The Great Retirement Experiment

Ha!  I could make a new blog all about retirement!  Does anybody else do that–daydream about new blogs they could write.  When they can’t even keep up with the old one, yeah, that’s a good idea.  I’ve been enjoying reading real life books about life on a farm lately.  So I woke up thinking I could start a new blog–“Life in a Cabin.”  Oh.  I guess that’s what this blog is already about LOL.

So.  Back to the retirement topic.  I know you guys are madly curious about it.  No.  I’m not bored yet.  According to Debra SY, that could take anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 years.  I’m putting my money on the 4 years.

I decided to treat my quilting like a job, albeit a very enjoyable one.  I need to start by 9 or 10 am and work for 4 hours on my quilting. I love this arrangement.  Because in the past, I would putter around, mostly thinking about the housework I needed to do, fooling around to avoid the housework I needed to do, and not quilting because, well, there was housework I needed to do, and how could I enjoy the quilting when I felt guilty about the housework I needed to do.  This way, I have my morning routine–check emails and blogs, spend quite a bit of time reading, journaling, and praying, and then head out the door for the morning walk with Noah.  Exercise done for the day, if I choose not to do anything else.  Back home, I start in on the quilting.  I don’t have any pictures to show you because I decided to try working on a large project from start to finish (very unusual for me.)  And when I am done quilting for the day (believe it or not, 4 hours of quilting is very tiring,) I am actually getting more housework done at the end of the day than I did before.  I do believe the house will be presentable in about 10 years.

The thing I like most about retirement so far is the change in my attitude.  I am more relaxed.  I don’t have an undercurrent of anxiety about work running all the time.  When I think about doing something I am much more positive about the possibility of it happening.

I’m still daydreaming about that farm in Oregon.  There are so many things I like about it.  LOVE the house, the barn, the property.  Love that it is near my best friend.  I don’t love so much that it is far away from this community that I have here.  I’ve lived here for 25 years.  And being that I’m not the most outgoing person in the world, it took me a long time to develop that community.

Oh, here’s some big news!  Guess who’s going to have surgery on BOTH OF HER HANDS!!!  Yep.  Its not like the doctor talked me into it or anything.  It was more the stories about the old geezers who would come in and their nerves were completely gone.  They just kept working with the carpal tunnel until their hands didn’t work any more.  I don’t want that to happen to me.  I’ve had this for 10 years.  It got much better for a long time.  But lately its been driving me nuts.  So I guess that’s my first big retirement project.  One at a time.  Each one takes about 6 weeks to recuperate from.  And he explained to me, when the nerve is fairly damaged, it can take a LOT longer for that to regenerate (nerves heal at about 1mm per day.)

Anxiety.  Changing the subject rapidly.  I don’t think I referred to myself as anxious for the first 50 years of my life.  I WASN’T anxious.  Because I ATE, and that kept me calm and cool and collected.  From the time I was very young, I was kind of proud that I never got nervous or anxious or upset about anything.  Ha.  Then last year I read that book that made me look at what the cause of my overeating was.  And I could see the things/people that made me anxious and how my overeating was a direct response to that.  But now, even though I recognize that anxiety, I still have the automatic response of wanting to eat.  The other day I was heading down the hill.  I had to drop off my dad’s trust to have an attorney look it over.  I was bringing a salad dinner to share with some other women at our Spiritual Formation Salon. I had been thinking, gee, I’m not hungry at all.  I guess I’ll just skip dinner.  The MINUTE I walked out of that office after dropping the trust off, I thought, ‘Man, I am ravenous.  Where did that come from?‘  Yeah.  There’s really no reason for me to be anxious about that trust, but it does make me extremely anxious.  Fortunately, this time I recognized the anxiety, and decided not to eat because of it.  I did have a small salad about an hour later, which was just right.  Dr. Kessler (The End of Overeating) says that neuropathways are formed in our brain when we comfort ourselves with food.  And I’m thinking that if those neuropathways are as slow to change as the nerves in my hand, well, its gonna be a long time until the old ones are gone, and new healthy neuropathways are formed.

I’ve gone to the pool two times now.  I was able to swim for 30 minutes straight the second time.  I think it might be the summer of the pool for me.  I get excited thinking about going.  And tomorrow I am signed up for a TRX training class.  I have belonged to the gym for over two years, and this will be the first class I have taken!  I’ve been wanting to try TRX for a while now.

Finally, a successful batch of granola!  Used Shelley’s recipe, and watched very carefully.  I usually burn it and have to throw the whole batch out.  I wonder if you cooked it longer at a much lower temperature if you would be able to crisp it up without the possibility of burning it?  Anyway, quite delish.  I added some date nubbies (don’t know what these are called–ground dates that are rolled in oat flour so they don’t stick to everything,) raisins, and for the nuts, I used pecans, sunflower seeds, and pepitas.  I also added a tiny bit of uncrystallized candied ginger, chopped up fine.  Quite yummy.  Thanks Shelley!

Granola over homemade yogurt, with a few dried cranberries added.

I don’t have much more to say for myself.  My official retirement party will be this Thursday.  I’m looking forward to seeing everybody.  And two weeks from today I will leave for my week in Coupeville, working with  quilt artist Marianne Burr.  Hands, you just gotta hold out for a few more weeks!

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13 thoughts on “The Great Retirement Experiment

  1. i’m liking this retirement Debby very much 😀

    I am sorry about the hand surgery, but I think you are smart to get it done before it becomes a problem with your ADLs. Any ETA on when you are going to get it done?

    • I don’t have the official dates yet, but hoping to get my left hand done the first of September, and the right one done the end of October. Fitting them in between quilting events LOL!

  2. Such a good post, Debby. I am happy to hear that you are settling into retirement. You are wise to make a schedule for yourself, because that will give you the sense of accomplishment on a daily basis. Your beautiful quilting is a very creative and rewarding “job.” I do that with my writing, but my injury 7 weeks ago has cut into that quite a bit, because I still can’t type for very long at one sitting.

    Also, your comment about not being anxious before you cut down on your food intake struck a chord with me. I think that’s why food is our “drug” of choice. We use it like a tranquilizer/antidepressant, etc. The trouble is this: In the long-term, this backfires on us big time! Perhaps those of us who have difficulty with overeating and overweight have an underlying propensity to anxiety issues. At least I think I do.

    Continue to enjoy your retirement. It will evolve over time and just get better and better.

    • You know, I read something about that in one of my books–overweight people and the underlying propensity to anxiety. I think it was that same book I referred to, which I can’t remember the title of right now…

  3. I love the Debby I see in these words. Of course, I liked the other Debby too, but this one writes with a new relaxed attitude and the words just flow. So sorry about the surgery. I had foot surgery right after I called it quits (retired) and was off of them for a few weeks. But then I hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since.

    • Wow, thanks Sharon. I was thinking it was kind of a sorry post. Good to hear you recovered from foot surgery and are the hiker that I know! Gives me hope that I will be able to ‘go the distance’ with my hands!

  4. Hi Debbie! Glad to hear your retirement is going great! I know your coworkers will be happy to see you again–bet they miss you!

    Sorry, though, to hear about your needing hand surgery, but sounds like that will be best for the long haul.

    Looking forward to a quilting photo show here soon! 🙂

  5. Wow, you’ve already got a schedule! I’m impressed!

    Sorry about your poor hands, but I know you’ll enjoy having the ordeal behind you and look forward to many years of happy quilting ahead!

  6. Relaxed Debby is fun! I so completely understand about the undercurrent of anxiety over work. I can’t wait to let mine go too. Unfortunately I have at least 15 more years, unless I happen to hit the lottery!

  7. Look at you taking retirement by the horns and making it work for you!! That’s a really good idea about the schedule – this way everything gets done and there’s no guilt. Cool!

    You know, I had so much fun swimming over vacation (we swam for HOURS every day) that I’m thinking of some way to fit it in regularly. It was great exercise while also being fun, kinda the same reason I like Zumba! I think it’s great that you are swimming again – such a great workout.

  8. Well dang, I love all the extras you threw into your granola! I will have to expand on mine – time for a visit to the bulk food bins!

    I love your schedule. Such a good idea – when I stopped working (can’t really call it retirement, sadly) I had a hard time forcing myself to settle down and write. And how you described your housework dilemma is EXACTLY what I was doing! Still am, to a degree, although having my mornings taken up with swimming has changed how I get things done.

    I think it’s awesome that you are swimming. Do you have an indoor pool at your gym? And woohoo for signing up for that class – you are going to be one buff woman soon!

    The anxiety and food, I totally get. Hello, mother’s cancer and chocolate. The hard thing is, that it DOES soothe away the anxiety, for a moment. Good going to stop and recognize it, and delay eating (a salad! not chocolate! good going with that!!!).

    Glad you are getting the surgery done. I suspect that you’ll be really happy (after the initial discomfort goes away) with that decision.

    Give the dogs a kiss for me! (two for the queen)

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