One of the better things about retirement (by the way, that’s still a hard word to claim – it sounds like I should be wearing flannel shirts and suspenders, and sensible shoes…) is that the term “schedule” becomes something far less that someone pins to my day or my week or my season and then forces/compels me to keep and abide by.
Instead, a schedule has become more of a “general guideline.” As for meals, I eat when I’m hungry, instead of that 7am/noon/6pm clock. Often, I find that I am skipping meals altogether when I’m just not hungry, only to better enjoy the next meal whenever I eat it. I “should” go to the grocery store, but if there is a different supper that could work without having to go, I very well may just plan to go tomorrow. I am focused on not becoming slovenly, but the mandatory every morning shower no longer applies, especially if my hair doesn’t look goofy.
During the week, with Cheri going to work those four days, I do get up fairly early, and serve as her chauffeur for the short drive to work and back. Most often, then, I try to get to bed at a reasonable hour, and hopefully sleep as well. I do have a Fitbit wrist monitor that tells me how my heart is beating, and it bothers me to get up and walk every hour if I find myself spending too much time at the computer, and it also tells me how well I slept the night before.
Well, I woke up pretty early this morning. You know how you wake up a bit before you really need to or want to get up, but the time between waking up and getting up is just too short to go back and catch a bit more sleep. Frankly, I like to wake up about two hours before I get up, and then roll over and sleep again. My dream cycles come just before I wake up for the day, so it’s a very nice time to catch more sleep. As I said, however, this morning, where I could have slept another good hour or so, I woke up 15 minutes before I normally get up, to have a cup of coffee and get dressed to take Cheri to work. 15 minutes is a dangerous time. Yes, I could have gone back to sleep for those 15, and then gotten up, but I could also have gone back to sleep and slept way longer than I really wanted to. I think you can see that with a spouse who is still working, the concept of a completely free schedule is a bit impinged by reality.
So I got up. I was still kind of drowsy, and yawning, but that could have been simply a holdover from every Monday morning in the last 19 years when I no longer took Mondays off. I got my cup of coffee, checked some news items, any email, and mostly just sat at the table while my wife (who had already been up probably two hours, and who loves the morning) buzzed like a bee getting ready for work.
I dragged myself to change clothes, and then I sat at my desk in my comfy office chair waiting for Cheri to say she was ready to go. I plodded down the front steps to the car, and then drove my dear one to her work, and then drove back again. As I walked up the steps to the house, I found myself saying out loud, “Man – I could just go back to bed and sleep for a while…” Then it hit me! I COULD go back to bed and sleep for a while. The very essence of retirement came flooding out of nook and cranny of the house, saying to me, “You big dope! Of course you can! Nobody and nothing is the least bit interested in what you are going to do for the next hour or so… just call it the first nap of the day!”
So, without lingering, or having to have breakfast, or even going back to bed, I nestled down in my recliner, turned the light off and closed my eyes. Just like Scrooge in the Christmas Carol, however, I was visited by three apparitions. The first was a Siamese cat, who just made a circle through the room, talking to me, and then left. Almost asleep again, I heard the fattest, most orange feline specter, as she fussed and meowed into the room and then out again. Finally, on the edge of delicious sleep, the noisiest and pushiest of all – the tawny boy-cat came meowing in, and jumped up on to the arm of the chair, demanding pats and scratches, and then walked across me twice before jumping down again and making his way out of the room. Apparently it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a schedule anymore – your cats do.
With the drama out of the way, I closed my eyes, and a few moments later, opened them to discover someone had snuck into the room and set all the clocks ahead an hour and fifteen minutes! It was either that, or in truth, I was able to take the morning nap, and find myself refreshed and must better awake to face what was now an abbreviated morning…
It’s not selfish to care for your own needs, so long as you make sure others aren’t harmed in the caring for yourself. Many of us in our lives spend more time in the “ought tos” of living, believing that we have some sort of duty to live without things that simply make us happy and fill us with joy – like an extra hour of sleep. Again, my belief is NOT that we should only see to ourselves, and live as though nothing else mattered, but in my conversations with persons coming to the end of their lives, not one has said, “If only I had spent more time at the office!” “I wish I would have not taken that trip to Yellowstone with my family…” or “I sure wasted a lot of time just chatting at the dinner table.” Instead, the regrets, if any, took the words of “If only I’d have said no to some things I didn’t have to do, and said yes to those things I wish I would have done…” It’s not selfish to delight in life, or to en-joy those things that are joy-ful in the making. Living the intentional life means that we mean to do what brings more light and hope to our world, more joy and love and laughter as we can. Even if it means intentionally snoozing in recliner first thing in the morning. Enjoy your day.
Word for the day: apotheosis. Pronounced ah-PAW-thee-oh-sis, it’s a pretty important Greek word. It breaks down into the core word, theos, which means “god” (theology is the study of God), and then we tie on the prefix, apo, which really means “away” or “out of.” We remember the word, apostle, which in Greek means to “send out from, or out of.” They were to go and spread the Gospel. So “apotheos” means “out of God.” The sis is the act of doing something, so all together, it means the act of deifying. It also works it way to mean “the pinnacle,” or “supreme example.” It’s the best part of something. “He was the apotheosis of pun-telling.” Of course, if you want to get very fancy, you can tell folks that the apotheosis of waking up is Folgers in your cup…
Another fact, just for fun: written out, the number eighty-eight is the highest number that can be spelled without an “n.” (you get all those hundred, thousand, million, etc. involved…)
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.