Back in the day, when I was still working, I had a lot on my plate. Between managing my team of product consultants and software developers, working with installation managers, sales people, senior executives, prospects, clients, and vendors, as well as caring for and providing for my wife and kids, my plate was constantly full. Sometimes overflowing.
And I loved it. I thrived on the pressure of meeting deadlines, fulfilling client expectations, demoing our software solutions to new clients, running meetings and webinars, closing new business, and finding a balance between work and family. It all gave meaning to my life. It defined who I was.
And then I retired. For five decades I had defined myself by my work, by what I did for a living. I woke up one day and that was all gone. Not only did I not have all of those job responsibilities anymore, but my kids were grown up and out on their own.
I felt a sense of panic. Who was I if my identity was my work and I was no longer working? I remember telling my wife that my plate was now empty and I didn’t know what to do with myself.
But the good news is that my plate is still full. I’ve got grandkids who give me tremendous joy. I’ve got my blog, which enables me to interact with fellow bloggers from around the world. And I’ve got a wife who is happy to keep adding things to my “honey do” list.
So, in spite of my early fears that upon retirement my plate — my life — would be empty, the reality is that what’s on my plate today, in retirement, is just fine. I can now define myself by who I am, not what I do.
I am a morning person. Not by choice, however. If I could, I’d sleep a lot later than I do. But I can’t. No matter what time it is at night when I shut my eyes, I find myself to be wide awake usually by around 6 or 6:30 am. If I am able to sleep past 7:00, that’s a late morning for me.
What I usually do when I first wake up in the morning is to pick up my iPhone and see what comments came in overnight while I was sleeping. That’s usually between 25-35 comments. I also check my Reader to see what the bloggers I follow have posted overnight. It’s a lot because I follow a lot of very prolific bloggers, most of whom post multiple times a day.
Hence, I spend a fairly significant portion of each morning reading and responding to comments and reading and commenting on posts that show up in my Reader.
I try to fit in coffee, breakfast, skimming the newspaper and my newsfeed, taking the dog out, and, oh yes, interacting with my wife in the morning as well.
Bottom line, I like the morning. It’s the start of a new adventure each day. And I like this song from Cat Stevens, as well.
I have to say, all modesty aside, that I excelled at being a host for our out-of-town guests this week. My wife insisted that I put down my cellphone except for taking photos with it, so that we would be able to view those photos and remember the excellent times we all had.
Wanting to be attentive to and present for our visitors, I did as she suggested and minimized my cellphone usage this week. I really wanted our guests feel as if they were being treated like celebrities during their visit.
The only day we had to cancel any of the miscellaneous plans I had made was on Tuesday because it rained all day. Otherwise everything went off without a hitch. We were able to celebrate together our decades long friendships.
Last night was cool and crisp, and there was nary a cloud in the night sky. So we all gathered around our backyard fire pit to keep warm and to gaze up at the sky and look at stars and planets in their celestial splendor. It was spectacular.
But alas, all good things must come to an end, and tomorrow our guests will be leaving and heading back home. I will miss them after they leave, of course, but because I tried very hard to minimize my time glued to my cellphone, as I often otherwise am, I have missed reading many of your posts. And I have missed our interactions.
My plan is to resume my normal blogging activities, which I do exclusively on my cellphone, the day after tomorrow. I’m looking forward to reading your posts and responding to more of your prompts and challenges.
Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, in which Linda asked us to find a word that begins with or contains “cel” and use it in your post any way we’d like.
I was maybe in third grade when I heard from someone, I don’t remember who, that the word “antidisestablishmentarianism,” with 28 letters, was the longest word in the English language.
Actually, it isn’t. According to Google, “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,” at 45 letters, is the longest word. It refers to a lung disease contracted from the inhalation of very fine silica particles, specifically from a volcano.
But when I was maybe in the third grade, Google didn’t exist. Neither, for that matter, did the internet. So when I heard that antidisestablishmentarianism was the longest word in the language, I assumed that it was, in fact, the longest word. And I made it my goal to learn how to spell it by heart.
Once I had mastered memorizing how to spell antidisestablishmentarianism, I would go up to random people and proudly say, “I know how to spell the longest word in the English langage.” Then I would spell antidisestablishmentarianism for them. Everyone was duly impressed. And I was very pleased with myself.
Until one day when someone asked me if I knew what antidisestablishmentarianism meant. I didn’t. My skill was being able to spell the longest word. It didn’t occur to me to that I should also know its meaning. I asked my father what it meant. He didn’t know. Neither did my mother. Nor my two older sisters. Even my third grade teacher was stumped.
So I went to the school librarian and asked her if she knew what it meant. She smiled at me and said, “Let’s go look it up.” Then she led me to the biggest, fattest dictionary I’d ever seen. It was sitting atop a tall pedestal and I had to stand on a step-stool to read it.
The librarian opened the dictionary and turned to the page and said, “Ah, here it is.” Then she began reading from this humongous dictionary.
“Antidisestablishmentarianism: Opposition to the withdrawal of state support or recognition from an established church, especially the Anglican Church in 19th-century England.”
Sadly, even after hearing the definition of antidisestablishmentarianism, I still didn’t really understand what the word actually meant. Something about being against not paying for the church, but to my maybe in the third grade mind, that didn’t make much sense to me anyway.
Besides, my claim to fame was not explaining what the word meant. Oh no. It was in being able to spell antidisestablishmentarianism by heart on demand. Although truth be told, there wasn’t much of a demand for that particular skill.
To this day, though, should anybody ask, I’d be happy to spell antidisestablishmentarianism for them. And I think that is pretty supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (34 letters).
Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, where Linda has asked us to decide on our favorite word and use it in our post any way we’d like. Can you guess the word I chose?