Sunday, August 6, 2017


I'm on a mission.  I feel I need to figure out once and for all what the hell I do with my life.

Hub and I had dinner the other night with folks we don't see too often, so of course I was asked, "What have you been up to?  What do you do to keep busy?"  This woman is recently retired and working to find a new rhythm and purpose to her life, so naturally she is wondering what people do with their days when they are not in the paid workforce.  For some reason I never wondered that.  I always felt like I had about ten times as much "to do" than there were hours in the day when I was working for money, so when I retired I felt liberated, not lost.  But it's a valid question nonetheless.  What do I do?

Actually, when she asked me this, my mind went almost blank. What DO I do?  I stammered out that I go to Yoga two-three times a week.  I write my two blogs.  I watch our little granddaughter two days a week.  That's all I came up with.  Weird.  Because every day whizzes by and I guess I don't have much to show for it.  Not much "accomplished".  No one thing that summarizes my everyday life.

I love my time with friends -- lunches, breakfasts, coffee dates, art museums, craft fairs, movies, and marches.

I love scrolling through Facebook -- the introvert's favorite social connection to those near and far.

I read online articles and commentaries and blogs in a variety of publications.  I have new glasses now so I can go back to reading actual books and magazines.

I watch TV with Hub at night.  A lot.  Done apologizing for this.  Love it.

I take a shower now and then.

I clean my own house, although I'm about to ditch that because it's tedious and one of my friends has a great housecleaner I plan to contact.

I host our family for dinner once/week, but Hub does the cooking, so not sure that counts.

I do laundry, but how hard is that?  It's not like I'm beating my jeans against a rock.

Hub does the grocery shopping, but I do all the gift shopping when gifts are needed, which isn't that often, but still.

I go to occasional classes and workshops.

My doctor tells me I have to do more aerobic exercise, so that's popping up to the top of the list, along with the regular yoga I mentioned.

I balance our accounts, pay all our bills, and keep a spreadsheet of our expenses.  That takes a few hours twice a month; could be less if I didn't have a math disability and number dyslexia.

I volunteer for a few hours at my old job monthly and in my granddaughter's classroom weekly.  I crochet baby blankets for a social service program that provides layette supplies for moms-in-need.  And of course there is my two days/week of Granny Nannying, chasing a two-year-old around.

I plant stuff in the garden and stand and watch for it to either die or grow.  I mostly insist it all thrive on benign neglect.

Sometimes I wander around the house visiting all my years-long-in-residence house plants, as if they are old friends, and being amazed at how healthy and happy they are; this now seems like a weird thing to do and to admit.

I am also currently trying to save the Republic from ruin, so all those phone calls and letters and rumination (mostly rumination) take time.

I don't know what the hell I do.  Certainly not anything that can be summarized in a simple declarative sentence.

And maybe that's the beauty of retirement that she will discover.  You don't have to "do" anything!  You just have to "be" in the world  -- alive, curious, open.  You can say "yes" or you can say "no".  Your life becomes one you can control and create, if you have the health and means to be the master of  your own fate in whatever way that manifests.   She will find there is plenty to "do" and even better, hopefully, will learn the art of how to "be".

What do I do to keep busy?  I stay alive.  I live.  I just am.  It all unfolds and I watch with wonder at how my life and choices shift with the changing tides of need and opportunity.  And I realize how content I can be with long days of doing absolutely nothing of consequence.

At least, that's the view from here....©


  1. Your "do nothing" life is seems you think you must do ONE THING for hours and days for it to count. I disagree...variety and multiple-tasking count for a lot of effort with good results. Breathe. Laugh. Read. Call and write. Think. Nothing to apologize for, my dear. That's my point of view, anyway.

    1. It was weird that I felt "less than" in the moment she asked that question -- like I 'should' have something wow-ish to say that anyone would understand. But I just live my life. I just need to find the "elevator speech" that sums it up -- sort of like "What's a UU?" LOL

  2. I couldn't keep up with you! You do way more than most people but, like you said, it's not easy to sum it all up in one concise sentence or two. Been there, tried to do that and failed. The best I could do is say, "I'm busy feeding my body, brain and soul---reading, writing, and interacting with people and the world."

    1. I love your summary! Stealing it. HA I think if I can come up with something like that that I say with passion instead of self-deprecating dismissiveness I'll feel better. I was reminded in the moment of her asking of how I felt when I was a young mom and people at professional gatherings of my husband would ask "What do you do?" and I'd be stymied. First of all, being a stay at home mom then was seen as "lazy" (women were to have a high powered career AND be an excellent mother), and definitely uninteresting. When you are talking to a professional career person and say you are PTA president that year...and be met with silence, well... But I am passed all that and it was strange how I got thrown right back into it with that question. A point of growth I guess.

  3. ...or I suppose you could say, "I would tell you everything but we really don't have enough time for that. Isn't the salad great?"