This is my first spring being “retired.” I’ve been teased with a few warm days, but today it’s slipped back into cold and sleety and snowy, as spring always does, here in the Midwest.
These days I notice that there are quite a few things that have changed since my work days.
I dream a lot more about work. Not my last job, particularly, but I’m always “at work.” Sometimes I’m being reprimanded for, I don’t know — misbehaving, I suppose. In other dreams I’m quite successful, pulling off a stunning career at 67.
I often hear that our most private desires come out in our dreams.
I also hear that our biggest fears come out in our dreams.
I think what’s most frustrating with this quarantined retirement is that I’m not getting a chance to make a final stand, so-to-speak. To join clubs or groups I’ve always thought about but never got around to being a part of. To take classes at the nearby university just for fun. To make new friends that are my age who are going through what all of us go through at one time or another.
And with the weather misbehaving at the moment, I can’t even get outside and putz around making gardens like I promised myself I would.
That will all come, I know. I talk to family and friends on a regular basis, keep in touch on Facebook. I keep in motion, I keep busy. If you don’t use it you lose it, and all that.
The biggest difference between quarantine and retirement is that I am lonely in quarantine. I mean I have a great relationship with my hubby. But outside of him. I’m not a big social person to begin with, but I realize how much we all need human contact to continue to grow. Everyone doesn’t have to be your best friend, but it’s nice sometimes to exchange pleasantries in person.
Like when I was working.
I might not have been best friends with my co-workers, but we shared parts of our lives with each other. We brought a different point of view, a different life, into the conversation. We shared ideas, places to visit, birthday parties and new craft projects and all sorts of stuff that stimulated my curiosity. We gossiped and complained about work and it was all quite entertaining.
What I miss is the choice of exposure these days. The choice of meeting for coffee or sitting on my deck by myself. The choice of working together for a common cause or striking it out on my own. The choice of asking how someone’s grandma was or minding my own business. The choice of hanging with my grandkids here or at their house.
Maybe that’s the big difference between retirement and quarantine.
Working all my life just to have this new avenue of choice open up to me, and finding the gate is still locked.
I know that sooner or later the gate will open and opportunity will greet me on the other side. But things will have changed. The world will have changed. And my retirement will be different than what I thought it would be.
But at least it will be. Better later than not at all.