Decisions, Work and Feeling Tired

Minoru Pond in fall

I was wondering about spending September at home. Before I retired in 2011, I viewed September travel as a luxury. Throughout my life, I had been a student, mother and educator so the ninth month always meant la rentrée. My daughter's and my mother's birthdays are in September so I was always at home. Times changed. I no longer worked, my daughter was able to travel with me and my mother's birthday could be accommodated. Leaf tours of New England, repositioning tours and celebrations of daughter's birthday in foreign cities became the new normal.

Boston a few years ago

I suspect that there is some truth in the retirement adage "go go, slow go, no go". In the first few years of retirement, I was away from home for almost half of each year. Over time, trips have shortened. My husband does not really enjoy travel, we have a dog and I have started working part-time as a teacher. There is still a lot of the world that I want to visit but it will probably be shorter trips for me.

I have been working full-time as a teacher for two weeks now. I'm teaching Resource and English Language Learners as well as working as the teacher-librarian. I have never worked at this school before so it's all new students and staff. The staff are young with small children and I could be the mother of any of my colleagues. It seems that I don't have time to clean the apartment, do laundry, shopping or write blogs. I've had to change doctor appointments, miss book club and forgo outings and walks with friends. After work, I am too tired to exercise.

Westham Island Herb Farm

In spite of all the inconveniences, I enjoy the new ideas and the opportunities to use my professional
skills. I miss children in my life. Our apartment is in turmoil as the construction continues with no end in sight and my husband has been suffering from ongoing health problems. Employment has seemed like a sort of deliverance.

The role of paid employment is different in every person's life. I learned early that the ability to earn one's own money brought independence. I could choose my own clothes if I was paying for them. 
As a young adult, I could make my own lifestyle choices as long as I was not living under a parental roof. As an older adult, I can make the choice to purchase a more expensive item (or not), sponsor a charity or splurge on slightly more luxurious accommodation. If I make the money, I make the choices.

However, life is full of compromises. It is very early Sunday morning. I spent Saturday walking and visiting  with my friends. I really enjoy going to church. I don't think of myself as devout but I am usually inspired by the sermons, I like singing (quietly), and I believe that a community based on faith and social justice is a positive gathering. On the other hand, there is housework, laundry....But I don't want to miss church...But I've bulbs to plant. 

After working full-time for two weeks, I appreciate retirement. I was much less stressed working occasionally or in a familiar school. My internal balance and my sleep patterns are suffering. Exercise, friendship and some spiritual support are critical to my life as an older adult. As I write this blog, I have clarified my decision. A walk to church, a short service and a stop at the grocery for tomorrow's lunch would be more beneficial than dusting or washing the floors.
I'll plant the bulbs this afternoon before we go out with Maman for a birthday dinner. I will survive the next month but I don't think that I will repeat the full-time work experience.


  1. I am feeling so much the same way. With my husband's job 'going away,' we are both feeling very on edge with what the future holds. We are going to be missing $4000 a month plus. I need to find something I can do with flexible hours, part-time, preferably in a library or around children. My heart doesn't want to return to full-time employment, as my house will become a mess, and there will be little time for me to do any of the things I enjoy doing most. We never dreamed we would be in this position at our ages.
    When I have accepted long-term substitute assignments, I have almost always regretted them. While I love being with the kids, and love the library work, I don't like doing the full-time job on minimum wage pay. And my heart won't let me do a half-way job.
    Anyway, all of this to say I feel you!! I hope the rest of this assignment goes well, but then you can return to what makes you happiest.

  2. It would be quite a shock to the system going back to full time work. It's good that you have an end date to look forward to and perhaps being away from the condo during the upheavel with construction is a bit of respite.
    The housework can need time to relax and enjoy things that make you feel energized and enthusaistic.
    Hope you enjoy the birthday celebration dinner !

  3. Yes , full time employment is time consuming and physically and emotionally draining. But there is an end and the thought of Arizona in December. You must be getting excited about your trip.😀

  4. I'm looking forward more and more to retirement, probably at the end of this school year. I'll likely TOC for a bit afterwards. I think you made the right choice - housework can always wait. Recharging body and soul will provide more energy for the week ahead.

  5. That pond! All of your photos nourish the autumn loving part of me that is being starved for it here where we have 3 or 4 more days of near 100 temps.

    I think you must give your whole heart and energy to whatever you do and are doing that very thing in this new full time job. I do hope you can go back to a part time schedule eventually as that seemed to work much better for you. I hope you will always choose the path that feeds your soul. I try to, but as you said some things must be done, sometime. So it can be difficult to choose what has to be done and what can wait.

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