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When I retired, I found opportunities to do things differently. Now that I am not tied to a work schedule, I can even occasionally indulge in (gasp!) impromptu acts of randomness. Free time agrees with me generally, though it’s an adjustment.
Free time allows flexibility
Today I noticed that our washcloths were starting to smell a little funky, as they will in summer. When I worked I had a schedule for laundry, but now, not so much. I can do it when I need to, instead of waiting for a time slot. Boom! Into the washer went the towels and washcloths! Clean, dry towels hang in the bathroom. Problem solved.
While that was going on, I decided to get the dyes out and mix some up for dyeing days ahead. I looked for instructions on how to mix dyes to the right strength, only to find these unavailable. So I got out jars and containers and improvised, mixing up the basic colors from my kit.
Then the fun began. I mixed colors a quarter-cup at a time in containers, noting how much of each went in and, by dabbing the mixed results onto a paper towel, naming the results. Wrote all that on the container lids and now I have the formulas for some sought-after colors for my wool.
My husband assured me I was doing some science there since I was discovering and making notes while trying things out. That makes it a Worthy Activity. Plus it’s fun! I played for over an hour. This, from someone who doesn’t play.
Loosening up with free time
Before retiring, I was enslaved to the alarm clock. No, actually TWO of them, in case the main one failed if the power went out AND simultaneously had backup battery failure. I could turn that one off in my sleep anyway. The second one was battery also but it was easy to keep that battery changed.
Now, I occasionally use the clocks to get to early doctor appointments. Using them still makes me unable to sleep the night before. They sit on the nightstand lurking at me and I can’t relax.
But by and large I no longer need the clocks to wake me up. I now have a bladder for that. It’s been my helper through the spinning event known as Tour de Fleece. It parallels the Tour de France bicycle race so every day the racers actually race, we spinners spin towards goals we set for ourselves.
I easily got up every morning during the Tour de Fleece and got in at least 45 minutes before the relaxing rhythms tried to put me to sleep again. And in the 23 days I produced five skeins of yarn. Back when I was working I did 5 skeins in about 10 weeks.
Bonus: If I was tired, I’d simply go back to bed. After all, it was only 7 AM or so.
At work people got these date books so they could schedule appointments in the community. Then we would copy the appointments into Outlook so others could find you if they needed to. Then we copied the appointments into the medical records program. It would then produce note templates appropriate to the appointments and see to it that completed ones got billed out.
No short cuts. Each system had its own way of taking the information. You got to do two data entry routines for each appointment. And then when the appointments changed, as they frequently did, you’d have to go back and do them over.
I still have the date book. I also have a cell phone but know what? I’m not scheduling in that thing. It’s easier to flip to the day and time and write it in. Then I have to remember to write it on the calendar on the fridge so my husband will know where I got off to.
Simpler is better, you see. And it need not be expensive. It takes a book you can get for $3 at Job Lot and a free promotional pen or pencil, plus a wall calendar for maybe $5. For the year. Never needs winding.
Time marches on
I used to wear a watch even though I also had a clock in the car, in the office, and on my cell phone. Now I generally don’t, unless having one makes a whole lot of sense.
Being without a watch makes me feel more relaxed. I tried going to medical appointments without one, mostly because it might get in the way. What a difference! Just going to get checked in was a lot easier on the nerves. I didn’t worry that this was making me late. I got there when I got there and things proceeded anyway.
It was like a miracle! All these years I ran my nerves up to several thousand RPM over being on time and it turns out I can do well enough without strapping a timepiece to my wrist.
Free time makes you feel less driven
All in all, the slower, simpler life after work agrees with me. I still get a little anxious when I get asked to some event and I’m not sure if it’s an open date.
Spinning at the fair I think is on the weekend of the 24th and 25th of August but I don’t know for sure. So I’ve saved that and am hoping for the best. After all, I haven’t done that ever so if I don’t do it this year, there’s probably next year.
My husband says he often doesn’t know what day it is. His computer, though, doesn’t tell him this in big letters whenever he logs on; mine does. And besides, we have our med boxes with the days of the week all laid out. So I still keep track. It’s handy when there’s trash to go out.
The other day after some heavy work, my husband went to give me a shoulder rub. He could actually make a dent in my shoulders and neck! When I worked even the masseuse struggled with me, saying I had the worst tension in the company. And I am losing weight. Relaxing more. It feels good.
Not channeling my energy to tension has given me more to use for worthwhile pursuits. I’m beginning to think more clearly. Getting up early lets me accomplish things that are of interest to me. I can do a lot around the house that needs to be done. All of this gives me a feeling of purpose, which is a Good Thing according to the experts. And it’s all because of having free time! Comments?