Since stepping away from the rat race, I’ve begun to experience time in a totally new way. I’ve started to experience it on my own terms. For more than a decade, I was “that girl”…the one you see on the clock face…that had so much going on, everything…I mean every thing…had to be scheduled on my calendar. It’s not so much that I liked to be so structured, really. In fact, on vacations I’m the anti-itinerary gal. But at work, I had to be structured to be good at my job….correction, to be good at my life. I didn’t just schedule work appointments, I scheduled yoga…drinks with friends…family visits…even downtime.
Almost immediately after retiring, I noticed I started losing track of time. Not in the “I can’t remember what happened yesterday” sense, but in the larger “I don’t know what day of the week it is”…or even “what month it is”. And to make matters worse, I kept forgetting to check my calendar to see if I might have made a commitment to someone that required me to be somewhere…on time. At first I thought it was the fact that I had a new calendaring system. After 15 years, I wasn’t shackled to Outlook anymore. I had a new way to schedule activities – so maybe it was due to a learning curve. Ummm, not so much.
On top of that, since I don’t know what day it is, why should I bother setting an alarm…I mean, unless something is really freaking important?!? So I stopped and have decided to get up whenever I want. It’s not about being lazy. It’s about letting my body and mind get the rest they need…the rest they’ve needed for quite some time…and to get up when it’s time because I say it’s time. It’s about allowing the shift from the life I forced myself to live to the life that I want to live – that I’m supposed to live.
Fact is, I’m not sure that I enjoyed all the structure. I mean, I thought I did…but I think that was because it made me feel like I was in control of a life that otherwise felt completely out of control. I felt at the disposal of others – all day, every day. So managing the actual calendar gave me some feeling of control, even if it was simply the act of creating and/or accepting calendar invites. Sounds pathetic….it was.
Yesterday I missed a call with my life coach, Deborah. We’ve been working together for almost 18 months and even on the most hectic day at work, I never missed or rescheduled a call with her. I was always on time and prepared. Yesterday was supposed to be our first call since I retired, and I totally spaced it. Must have been because I was doing something really important, right??? I mean this was going to be a BIG call. I had a lot to tell her. She’s not reading my blog so there’s a lot to catch her up on.
No, it wasn’t that I was off doing something crazy important. I was in my backyard turning the storage bench into a planter. I was sitting on the ground…with the sun on my face…a paint brush in my hand…listening to The Avett Brothers station on Pandora….loving life. I was perfectly content. Actually, on second thought, I was doing something incredibly important — I was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing.
For the first time in a long time — maybe ever — I feel in control of my life…of my thoughts…my feelings…what I write…where I go and when…who I socialize with. And not because I’m managing the shit out it, but because I’m allowing myself to flow with it. I may not know what day it is, but each day every day I’m doing exactly what I want to do with my time…for however long… and whatever reason. And it feels great! This, my friends, is the true meaning of time management.