Full Moon

The September full moon has been rising in the eastern sky for days, tracking slowly across the sky, and still present in the west pre-dawn.  Wildlife are more active in moonlight if the dog’s barking is a measure of activity.  She goes outside after dark to bark at something, returns to the house for a few minutes, then insists on chasing the foe only she hears, over and over.  I admire her determination to protect the house and yard.  DSC04751

Like wildlife, I’m often  awake far into the night during a full moon, and when I finally slumber, my sleep is restless.  I often feel completely relaxed and ready to sleep early morning.  This wonderful rest is interrupted by the alarm Monday through Friday.  I wonder what retirement will do for my sleep cycle.   Will I be able to stay awake later and sleep later regularly, or only during a full moon? Spring 2017 004

Step down from the merry-go-round?

Most of my days come and go in a whirl like an old-fashioned carrousel with horses bobbing up and down with the music as they go round and round.  It seemed like a major victory today to find time to call about repairing the lawn mower, making a hair appointment and finding time to get the car to the shop for an oil change.

Clients in need of assistance walk in the office door in a steady stream.  We won’t be able to see all of them with the staff cut in half by administrative fiat.  Who has to wait?   I’ve done multiple web searches to find models for Mental Health Waiting Lists, but must be using the wrong search parameters because there are no results.

There are discussions about the problems of waiting lists: increased danger to individuals, reduced college retention, poor academic performance, more hospitalizations, etc.  Retirement seems like a distant vision.  How can I walk away from so much need?

 

 

Waiting for a termite inspection

I’m writing this post in the morning as I wait for the termite inspector to arrive.  He is, of course, now two hours later than planned.  My work life is scheduled in hour-long appointments and meetings.  It seemed logical to me to try to schedule the termite inspection first thing in the morning to minimize the amount of time away from my job. The gentleman in question agreed to an 8:00 appointment.

I thought that is a perfect time, but (and there is always a “but”), he left a message that he couldn’t get here right away in the morning, and hoped to arrive by 9:30 or 10:00.  It is now past ten.

If I was actually retired, and home all the time, this change would not matter.  However since this is a discussion about approaching retirement, but not actually there, I have a day job that requires my presence at an office.  Delays such as this one are annoying to put it mildly.

 

Second Act

Many people pursue a second career after they retire.  The second career can be something one has done as part-time work while employed full time at their primary career, or the second act can be in a completely different field.  My oldest brother retired from two different careers, and ran a business with his wife after work.  He retired this summer from his second career, and will work at their business,  as much or little, as he wishes.

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As I contemplate retirement from over forty years of employment in developmental disabilities and mental health, I find it easier to think about if I can transition to a second act.  I don’t want to quit “cold turkey,” and not have a meaningful way to spend my days.  Afternoon naps will be nice, however.

Day Before the Eclipse

The TV news reports that 500,000 people are heading toward Nebraska, to experience the 2017 total eclipse of the sun, along a corridor from the northwest corner of the state to the southeast.  It’s nearly five hundred miles of diagonal space to add all those extra folks.

Nebraska has only 1,826,341 people, plus a few more on really busy days, like during college world series games in June. https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-who-what-where-when-and-how

This is a rare event “This is the first time a total solar eclipse has gone from one American coast to the other since 1918. It will also be the first time in U.S. history that a total solar eclipse will make landfall exclusively on U.S. soil, meaning it will not be visible from any other country. (This technically happened in 1257 — but, of course, the United States wasn’t a country way back then.) from Space.com

Eclipse Traffic

 

Rain

July was hot and dry. It didn’t rain at all. I dislike 95+ humidity nearly as much as -10 degrees.  Perhaps it’s my British Isles heritage, but moderate temps in the 60s and 70s suite me best.  I love to sleep when it’s raining and find thunder rather soothing.

Pickles doesn’t agree with me. She’s frightened by loud noises like thunder and fire crackers.  When she’s scared she hides under the desk while I’m typing.  She’s there now because another storm front is moving through-complete with thunder-boomers and lightning flashes.

The noisy storm reminds me of the sound of authority figures blustering about his/her issue of the day.   I’m old enough to retire tomorrow if I choose, and don’t worry about being fired, but do worry about the people I serve, who will be at the mercy of these angry people.  People that are so insecure in their own ability, they make mean-spirited decisions.

Quiet day

There was a gentle rain over night. A half inch fell on my part of the world, and during a dry summer, it’s very much appreciated.  Rain was followed by a cloudy, cool day. My dog and I didn’t take on any big projects today.

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It’s been a day to think about the deaths resulting from a white supremacy riot yesterday in this country.

As I contemplate retirement, and look back over more than forty years of employment, the battles for equality are the same now as they were back then. Women are still paid less than men, white men still earn more money than people from any other race or gender.  It’s still more difficult for women and people of color to be hired.

It stretches my imagination to wonder why young white men are so afraid of the rest of us that they violently protest.   What happens to older women?  We are already powerless in the workplace.  I worry that without employment’s buying power, I will be even more sidelined by society when I finally leave employment, and less able to defend myself.

However, my body is trying to tell me that I can’t forever dwell in the land of theoretically considering retirement as job stress is physically harming me.  My back buckles, often without warning, and sends shooting pains across my lower back.  My neck is sending a message too.  The tension in my shoulders works it’s way up my neck, and results in periodic headaches.

Be gentle to yourself and work for peace.

 

Celebrate

A friend celebrated his 80th birthday earlier this evening.  Two friends hosted a pizza party for him. Another friend made an amazing chocolate cake, and homemade vanilla ice cream.  He received gifts of spices, pie filling, wine, and socks.  We all enjoyed the food and companionship.

Celebration takes on more importance with each passing year.  We are lucky that most of this group are healthy, given their ages, and able to live in their own homes.

We cheer each other’s birthdays, support each other when someone is ill, and take care of each other’s pets When someone travels.  Tonight’s 79 year-old hostess is leaving for Germany tomorrow for two weeks.  I’m lucky to be part of this young-at-heart friend’s group. Aging can be an exciting, dynamic time.

 

 

Running in Place

DSC04751It was busy enough at my day job today, to discard the idea of evening chores, or any heavy thought about the future.  I took my dog Pickles for a run in the pasture.  We scared up several crickets, a bird or two, and a few butterflies.  The temperature is mild and a cool breeze blows from the north.  It’s a perfect evening for letting the day go, and running in place emotionally.

Next Step

Sixty five for nearly nine months, the question of the next step in my life visits me several times a day. I decided to start a blog to chronicle my decision about when to take the next big step in my life.

When something isn’t going the way I wish at my job; I think – I could give two weeks notice and leave this problem to the next person to occupy this position.   Just knowing that I can leave at any time is often enough to relieve the tension of the moment and I soldier on to the end of the day.

I live in a rural area a couple of miles from the nearest village (400 people), 12 miles from the county seat of 5,000 where I work, and 30 miles from a bigger town of 25,000. I worry about retiring and spending time alone, away from people.

Of course, I worry about a lot of things, like writing this blog.  Will anyone be interested in the musing of a retirement-age woman?   One of the nice things about blogs is that is up the reader to decide if it’s worth their time or to move on.