The bad news is time flies.
The good news is you are the pilot.
When I retired, I was sure that time would slow down. My life was no longer a series of fires to be put out, round-the-clock appointments to be kept, harried customers to be appeased.
Boy, was I wrong! Time seems to be moving at a clip that makes supersonic travel appear glacier-like. OK, so I am still working part-time on some projects for my former company, and I am on the board of three non-profits, and my daughter is getting married in less than a month, so yes, you could argue that I have no one but myself to blame that my days are not always my own.
However, on days when I don’t have a board meeting or lunch date or appointment, I do find that I need to add structure to my day, even if it isn’t much. I vacillate between wanting to complete a “To Do” list versus just winging it. There is much to be said for spontaneity and just going with the flow, but the task-oriented genes in my brain crave satisfaction as well.
I remember a time long ago when I first started in college publishing – sales reps used to have most of the summers off. We were still officially working but it was a best-kept secret that since colleges were mostly closed for the summer, sales reps were not expected to make sales calls or do much of anything beyond answering an occasional phone call. This was long before email, so we didn’t even have to check that daily. I remember during those summers that I found myself having to impose a structure to my days, or they would sail by and I would find that I was wasting a lot of time.
So now I find myself thinking back to those days and comparing them to my current life style where my days are no longer regimented around a 9-5 plus work day. I don’t have to finish tasks by end of day – or even by week’s end. Yes, I still have responsibilities to the organizations where I volunteer, and to my family, but nothing compared to when I was working full-time.
Yet, I find that time is still flying by. My daughter is 28 and the wedding that we have been planning for a year is now weeks away. My son, who just yesterday was sitting in his Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, is turning 30 this year and just got back from a two-week cruise around the British Isles with his girlfriend. It’s been 45 years since I graduated from high school, 41 since college graduation, 37 years since I started my sales career, 35 years since I got married, 22 years since we bought our home.
My best friend, who is my age, recently presented me with this thought – we have lived two-thirds of our lives! So that means we only have a third left? How terrifying!
But then again, old age is a privilege denied to many. I certainly don’t feel old, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to have whatever time is left to continue to be the pilot of my life. Time to be the woman who makes her own pesto and bread, time to read more than two books a year, time to have quality time with multiple friends and family on a regular basis, time to create and learn and exercise and appreciate a sunset.
I would have missed so much in the past year and a half if I had still been working.
When my best friend made the remark about our having lived two-thirds of our lives, I asked her, “Why are you telling me this?” Her simple, wistful and questioning response, “Didn’t it go fast?”
Yes, it has and I suppose it will continue to do so. I guess the challenge for all of us is, whether in retirement or not, to make whatever time we have count. And making it count can mean whatever you want it to mean – making a difference, making memories, making a life.