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New year, new life

I quit making New Year's resolutions a lot of New Years ago--total recipe for failure, in my book--but given that this January 1 will also be the first day of the rest of my life in a more particular way than every other day of the world, I'm giving it some thought.

The thing that has given my life its structure more or less continuously since 1970 is suddenly going to drop away. My external motivation for getting up in the morning, grooming myself, wearing decent clothes, leaving my house, and (in recent years) getting exercise will be no more.

I don't yet have a clue what will replace it. In my limited experience of unemployment, the lack of structure is not my best friend. But the key word is "limited." Will a month of do-nothing nightowl-dom be enough for a more natural structure to start appearing? Two months? How could I know? I've never tried it.

What's more, the fact of having a job has been one of a very few connections I feel to "most people," a broad if rather shallow patch of common ground. Google Plus keeps reminding me to list my workplace in my profile, because without it, I'm only 80% complete.

So, what new scaffolding will I build to keep my life from dissolving into a puddle of undifferentiated time?

I have no idea yet. I should probably be terrified. Maybe I am terrified and I just don't know it. How does one feel at an event horizon?

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


(Deleted comment)
Dec. 29th, 2013 03:12 am (UTC)
I definitely recommend setting a time each day by which you have to be wearing actual clothes as distinct from pajamas.
Dec. 29th, 2013 03:15 am (UTC)
That is a level of rule-following and self-discipline that I'm definitely able to undertake. Minimal, but I think a pretty powerful starting-point.

For January, I think 9:00 a.m. sounds reasonable...or maybe 10:00.
Dec. 29th, 2013 03:20 am (UTC)
In my own case--working at home rather than retired--it's rather later. I usually wake up at 8:38 (NO idea why then), stumble from the bedroom to the office (two rooms away), read the night's accumulated e-mails, read the online NYTimes, Wall Street Journal, and the elder law newsfeed, check LJ and DW, and do any other research needed for the day, which takes a couple of hours, then breakfast and, as it were, change out of my tea gown into something suitable for morning calls.
Dec. 29th, 2013 03:31 am (UTC)
Well that sounds civilized.

I think I'm aiming for an earlier hour because in the absence of productive work at home, being in my bathrobe and slippers makes it too easy to veto any inner prompting to go outside and just sit here in front of the internet, unmoving.

If I should find structured and maybe remunerative work I can do at home, well, that'll be a whole new way of life. I like your description of how it works for you.
Dec. 29th, 2013 04:03 am (UTC)
In many ways, working at Book Sale was optimal for me because it got me out of the house and actually talking to people on Sundays. Although for about four months out of the year spending five or six hours away from work and then coming home too tired to be productive was kind of a hassle.
Dec. 29th, 2013 05:20 am (UTC)
Yeah, and that feeling is exactly what I'm retiring to get away from. I'm honestly curious to learn what it will feel like to come home (from whatever) and not have that too-tired-to-be-productive feeling. It's like a Pavlovian response now: lock the bike, come in the back door, set down my stuff, and think, "Damn, my brain is fried."
Dec. 29th, 2013 03:03 pm (UTC)
IIRC you said that you don't read many books, but might want to get back into it.

Not entirely by accident, I live two blocks away from the main branch of the Jersey City Public Library, but I also go to two of the branch libraries in other neighborhoods. Branch libraries tend to have the same number of copies of best sellers but fewer patrons than the main branch! A branch library could be an excellent bike-ride destination, since if you don't like the books they can go right back to the same or another branch! (Although Jersey City is the only library I've ever belonged to that didn't have drop boxes, mutter grumble, so books can only be returned when the library is open.)
Dec. 29th, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Librarbitrage
I'm glad you mentioned this. I've recently re-upped my long-dead membership at my local library. Excellent institution, one whose funding Portlanders almost always agree to extend or increase when library bond measures come up.

There's a tiny but hoppin' branch about three blocks from my house--no exercise at all, but convenient--and another, larger branch right on my two-mile route to Trader Joe's. What's even better (for me) is that they have a whole online thing where you can get ebooks and audiobooks.

I can't imagine not having a drop-box though. Even without a full-time job, I'd be in trouble for not getting books back during opening hours.
Dec. 29th, 2013 07:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Librarbitrage
They have library bonds? I'd like to invest in those!

They usually have at least one late-opening night when you can return books until 8, so after-work is an option.
Dec. 29th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Librarbitrage
Heh. I don't think there's much profit in them.
Dec. 29th, 2013 03:13 am (UTC)
That's not an unlikely eventuality for me, which is one of my concerns.

One thing I've noticed in the last couple of weeks (which have seen a real winding-down of my job and a consequent ramping-up of my sense of leisure): I talk to more people. Not in an extraverted way, but just, IDK, I feel more at ease and a tiny bit more open. So maybe the hermit tendency that makes me hole up in front of my computer after a long day of work will ease up a little when that stress is gone.

I hope so, anyway. And if not, well, there's always willpower.



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