And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
Having lots of free time is something I haven't enjoyed in years. I still find myself trying to wrap my mind around the idea of not working. The first week felt more like a vacation, but here I am into the second week, and it finally seems to be sinking in. I think the last time I felt this way was probably my summers when I was in college. We lived in the mountains of northern Georgia, and my days (when we weren't out exploring the beautiful scenery) were spent reading books and writing letters, while my nights were spent...well, reading books and writing letters.
I feel an incredible sense of freedom. I am not beholden to the alarm clock, and I'm quickly reverting back to a more natural rhythm of sleep (I've mentioned my night owl tendencies). Senator Obama may speak of the "urgency of now," but I'm not feeling a sense of urgency in any way, shape, or form. I feel like I have the freedom to enjoy the day, to listen to the sounds around me, to sit and watch as summer creeps closer.
Yesterday, I was able to sit on the deck with my binoculars and watch the birds. This is a great time of year to do it, because the trees are still bare, and it's easy to get a good look at the birds. I finally figured out which bird makes that little "wee-hoo" whistle--it's a chickadee! I've been hearing that for years and was never able to pinpoint who was making that sound. I was thrilled to figure that out! (I know...it doesn't take much, does it?)
I find myself shunning any type of appointment--that would mean that I need to be somewhere at a specific time. I'll get over that soon, because I need an oil change for Slick and new glasses (bifocals...argh) for me. There will also be lunches to plan with my folks, my sisters, Shane, etc., and I'll need to set a time and date for those. But what a burden lifted to not have the "anvil of work" (as Shane put it) hanging over my head. Believe me, I was never overloaded with doing things after work (running kids to various functions, for example), but I had to do some multi-tasking when I got home from work in order to cook dinner and do other such things, and make sure I got a little "decompression" time in there, too. It's very calming to be able to simply enjoy the moment.
I am also aware enough to realize that while it's okay for me to take the time to get used to a very different lifestyle, a lack of motivation is not a good way to live. While I appreciate the chance I've been given to take time to breathe and remember what it's like to not have that sense of urgency, I know that I need to set goals and plan my days. When I worked full time, I was great about making to-do lists for my days off. I filled a notebook or two with my day-off and weekend lists! While every day is now a day off, I think I should resume my list-making and set goals for each day. Well, most days. One of the first orders of business will be to start walking and working out, because I don't want to "blossom" too much!
Speaking of blossoming, I've done nothing with the garden yet, and I need to tear out the old plants and prepare the beds for planting. I can get out there any time and plant some cool weather things like lettuce. I have many projects to do around here, and while I'm certainly enjoying my completely non-urgent life, I know that it's not in my nature--or my best interests--to just sit back and watch life go by, at least not as a general rule. My buddy Jim told me that if he came over and found me sitting in a rocking chair and reading, he was going to kick my ass. Fair enough, although there will be times that I do exactly that. I just hope that's not what I'm doing when he drops by, because I don't want my ass kicked!
Ken has been a peach, and understands that it will take me a little while to adjust to my new life and navigate my new course. There are probably some guys that wouldn't handle such a change well, or would show some resentment. I've never gotten that feeling from Ken, and I appreciate him more than he probably realizes. I'm also enjoying staying up with him later, because I used to need to get to bed by 9:30 or 10 PM if I wanted to be on top of my game the next day. It's fun to stay up later and hang out with my hubby!
So while the clock has not stopped ticking, it's not ticking quite as loudly for me these days. I find myself not looking at the clock as often either, because the time of day doesn't matter quite as much as it used to. 5 AM: wake up. 5:15 AM: I should be in the shower by now. 5:35 AM: I should be out of the shower by now. I should be eating breakfast by 6 AM, and leaving the house by 6:20 AM. UGH! It's such a relief to not feel that sort of pressure and to not have to adhere to a timetable. I know there is a balance between enjoying each moment and carpe-ing each diem while maintaining a sense of motivation and a goal-oriented mindset, and I know I'll find it. I'm okay with allowing myself the time to absorb the fact that I'm no longer workin' 9 to 5 (although in my case, it was more like 7 to 4), but I also know that I will reach a tipping point where I am ready to resume the level of energy that I've had in the past. I can feel that tipping point coming soon, so until then, I believe I'll just sit back and enjoy the ride.