If you are approaching retirement, I want to encourage you to have a ready answer for two questions you will hear constantly -- How is retirement? and What do you do? Well, I am soon two years into retirement and I am finally getting a handle on what it means for me, because I think it is different for everyone and there are many variables.
For me, I treasure the time I have been given through retirement. A recognition of the reality of “time” as more than just a vague concept is very important. If you are willing to see the “time” as a gift, it will open all kinds of doors for you. If you see “time” as something you have to fill up, that you have to be “doing” all the time, the gift is tarnished and you will be the looser.
I often find myself laughing at how I make use of this gift. I tell folk I have a tendency to get myself into trouble. I have time, so I sit and think a lot about what I could do, what I want to do. I walk through the rooms of my house and think. Then I have discovered the Home and Garden channel and Pinterest. I am intrigued by how people are able to fix up their homes in attractive ways and I enjoy looking at the things I can do without too much training. Several times I have found myself in the middle of a project moaning over what I started and wondering if I can finish it. A couple of times some local craftsmen have come to my rescue but most of it I have been able to finish.
My first summer I worked outside painting and getting help to landscape some of my yard. All was going well until the storm in 2015 that smashed my little maple tree. The tree is getting lots of encouragement to resurrect itself this Spring. We will see.
A year later I became intrigued with chalk painting and began to look at my kitchen cabinets and the fact they needed an update. I started slowly by chalk painting and distressing three pieces of simple furniture. The chalk painting went well so I read more on Pinterest and decided to tackle my bathroom next. I had two sets of cabinets in the bathroom and took the plunge. All went well until I had to put the cupboard doors back on the storage unit in the bathroom. I couldn’t lift the doors, hold them and put in the screws for the hinges. Fortunately I had a neighbor who was willing and a wife who loaned him to me and the job was done.
I was really tired after that project so I let a few months go by and then decided to tackle my kitchen cabinets. I admit to a high level of anxiety when it came to those cabinets but I wanted to lighten the kitchen because my house is rather dark. Finally I jumped in. I put at least four coats on the doors -- paint and antiquing and polyacrylic. Two weeks and it was done! I don’t know what other people think when they come in, but I like it and I guess that is what is important.
There is the story of staining my closet door and having to be rescued by someone who really knew what he was doing and helped me out of a mess. Then I converted a coat closet into a shelving unit. It turned out really well and then I painted another closet that had been a rose color in a blue bedroom. It is gray now and looks great.
So -- time on my hands will at some point direct me toward a vision of what to do next. I really should have someone to rein me in at times, but what’s the fun in that. In the process I’ve discovered a whole new range of interests and abilities.