Day 99: Contentment

They say it takes three weeks to break a habit and apparently I’m living proof of that.

I’ve lost the I’m-crabby-about-work mentality that has driven my every waking moment for years. I’m not angry anymore — and unless provoked by someone who wants to disrespect the teaching profession,  I’m ready to move on to something that interests me more. I’m cured, and apparently it shows in my face. Several people this week have commented on the fact that my whole demeanor is less stressed and more calm. I’ve broken my crabby habit.

On the surface life now seems pretty boring.

As I’m sitting down to write and eat my leftover squash casserole from last night, I’m realizing that my days are starting to have a pattern. I get up at a reasonable 7:00 ish, check my social media sources, make a healthy breakfast, and then embark on the project of the day. I market almost daily for fresh food and household essentials, go to various appointments, and exercise. Two days a week I train at the travel agency for a few hours. I watch some tube and read for a while every day. I cook and make protein shakes. I go out with my friends. I listen to Music Man’s stories of work and share the need-to-know pieces of my day. I attend rehearsals of my musical groups and go to club meetings in the evenings. I’ve become a stay-at-home-wife and I like it.

 Change seems to have become the new normal, at least where it comes to food.

I’ve also broken the unhealthy food chain. I’ve been able to go out to restaurants and only order one glass of wine and yes, even decaf coffee. I didn’t order the chips with the fabulous fish and chips at Duke of Perth, and yesterday I didn’t have raisin toast or hash browns with my omelette at Buffalo. I haven’t cracked open a bottle of wine at my house for two weeks — what will the recycling men think today when my bin is not full of empty wine bottles? I’ve been having fun trying new recipes, and I don’t think that either Music Man or I have felt deprived in any way. And I’m continuing to lose weight, bit by bit, which is all I’m trying to do. It took me a long time to put this weight on, and it will take a long time to take it off as well. I’m okay with that.

Yet the essential me is still in there.

I’m devouring books and movies. I’m researching the city tote bag that I am going to create to carry camera equipment, one that won’t scream “I’m carrying thousands of dollars of camera equipment!” to pickpockets. I’m thinking about how I can turn my love of travel into a custom travel service for busy people who don’t have time to do the research themselves. The agile mind that has served me well as an academic is now enjoying the opportunity to be creative in a different way.

Friday, Friday has a new meaning to me now.

When we played Rebecca Black’s anthem to the weekend in my homeroom, it was as heartfelt for me as it was for the students (unless, of course, I had papers to grade over the weekend). But then, the weekend meant errands, projects, craziness around the house trying to catch up with the things we didn’t get done during the week. My being at home has taken some of the stress off of our household and we have the freedom to choose whether or not we can take the time to spend a day playing in the city.

There’s still a lot to be done, but progress is also habit-forming.

Every day I take a step toward establishing order in my home and my personal life. I’m breaking some life-long habits of ignoring what’s in front of me and hoping that somehow the hard stuff will just go away. I know that I’ve made the right decision for Music Man and for me, and we’re happy. I get some flack from people who question my choice to retire at age sixty, but thank goodness we live in a world where I have that choice.

Have a wonderful weekend. You deserve it!

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7 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Got My Reservations and commented:

    With my apologies to those who are receiving this in multiple formats — I appreciate your support of my writing!

  2. Jennie, this is so inspirational – I’m so very happy you are accomplishing what I can only dream about at this point. Happy to hear also I’m not the only one whose life is like this…”But then, the weekend meant errands, projects, craziness around the house trying to catch up with the things we didn’t get done during the week.” Love reading about all your accomplishments and how thoroughly you are enjoying your retirement! You will make an awesome custom travel agent! Go for it!

    1. Thank you, Kathy. I do feel blessed that we’re able to do this and I’m really looking forward to the future as well.

  3. With our crazy schedules weekends are just as stressed as weekdays, as we try to cram everything in. Glad you are able to have more time. Something to strive for.

    1. The alternative to retirement was killing me, so leaving teaching wasn’t really an option; it was a necessity. I’m glad I’ll have time to regain control of my health for a start.

  4. As I am on the same retirement timeline as you Jennie, I can identify with all you wrote above. Love the weekends too – that’s probably the best part of retirement for me. I’m trying desperately not to pile on lots of retirement activities so I don’t get back into the same mode – I understand it is easy to do. Boring is very okay right now!!!

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