Day 81: Monday Morning Quarterbacking

Music Man asked me yesterday if I was still writing Retirement 365.

Indignantly, I gave him a long story — and you know how I tell long stories — about the difficulties I’m having going back and forth between two blogs. I will spare you the details, but that’s why I don’t always write faithfully on either blog.

But what is faithful blogging?

I have a friend who wrote faithfully once a week in a travel blog and very few people commented on it. Blogging is a two-way street, and she and a few friends were the only ones driving. She became frustrated and has been trying to find other alternatives to promote her travel services and her book. But I miss her wonderful, in-depth posts and recommendations about places that I’ll visit someday. I can understand her frustration, though. When I put my soul out there for the world to see, I am desperately hoping that I’ll make a connection with someone else who is sharing my emotion.

It’s a trade-off between writing to be read and writing for writing.

I think I used to write because it was a personal outlet for me to escape from the shackles of teaching eighth graders. There was a certain inner triumph in knowing that although my students did not appear to be listening to or applying much that I taught, I was a different person online. In my blogging life I  kind of felt like Sally Field — “you like me, you really like me” — instead of knowing that I was perceived to be the grammar nazi in my classroom. I was writing to save my soul.

But for what and for whom am I writing now?

When I created Retirement 365, I thought there might be a book in it. I know that’s probably a crazy notion, but it’s a really good thing to say when people are scratching their heads over why someone would retire from teaching. But I’m pretty sure that there’s no book about retirement in me; maybe there’s another book, but I think the retirement card is being played pretty well by others.

When you signed up for Retirement 365, what did you expect to find? What do you want to know? Are you, like me, looking for meaningful ways to structure your retirement? Are you looking for a more mature blogging voice that doesn’t revolve around home-schooling and tantrum-throwing? Are you looking for recipes? My son says that I need to target my audience better if I want my blog to grow. I’d really like to know who you are and why you are visiting my blog… 🙂

 And now for the rest of the quarterbacking about last week …

As I started to write about all of the things I learned and got accomplished last week, it occurred to me that I really should be writing about these as they happen. That was what I thought I’d be doing when I started Retirement 365 — chronicling the first year of my retirement.

So I’m expunging  last week from this post — oh, the glory of the “highlight, copy, paste” commands — and I’m going to start Retirement 365 again.

I hope that you’ll first give me some feedback and then stay with me. I appreciate the time you take to read my self-indulgent reflections.

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8 responses

  1. I am interested in what it feels like to be retiring, and redefining yourself after years in the workforce. Og course, I would read your blog no matter what direction you take. Maybe some day when I decide to start my own blog you can return the favor.

    1. I would be very eager to read whatever you write, Kath! Thanks for giving me some feedback.

  2. I am going through the first months of retirement like you, although have just left the business world, so a slight difference. I am new to the blog world and didn’t realize that comments back from your readers are part of the flow – I thought it was one-way. So would be glad to add more comments go forward and have a few for today. Reaching back to one of your previous blog entries, I easily identified with the one where you listed all of the new-retirement activities you have experienced – reading a book in one day, staying in your pj’s until late afternoon were two that I distinctly remember – and I mentally thought about what I had done along those lines. Let me add two to that list – watching Pride and Prejudice DVD and rewinding multiple times to catch the dialogue (sometimes those English accents are a little tricky!) one morning while planted on the couch, with no thought to doing anything else; and the second – spending a leisurely 3 hr+ in a coffee shop totally focused on writing a letter to a long-time friend – ending up with 3 pages, front & back, and felt it was a really good letter – not just lines scribbled on a page but had wonderful words and phasing because I had the time to think about what I was going to write before putting pen to paper. I also identified with your blog on now that summer is over, you will really be retired because your normal pattern of going back to school won’t be happening. Business world is slightly different here – this is my first summer off in 44 years – I’m thinking YIKES as I write that – and I went through my withdrawal gradually over this summer as my co-workers were still on the job, so having lunch with them or just connecting with them was still done in between their conference calls, meetings, and all those other fun office experiences I was now missing but kinda still felt that perhaps I was just on a long vacation and that I would get sucked back in again (Horrors!!). Two things have pushed me over the edge into permanent retirement mode thinking in last couple weeks – first, and this may sound trivial – but I’m no longer doing the laundry on the weekend. It took me several months to get over that life-long work habit. No more folding/putting away clothes at 10:00 pm on a Sunday night because I have the whole week to get it done – when I have the time! The second is that the kids, including my 17 year old HS senior son, are back at school and we are no longer in that summer hiatus mode and yet I’m not having to get up and get myself out the door at 7:00 along with him and my husband. Wow – what a great feeling. I think the word that best summarizes this change is that I’m now fully realizing the FREEDOM that retirement brings. So please continue your “this is my first year of retirement”…I am very much identifying with it and have thoroughly enjoyed going through these first couple of months with you.

    1. What a wonderful, thoughtful reply. Maybe we should book a Gone With the Wind date; I’m feeling the need to get all Scarletty again. See you soon!

  3. One of the best parts of retirement is that you aren’t obligated to write everyday unless YOU want to. We spent our teaching lives feeling we were obligated to a gazillion people, concepts, and schedules. Learning to be guiltfree about saying no, or putting limitations on what you allow others commit you to is part of it. Identify what is important to you that you do. It is a learning curve.

  4. Ken, you’ve hit the conundrum on the head. Do I feel guilty for writing? Or not writing? No and no. I was, however, wondering if WHAT I was writing was interesting to anyone but me. I’m glad to hear that you want more of my silly daily life, but perhaps that’s why we remain friends after 42 years. We still care about each other’s lives. 🙂

  5. Jenny, Please keep writing your blog as often as you feel that you are able. It has been valuable to me as I begin retirement. I feel that I have many things to sort out….including how to organize my time, what interests I want to pursue, how much volunteering is too much and how to say “no” without guilt. I don’t think I’ve ever been great at balancing home and work….tended to be very much a work-a-holic. I’m hoping I can get the right balance between personal time, family time and other time right now.

    1. Cath, I appreciate that you responded. I think I’m struggling with the idea that I actually have time that I can call my own, and yes, there’s some guilt attached to this since Music Man is still working. I know I can learn some things from you about quilting and about cooking thoughtfully, so I hope that you will continue to give me feedback and ideas!

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