I’m now in my fourth week of temporary retirement and two things have become quite evident:
- I’m still not slowing down. If anything, I’m becoming more and more busy.
- I’m spending far more time alone than I expected.
Let’s break those down.
I keep a pretty regular schedule. I wake up around 7, make sure THE WIFE is awake and has her coffee set up, then I go out for a run. Once I get home, I clean up, make breakfast, and (more often than not) head to the front porch with my coffee and computer. I’m still working through the course on Python, which I’m enjoying quite a bit; particularly now that it has actually moved beyond extreme basics. (As as side note, I’ve learned that I have little interest in things like base 2 numbers, and even less interest in things like bitwise operations. It just all feels like unnecessary busywork…) The coursework usually gets me to somewhere beteween 10 and 11 AM, during which time I’m witness to all sorts of traffic drama at the corner in front of the house, ranging from large trucks lost on the wrong street and unable to turn to multiple near-collisions when people refuse to stop at the signs. At this point, I move on to some sort of household chore or project. Sometimes it is cleaning. Sometimes it is re-sanding and sealing the butcher block table.
That brings me to my afternoons, which I’ve found revolve around food and food preparation far more than I ever thought they would. I find I need to run to the store for one or two things nearly every day, which is good because it gets me out of the house. I guess I shop like a European now, mostly because I can. Once I return home, I dig in and start cooking (or baking). I’ve had both successes and failures thus far, but I’m learning to improvise, which is probably good. I made chicken and rice soup in the pressure cooker yesterday, but I didn’t really follow a recipe as much as ideas from 3-4 recipes. When the broth still looked too chunky, I used the immersion blender, knowing full well that I was about to chop up the rice, which would thicken things considerably. Regardless, it was quite tasty, but that gave me something new to try today. I now had filling for chicken pot pies! So, despite my frustration (and considerable cussing), I seem to be about 50/50 on success and failure. THE WIFE tells me that’s pretty good for one month.
Getting back to the schedule, I’m usually done with food by 4:30 or 5:00, at which time I make my way back to the front porch with my Kindle and my music (I’m up to #403 on the Rolling Stone list, so Lynyrd Skynyrd is up next). A little after 6:00 THE WIFE gets home and I finally have someone to talk to! Which brings me to my second point: I’m spending far more time alone than I anticipated.
I really don’t mind the time alone. Honestly. It’s helping me clear my head, and I think it’s making me friendlier with the people I do spend time around. That being said, I’m probably going to have to make an effort to get out a bit more. Now, it’s not like I’ve been a complete shut-in. I’ve met friends for coffee and lunch. It’s just that I can easily get wrapped up in my own projects and suddenly the day is gone and I haven’t spoken to anyone who won’t respond to “kitty”. Partially, I think this is a good test for how I might handle working from home (better than I thought), but it also underscores my need to be at least somewhat social.
Now I just need to figure out how to do that without resorting to something unseemly like volunteer work.
Musical side note: I adore Lydia Loveless and can’t recommend her last album Somewhere Else highly enough. If you like this song, get the record. (as always, that’s an affiliate link.)