As I was driving to the grocery store last weekend, the second day after my last day of work, I heard a string of songs on the radio that brought me back to college. Yes, I was listening to the '90s radio station. I didn't truly "find myself" until later in my twenties and when I now think back to college, I feel a little bit of the same. Almost as if the chaos of the past several years has stripped away layers of who I really am.
With my retirement, I feel an incredible weight lifted from my shoulders. Although, the tension hasn't completely left me. I carry stress in my shoulders and neck and at the end of last week, I was experiencing pain at the back of my neck, right on the base of my spine, which is a common pain point for me. I took Advil but that did nothing to relieve the pain. As we were leaving gymnastics Friday night, a girl walking in the opposite direction bumped against my shoulder. A sharp pain raced through my neck and then I realized that most of the pain was gone. I thought maybe something had been out of whack and the bump had fixed it but no, the pain returned that night and continued all weekend. This is typical for me. As I was walking this morning, I took note of my posture with my shoulders scrunched up and not relaxed at all. Apparently, I am not relaxed.
Comparing life a few months ago to today is like discussing the differences between night and day. Last week, I had to keep telling myself that I didn't have to check my work email. I found myself reaching for my nonexistent Blackberry or having that dreaded feeling of it's been awhile, I need to check my email. I'm not going to say that being at home is "easy" because I've only been here for just over a week but there's a huge difference in quality of life when you're not splitting yourself between family and a demanding career.
The first weekend after work ended, we were hardly at home so I only ran one load of laundry. I was behind on laundry headed into the weekend and not doing any over the weekend put me really behind. I ended up having to run multiple loads each day last week. I want to avoid that going into the future and this week is definitely not the same. I'm also going into this with a messy house. We are headed into summer vacation so I haven't set any goals with respect to cleaning. I wish it was all spotless so I could just sit and read!
I always thought that I needed routine because, for example, I prefer having my own work space that's available to me versus commuting to different client sites or hoteling. It turns out what I really need is familiarity, not routine. Familiarity is comforting to me. Routine eventually becomes draining. I had to walk a different route to and from the train station because walking the same route both sides of the commute every day drove me insane. I already know I'm not going to be able to have a routine for cleaning. I've seen those helpful hints where you do certain chores on specific days of the week, such as cleaning the bathrooms on Monday. I can't handle that much routine.
So am I ever going to work again? What am I going to do? Friends and family have asked. Eventually, I will do something. I just don't know when or what. I have had thoughts regarding photography but I haven't allowed myself to go too far down the path of dreams. My brother-in-law is selling his home and last weekend, I photographed the house for the listing. That was my second real estate photography shoot and it was quite pleasant. I'll figure something out at some point. The great thing is that it doesn't have to be now.
The one area that I have been focusing on over the past week or so is exercise, which I'd been grossly neglecting. But more on that later.