Please Tell Me There Is More to Semi-Retirement Than This…

My apologies it’s been so long since I’ve written a post on this blog.  My mother-in-law (MiL) had an unfortunate accident that involved a fractured tailbone.  Extremely painful for her and, in a different way, no less so for us.  My last 6 weeks have had every available minute devoted to her affairs when I wasn’t working. It hasn’t been the fun that I had hoped. Now that she’s on the mend and doing well, I have a few reflections on this thing called Semi-Retirement.

1. I am lousy as a caregiver.  I admit it. I own it. In fact, if it happens again, I’ll hire it. I love my MiL dearly, but it was so difficult seeing her struggle through pain and do even simple things. I’m glad I was able to help out when she needed it most, but it was sure a relief to both of us to see her improve so much over the past couple of weeks and know she really doesn’t need me hovering any more.

2. So much to do, so little time. I can’t wait to start on my to-do list, which is growing rapidly. I’m looking forward to waking up in the morning, having a leisurely cup of coffee, and then spend an hour or two in my garden, followed by a yoga session, a light lunch, and then a few hours writing, sewing or drawing before it’s time to make dinner. Or so my fantasy goes. I am fully aware that real life rarely meets expectations. In the one week that I haven’t had to be at MiL’s house, I’ve been sick and mostly in bed or in my chair with a nasty bout of influenza, a succession of tissue boxes and a good book. I don’t count that. Maybe next week it will be better.

3. When do I get to relax? I guess worry about MiL, plus work transition stuff (that’s another blog post to come later this week) have kept my stress level pretty high. I really need to get a better grip on that. Got a new book on “How to Meditate” and I’m hoping to get started with some daily stress reduction exercises. Yeah. Like that’s going to happen…

4. Keeping to a schedule.  Restricting my work hours hasn’t been as traumatic as I thought it would be, and I’m quite proud of myself that I am NOT checking email on my days off, and not working over my 20 hours per week. That’s mostly because I’ve either been sitting in Kaiser Permanente waiting rooms, or at MiL’s house with no internet and lousy cell service, but it has helped me in the separation process. I’m going to start traveling during my work days in a couple of weeks, and it’s going to be interesting to see if I can stick to my resolutions.

5. Learning to say “No”. This has been the hardest so far. Once people heard I was leaving full time work, the requests for me to volunteer for various causes have come flooding in. One of my dad’s closest friends, a retired extremely senior exec of a Fortune 5 company, told me at Christmas that I needed to say “No” to every request for the first year. He’s a wise man, and I’ve tried to follow it. I’m going to help out one of my sorority sisters plan our next reunion, and I am going to be on the Junior League committee for a dear friend, and that’s it for right now. I don’t want to over-commit, but my, it’s been difficult saying that “No, thank you”.

I’m blessed to have such wonderful friends and family who have been incredibly supportive through this process. They haven’t been appalled at my twisted sense of humor, and have actually encouraged me by sending funny and inspirational messages usually involving shovels and lynxes. But, that is another story….