Retirement: Month Six, or Spring in February

The Divine Miss M. Soaking up the sun in @80 degree, clear weather. Cedar has all popped, elm and ash are releasing pollens.

Airedale terriers are all nose, hard head, and lanky bodies. Very intelligent, affectionate, perpetually cheerful. At least Mahalia is. Her brother is a little more somber. They have fenced-in space to roam, and chat frequently with the local coyotes, dogs, and other critters.

Airedales have only the one wiry coat, no fluffy undercoat like other breeds. Thus less strain on allergic individuals.

Not one, but TWO lovable noodniks.

This is Mr. T, which stands for Truro. As in Truro Lighthouse on Nantucket, where my b.i.l. proposed to my sister. He's a sweetheart. Noble dog. A most emphatic alarm clock. There is no sleeping when he wants out in the morning. LOUD bark.

Seclusion is extra nice with these two for company. Good to have a break from town noise, as well. No cars, planes, gizmos, whatevers. None. Nothing but warbling, trilling birds, snuffling armadillos, clattery raccoons, whuffling deer, the wind in the trees. The odd chickadee banging his little skull against a windowpane until I closed the blinds.

Good time to get my head back in gear. Come home to a clean house, thanks to thoughtful daughter, and make some solid organizational decisions. Stay ahead of the clutter and identify priorities to get projects going. Most of it still in my head, but closure on what the next step will be.

A plan is emerging, helped along by the healing passage of time. And space for a little serendipity to slide through the static. That's what I've been waiting for. Sloughing off enough stress to open a few windows in my head. Reaching out to my super-intelligent, helpful friends and associates for ideas and the latest info.

Things I've learned:
  1. It takes much longer to adjust than I expected. I was literally shell-shocked for the first three months at least. Plowing through the various bureaucracies takes information I didn't have, or even know I had to have, before finding myself drowning in it.
  2. Years of simple living were worth it. I don't spend any more money than I have to. My only luxuries are Netflix and the occasional meal out. My five-year-old car has less than 22,500 miles--two more payments and it's MINE! That means one less area to deal with.
  3. Debt management won't hurt you, and really pays off. Probably the smartest thing I ever did. Even though I originally planned to have it all paid off by the time I retired, one year of debt at a reduced income is better than the fiasco it could have become.
  4. Forgiveness is easier the more you practice it. I am sure that reduced stress levels have much to do with any progress in this area. 
  5. The first person you need to forgive is yourself. Everything flows from this. Crazy amounts of reprogramming self perception.
Baby steps. One day at a time. Do at least one nice thing for myself every day. Builds into a body of work, a healthier habit, a more relaxed, more forgiving perspective. Smells a little like freedom.


    Kay Dennison said...

    So glad you're adjusting! And I'd love to borrow your daughter!!!!

    I'm going to drop you an email if I ever get organized.

    joared said...

    Reads like you're progressing well with your adaptation to this new unexpected stage in life that has been thrust upon you. Glad that you're able to experience some pleasures in daily life -- certainly leads the way to contentment. Look forward to your continued viewpoint sharing.

    kokopelliwoman said...

    Hi, Kay! I'm thrilled beyond beyond that she's moving to Austin. And DON'T WAIT til you're organized to e-mail me!!

    kokopelliwoman said...

    joared, one of the most important things I'm doing is catching up on old online friends. These connections are vitally important to me on so many levels--so thank you so much for continuing to read and comment.