Really Retired

There’s a tiny self-portrait!  Walking around a little lake across the street from the grocery store.  

I really retired.  I have had few moments of anxiety, some of it bordering on panic.  I have had a lot more moments of peace and happiness.   I have tried to get outdoors every day.  Some days, it being January, I just stay inside.  

The urge to go plow into something else is very strong.  I am trying to refrain.  I need to take some time to just figure out what I want to do.  A strange concept.  What I want to do.  

I am working out for 1 to 2 hours a day.  I spend a bit of time preparing and cooking healthy meals.  

This just all sounds so feeble.  But it is good.  

Going to lots more meetings, a newish lady asked me to sponsor her.  We are meeting once a week.  

Going to Mass nearly every day.  That is probably the biggest gift.  It is awesome.  

Participating in a Knit Along at my Local Yarn Store.  On January 10, we shall cast on.  I am working on the gauges now.  It is a beautiful sweater, and I have chosen the most yummy wool in a blue grey color.  

There is a lot for me to learn.  I don’t really feel like I know who I am right now, but it will be fun to find out!

Happy New Year.  

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My Last Day of Work

img_1448Hi There Friends!

Today I am going to work for the last time and I couldn’t be happier.  I have no doubts, regrets, or sadness.  Probably I needed this year to transition into retirement because I was not ready a year ago.  I am now. My co-workers took me out for lunch yesterday which was lovely. Even though I have pretty much hated every day at this job, I think I will look back on it fondly for all I accomplished there and the lovely colleagues I had.

The photos is from my birthday trip. A train trip to a mountain town, a soak in hot springs, more delicious meals than I can count, a beautiful hotel room, a nice friend who came with me. It was very nice.

I’m so tired right now that I don’t think I have any deep thoughts as I head out for this momentous day. I will just clean up a few loose ends, spend a few hours with the person who will be doing my job, take the last few personal items out of my office, and be done!

One thing that keeps rolling around my mind is incredible gratitude for my career with the State. Thanks to God and the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, I was able to work for the same employer for 21 years and earn a pension. That is not something that I feel I am capable of doing. This was definitely the grace of God. Left to my own devices, I would have told off the first person who irritated me and walked out the door. And if not the first person, perhaps the 10th or 100th. But I didn’t. And I am clear that is not me. That is God.

I am so grateful for a good life. A good life created out of a pile of ashes. Not by my wonderful efforts, my efforts had me a drunken lunatic at the age of 32. I came to Alcoholics Anonymous and threw myself on the mercy of the group, and they told me to turn to God and the steps. The steps led me to a better life – surrendering to God. Amazingly, it was better than anything I could have ever dreamed up.

And now – I get to start a whole new chapter. Thank you God!

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Happy and Wonderful News!

bclp

One night in late November, I was so tired that when driving home I almost hit a concrete barrier in the road.  I was so tired I didn’t care.  I just kept driving, at 80 mph.  When I got home, I thought to myself “That’s it.  I nearly killed myself and I don’t even care.”

I decided to retire as soon as possible instead of trying to go another 4 months.  My financial situation will never be perfect.  I lost absolutely everything in my early 40s, and then borrowed money to go to school, and then bought a house and tried to have a “normal” life.  There is a lot of financial wreckage.  Very little of it is left after this year of employment and stringent devotion to debt payment.  But there still is some.  I have restructured it so that I can live on retirement income.

My last day will be December 23.

Merry Christmas to me!  The Best Gift Ever!

I am so happy and relieved.   This has been a very difficult and long year.  I have been so depressed.  I gained 21 lbs. in 3 months time, sitting in my office eating non-stop.  It seems to be how my grief manifested itself.  Of course, the grief did morph into depression, and then anxiety. 

I know that retirement will not be the answer to every problem in life.  But I think it is going to improve my life dramatically.

It has occurred to me that I now understand why 65 used to be the mandatory, arbitrary retirement age.  I am tired.  I don’t feel particularly sharp.  I have little energy for, and even less interest in, my work.  I’m done.  Well and truly done.  And I am happy about it.

For my birthday I am taking a train trip to a mountain town with my friend.  We are only staying one night and then just heading back the next day.  The whole point of the trip is the train.  But we got rooms at an awesome hotel that I love for the one night we are there.  The weather forecast calls for snow every single day between now and then.  The lovely mountain town, all covered in snow.  My 65th birthday.  A good friend with me.  No worries about driving.  We can walk everywhere we need to go.

I am hopeful about my future.  I am exhausted and will take a bunch of serious down time.  I may go to movies in the daytime.  After going to the meeting in the morning, and then Mass, and then the gym.

In November, I started an evidence based weight reduction program at a local university.  Well, local really isn’t the right word, it’s a pretty big, fancy, famous university.  With a fabulous medical school.  I had to do something drastic.  And this is definitely drastic.  I have already lost close to 20 lbs.  And feel like myself again.

Also did another thing I never thought I would do and hired a personal trainer.  Oh the things that woman has me doing!  But my body feels very different even after a month.  I am actually excited about going to the gym now.

Medicare and Silver Sneakers – sound like old people’s stuff, but I’ve got to say, they are awesome.

Hope to start blogging again.  This has been a very dark time, and I am pretty sure it is over.

Thank you God.

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My favorite month

I caved and bought a ceramic jack-o-lantern, and I think it’s darn cute.  With a little votive candle, it still has a certain charm.

The kitty-kitty is a bit of a nightmare.  She scratches me awake some mornings, drawing blood.  She has bit me first thing the last two mornings.  I really don’t think it’s cute at all and I’m not sure I’m going to keep her.  I would be the second person to return her to the shelter for aggression.  She would be stuck in a little cage for the remainder of her natural life, which could be a long time since she’s only 4 and it’s a no-kill shelter.   But honestly I am not such an animal lover that I want to have one around who hates me.  

I have an appointment with my therapist on Monday.  I have had to admit to myself this is depression.  I hope it will pass quickly.  And especially not get any worse.  

I have begun the ministry to take communion to the homebound.  It is an Amazing Experience.  Such a leap out of my comfort zone, but I think that’s probably good.  

And I have a new Adoration hour!  5 to 6 a.m. On Fridays.  Yay!  I start tomorrow and I can’t wait.

These things I feel are of my new life that awaits when I retire.  It’s going to be so good.  But it has to wait until April next year.  I had some financial setbacks, and it’s just going to take me another 3 months.  That’s ok.  I have finally grown accustomed to the job – but I’ll certainly be happy to leave just the same.

Thank you for your wonderful support on my last post.  You guys are so kind to leave me such nice comments. ❤️

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Trying

Yesterday I took a little walk in the middle of the day to try to change my perspective.  I looked for anything of beauty.  I found this bug.  I don’t know what kind of bug it is.

I’m struggling.  There, I said it.  

With all my heart I want to be grateful and appreciative of all that is good in my life, but I am not feelin’ it.  Gratitude lists are good.  Calling friends in need is good.  Praying a lot is good.  But I’m simply going through the motions of what I know are the “right” things to do.  

I’m having a hard time focusing at work, and I’m having a hard time sleeping.  I don’t want to work out and slowly walking a mile or two feels like the most I can do.  I cannot eat the way I normally do and not work out without gaining weight, so I got that going on too.  

Sorry to sound like this, but it is where I happen to be at the moment.  

Could I ask for your prayers, please?

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Archangel Raphael

This is the icon of Archangel Raphael that I spent last week painting.  I got very critical of my skills and did some of those horribly self-defeating comparisons in the class.  The student body was mostly composed of professional artists.  I am not accustomed to looking around and seeing that my work is substantially more primitive than others.  They all turned out well, and in the end I was pleased with mine.  

If I had spent any time at all practicing brush strokes prior to the class, it would have been so much easier.  I did struggle in this class, it was not the peaceful, spiritual experience I was hoping for.  It did however give me an appreciation for the soft landing that is my current job.  

Not that I am any less anxious to retire.  

But if I stop to think about this job, I realize what a miracle it has been for me.  

If only I could stay in gratitude all the time.  

I can make an effort to do that, and I will.

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Three months

Three months today since my sister died.  I still can’t believe she’s gone sometimes.  It just seems like too much. One of my friends asked me how I was doing with this last night. I told her.  And i cried.  Even though I didn’t see my sister all the time, we talked on the phone a lot.  She was such a presence in my life and I feel like there is a gaping hole where she was.  

I’m looking forward to the icon class.  I may be doing the Archangel Raphael.  There is an icon with Archangel Raphael and Tobia, I would love to do that one.  Tobit is one of my very favorite books of the Bible.  It is part of the Apocrypha, which is not in all Bibles, but in all Catholic Bibles.  The book of Tobit is so beautiful and I love the role that Raphael plays.  

Took a trip to Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park over the holiday weekend.  Both of my daughters came with me and it was very miraculous.  We even all slept in the same cabin!  For two nights!  Then three full days together.  

Eight years ago sober daughter’s twin sister finally gave up on her.  She wouldn’t have anything to do with her for many years.  It was hard for her to get over all the pain that was caused by my daughter in her addiction – and early recovery.  

Flash forward September 2016 – if no one knew the history, they could never guess that there was anything but sweetness between all of us.  

God is so very good.

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