I have been retired for one year, five months, and two days. Why I should start worrying now, of all times, is beyond me. But that’s exactly what I’ve started doing.
Looking at the (gasp!!) want ads.
Worrying that I’m not productive enough to justify the 388 cubic feet of oxygen I am inhaling on a daily basis.
Up until now, I’ve enjoyed the retirement freedom of self-scheduling. Only people with 32 years of appointment/planning books based on breaking a day down into 15-minute increments would understand how liberating self-scheduling is. It’s the luxury of not having to be in a certain classroom at 7:55 a.m. or in a particular meeting at 3 p.m. or at an appointment with a struggling student at 4:10 p.m . . . The luxury of using the bathroom whenever you feel the need rather than at 7:52 a.m., 11:57 a.m., and 4:13 p.m.
But now I’m worrying about things as insignificant as—well, as insignificant as blurring my clothing lines. In the past, my work clothes were definitely my work clothes and my non-work clothes were definitely my non-work clothes. Last weekend, I looked down at my shirt as I sat in church and realized that it was the same shirt I wore when I swept out the garage the week before. When did that happen? When did my wardrobe become just one big shapeless, all-purpose, one-shirt-fits-all-occasions blob?
Is this the dreaded “retirement letdown” that I’ve heard other people talk about? Is this the lack of “meaning, fulfillment, and challenges” that the retirement experts warn about?
Or is it just constipation?
Or a misunderstanding with a vital ally?
Or an in-between-projects ennui (I’ve always wanted to use that crossword puzzle word in a sentence.)
Or lack of Vitamin D or iron or riboflavin in my diet?
Or loneliness for my family that lives 1,700 miles away?
Or sadness at seeing my parents growing more frail by the day?
Or mourning for the worn-out elastic on my favorite sweat pants?
Whatever it is, I need to get ahold of myself before I do something irrational—like update my resume.
I need a project or a cause or a crusade! I need to regain that just-retired joie de la vie—joy of life—that I had in abundance one year, five months, and two days ago!