Words for Wednesday

Is your Facebook feed inundated with cutesy, outwardly pithy posts spouting cliched truisms such as “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”, or “Happiness comes from within”.  I’ve got to come clean. I used to buy into these cliches, and kept my office walls, bookshelves, and desks plastered  in what I thought was tactfully arranged displays of deep thoughts designed to motive my barrier-ed students to overcome all obstacles and meet their destiny.   However,  now that I’m retired all I’m left with is a box of kitschy items no one wants.  I still find myself lingering over display in the gift shops and book stores, my attention captured by some new motivational items. I hover a little too long on social media posts with sayings I once felt were deeply important. It’s hard to break the habit.

But It’s time for me to stop the madness.  I’m tired of cutesy kittens or other animals pictures (well, I actually never went for animals – I always picked more whimsical designs) captured (or photo shopped) perfectly, capped off with some lame piece of motivational moment. I need to break the habit.  Since I can’t quit cold turkey,  (I’ve tried) I’ll take a different approach.  Here, therefore, is my first anti-motivational Words for Wednesday.

 

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Wake Up Call

I go to the fridge and look to see what can become the ingredients for today’s special meals.  I decide to make my family favourite – chicken cordon bleu, green beans au gratin, waldorf salad, and a cherry torte for dessert. I grab the chicken breast tucked neatly behind the kale and place it …. wait, wait. Stop!  I don’t cook; I hate cooking. I hate all things related to elaborate meals.  Please, wake me from this culinary nightmare!

Lately I have been dreaming of me playing the role of domestic diva – a role I have always eschewed, and never wanted.  I have struggled to figure out their source. Perhaps it is the pending arrival of Mack who will soon finish university for the summer. Will I be expected to cook supper, prepare lunches, and do laundry?  Probably not, but I worry that I should want to do so.  I feel I should do something, especially now that I am no longer working.  I of course want to make my son’s time at home special. I don’t get to seem him very much so I should feel excited about taking on the role of traditional mother to him while he is home.  I have never been that type of mother, so why do I think I need to be one now?  I’m not sure.

Everyone else seems to think that I should be happy to be domesticated now that I am free of the daily grind.  I should want to bake muffins and reorganize my shelves.  I should feel wonderful that I finally have time to make healthy, nutritious meals from scratch – with ingredients I have either grown myself, or laboured over while perusing the organic section of the grocery store.  But I’m not thrilled.  I don’t like being thrust back into that continual pull of traditional vs modern role. I have worked very hard to break free of stereotypes. But suddenly I find myself thrust back decades.  Discussions at seniors curling often imply that I should have the homebody role – that I should be thrilled to no longer need to work. Moreover, I should be really happy now that my hubby makes a good living so I don’t have to worry my pretty little head over such silly things as a career.  Arrrrgggggghhhhh!

I am becoming more comfortable with the non-working role. I am learning to enjoy my time at home by myself.  But I am still not fully adapted. I still haven’t found the thing that gives me the need to jump excitedly out of bed in the morning. I’m filling time, I finding great happiness in the moment.  I am loving having time to steep my tea properly, to do a few minutes of yoga when I want – and to make my bed in the middle of the afternoon if I feel like it.  These are the small delights I know many of us longed for during our careers.

But what comes next? What do I do when I have had months, or years of taking my time in the morning?  What will I be?  What will I do?  What will I have accomplished of value?

I am still adjusting to the role of retiree. I am still trying to define what it means for me.  Right now,  I still need to wake from the nightmare of others’ domesticated expectations of women who retire. In the meantime, I will try to “let it go” and just be.  I think for rich now, I’m make a cup of tea, check Facebook, look for cute April Fools jokes online – and just enjoy the moment.  For now….DSC01172