Saturday, December 18, 2010

Retirement Transition—Marking How Time Passes

As someone who is still fully employed, I tend to mark the passage of time by certain repetitive tasks in the office. If I’m making a bank deposit, another week has passed. When I’m submitting the payroll, two weeks have gone by, and so on. I use the calendar on my computer to remind me of various things, including what day of the week it is.

Recently I received a robo-call that one of my prescriptions on auto-refill was ready for pick-up. My first thought was: “Has a month gone by already?” Then it occurred to me. Once I’m retired, those robo-calls could be the only way I'll know another month has passed.

Will I realize another week is history only when Lily starts looking askance at the litter boxes because they need changing? Gray roots of my hair crying out to be colored? Four weeks gone, but I’ll probably put it off another week. If I’m not working, I can go as gray as Jamie Lee Curtis. (But not if that means I have to start eating Activia.)

It seems there will be reliable ways to have a sense of the passage of time from one week upward. But what about knowing which day of the week it is when I wake up each morning? Most of us have had the Monday Morning Blues at some point in our working lives and we’re all familiar with TGIF. There’s no reason for Monday blues when you can sleep in every day. No, I’ll need to find with a new way to figure out what day it is.

Perhaps I’ll get some useful direction from that old nursery rhyme about Monday being wash day, Tuesday ironing, etc. By the way, it never made sense to me that mending day followed washing and ironing. Shouldn’t you mend things before you wash them, so the holes don’t get bigger as the agitator… well, agitates? And surely ironing and then mending is a recipe for re-ironing. (Well, it is if you’ve ever seen me mend anything.)

A Google search shows that in its original version this rhyme had Thursday as churning day and Friday as cleaning. More recent ones dropped churning (has no one heard of metaphors?), bumped up cleaning a day, and slipped in shopping on Friday. I have no quibble with getting a day to shop. Just saying, in this complex world, our houses probably “churn” even more than that little one on the prairie did.

While the specifics of the rhyme weren’t of much use, the concept helped me. Herewith my plan for how Jagdish and I will mark time passing once we’ve retired.

Sunday will be puzzle day—Sudoku, Times and such.
The polit shows will fill the morn, so we’re not out of touch.
Monday’s tagged for exercise; perhaps we’ll walk a bit.
Unless Jagdish’s knees give out, in which case we’ll just sit.
Tuesday it’s the Internet, I’ll write and chase my dream.
Jagdish will also be there with some money-making scheme.
Wednesday on to household chores, each week a different one.
We’ll wash and clean and press and mend from dawn to setting sun. [As if.]
Thursday can be artsy time, pursuing crafty fads.
With glue sticks, fabric scraps and some recycled paper bags.
Friday we will grocery shop and cook and bake things fine.
And then we’ll settle back to sip a lovely glass of wine. [Or two. Or three.]
Saturday’s for scouring every type of publication.
It’s how I’ll get ideas to free up scriber’s constipation. [Writer’s block?]
So there you have the weekly plan of how our days will pass.
And every night I’ll find some time to raise that long-stemmed glass.

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