The New Normal

It’s hard to believe that we are three days into 2016. The holidays are past; the weekend is over; life returns to normal tomorrow. Normal has a new meaning once you retire and it’s very fluid. I’ve tried to create “normal” since I left education four years ago, and with it, also left structure and continuity.
Every few months I sit and down and write my goal of creating my new “normal.” I structure my time around the weekly calendar as I once did: Which days to volunteer; which day to clean the house; which day to grocery shop; which day to run errands … you get the picture. I add in exercise daily. I add in sit at the computer and write. I add in cook decent meals each evening.
After four years, you’d think I would realize what a waste of time this is. After retirement, there is no going back to the structure we once had. There is no getting up at six a.m. to dress for work. There is no thirty minute commute and a nine hour workday. There are no after school meetings, no before school IEP’s. There is no cleaning, errands, shopping, etc. on Saturday. That is in the past.
Many people jump into retirement with gusto and never look back. I guess it’s my OCD or my control issues that prevent me from doing that. I’m better than I was, trust me! I can sit in my robe with hot coffee and my journal until 7:30 or 8:00. I can buy groceries on Tuesday or quickly accept an invitation for a matinee movie on Wednesday without producing a cold sweat.
But for a writer, the lack of structure often means I can put my office and my computer out of my mind for days if I’m not careful. I just published my second novel two weeks ago and took a break from writing. It’s now hard to get back into a groove. But I have set my goals for January and they include daily sit-down time working on short stories. Lots of edits on the eight that are sitting here from the past three years. New ideas to contemplate. Now – if I can just redefine normal to mean whatever the hell happens this week, I’ll be just fine.

Happy New Year!  

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