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September is Almost Over

A little bit of trepidation has entered into my lovely retirement.  The month is nearly over, and although I thought November would be a perfect time to get another job, I must admit, I am a little nervous.

The job that looked to be a sure thing before I retired doesn’t sound quite so sure now.  Still another week or two before it is posted though.  Part of me wants it, and part of me is terrified.  It is the same type of job that I had “downtown,” that disastrous episode in my life.  But most of what I disliked “downtown” was the politics.  I think this would be different.  Who knows?  Not me. The ladies I worked with downtown took me out for lunch last week to celebrate my retirement. That was so nice.

I thought of doing remote coding because in my heart of hearts I really do not want to work in an office (or hospital) again.  I can tailor my resume to make it look like I have tons of coding experience, but the truth is, I supervised coders, I rarely actually coded.  I could get a certification as a coder with a little bit of studying, and an investment in books and an expensive test.  If you wonder where I get the arrogance to flippantly suggest that, I am really really good at taking tests. When I took my RHIA exam, I had the highest score in the state, and I was the first to finish. I think testing well is a skill in itself that doesn’t necessarily translate into being good at anything.

I am praying for God’s guidance and the discernment to recognize it. I’ve thought many times – this is a chance to totally change my life, what the heck do I want to do. Me. No one else. I don’t need to make tons of money, but frankly, it needs to be more than minimum wage. What I would like is a high paying job that I work a few days a week. There is one of those on the horizon that may or may not pan out. That would be more of the hell I was enduring in my career, but on a very limited basis.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to work as a church secretary? Or in a women’s shelter? Or any number of places that would make me feel like I was doing something meaningful that actually helps people.

What I really wish is that I did not have to go back to work. I was not financially ready to retire when I did. (I still have no regrets.) I need to work for at least a year or two to get debt paid off and get Medicare. It costs $530. a month for my insurance now. Yikes.

As it is, it is Friday morning. I am going to Mass now. I may hit a noon meeting later on. My back is killing me from all the endless miles I am hiking, so I might not work out today. I have the DVR set to record Pope Francis addressing the UN. I will watch that later today. His visit to the US has been so amazing.

Thanks for listening to me process.

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Three Weeks Into Retirement

A view from the train

I’ve been retired for three weeks now.  These weeks have honestly been a highlight of my life.  Seriously.  What a revelation to slow down, calm down, and just live.  What a revelation to discover how much energy  I have when I am not dealing with people who are working against me.  What a wonderful thing to wake in the morning and calmly get out of bed and think about what I want to do today.  Not what I have to do, what I want to do.

I took a ride on the Amtrak the second week, and went to see my sponsor who lives on the western slope. It was great to visit with her and her husband for a few days.  When I left there, I took the train to Glenwood Springs and stayed at a lovely hotel.  The room was across the street from the train station.  My room overlooked the train station and the river.  I went to Hot Springs Pool and soaked in the wonderful mineral water.  It was magical.

Isn’t this the sweetest little room?

The first week I was off, I remembered that a favorite priest is now assigned to a nearby parish.  I went to that church on my second day off.  I don’t know what I expected, but I certainly didn’t expect what happened.    Sitting, waiting for Mass to begin, I heard his voice.  Coming up the aisle from the back of the church.  His beautiful voice.  Memories rushed back at me.  And I cried (of course).

He was the pastor at church I was urged to “try” back in the day when I was still vehemently anti-Catholic.  My sponsor, who I had chosen because I thought she wasn’t Catholic, told me at our first meeting that it was probably time for me to go back to church.  She told me which church to go to.  I believe the first Sunday I went was the new pastor’s first Sunday Mass there.  I was tentative, but I kept going.  I think it took a year, but I finally got the nerve to go to Confession.  The pastor was there that day.  I walked into the confession room and said “I haven’t been to confession in 25 years, I have no idea what to do.”  He said “Take a deep breath and then pass out!”  He was SO KIND to me.  It was the first day of Advent, 1993.  He commented on the liturgical date and that he thought it was no coincidence that I should come  back into the church on the first Sunday of Advent.  I hadn’t thought back to this for many years, but when I saw Father, I remembered.

Lovely that he remembers me too.  We chat after Mass nearly every day now.  He hugs me.  For a Catholic who always feels like a bit of an outsider because I will never fit in with the “church ladies,” it sure feels nice to be loved like that.

We’ve had perfect weather, so I go hiking nearly every day.  Today my back hurts so I think I need to do something less strenuous, probably swimming.  But I don’t have to rush out and do that first thing in the morning as I am in the habit of doing.  It is a luxury to take time and do things when I want to.

I do need to have more income, hence I shall need a job.  But I am taking at least September off.  Just to find myself again.  Honestly, some days I feel like the person I was before I started that career 21 years ago.  I forgot this person.  I am funny, I am energetic, I am kind.  Interesting that “smart” isn’t in that mix.  Maybe that is something I am letting go of.  Maybe.

It would take hours to write about the last 3 weeks.  I’m sure no one needs or wants to know all I would like to write.  I haven’t blogged because I had a fear of becoming someone who sits in front of a computer all day.  Or sits in front of the television set.  I don’t think I needed to have worried about either of those possibilities.  There is too much fun stuff to do.

Thank you to all the readers who have followed me through these last couple of years.  I have felt you with me.  Now maybe in some small way I can take you somewhere nice for a change!

Posted in Joy, Retirement | 17 Comments

The Last Day

 On my way to the 6:30 meeting last week, I got to see this sunrise.  I cropped the photo so that no highway signs or cars showed, but somehow that is not available on my camera roll.  I think I might like this uncropped photo better.
I’ve had an amazing few days.

I went to Adoration on Thursday evening, as I usually do.  I was alone in the chapel, and felt compelled to lie prostrate on the floor in front of the altar.  I tried to fight that compulsion, but it would not go away.  So, I walked to the front of the chapel and laid outstretched on the floor.  Well, don’t ask me why I didn’t know what an impact that would have, but I did not anticipate what would happen.

Of course, I cried, because that is what I do.  I felt that I offered to God my brokenness, and He said it was OK.  He will have me the way I am.  I threw myself on His Divine Mercy, and asked Him to do with me what he would.  That’s it.  I felt such peace come over me and it has not yet left.

This morning, I went to confession and told my confessor about how I am leaving my job.  I told him that I had been struggling with feelings of being wrong, but I explained my efforts to do otherwise.  He said I must forgive this person, and I must also forgive myself.  I nodded and said that yes, I can do that.  I can.  Now.  I couldn’t have a month ago, but I can now.  Then he gave me marching orders…. when you retire, go to daily mass, go to confession regularly, volunteer at church.  OK.  I can do that.  I would be thrilled to do that.

I am, for the moment, unafraid.  I feel at peace with my decision.  I feel at peace with whatever should happen in my future.  I am incredibly grateful that I am moving on to a new life.  I have no idea really what it will be.  But I am grateful and anxious to find out.

Tomorrow, I have to go to work for one last day.  I have to fill out all the separation paperwork.  I have to turn in my keys, my badge, request that my e-mail account be deleted, etc.  I also have one huge task to accomplish, but I think I can get it done.  I am so happy to be leaving.

People have been stopping by my office for the last few weeks.  I am reminded that most of them have no clue of the politics that brought me to my decision.   They have shared memories with me.  There is a whole group of us who went through the Leadership Development training over ten years ago.  None of us are now considered leaders, fyi.  But we sure did develop some nice relationships.  My daytimer is full of phone numbers and e-mail addresses.  I will probably never get together with 99% of those folks, but it is nice to know that we have nice memories.

I am so excited about the next unknown chapter in my life.  And perhaps I will blog more regularly.  And have time to find some new people who are blogging.  That would be nice.

I cannot even describe the peace in my soul.  I am so so so so grateful.

Posted in Adoration, Retirement, Work | 5 Comments

These Last Few Days

A rose in my neighbor’s garden.  If you use flash, it looks like it is glowing in the dark!  

I have four (work) days left before retirement, counting today.  It is getting down to the wire.  I have only one performance eval left to do, and I shall do that today.  The rest of the time will be mainly spent trying to leave something coherent for someone else (who hasn’t yet been hired) to pick up and go with.  Actually, two someones.  They will split my job in two.  

There are lunches every day. I said I didn’t want a party, and I don’t.  But people sure are taking me out for lunch!  It is fun, but fattening.  I finally broke down and had a big luscious burger yesterday – with fries.  I only ate half of it, but still.  

I have alternated between complete peace and utter terror.  Sometimes within a matter of moments.  I have to fight the slave driver voice that is always present, telling me I am being a “quitter.”   I have to really really fight the feeling of being wronged.  

I am in control of the narrative I leave with.  I am determined to leave without bitterness.  I want to look back on a career and feel that it was successful, because it was, and that it was “well-done.”  I’ve been told that by several people and it means a lot.  

The hospital director asked me to come back and work as a contractor once they hire my replacement, so that I can adequately train the person.  I said yes.  But only part time, and only very temporarily.   It may or may not happen.  

There is likely a job that I will gladly take within a month or two.  It is a good job, with an entirely new entity.  I don’t want to say more than that.  But it looks like I will land on my feet.  

Mass almost every morning is helping greatly.  So are my meetings.  

On my first day of retirement next week, I signed up to chair the 6:30 a.m. meeting.  Then I shall go to Mass.  Then I have a lunch date with a man.   And somewhere in there, I will get a work-out in.

I am so looking forward to my next life.  

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Some mornings I wake up and my fitbit will say I have walked 12 steps.  There’s something kind of cool about that.  I am doing 12 steps in my sleep.  

I barely slept last night.  Some nights are just like that.  At about 2 a.m., my brain decides to start thinking of all the things that can go wrong.  And then it decides to think about all the things that have already gone wrong.  Especially if the memories are especially humiliating and painful.  Yes, my brain will decide to think of things I said to my children when they were 3 or 5 years old.  Things they don’t remember.  But my 2 a.m. consciousness does.  I will rehash divorces.  And have profound regret about most of my life.  At 2 a.m.  

It lasts until about dawn.  About right now.  I’ve been dressed and ready to go to the meeting since 4:30 a.m.  The eastern sky is just beginning to lighten, with a slightly purple pink tint.  And that is when my mind will start to work again.  

I’ve been reading “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee, with horror.  It’s a terrible book.  I know just about enough about Harper Lee to know, just KNOW, she would not want it published.  It will tarnish her name.  I am so sad for her.  She was so adamant about having only one book.  And now she is old and feeble and someone has done this to her.  dammmmmmmit.   Oh, yes, at 2 a.m., this is reason for me to be upset.  

The pink is increasing and the purple receding.  I will get on with my day.  

It will involve a pot of minestrone.  Though we are still in the heat of August, I am craving the warmth of a bowl of home made soup.  So I shall make some.  And continue to polish my kitchen cabinets.  I thought they were too old, but it is amazing what cleaning with soapy water, and then polishing with olive oil will do!  They look beautiful again.  

Off to a meeting…..

Thank you Lord for this day and whatever it may bring.  

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Three More Mondays

That’s me on the mountain yesterday.  What a beautiful day.  It was so good to be outside.  This has been a long year of treadmilling due to injuries and a surgery.  I don’t feel secure to go out into the rocky, rooty, and unsteady soil of nature when I have a bandaged or casted arm or hand.  My hand and arm are still not healed enough to ride a bike, but I am good to go on the trails!  How happy!

I got my hair all chopped off on Saturday.  I am so happy to have this short, short hair.  It is so easy, and I think it suits me better than any other “do.”  I had added some red lowlights earlier this year, but decided to let them grow out.  I actually like my gray hair.   I would like to have long hair, I had always thought that when I was an old woman I would wear my long hair in a bun.  A beautiful bun, or french twist.  But I hadn’t counted on thinning hair.  If I don’t have bangs, you can see straight through the front of my hair.  

Age is a cruel master!  However, I am so grateful for my health and general wellness.  There are a few things here and there, and that is life.  But as a whole, my body is holding up well.  And though I do take good care, exercising, and eating well, I would never take credit for this blessing.  It could end tomorrow, that’s clear.

Life is feeling so much happier.  I still have to send out my resume to three different places, but I will do that today.   It is exciting to not know what is going to happen.  I have had several offers of places to live for a year if I should decide to sell my house and “live around,” trying to save money.  One is a motor home in the desert western part of Colorado, the other a mansion in the Hamptons.  They both have their charms.  

So many possibilities.  I am so grateful for a loving God who gives me a push every now and then!  

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