My aha moment came many weeks, months, after my retirement last year. I realized it after 56 years of working as a paralegal/legal secretary for the same firm my boss retired and the office closed. It is hard to break old habits, like cleaning at night and on weekends, never having any free time without feeling guilty, and being able to have some free time for myself. My aha moment came when one day many months later I realized, while I was on a road trip with a friend, that I didn’t have any real-time constraints other than my family needing me to come back for things such as cleaning, cooking, driving grandkids around, you know, the usual. We were driving along and I thought aha, I am on my own at this moment and don’t have to go to work. No one was expecting me to get out a will, do divorce papers, real estate documents, correspondence, and the list goes on. Continue reading
When I was a little girl, I always felt like I didn’t have any friends. I was raised in a neighborhood of all boys. Play revolved around playing cowboys and Indians and other games that involved me being the only girl. I must say since I was the only one with cowboy boots and a holster set, I often played a lead role. I would pretend to be Roy Rogers or The Lone Ranger. Most of the boys were younger and smaller than I was so they didn’t argue with me. They followed my lead.
I dislike cooking. I find cooking, on average, a waste of time. First of all, you have to decide what to make, then you have to go to the store. Another thing I dislike to do and purchase the ingredients Then you spend hours making your delicacy, it takes ten minutes to eat it, and then, guess what, you get to clean the mess up. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy cooking when the house is clean and everything is done, and I am cooking for a get together of family and/or friends. The key here, everything else needs to be done.
Am I lazy or just inadequate?? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Both in my personal life and my work life. In my work life, I’ve said for years that I want to get back to my computer programming/development skills. I have all the tools I need to refresh this information in my head, so why don’t I accomplish this? What is holding me back from accomplishing this goal?
I have a confession to make. I don’t cook very often. My husband was raised in the restaurant business and started scraping gum off the bottom of tables with a putty knife when he was too little to remember. One thing led to another and he started food preparation when he was very young. Being around food and people who cooked well caught on with him.
I hate cooking. My kids have always been impossible to cook for. But before I get into that – maybe I should explain about where I think my dislike of cooking came from.
Where does the time go?
So often when I look back at days, weeks, months…or years, it feels like I just put my head down and plowed through my life. Accomplishing tasks. Meeting needs. Moving kids from point A to point B. Cooking. Cleaning.
I recently took a yoga teacher training where I learned about svadhyaya. In Sanskrit, it means studying yourself. I love to use journaling to do that. As I look back, I can break my life into several “times”.
Way back, when I was married to my ex, I lived rather thoughtlessly. There were just the two of us, both working, no kids. We watched froreign films with subtitles and used a French press to make our coffee. We explored book stores and listened to jazz music. He played his guitar and I worked in my flower gardens.
Now I have a family…husband. three kids. My time for the past twelve years has revolved around teaching, books, kids, survival.
But I feel like this time is changing, wrapping up, and I am preparing for the next chapter. I’ve been teaching for more than 20 years. Now my kids are older. I’m not moving toward retirement…exactly, but another chapter in my life. One where I’m finding more joy and purpose in writing and creating.
Transitions take energy, focus, and dedication. That’s what I’m doing. But, on a daily level, I too often act like I have all the time in the world to accomplish my dreams. At the end of the day, I realize that there wasn’t enough time to even accomplish the mundane, everyday tasks that were on my plate.
So. Here’s what is helping me…
Being a teacher, I love that my time is organized into blocks everyday and those blocks have a solid beginning and end. Accomplishment is inevitable because all the goals for my class are given a little time EVERY day.
That works in my personal life too. Call it the First Grade system of time management. Everything in a block of time and a block of time for everything.
I’ve been planning the week. Food and shopping. Don’t you find that the energy that shopping and cooking meals consumes a huge amount of energy in the week?
What are my work/life goals?–lay it out. Put it down on paper, sticky notes or journal. Make time for work, sleep, writing, reading, and play.
I schedule walking, yoga, meditation…my “self-care”. It’s not that there is no time for these things, rather, if I don’t value myself enough to honor and protect myself…well…no. one. else. will.
Where does time go?
There are large chunks of time in my day that are spoken for, parts that are committed. Then there are, of course, parts that I get to choose.
When I mindfully and thoughtfully choose, I make a commitment to myself and can create the life I want in the long run. But if I don’t plan for this ahead of time, it disappears…and MY time is a terrible thing to waste.
In my mind, cooking equals love. The thinking goes this way…
If I love you, I take care of you.
If I take care of you, I want you to be healthy.
If I want you to be healthy, I want you to eat good food.
If I want you to eat good food, I have to cook.
If I cook, then you won’t get processed or fast food.
If you don’t get processed or fast food, you will be healthy.
If you are healthy, it means that I am doing a good job of taking care of you.
If I am taking care of you, then I love you.
There is only so much within the control of a mom. I can only make my kids do so much. I can grocery shop and feed my family. If I feed them something out of a box, I feel like I’ve failed. I have set them up for future obesity, heart disease, and a life of culinary incompetence.
(I know, I’m a bit over the top here.)
Ok…a lot over the top.
I have been teased about my cooking. I put together strange combinations. Leftovers aren’t leftovers, they are the starting point for the next day’s meal. I cook more “almost homemade” than organic, free-range, or “close-to-home grown”.
If it is soup…I LOVE it! My latest specialty is solid soup.
Salt and pepper? Yeah.
Make couscous in a saucepan according to instructions. (I add a handful of kale or spinach.)
Salt and pepper? Yeah.
Sauté sliced up onion, celery, and a carrot.
Put this into a baking dish and add some protein—I put in the meat from a couple of leftover pieces of chicken.Then mix in 2 eggs and a can of cream of mushroom soup. Almost sounds like “Midwest Hotdish” or a variation of tater-tot casserole.
Well, good idea. Let’s go with the mushroom theme—sauté and a carton of mushrooms with a pinch of salt and place them on top. Generously sprinkle a handful or two of shredded cheddar cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for about a half-hour (or so) and WA LAH….
…just call it LOVE Casserole.
What is my favorite drink?
This sounds like an easy topic…not. My answer is, it depends.
My favorite drink: Alcoholic that is.
I guess I would have to say the this would be an “Old Fashion”. I say this because it has come to be a kind of old friend so to speak. When I came of age, (I don’t like beer) I tried what my Mom always ordered. A Bacardi. Then I thought I should be drinking what my friend liked. Manhattans.
Well, after a couple of years of being totally wiped on only one or two of those (most likely one), I realized that I didn’t really care for them. Anyway, an Old Fashion was presented to me. It had a good taste of booze, I like them rather sweet, and that is where I am at the present time. Margaritas come in second. When you are out of state you don’t even think of asking for an Old Fashion because they are made with brandy, not a staple in other states.
You might think that I have a touch of bi-polar with this one. You see, I definitely have a morning drink and an evening drink…and these two are at the opposite end of the beverage spectrum.
When someone asks you “What is your favorite drink?” – do you automatically think they are referring to an alcoholic drink? Well – I do; and that’s where I take pause. I’m not a big drinker. Typically people talk about coming home from work and having a drink or a beer… I come home from work and grab a glass of milk. Is that weird?