And just like that. Deadlines no longer govern my life.
by Ron Wayne
For the first time in my life, I don’t need to be anywhere at a specific time.
It’s a strange feeling after 42 years of working, often with daily or frequent deadlines, and watching the clock. I’m not used to unrestricted time where I don’t need to add errands, cooking, housework, exercise, friends and leisure to a 40-hour plus work week.
Suddenly, the weekend doesn’t need to be devoted to trips to stores, a haircut, washing my car or a visit to the gym. Now I get the best berries at Trader Joe’s early on a week day and miss the usual hordes of shoppers at Walmart or other stores.
I don’t set an alarm on my phone except for a rare medical appointment. And I’ve been surprised to find that I’m often sleeping close to eight hours a night. For decades, I’ve generally slept seven or fewer hours. I guess I’ve been sleep deprived without knowing it.
Already at home, I can start preparing and eating dinner much earlier than before. That’s a big shift as I often ate at 7 or later. The extra time allows me to budget for groceries more prudently, and the meals are healthier than the frozen fare I often ate.
Flexible time means I don’t need to rush anywhere, and unexpectedly I’m driving like my late father who would brag that he almost never had to replace his cars’ brake pads. And I recall with a smile how my Uncle Frank would say that a speed limit is just that. It’s the maximum. You don’t need to drive at that speed.
At the same time, it’s entirely up to me to determine my schedule. I’m my own boss and I’m certainly not going to get in trouble if I don’t complete a task or do it on time. That might seem like a relief, but I don’t want to end up frittering away my time continuously watching YouTube. The channel is a bottomless well of content that brings you in deeper and deeper, and I already find myself watching obscure stuff such as documentaries about the last Russian duchess and announcements of Oscar winners from decades ago.
I can now organize my home, but I wonder if I will ever be able to get through the tons of photos, mementos, old clothes, papers, newspaper clips, awards, etc. I have found items that I don’t recognize as having a purpose, and where do all those cords and keys come from?
Finally, I have more time to exercise. No more excuses! Unfortunately because of Covid, I gave up my gym membership of 14 years, so I’m walking daily and finding new ways to do resistance such as bands and online videos.
I started out with a schedule of what I would do each day: Clean, shop, write, etc. I don’t feel bad if I need to regularly adjust what I do on any day. However, I consistently make a to-do list for the following day.
The best benefit of retirement is I have the freedom to write what I want and when I want. Few might read these ramblings, but at least I’ll be exercising my brain. This is my first entry on Medium.
And I plan to have fun, which doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m inspired by this great song from the musical “Pippin.”
“Oh, it’s time to start livin’
Time to take a little from this world we’re given
Time to take time, cause spring will turn to fall
In just no time at all….
Now, I’ve known the fears of sixty-six years
I’ve had troubles and tears by the score
But the only thing I’d trade them for
Is sixty-seven more…”