Over the years, some retired folks I’ve known have flaunted the opportunity to sleep in and to lazy around throughout the day.
Decidedly a morning person whose day (or at least the best part of it) feels done by 8:30—that would be 8:30 a.m., the thought of sleeping in as a retirement perk doesn’t really appeal to me as a matter of course, though I’m sure there are days when I will be most grateful for the opportunity to pamper myself.
No. I need to get up, get dressed, get moving—otherwise a certain unwelcomed malaise sets in. I learned that about myself when our children were young and I was doing nighttime Adult School teaching.
I hated the feeling that I had frittered away the day; talked too much/too long on the phone about banal topics. I hated that I was spending most of the day without paying serious attention to being presentable (hair, make-up, outfit) for public viewing.
Fortunately for me, now, even though I won’t have an employment-related reason for maintaining my work life schedule, I have a permanent, non-employment related reason for not reverting back to those old unemployed habits.
A head-on crash with a pickup truck led me to the spiritual routine of starting my day with morning Mass, an incredible blessing to me. So, as long as I am mobile, I look forward to continuing that start-of-day routine, even (especially) in retirement.
That daily appointment/commitment gets me up and dressed, albeit slightly later than required when I was working, but still early enough to give me time to watch some inspirational shows on television before I set out for Mass.
When I think back to the days when our children when young and I was home, without the motivation to put on makeup and out-and-about clothing, I think by comparison to something anthropologist Margaret Mead once shared about an older female relative.
I believe it was her mother she reminisced about, sharing how much she admired that her mother intentionally got herself “fancied up” (my expression) first thing in the morning, for the sake of making what she thought was an important statement to her grandchildren. She loved them enough and respected them enough that she wanted, not only to do her best (as in making them a good breakfast), but in looking her best for them, impeccably dressed, with every hair in place and makeup on her face.
That mental image of Ms. Mead’s mother, all dolled-up making breakfast for her grandchildren, made a lasting impression on me. Normally, we put on our best face for the outside world; the more important the person(s) we expect to encounter, the more particular, the more well-dressed as a rule, we are about our appearance.
Here was a woman who esteemed her grandchildren enough to put on her best face for them. To show that she was up and ready to serve them.
That struck Margaret Mead about her mother, and it struck me, too.
Although I have no children or grandchildren for whom to fix morning breakfast, no matter. There is a sense of self-pride that says I want to live each moment, to be ready—fully awake and alive to and for myself.
I thank Margaret Mead for sharing that personal testimonial, apologizing if my remembrance is incorrect; if the adult relative she described was her grandmother, not her mother. No matter—the lesson stuck with me, and I am grateful.
Up and ‘at ‘em…that’s my retirement mantra! Places to go. People to see. I have Someone to worship and to be with each morning.
What about you? How different is the tempo of your retirement days from your work ones?