NO SHAME AND WHIRLING DERVISH–THE FIRST WEEK
Let’s start with the premise that there’s no shame in being a “normal person.” Right? If that’s true, then the corollary is that a normal person doing normal person things should be behaving normally and accepting the new normality. Right? Well…in my case NOT RIGHT.
So, let’s start out by listing just a few of the normal person things I did during my first week of retirement:
- Got up at every day at 7 am
- Went to the Gym at 7:30
- Had post workout latte and egg white sandwich on Tuesday at Starbucks at 8:45. I mean I just HAD to do that because guess who was scheduled to come the first day of retirement??? My cleaning person who comes once a week. The chances of her coming on Day 1 ain’t that high—well 1 in five, but let’s not be so literal. And I’m not sure that I could have faced being home during cleaning for the first time in how many years. (Well that motivation isn’t normal, let’s be honest….but the action of going to Starbucks IS normal behavior)
- Walked uptown when all the worker bees were walking downtown
- Enjoyed a Ladies who lunch lunch….and the ladies didn’t come to Rock Center to meet me. I went uptown to meet them.
- Got my hair cut at 2 PM
- Didn’t put on makeup every day
- Did NOT wear a dress or skirt…not even once!!
- Talked to my kids during the day, without saying: “Gotta go”
- Noticed the paucity of emails. (I mean, just now the only people who have emailed in the last half hour are Huffington Post and Amazon. So, there is no need to check email slavishly, which is just shocking and demands a discussion
Yup….Let’s digress for a minute to talk about EMAIL. One thing I prided myself on while working was responsiveness. If a client or prospect or whoever got in touch with me, I was ON IT. I was the poster child for being on top of things; Score an A for me!! To earn that A, I NEEDED to be checking my EMAIL all the time, because it MATTERED. Well, you know what…Now it doesn’t MATTER at all. And there’s not so many emails anyway. And this is a major major change. I mean…almost as big as realizing that my office email doesn’t exist for ME. Just part of life, but the difference in behavior and focus is just staggering.
Back to my normal behavior…or rather abnormal behavior. During the week, I watched myself doing all the things I just listed and in the process, I watched everyone on the streets (where in my prior life I never was on any given afternoon). It was reassuring for me to see the world of non/worker bees. Realizing I was now one of a very big population, I said to myself “Self, there’s no shame here. This is your new normal and so you listen to me—You are fine with it”
But, off the Street, that old good Doctor Freud asks: “Are you really fine with it? And if you are, then why oh why are you running around like a whirling dervish?” And so I began to wonder and look at my behavior the first week.
Honestly, I behaved like this was my last week on earth–running around and trying to work at the fastest pace I could and doing everything I saw that I thought needed to be done. Here’s a few of the things I did:
- Put away the Xmas decorations in a nano second and of course made sure to vacuum every corner for the last stubborn pine needle lurking behind the couch and under the rug
- Organized all those files that contained all my end of work stuff…and while at it, organized EVERY file in the drawer
- Put away every single piece of memorabilia I brought home from the office…in the perfect spot…and if it was not perfect, well then I started all over again
- Made sure that I cleaned out every business suit in my closet and had it picked up by Dress for Success
- Cleaned the house out of the baby toys and items that I no longer need and figured out how to dispose of them
- Found some friends on Facebook for the time when I figure out how to use it for my blog
- Organized and edited all the Xmas pictures.
I mean I was so busy that I watched only 2 episodes of The Crown..and I couldn’t even sit down to do that until 11 at night when I was so tired that I even dosed off during the coronation!
Ok I say to that good Dr. Freud…what’s going on here? I think I’m doing fine, but this behavior…well it’s maniacal!!! “It’s not Maniacal,” he answers. “It’s transition…remember that word?” So, he goes on….”if that’s the word, what do YOU think is driving this well…let’s call it… different behavior???”
I ponder that question and Newton’s law comes to mind— “an object in motion stays in motion and an object at rest stays at rest.” Yours truly is used to running running running and rushing rushing rushing. So, following dear Ole Mother Nature, I can’t just get off the treadmill so quickly, as I had at first anticipated. You gotta ease into these things. I mean as I look at a blank day my calendar, I immediately plug in tasks to fill the void. No wonder I am exhausted. I’m used to sitting at a desk all day long…and now I’m running around DOING …just filling the void. Following that nature theme…Nature abhors a vacuum and I’m filling it with “to do” items.
I guess that’s just fine and again, part of the process. I’ve been following one routine for so many years and you don’t just find another satisfying one immediately. You have to live it, feel it, experience it, make adjustments and move forward. Let’s be totally frank here…it wasn’t that the old routine was soooo perfect.. But it was YOUR routine…and now you’re in the process of learning a new one. So being at home –NOT an office — is a very very new thing. And the Good Doctor agrees that I just need to let time do its magic and keep feeling the new reality and adjust to it.
And then I tell him that all will be alright. “How do you know,” he asks? Well, remember my addiction to Just Salad and the fear that I wouldn’t be able to wean myself? Well…guess what just opened AROUND THE CORNER from my home: Sweet Green! The mountain has come to Mohammed!!!