Forgetting’s okay; forgotten … not so much

For those of you who are interested in how the new schedule’s going, I’ll be updating you at the end of the next few postings.  

Since a singular focus at a time works best for me I’m going to be adjusting and re-adjusting my internal clock until the rhythm of the day or week seems to work.  I think I’ll spend a little time thinking about this new paradigm in which I’m a barely formed prototype, and share some of my impressions and experiences as I begin to see threads that need exploration before they’re woven into this new fabric of my life.  

I decided to have lunch with one of my “old” colleagues a few weeks ago and moments from that meeting have stayed with me.  Thought perhaps I’d share them here to see if others have experienced the same sort of thing.

beautiful-winter-scene-2It was another quite lovely winter day in Toronto.  Yes, I know, you’re wondering how I could use the words “lovely” and “winter” in the same sentence and not be talking about winter in Melbourne.  Albeit most winter days here aren’t so nice (grey grey clouds reflecting off snow that’s turned brown from exhaust fumes) there are many that are incredibly beautiful with the sun shining and reflecting on ice that’s draped itself over nearly everything.  Okay … so it was a lovely day and I thought that perhaps after exercising I’d meet with my old buddy Burns (yes, it’s a Scottish name) and have lunch and catch up.

First, I had to spend a little time at the Y working out.  Recently I’ve been introduced to a new form of exercise/torture called The Wave.  You can have a look at how it works but don’t let the smiles on their faces fool you;  I’m guessing they’re all being well paid.

Okay – so after a workout, a shvitz, and putting myself back together in human form I headed out to meet Burns for lunch.   We met at a restaurant that colleagues and I often went to for lunch.  We ordered, sharing as usual (it’s a Chinese restaurant).  Our hot and sour soup and some dim sum arrived, we lifted our chopsticks, and began eating and talking.  

Now here’s where things started to go a little “off track” and I started actually wishing I was back on that torture device again.  When I first retired I’d be called every few days for my opinion on something or for some advice about how to proceed.  That was then.  Seems that things have now started to move themselves along without me.   What’s worse is that it doesn’t even sound like I’m being missed any more.

Do I want to be part of that work-world?  Absolutely not.  Nonetheless, that feeling of having disappeared keeps popping up.  I’m guessing that once I’ve reinvented myself it won’t matter so much.  

But for now, when I’m feeling quite in between worlds, it haunts me.


DAY 1 ON THE NEW SCHEDULE:  Had a great day with 3 hours at the Y and then a walk down (and back up again) Yonge Street to find a shop where I could get Ellen (the incredible young woman whose care for my/our mother makes me/us so very grateful) an Obama t-shirt because she really wanted one and she certainly has brought change – all for the better – into our lives.  Had breakfast at 1:30 in the afternoon with Motti (my youngest son who enjoys having breakfast together once a week and talking).  Leisurely drive home.  David was already home when I got back.  Watched more Season 1 “30 Rock” … somehow we’d missed it along the way so we’re getting caught up and having a fine time laughing our way through episodes.  Good belly laughs too!  Nice dinner.  Talk of an evening “plan” that might work better for us and that we’ll give a try (more about that another time).

DAY 2 ON THE NEW SCHEDULE:  Really put this new schedule to the test today.  Started by getting up really really early so that I could be at the Y in time for a 7 a.m. aquafit class.  Sat in the sauna and read for a while afterward, but was still able to get home shortly after 9 a.m.  I spent the morning working on the computer (starting to get content ready to launch a website).  At 1 o’clock my friend Laurie (a retired friend; what a gift these new friendships are!) arrived and we headed down to St Clair to find a restaurant for lunch.  Had Thai food and great conversation.  Back home by 4 and then over to a local ESL school to see if I could arrange some practice teaching (argh!!!!) so that I can complete the requirements for my TESL certification.  David was home by 6ish, we had dinner, watched some 30 Rock and then … tada … the plan worked.  He had work to do and so did I. By 9:30 – as agreed – we both left our work and just relaxed together … watching Obama’s address to Congress and then the new episode of House.  So …. maybe this rescheduling – this reassigning of the hours – is just what I’ve needed.  I’ll see.


10 responses to “Forgetting’s okay; forgotten … not so much

  1. I was reading Imani’s comment (Feb 20) pointing out that it sounded as if it was David’s company that you were missing and that comment really rang true.
    I’m liking the idea of changing your schedule around…
    A few years ago my husband (Steve) and I were both in “schedule flux” and were finding ourselves frequently at odds in terms of coordinating downtime and worktime. It seemed that I would just get into a groove with his schedule and would be nicely settling into my own pattern, and then his schedule would change, and we’d be all off base again. He was being responsive and trying to clear the decks for evening “together time” while I was reorganzing my commitments so as to use the empty space when he was busy. Of course frustration ran high for both of us until we sat down and decided on a joint schedule.
    We first agreed we wanted to spend more quality time together (that needed clarifying after the frustration of one or the other of us pulling away for outside activities). Then we looked at what evening activities we needed to do individually (night classes, out-with-the-girls type events, etc.) and estimated how often we respectively had after-hours work commitments to attend to. We decided that we would commit one weekend night as a “date night” that we could have to ourselves or share time together with others, and another weeknight dedicated to being together – work, phone and distraction free.
    For a while that evening was on the same day of the week, and later Sunday mornings we would look at our schedule over brunch and pick the day that best suited our joint schedules.
    The result was that we each had space to plan our own activities to suit our respective energies and commitments, knowing that we were assured of predictable, special time together. We also were “primed” for sharing and discussing our outside activities and accomplishments because we were far more aware of what each day held for the other (remembering your lament about not being asked how your day was).
    We’ve been at this for about 10 years now, and it has been a mainstay of maintaining a happy balance between essential “me” times, “us” times and “t’other” times.

    • Janus, it’s so helpful to know that the things I’m struggling with are experienced by others too. Somehow that makes it all easier. We’ll keep working on this and figuring out how our “new life” works. Funny that beforehand nobody at all talked to me about any of these issues. Good to have a place to talk them through and get support from others whose wisdom brightens the day.

  2. I must admit, I still struggle with this not being missed thing. I have a very close friend that I meet once a week that still works at my old office. So I am aware on a weekly basis how little I am missed by the rest of the gang. My one year retirement anniversary is just around the corner, and just yesterday I was wondering this myself, when will I get past that?

    • I actually dropped by my old office this morning. One of my colleagues of many years is retiring tomorrow so I wanted to sign her card. It was sooooooo strange being there. Some folks were genuinely happy to see me for sure. There were many new faces, though, and they’d done some renovation so it looked different.

      About that one year retirement anniversary; I hope that you’ll write about how it looks “a year in” for those of us that are still feeling our way through the initial six-month turbulence.

  3. Sylvia, thanks for priming the discussion pump! It’s true, there are many areas of daily function (disfunction) that don’t get talked about under normal circumstances. I’m finding it so interesting to be able to come to your blog, read, think, formulate ideas, hear what others are thinking, come back to re-read and eventually respond. It’s interesting to have such a different rythmn to a discussion…

  4. And of course I am Syl’s lunch friend – with the other side of it. Sylvia you are such an amazing teacher. You prepared me so well for this job that by the time you left, I was indeed able to take flight. You knew when to be gentle and supporting, and also when to wag a stern finger with a “thou shalt not …..” at the right time. So forgotten? Don’t think so. Remembered? definitely. Your spirit and your vision are still with us, even if you are not called for advice as you thought you might have been!

    • You are one very sweet friend Burns; thanks. As I was cleaning up my desk at home this afternoon I moved most of the books from the shelves upstairs (where I work now) to the bookshelves in the basement. It felt good to sort of draw this distinction between “their” days and my days.

  5. Sylvia, what about past colleagues of yours? When they retired or left your office, didn’t you think about them and how they would have handled situations, what advice and guidance they would have given you were they on-hand? To this day, don’t certain events trigger fond thoughts of how pivotal characters would have reacted and contributed to a situation? Ponder on the indelible characters you’ve known and learned from – are you so different? You are no fading lilly, lady. Your work there is done. Now your ex-co-workers will just have to get on with it as best they can!
    (Sounds very bossy, but sent with great fondness).

  6. Hey, Sylvia…sounds like the new schedule is working well for you. I am glad to hear it.

    As for the “old gang” getting on without you, isn’t that what we really want? A sign we’ve done well preparing our successors …

    My personal opinion is that retired folk (including me) should stay on the retired side of the fence. We can’t move forward straddling, nor can others we left in the former workaday world we used to inhabit.

    I totally agree with Janus’ thoughts on that point.


    • I think you’re right about choosing a position – in this case retired person – and sticking to it. Doesn’t mean there isn’t a moment of in-drawn breath when you realize you likely were never not replaceable anyhow.

      Moving forward.

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