5.31.2012

Retirement tips from a novice | Part 4

While you're practicing your deep breathing and smiling exercises (see Part 1), take time to get to know your home from a new perspective: being there every day, for as many hours as you want. If anything made me smile on that first day at home, it was this: taking as much time as I wanted to dawdle over breakfast, being able to load the dishwasher instead of piling dishes in the sink and rushing off to work. Scratch that: it was being able to eat breakfast at home, instead of at my desk at 5:30 in the morning. Simple as it sounds, I loved it.

At my retirement celebration, I joked with co-workers that the first thing on my To Do list was cleaning out closets. Everyone laughed, but it was true. I knew that rather than leaving on a trip, I wanted to spend time decompressing and getting my bearings with a new focal point: my home (rather than my job).  Maybe it's a girl thing, the nest-building syndrome or something. I just know that I enjoyed puttering around the house, cleaning out closets, and straightening books on shelves, dusting where no dust cloth had been, and vacuuming from basement to attic.

I also got reacquainted with every inch of my gardens, from patio borders to orchards, perennial gardens to container plantings, herb garden to cutting garden. Instead of just quickly pulling weeds so I could make it through all the gardens in limited time, I took time all the time I needed to pull weeds, then dig deep to sift out rocks and roots, and enrich the soil for new plants.

My advice: take time to smell the coffee and the flowers. And enjoy every minute of it.

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