Retirement Comes For Us All

A good friend of mine retired today, with a little pomp and circumstance and an overly-sweet retirement cake.

Cal is my work friend. He was the director of our Science catalogs, I was his coordinator for 11 years, meaning I put his product numbers into Filemaker, proofread his catalog pages,  and generally helped keep his p’s and q’s in order.

Somewhere between the p and the q we started talking about writing. Not many people at work know I have a blog, nor do they know about all the writing I’ve done. But somehow Cal and I found a common ground outside of work and started talking about writing, then shared our stories and writings.

As you all know, it’s hard to find someone who shares your passion. Whether it’s fishing or golf or writing, not everybody is in tune to what you’re tuned into. So to find another writer within the vanilla cubicle confines of my daily abode was a gem in the making.

Like any company, mine is in flux. Growing, expanding, taking new directions. The old guard is leaving and a younger, fresher version is moving in. What worked 5, 10 years ago doesn’t work today. So the prospect of retirement is sweeter for many of us over the age of 60.

We are not getting squeezed out as much as slowing down. I am as bright, as creative, as I was 20 years ago. But I must admit that at 64 my processing computer isn’t quite as fast as it used to be. So by the time I retire I will be so glad to let corporate America pass me by.

You don’t always think about retirement — hell, until recently for me it was something that was far, far away. But since I can’t fight time, I might as well embrace it.

That’s what my friend Cal will be doing. I’m sure he’s had plenty of ups and downs in his life. But finally things are coming together and the doors have opened to his “next” career. Maybe it will be writing. Maybe he will travel and become a professional traveler.

Maybe he will just enjoy the next 30 years of his life.

In the end, that’s what we all hope will happen to us. Isn’t it? A chance to spend another quarter of our life waking up when we want to.  A chance to spoil grand kids, work in your garden, paint paintings, meet friends for lunch. Eating breakfast at noon and lunch at 5. Finally doing whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do.

Cal, I wish you open roads, low scoring golf games, and a writing career that rivals J.K. Rowlings. There’s no doubt your stories will rival those of Asimov. After all — you are the Science Guy —

Staying On Task

erI could live like this.

Forever.

Up at the cabin: wake up at 5:30 when hubby goes fishing; turn over and go back to sleep; wake up at 7, let the dog out, go out to the livingroom, open doors and windows and let cool air whip through the house, fall back asleep on the sofa till 9; take shower; read; grab a donut; go to library and do research for an hour; come back, have lunch; take a nap; write; go for a walk to lake; eat dinner; write; watch movies; sleep. Repeat. And Repeat.

Then the discombobulation starts. Go to bed. Try to sleep. Since I napped off and on all day, writing plots and ideas now come to the forefront. Get up. Write blog. Write Foreward to new book. Go to sleep at 1 a.m., something I’m trying desperately to change back home.

I came up to escape — to get away, to rest, to write. I’m under constant pressure back in homeyland to learn more, move faster, drive more carefully, clean more thoroughly — all that wonderful stuff that all of us do. So when we travel four hours to my father-in-law-now-my-son-and-our cabin, I do my best to unwind. To unplug.

Somehow, though, unplugging turns into disconnect in a heartbeat.

In my defense I could say my body sees an opportunity to catch up on its sleep/rest, and will be damned if anything gets in the way. That’s why half the time I’m pleasantly lethargic up here. The boys always go fishing; good for them. I hit the second hand stores; good for me. But all my plans for writing often get sidetracked by reading (I’m on the 4th Game of Thrones book now), baking, napping, and listening to the windchimes on the front deck.

Is this the world of the writer? Those who pound out best seller after best seller? Good, hard work followed by a nap in the breeze? If so, I’m pretty much a lackey in that department, too. Cool summer/autumn breezes and birds singing and no traffic and a lake in the distance aren’t always the inspiration for a murder mystery or a science fiction invasion.

I feel like a loser. 16 good hours of writing in 2 days boiled down to 2 hours of research, one hour of writing, one hour working on a friend’s website, and 12 hours of screwing around. The peace and quiet is so overwhelming it overtakes my good intentions.

I think it’s more I’m not as diciplined as I used to be. At home I squeeze writing inbetween playing with my grandson, watching TV, doing laundry and dishes, and yelling at the dogs. And it seems like I get more done.

I’ve screwed off enough for two days. I will go up and delete the word “forever” and replace it with “after retirement.” Until then I need to keep the mind sharp, the words flowing, and the blog pics amazing.

I’ll do that right after my nap.

Going One Way Or Another

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According to my online personality profile, Sagittarius is the traveler of the zodiac and considers every day an opportunity for another adventure. This a cheerful, spontaneous, and idealistic individual with an exceptional sense of humor.

Well, I don’t have the money to be a big traveller, but I do try and get away now and then. This coming up weekend is one of those times. Boys are going fishing for 4 days (coming home by dinnertime); a chance to make my days totally up to me. So I have turned the have-to-go-up-north trip for 4 days into a writer’s retreat.

And I can’t wait.

And I know that somehow or another it will get screwed up.

I have made a list of things I’d “like” to get done — “like” the key word, as to leave room for walking and sitting on the deck and nodding off and going to town to hit the homemade chocolate shop.

But Fate and me have a rocky relationship. I imagine it’s going to be more like me setting out my laptop, my notes, opening the window to let the breeze blow through, glass of soda and a few treats at hands-length, and me spending half my time in the bathroom.

My husband says he can’t take me anywhere. And this is not a new thing: I’ve gotten upset stomachs or headaches or whatever almost every time we’ve gone out — for the last 35 years.

I don’t know if it’s my psyche that goes up and over the top, imagining such a good time that it gets sick ahead of time; or my stomach cramping in anticipation; or something innocent I ate the day before decides to do the polka in my intestines. But every time I get ready to have a GOOD time, I spend half my time aching in the bathroom or on the bed.

This time it’s a freakin’ 4-day weekend! No movie stars or famous writers stopping by, no fancy dinner, no wine or alcohol of any kind. I don’t want to mess up, because I have this big novel idea that I want to dig into for a few hours every day. Why is it that every time I go up north I get horrible sinus headaches or crappy stomach problems?

I know — it’s probably psychosomatic. I suggest, therefore I am. I don’t think about it and I still am. These burbles have caused many headaches through my married life; I’m surprised my husband doesn’t have a first aid kit filled with Imodium, aspirin, sinus pills, doggie bags, and crackers. He’s had enough experience in this genre.

So with a Sagittarian outlook, I’m going to be a cheerful, spontaneous, and idealistic individual, and pack my laptop, notebooks, soda, snacks, Imodium, aspirin, and sinus pills, and hope for the best. You can’t keep a good writer down — not when they’ve got the calling.

And, after all, I have written notes in the bathroom before…