Today Again Tomorrow
I have really looked forward to my first day of pretirement, and I have thought a lot about what today might feel like – probably like sprinkles and confetti and champagne and 100 puppies snuggling you at once.
But I did not wake up this morning in a bed of sprinkles and puppies. Yet again.
The reality is, I woke up and thought, “Okay, well – what now?”
It’s not that I actually have nothing to do. I’ve been fantasizing about the next two weeks for months, making mental lists of all the things I would accomplish – things I want to do, things I have to do, people to see, recipes to try, bags to pack, sinks to return to Amazon. Productivity – my drug of choice.
I’m just not used to having an unlimited amount of free time in which to accomplish everything, and in a weird way, it’s overwhelming and a little paralyzing. I don’t really know where to start, so I haven’t. And that has me riddled with anxiety.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fucking chuffed to be at my favorite coffee shop right now instead of at work. And I’m really looking forward to not white knuckling through rush hour, chain smoking with the windows up and screaming at no one while “Rock Lobster” plays on a loop at max volume. Hm? I’m fine.
But, no matter how much I’ve fantasized about it, I’m realizing today that I don’t actually know how to slow down. I think the last time I stopped moving was when I faked a tummy ache in grade school so I could stay home eating chicken noodle and watching Nick Jr. because I knew that was just the tune-up I needed down in my little soul.
And what has me anxious is that SLOWING DOWN IS THE WHOLE POINT OF PRETIREMENT – am I already failing? Was I really better about prioritizing self-care at five than I am now as a reasonably high-functioning adult?
I’m having trouble putting my big talk about carving out space and choosing good things over fear into practice. It makes sense that trying to slow down after a lifetime on the move takes some getting used to.
We must have known we’d have to remind ourselves of this – have you read our Rules of the Road? Rule no. 9 is very apropos. It says: If we need to stop moving for a day, we will allow ourselves that time without feeling guilty or wasteful.
Do we know ourselves or what? Leave it to us to need a reminder to make time for self-care on an adventure born out of a need for self-care.
There’s a lot of [self-imposed] pressure to “do this right” and not waste the time we have or come back unchanged somehow. So, it’s easy to feel guilty about not “using” every second. But we have to remind ourselves that sometimes rest is the best use of a given second.
And that is what I’m trying to remember this morning. I have things to do today. But it will be today again tomorrow.