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Mild case of the shoulds

I sort of saw this coming. I mean, the question when you're about to retire is "What are your plans?" My answer has been, "To do nothing for a while and see what develops."

So here I am, a week in, with all the time in the world on my hands, and of course what develops is a mild case of the shoulds. It occurred to me this morning that there's an infinite list of things I "should" be doing with all this free time. What's at the top of the list varies from hour to hour, but it includes
  • Work on [____]
  • Finish [___]
  • Start [___]
  • Go and [___]
  • Decide on [___]
...you get the idea.

Trouble is, I don't really feel like doing any of those things right at the moment. Right at the moment, I'm on my second pot of coffee. I'm reading a so-so book that I wouldn't have taken time for in the past. It's rainy and windy out. The cat is asleep on the next chair.

So here's the big question: do I have the courage to follow through on my plan of making no plans until a plan comes and grabs me by the solar plexus and tugs me into action?

And while I'm trying to figure that out, should I maybe go out and buy some more coffee beans?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
donutsweeper
Jan. 8th, 2014 09:57 pm (UTC)
Other than making sure you have an adequate supply of coffee beans and other foodie sundries, I heartily recommend you take January off. No 'shoulds' no 'coulds' no 'decisions, decisions' but just... rest and recharge. You need time to refocus and reassert yourself as being there for *you* and just you and not sharing energy with the job anymore.
emeraldsedai
Jan. 8th, 2014 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm not being facetious at all when I say that it helps to have some external validation for my, um, non-decision. :D
harrigan
Jan. 8th, 2014 10:46 pm (UTC)
My two cents - kick back! I wouldn't say make no plans until a plan comes and grabs me by the solar plexus and tugs me into action... but give yourself a much-deserved long vacation first. A month. Two months. More if you want. But go ahead and set a target date now of when you think you'll start the [shoulds]. (You can always start them sooner if something does surface and grab you.)

Edited at 2014-01-08 10:46 pm (UTC)
emeraldsedai
Jan. 8th, 2014 10:56 pm (UTC)
A valid and well-balanced perspective. Thank you.
silk_knickers
Jan. 8th, 2014 11:07 pm (UTC)
You should do whatever the heck you want. :)
emeraldsedai
Jan. 8th, 2014 11:08 pm (UTC)
I should!!

Your icon is perfect.
helenajust
Jan. 9th, 2014 09:20 am (UTC)
I agree with what everyone else said! You have the rest of your life to do the "shoulds", so they are not actually "shoulds" until you are good and ready for them. The only should which has effect at present is: you should do what you truly feel like doing, especially when that entails enjoying a well-earned rest. There's no point in retiring if you merely impose a different set of obligations and rules on yourself. And don't let anyone else make you feel guilty!
emeraldsedai
Jan. 9th, 2014 09:03 pm (UTC)
This is certainly the most consistent response I'm getting from my community!

The twin keys to my nature, I've ruefully realized in recent years, are Lack of Discipline and Need for Structure. (This is why I never seriously considered self-employment or even telecommuting).

Lack of Discipline can have the reins here for a few weeks, but I can already feel the Need for Structure kicking in, in the form of the Still Small Voice whispering, "Make a list. Start a spreadsheet. Add to your calendar. Create new rules."

It'll balance out soon, I'm pretty sure.
peacockdress
Jan. 10th, 2014 09:47 pm (UTC)
I think you should sit back and watch your ego freaking out, and be highly amused. :)
emeraldsedai
Jan. 11th, 2014 11:03 pm (UTC)
That's it! I hadn't thought of it in those terms, but of course you're exactly right. I didn't love my job and wasn't especially proud of it, but that doesn't mean it wasn't part of my identity. Underneath all the "now what do I do?" there's quite a bit of "now who am I?"--and that's by far the more important question.

Thank you. Great insight. And it made me laugh, too.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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