Saturday, April 30, 2011

Retirement Issues - Chilling Out

One of my readers commented recently that I need to chill out. Rest assured, I’m happy to receive feedback and I take it to heart. I’m pleased to report that I’m making progress on chilling out in my retirement. Let me prove it with some examples.

This week I had yet another doctor’s appointment scheduled. I arrived promptly at 9 AM (almost the middle of the night for me.) Apparently, the doctor does clinic work on Thursdays, so the staff was skeptical that I had an office appointment. I dutifully produced their card and they apologized. They checked further and said that I’d been mailed a letter changing the appointment, but I never received it.

Did I get angry at having been roused from my slumber at an uncivil hour to keep this appointment? Not at all. I just chilled out. Since I was there anyway, I got myself set up with a dermatologist who practices out of the same medical center. (The prior week, my internist responded to my request for a referral with: “The girl who checks you out can give you a list of dermatologists who are taking new patients; it’s not many.”) Then I ran a few errands and came home to do more house prep. Cool as a cucumber was I.

Next we have the new behavior that my husband has adopted. Since I’m no longer going to an office every day, I’m available to run all sorts of errands. Or so he thinks. First some background. In India, a person who conducts business in a certain field is called a “wala” (or “wali,” if a female.) The metal tins that hold hot meals are called “tiffins.” At midday the tiffin wala sends a small army on bicycles to deliver these from people’s homes to their places of business so they have a home-cooked hot lunch.

One day my husband forgot his lunch, so I played tiffin wali and delivered it. (Technically, not in a tiffin, but a thermal lunch tote, and it was a cold sandwich, but you get the idea.) His store is just a mile away, so the trip doesn’t burn a lot of gas. It was no big deal. Two days later, he called his jumper wali, asking if I could bring him a sweater; it was colder than he had expected. (Jumper is the British term for a pullover…)

Did I get upset that my husband sees my retirement as an opportunity to use me as his personal delivery service? No indeed. In fact, I’ve come up with a new moniker for myself: “gofer wali.” This sounds more impressive than “step-and-fetch-it,” don’t you think?

The other day my next-door neighbor and her high school aged son were on their front porch, arguing so loudly that I thought they were in my own yard. Did I get upset that they were disturbing my retirement quietude? Absolutely not. In fact, I phoned their neighbor on the other side and invited her to have tea with me. We sat on my porch and listened to the show. My blood pressure never went above 120, and not once did I yell over the bushes: “Shut the front door!”

So, as you can see, I’m a whole new person and I didn’t uncork one bottle of wine the entire time. If I were any more chilled, I’d be on the rocks. Hmmm. That gives me an idea...

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