No More Lists…

ListsMy month-long hiatus from blogging a while back was more than just blogging. I pretty much ceased all my normal daily activity in favor of just doing what I felt like doing. Some days it was vegging out and some it was all day in the barn working on my micro-RV project of the last three years. And of course given that it was Spring, which is my favorite time of year, it was about sitting on my “mountain” and enjoying the view. One of the primary things I gave up during this period was keeping lists of my activity.

I will admit that this hiatus was brought on by a fairly strong feelings of depression. I was just too mired in the current times of fear and politics. Getting rid of that annoyance was a boon for my emotional state. Another surprising thing that boosted my contentment was that I stopped making my usual daily lists. I know this sounds kind of strange but hear me out.

All my life I have been a list maker. I still have almost a thousand 5×7 cards that I used in my work life to record what I needed to do each week. When desktop computers came in that list moved there and the cards were assigned to the back of a desk drawer. When I retired from the corporate world in 2000 I brought list making with me and have done it continuously until now. I think at some levels, at least to me, I rationalize that it shows me that I am a productive member of the human race. I gauged my worthiness by the length of the list. I have now discovered that his forty-year old habit is stifling my retirement years!

In retirement your time is your own for perhaps the first time in your life.  I discovered that keeping long lists at this point in my life is accomplishing little. It may even lead to depression at times. It doesn’t matter whether I spend four hours getting just the right close-up photo of a flower or even binge watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. I finally convinced myself that my time is my own now and to  spend it doing things that make me happy in the moment and not fretting so much about what is happening out in the world. So, from here on out, it is goodbye to lists to justify my existence.

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Anybody out there have any other suggestions for letting go of the past in order to just enjoy your retirement moments???

3 thoughts on “No More Lists…

  • I too have found it a little difficult to enjoy my free time in retirement even after 4 years. Oddly, I still feel pressured to do what some people expect me to do. By that I mean, travel to far away places, winter in Arizona or Florida, golf, join fitness clubs, etc…be an “active” senior…or some media created version of a senior. And then of course post our exploits on Facebook or other spots to show how busy we are.
    Well, I don’t do any of the above. I have been volunteering at different things to feel like I have a purpose. One out of three volunteer jobs have worked out…others were not for me. What I like most is gardening on my own. I tried a garden club and it sounded good and people told me how great that was for me. Well, it was a lot like a job…meetings, meetings, meetings, bickering about plants and who does what. Women still competing to be the best or smartest in the group. Phooey…I love my own garden and working on my own, so I chucked that!
    I went back to school to volunteer in the library where I worked for so many years. Everyone was very nice…too nice. It felt like they were making work for me at times and I gradually felt I wasn’t really needed. Besides, there seems to be a plethora of volunteers in my town and we compete for jobs…kind of silly.
    Right now I serve lunch two days a week for low income seniors at our Community center. I do enjoy that, and many of the other volunteers tend to be a little unreliable where I am dependable. So, I do keep busy and feel needed there. That’s something at least.
    I also read a lot…again a solitary activity. I guess I must be an introvert by nature and some of my anxiety comes when I fight that natural inclination.
    But, I admit I still feel a little at sea with all the hours in the day to fill. But, I guess I’ll keep trying to let go of expectations and just “be”.

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    • Thanks for the thoughts Jane. Yeah, it is hard to give up the idea that you should live your life to other’s expectations. But it does sound like you have a very active life and are wisely making choices that are good for you. I recently left my soup kitchen volunteering of 11 years. It was just time to have some different experiences. That and an increasingly bad hip made the decision obvious. I have decided to get more serious about my photography and showing off the photos I have taken over the years. That is what is happening over at one of my other blogs at InSearchOfAmerica.net.

      It is not selfish to do things that you want to do in your senior years. That and to quit making lists in order to justify my existence were eye-openers to me. It is nice that you have discovered that solitary activities are where you get your pleasure and are approaching life with that in mind.

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  • I have found just a couple of days short of my 2nd year of retirement, whereas I was a workaholic before … I’ve really hit my natural spot of being “a slacker” in retirement. I don’t feel guilty for one second.

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