I Make My Bed Every Morning
The first two days of retirement are now behind me and, to be honest, how do you people do this???
I’m lost. After 40+ years of heading off to work every 7:30 a.m., with a list of things to get done that I couldn’t possibly accomplish in a nine- to ten-hour day, I have no place to clock into, no list of things I have to get done, no meetings and no one clamoring after me, pushing their project up in front of the dozen others I have facing me.
While I’m excited about the adventures and travels lying ahead, I’m clueless about the day-to-day. I’m lost.
Frankly, these past two days have felt a lot like a year ago when we were forced to WFH (work from home) due to the pandemic.
The biggest differences now are only that I got out of bed a couple hours later because I didn’t have to roll out around 5 a.m. to get in my workout before heading to the computer to start work, and I’m working on my own projects now, not those for the office. Otherwise, I still got out of bed, got in my workout, and clocked in at my home desk until 5 p.m. or later. I even came back to the computer at 8 p.m. last night to edit photos because I didn't know what else to do with myself.
I have one of those deadline-driven personality types. Always have. I work best under pressure, otherwise my mind has too much opportunity to wander. And boy, with retirement and total lack of deadlines, the barn doors are open and my mind is running wild.
I'm both hopeful and confident this will change. In relatively short order I will develop a new routine. Quite likely without even realizing it. But for now, I'm lost.
The lack of a daily routine reminds me a bit of the time immediately after my wife died. Please, don’t get me wrong, retirement is not like having someone die in your family. I’m talking about the sudden change in routine, the daily pattern of life, that you’ve become comfortable with over years of time and now has suddenly come to an end, like a big master switch has been flipped and nothing you're used to in life is the same.
What helped me back then was a promise I made to myself, one I've continued to honor throughout the 15 years since, no matter what, I’ll make my bed every day.
Making a bed may seem like such a simple thing. Yet for me, it was, and continues to be, a reminder. A daily reminder, every morning, to not allow myself to fall into complacency. To not allow myself to wander down the easy path of checking out, of just letting the day go by without experiencing it, without living it, without doing something.
We’ve all seen it, people who retire and talk about all the many things they will do but suddenly time catches up to them. Before they know it they are sitting in their recliners, watching the Price is Right and doing little more than debating what they will have for dinner. Sadly, it seems it’s a very short time before we are saying our final goodbyes to them.
I know no other way to ensure that doesn’t happen to me than to promise myself to do the little things:
I will continue to exercise regularly. Something that should be so much easier now I have time on my side.
I will eat more healthy. I've been very much looking forward to that now the office junk food is no longer within arm’s reach. Our department was known as the food department. It is no exaggeration when I say new employees experience the equivalent of college’s “freshman fifteen” soon after beginning work with us.
I will shower once every week or so. Well, ok, maybe every four or five days. ;-)
I’ll shave every couple of days. This one was is a bit of a cop out. It's as much out of necessity as anything. If I wait longer it’s just not that easy to cut through the stubble. Of course, if I decide to grow a beard, all bets are off.
I’ll maintain a "to do" list and make a conscious effort to check off items. Not a list of those everyday things like mowing the grass, getting groceries and cleaning out the fridge, but things like new changes to the house, workshop projects, places I want to visit and the many things I would like to experience.
I will continue to create.
I will have fun.
And, yes, above all,
I will make my bed every morning.