In less than one week my life has changed – and will change – dramatically. I quit my job a week ago today. This whole “early retirement” thing was a shock to the system. I’m still waking up at 5am every day and I’m pretty sure I’m more tired now than I ever was when I was working full time. Running errands, spending more time with the dogs, cleaning like a crazy person, doing yard work…it’s madness! Each day, I get home from running around and it’s all I can do to haul myself up to my bedroom and collapse onto the bed. I definitely did not expect that.
To be fair, it’s been a lot of fun stuff. I went on an eight mile bike ride yesterday, which I’d been itching to do. What I failed to take into consideration was the amount of hills in my city combined with my single gear cruiser bike. I looked a hot mess by the time I got home! I’ve gotten to go running without worrying about time. Grocery shopping during the day, however, is a complete joke. I’m certain that drivers are worse in the parking lots at one in the afternoon than they ever could be at six in the evening. Ridiculous.
For the first three days of “retirement,” I had plenty to keep me busy. Then yesterday, the boredom set in. I had absolutely nothing to do. And it sucked. I didn’t really want to drive anywhere because gas is so expensive. Which also meant I couldn’t take myself out for lunch. It was too hot to run or bike. The dogs were happy playing in the backyard. I had nothing to cook and didn’t want to make cupcakes. All the laundry was done. My stuff is as packed as it can get. Seriously, there was nothing to do.
I think that’s my biggest fear when I finally get to Virginia and have all the free time in the world. I suppose the dogs and I will be taking many trips to the local dog park. I’d love to try to do yoga on my own. And I’ll need to start running again in earnest. It’s just that everything costs money. And we’re trying our hardest to get rid of nearly all our debt before we move to Maryland, so spending money in Virginia isn’t really going to be an option. It even costs money to go to the beach! Annoying.
I’ve read blogs and advice columns from women who are housewives without kids and I’m still not really sure what I’m supposed to do with all my time. Outside of cleaning and cooking, what does one do with no money and all the time she could imagine? It’s kind of funny to me, how drastically things have changed. I used to have money and no time. Now it’s just the opposite. Harumph.
I have a list a mile long of things I want to make when I get out there. The very first thing on my list is chocolate chip cookies. I’ve been struggling with those stupid cookies for nearly 15 years so I’m hoping the elevation (or lack thereof) will help me finally master my recipe. Fighting with recipes can be fun, but only for so long. It’s high time I get those cookies under control.
So there you have it. “Retirement,” while awesome, is also going to take some getting used to. At least initially. I watched a TV show the other day where one of the characters retired (like, really retired, not just quit a job because he could) and he didn’t really have any idea what to do with himself. I found myself identifying a little bit. I mean, when you’ve spent your entire life (or what seems like your entire life) working and suddenly you don’t have to do that anymore, what are you supposed to fill all the time with? It’s a real problem. A real question.
I’m going to write (I really can’t wait to get an office set up in our house in Maryland). I’m going to cook (it’s going to be a lot like Julie & Julia. I’m just going to learn to make all the things I’ve been wanting to learn). I’m going to become a brilliant mixologist. I’ll throw parties. And, my body will thank me for this, I’m going to keep running and doing yoga. And maybe I’ll even go swimming from time to time, despite my fear of the ocean (I’m really going to need to get over that). Maybe I’ll learn to make jewelry. I want to learn how to decorate cupcakes better.
There’s plenty to do. It’s just a matter of doing it. And getting used to it.