“I know there’s a balance
I’ve seen it when I swing past …”
~ John Mellencamp with some help from Ricki Lee Jones
Who knew it would be so hard to find the balance between work and fuckaboutery? I’m two weeks into this retirement gig and I’m somehow already six weeks behind on every front. I am a part-time marketing person for The Hubby’s company, part-time blogger and part-time artist. That’s 33% more jobs than I had beforeI retired and I’m not sure how to do them all, do them well and still have time to be the library-lounging lady of luxury I envisioned.
Anyone and everyone I made eye contact with over the last couple weeks got hit up for advice on how to navigate semi-retirement. Troy, the Vegas Uber driver, said it took him three or four months to adjust when he retired. The 16-year-old grocery store checkout guy told me to relax and ease into it, I would figure it out eventually because I’m super cool. I think he just said that because I promised him I’d make him a very wealthy man if the lottery ticket he sold me turned out to be a winner (and I will, Ethan, you Sansa Stark doppelganger, I will). Our financial planner, Armen, soothingly scraped me off the ceiling of his office and recounted how he had witnessed dozens of clients retire and they all floundered for about six months before finding their groove. I cried. And then I wondered why the Uber driver got his shit together so much faster than Armen’s clients?
I keep thinking I can get myself on course if I can establish the perfect regimen. It will consist of two days of marketing, two days of blogging, two days of art, one day of relaxing. It must plan for working on the day’s designated task as many hours as it takes to get it done, which will usually be ALL the hours because I’m real goddamn slow. Throughout each day I have to schedule several 10-minute breaks to walk the Great Dane, do laundry, answer emails, try to engage Dax Shepard on Instagram and scour the house for the latest poo piles and pee puddles left by the incontinent and senile Chihuahua (#DogsGetDementiaToo). Additionally, a disciplined regimen will build in time for a multitude of random ‘interHubtions’ (Hubby interruptions – I’m not good at puns) because you see, The Hubby also works from home -- our desks are about 25 feet apart -- and we’ve both agreed it’s a sound idea to have me proofread any of his more consequential, high-stakes emails so numerous times a day my fragile concentration is broken by the gentle beckoning sound of, “Hey honey? Could you come read this …” or “Hey honey, how do you spell …” (It’s sweet that he still likes to use me as his human dictionary even though I’ve told him my abilities in that area have gone the way of Blockbuster Video membership cards. Wait -- is it sweet or does he not remember that I’ve told him that I can’t remember anything? Fuck, we’re old). Then I’ll still need to pencil in a few ‘Kidterruptions’ (don’t expect my puns to get any better) and four or five UPS deliveries that have to be signed for because I have a www.wish.com addiction (and Amazon and Zulily and all the places that can send me shoes). Add in at least one major appliance malfunction and the subsequent repair’s four-hour window of ‘now-I-can’t-leave-the-fucking-house’ and there you have it: the perfect blueprint for annihilating creativity, stifling spontaneity and living just to get shit done.
I don’t actually wanta joyless daily regimen but that’s my go-to mechanism when my inner Control Freak is freaked and holy Christ on a cracker, she is FREAKED right now. I definitely welcome any suggestions you have for finding the balance between working, working, working and playing. Whatcha got for me, my dear peeps?