A friend gave me a sashiko kit, consisting of indigo cloth with traditional, stylized Japanese wave patterns outlined in ready-to-embroider stitch marks, a needle, and white cotton thread. The intent was to give me a relatively easy-to-complete craft project to ease me into retirement. I’ve not yet started to embroider. It took me 3 hours to untangle the cotton thread, which I had yanked out of the plastic wrapping assuming it was multiple pieces of thread, and not a single, endless one.
During my sometimes peaceful and sometimes infuriating attempts to pull one thread through a few hundred tiny holes within the web of knotted threads I had in front of me, a tangle that made Medusa’s hair look tidy, I started to see my early days of retirement as being part of their own tangle.
I realized that I was trying to turn retirement into a job, complete with goals, deadlines, and measures of accountability I had followed Mr. Morton’s advice (Independence Day) and started a list of what I wanted to learn, never reaching the 50-100 items he suggested, but still pushing for a “promotion and a raise” by including mastering Spanish, writing a book, sewing a quilt, maintaining a full weekly calendar of tai chi, zumba, yoga and Bollywood dance, and maintaining this blog. I even had trouble sleeping last night, fretting over some complications in a volunteer job. After all, if I have only 14 years to live, I’ve got a lot left to accomplish.
I’m smiling as I wrap this up. Clearly I have not made a successful transition from work to retirement, but it’s very fun to be aware of these different phases the process is taking me through.