they blended into the trees, silent watchers of the neighborhood, vigilant but not disturbed by the princess.

And me without my camera.

With not even a phone in my pocket, you’ll have to see exactly what Katie saw which is absolutely nothing. The little princess continued to pull me up the street, nose to the ground checking out the latest doggy news left by her friends earlier in the morning. I continued to smile as I was tugged along.

Cause I’m not trapped in the office on this beautiful Friday morning.

Good morning mama!

Good morning mama!


Elasticity of time

Fields of summer

Fields of summer

I’ve been retired a month now.  My hope before I left work was that time would unfold in the slow dreamy way summer days did when I was a kid.

You remember those days don’t you?  Warm summer days when you got up with the morning light and lingered over breakfast, wandered outside later in the day, climbed a few trees, goofed off with neighborhood kids, stayed out late into the evening chasing fireflies.

Each day stretched out indefinitely.

Retirement started out that way.  The first few days, perhaps the first week, seemed to last forever.   Even now most of the day I don’t know what time it is, and that’s fine with me.  And I’ve long since lost track of what day of the week it might be.

But time is speeding up now, just as my grandmother told me, years ago, it would.

Suddenly it’s Tuesday, another weekend ended, another week already moving along, a whole month gone since I last commuted to work.  Midsummer and the 4th of July are right around the corner.   Somehow a quick after lunch nap stretches into early evening, a few minutes reading on the deck out back and the morning is gone, check Facebook and the sun drops below the horizon without warning.

Time seems to be an elastic band snapping back at me with intensity, a pendulum swinging toward the future at increasing speed.  The world seems to be screaming past, daring me to catch a ride, to fling myself up into the speeding vehicle moving toward something unknown.  But I’m dragging my feet, hanging on to the golden sun, the misty mornings, the glowing fireflies.

I’m hanging on, trying to slow time down.  Just for a little bit longer.

Golden summer marches on.

Golden summer marches on.



Day one


May 29, 2015.  Last day.

May 29, 2015. Last day.

Yesterday was a long and short day – the last day of work.  I’m almost afraid to say it, afraid of jinxing it.   But it was the last day of work…


People kept expecting me to be more excited than I appeared to be.  Mostly I was carefully maneuvering through a lot of goodbyes, a lot of memories, a lot of great potluck food.  Everyone else seemed more intensely excited about the event than I felt.

Mostly I just wanted the day to be done.

I don’t understand it myself.  I should be happy in the New Years blowing noisemakers, wearing a silly hat, kissing strangers, reveling in confetti kind of way.  But I felt more like the happy made it to the top of the mountain at sunrise on a solitary bike ride kind of way.

You know?

They made me a beautiful, cute card that made me laugh out loud.  And they brought in food — breakfast and lunch!  And lots of people stopped by, some people that I didn’t even know that well, to say goodbye and good luck.  Shining in the eyes of  many were their own hopes and dreams of retirement.  Some people talked about their plans, some merely smiled and hugged wistfully.

This seems interesting mama

This seems interesting mama

I am so lucky.  And I know it.  There’s just a small slice of life when  we’re young enough to plan and execute adventures, but old enough to appreciate that we get to do them.

For me that’s now.

Today is day 1 of retirement.  A college friend called me last night to offer congratulations.  She says we’re too young to be retiring, it was only last week that we all lived together in the dorm.  Wasn’t it?  She asked me what I was going to do today, day 1.  I responded that I had no idea.

And that’s the beauty of it.


Last day wearing the badge

Last day wearing the badge



Retirement practice day

Suddenly the number of days in my countdown to retirement is one; tomorrow is my last day of work.  It has been forever and just an instant all at the same time.

People ask me how I feel about retiring.  Isn’t it exciting?  What will I do with all that time?  I understand.  They’ve all been dreaming, just like me, maybe just like you, about that day when they too will walk away.  Maybe they’ve imagined the moment for years and yet it seems unimaginable.  Far away.  Unattainable.  I know how that feels, and I have to say I don’t really know how to respond.  It hasn’t sunk in yet.  Perhaps it will next Monday morning, but if today is any indication, probably not.

You see, I have today off.  I know, it’s weird, but I do.

So last night I could have stayed up as late as I wanted to but I fell asleep shortly after 8.  I could have slept the dreamless sleep of a newborn, but I tossed and turned and got up with Katie at 2 a.m. unable to sleep.  I worked on the blog, trying to fix the Goodreads widget that broke several months ago.  I spent an hour, long after Katie had gone back to bed, tinkering and only managed to get it back on the blog sort of twice with a bunch of HTML showing.  It looks like it’s in the admin sidebar twice and I can’t figure out how to delete the wrong one.  I hate this stuff.  I went back to bed at 3 a.m. defeated.

Which would mean Katie and I slept in.  Right?  Of course not right.  She was up at 5:30 exactly like any other day.  So we got up.  I did some dishes, put away some stuff from last night, read some blogs, took a shower.  Watched the news.  Noticed it was only 6:30 a.m.  Hmmm.  Puttered around a bit more then went up to the mall to walk.  I figured I could walk awhile, then look for some shorts that I can fit into when the stores open.  Buying new shorts sounds oh so much more sensible than losing the weight in order to fit into last years shorts.

I got to the mall at 8, thinking that it opened for shopping at 9 and I’d walk for an hour, find some shorts, then go to the post office to buy stamps as I knew that didn’t open until 10, and then on to the library to return a book, because the library doesn’t open till 10 either.  And guess what?  The mall stores don’t open at 9.  They open at 10 too!  What is with this retirement world?  Every work day for years and years I was at my desk between 7:30 and 8 working on the next big problem.  But the rest of the world dilly dallies around until 10?

Huh.  I’m going to have to get a new sheltie alarm, one that doesn’t go off till 8 or 9 in the morning!

I walked for awhile, around and around the mall, then got bored and went out to the car to sit and read.  By the time I went back inside the mall, shortly after 10 I was no longer motivated to find anything, so of course I didn’t.  Mostly I was tired and hot.

I gave up, went home to the local post office which turns out opens at 9.  Great.  This retired lady needs to get her facts straight.  Then on to the library which was quiet without kids, so different than being there on Saturday morning.  Lovely.  And now home to consider what to make for dinner.  And it’s barely noon.

On the whole what I’ve learned after one half day of practicing being retired is that everything is more relaxed when you don’t have to fit it into the two (or less) precious days you have free each week.  I feel less worried about wasting time, more prepared to sit and do nothing.  Sure there are huge gardens overrun with thistle, and laundry piling up, a kitchen that could use a bit of elbow grease, a dog that apparently needs entertaining, plans to make for travel, closets to sort, basement and garage to organize.

But I have time.

And that, essentially, is what I’m going to do with myself after tomorrow.  I’m going to enjoy having time.  I’ll try not to make those of you still working too jealous.

But I can’t promise.  Cause it’s going to be good!

Wanna play Mama?

Wanna play Mama?