I GOT IT! … At least I think I have

 I have settled the question of retirement, at least as far as knowledge and solutions are concerned, and  therefore significantly  how to deal with it. 


The following  could serve as a formal  STATEMENT of this knowledge:  Retiring is a big deal and should be treated with the respect it deserves.  This is an awesomely significant stage of life. AN EPIC ADVENTURE.  It is: a process of growing/learning  and experience which is vastly significant. IT IS A HUGE LIFE READJUSTMENT:   the change it incorporates   is of equally major importance.  It IS A HUGE LIFE CHANGER,  ACCOMPLISHMENT, and EDUCATOR.  I trust it is equally and even thoroughly satisfying.


To accomplish this desirable  end one has to develop one’s own balance, sense of purpose, satisfaction in performance, etc.

It has only taken me four years to get the message. A little mental preparation would have been nice but nothing is perfect and this way was probably more interesting.

A word about my two key words:  EXPOSED and LIBERATED   these two words denoting the condition I would find myself in when retired and I think these are good words but I think they need amending or being rephrased. Being  reminded that the role of the Library  basically provided for me a sanctuary or perhaps  a refuge.  Therefore without it I am obviously “exposed” and if you are “liberated” you are by definition also “exposed”.  I particularly like this word as it possesses the snap and  the strength of the emotion it implies, but it is misleading and makes my concept difficult to understand. This definition is also patently strictly my opinion. An added insight might be:  One man’s elixir is another man’s poison.

Better words to use in place of EXPOSED: PROTECTED/SHELTERED/SHIELDED. This better describes those negative conditions/situations which many people are quite delighted to escape.  and which would  better support the dichotomy I think is existing here.

 Please not to get the wrong idea, there are certain aspects of “liberation” I am happy be to have the  liberty and the opportunity to embrace.   There is no doubt however that   a “liberated” “too much freedom” aspect is not successful or desirable for an at least marginally hyper personality like me.    I am in desperate need for constant action (work).     I need something which would suffice to break my work pattern, to serve as R&R.   At the moment I feel inclined to   suggest massive doses  of extra- curricular activities as the only solution.  This situation may not last forever as things do have a tendency in life to change but this will work very well  in the meantime.  

What have I gained And how have I done with this process?

I’ve had time to take stock of things and come up with some basically good rules to live by.   I had to attain equilibrium.  There is no reason not to achieve an adjusted attitude toward life – it just takes thought, effort, imagination, etc. I have settled down, mellowed out, adjusted – got the schedule pretty well arranged.  Relax/less stress must be better  for the body. I guess I’m adjusting – the more I deconstruct the facts of retirement, the more tenable it appears to be.  Are there possibly more advantages I have yet to discover?

I feel I have acquired sufficient information which would  fortify the role retirement  actually plays  as a  Destination (with a capital D). 

Time and with it the ability to eliminate dissatisfactions is a plus for retirement. 

My time management skills have improved immensely: this is always a good thing.

I suppose I’ve been creating a life outside of the Library  and there is no doubt that is  a life- style adjustment of the first order… breaking with the library.   Of course there still is a modicum of regret, but boy, am I learning to live around that.  At this rate I’ll begin to wonder why I ever worked. But that is surely going too far.

I have recently seen an increased willingness to add extracurricular activities to my agenda and with true enjoyment.  I think I just never had the energy nor the incentive to take on anything requiring additional effort:  When I came home from work I wanted to sit.

I’ve learned to live with the advantages of giving up cigarettes and martinis.

I just now realized I’ve perhaps  come up with  an ideal way to simplify appointments (mostly doctors).  There is an ideal moment in my daily/weekly agenda  when an interruption is less likely to be detrimental.  I discovered I was in fact using that information intuitively – now I’ve got it programmed officially.  It sure makes scheduling, remembering and keeping track so much easier.  Every little bit helps.

No more lists of lists and clutter be gone I no longer have “lists of lists”.   NOW THIS IS A FABULOUS ACCOMPLISHMENT!!!!!


Don’t we in the long run actually have to retire to have time to settle our affairs?  Maybe the real reason you retire is to get rid of some of the extraneous junk you’ve managed to accumulate in a life time of collection so you are not leaving such a headache for your kids.

I’ve dumped tons of photos and slides.  I’ve dumped mosaic stuff from under my studio table – never thought I’d be able to do that.  What to do with it was too much a question.  Eventually  I came to the conclusion that none of it could be considered a collectible and no one would want most of it,  so in the trash it went.  This little business has been hanging over my head for ages and has caused me much soul searching.  I was thinking I was going to have to haul it all out to the huge flea market that takes place Saturdays between Winchester and Front Royal.  What a huge pain that would be. WHAT A RELIEF.  I also managed to divest the tool shed of most of its extraneous accumulation and what a nasty job that was.  I AM LIGHTER BY A TON.

I have blessedly attained a HUGE SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT.

I finally realized an amazing advantage I’ve acquired:  I’m here when the sun is.  I’ve been under the impression that there’s almost never any sun in my home environment- we do live in the woods after all.  I had problems accepting the minimal light condition.  This was one reason I made an attempt to move ten years ago and actually ended up cranking up an additional floor thinking I’d be closer to the desired action.  I’ve discovered that the actual truth is that I simply was usually at work when there was any sun.  That’s something of a change in perception, I’d say.  It also seems that I may have wanted the sun, but I only wanted it when it was convenient for me.  That’s ok, it works.

LIVING FOR THE MOMENT: an extremely worthy goal and addition.  I’ve  been almost overcome by  suddenly becoming aware of moments that are desirable to live in.  I don’t remember that ever happening before. For instance, I’m struck by just how beautiful it is today.  I never had time to notice that before I guess.  Every once in a while I tune myself in to make sure I’m doing that, but this discovery should not be dependent on a deliberate act.   The beauty of the day:  this must be a mindset,  EVERY DAY IS BEAUTIFUL. 

However, I still haven’t identified a totally successful “time user” that does not involve work. I may never succeed at that.


The work I seem to decry but to which I am committed:  ART, WRITING, and the two results of these activities;  the website which I deem frozen as is, and the Blog which contains a multitude of possibilities I have yet to explore.

WRITING IS HARD WORK… I’ve written two essays and created one Blog  meant primarily  for their dissemination.   The drawback with writing is the difficulty of obtaining a feeling of satisfaction as you end a day of effort. There is also the question of accomplishment.  Also the ideal objective would be to share your work with others but there is no way to have any control over that.  I am however quite satisfied with the quality and the amount I’ve done. (I would like to interrupt for a moment to relate a very interesting bit of info I just ran in to.  James Michener, he of the notably lengthy epistles stated- in his book “Iberia” - that he had trouble with words. I could hardly believe it.  I’m also wondering what the outcome would have been if he’d had a computer and word processing.  That is an interesting thought.  Also I’m very relieved to hear that a successful author has had that problem but I also am reminded that the playing with words and phrases and incidentally thoughts  is a wonderfully creative process and of immense satisfaction to the craftsman.  So it may be hard but it’s what we do.)

DRAWING… doesn’t have quite as much of a drawback this way.  When I leave my drawing board every evening I leave it with a distinct sense of satisfaction.  But its got its own little problem. Not only must I create, I’m expected to promote the stuff.  That’s hard work and actually too physical for me.   So far since I retired  I’ve done 75 drawings, and 11 furnitures.  (I embellish antiquated and distressed furniture- and I am enjoying them thoroughly.   I even have sold some). As far as disseminating all this material:  you know I’m dreaming. It was done for itself.  Painting and writing are similar in that their production is a reason in itself and although sharing is the ideal objective it is not the only one. What’s more,  I’m going to do more: and I am.  Anything can happen and at least I’ve got what I’ve done “out there” and accessible.  AMEN!

WORK and whatever time is left over:  So what are the hobbies actually?

I came to the conclusion that I’m too busy to have a hobby.  I’d rather work any day,  and furthermore,   I have so many so-called pastimes that have no time for a hobby.  SO PASTIMES AND WHAT I’D LIKE TO CONSIDER EXTRACURRICUL ACTIVITIES are what I do for fun.   It’s amazing, now that I’ve retired I don’t have time.  I have more to do than I have time to do it in.   If I get much busier I’m going to have to, shudder,  get  up earlier.  That’s sure a  revelation.

It is July and in my consideration of the definitions of Liberated I came to the conclusion that I’ve got to quit being so disciplined:  time to IDLE UP and SIMMER/summer DOWN.  Doesn’t that sound terrific and well worth all this effort to discover?  Another AMEN!

 FUN:   this is mostly all the stuff I’ve always done but perhaps in a bit more depth.   Now, thanks to being retired I can add  the immensely salubrious addition of those “extracurricular” activities.  These are things we rarely indulged in while I was working.    Why?  Lazy, tired, locked in to my daily evening routine of cooking, martini and Sudoku. 

Then there is, of course, the constant presence of my books and the almost equally ubiquitous  jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles and  oh SUDOKU for which I get up in the mornings (it had it’s day when for a time I was actually a bit obsessive but now it’s under control and in fact  is projected as a future essay subject).

If I run out of things to do and all else fails I can always clean up my data base.  Time to play with the computer – yes, it’s come to that. 

COULD IT BE POSSIBLE THE COMPUTER HAS MANAGED TO TAKE OVER MY LIFE?  WHO NEEDS A HOBBY? As I always have to have the last word:   I don’t dare get near the games…


I don’t believe in fate but… it turned out to be supremely auspicious that I quit when I did.  Not long after my departure the library  was involved in  a traumatic change in organization CAUSED A LOT OF UNREST AND ILL WILL.

the result being a change that was so drastic there was no way I wouldn’t have been seriously disturbed. I Left just in time to avoid the fallout.  THAT WAS A CLOSE CALL It does seem that some things actually do work out in the end.