I am VERY close to getting off the treadmill that is my “working life”.   I’ve tried to move from employed to retired slowly so that it’s not as much of a shock as being on “leave without pay” was 20 years ago.   In 1992-1993 we moved from Maryland to North Carolina due to a military change of station.   In order to stay “on the roles” as a civilian employee, I requested and was approved for leave without pay.  We had purchased a nice small house on a major State Road in a tiny “don’t-blink” town just North of Fort Bragg.  But because of the highway I always felt nervous about walking down the street.  No on would drive the speed limit. . . our house was just at the pint where speeds were supposed to go from 55 to 45. . . go figure that was going to happen. . . .

Since I moved down in the fall I loved leaving the windows open for fresh air. . . but traffic was at all hours…It took me three months to be able to sleep through the night.  But I finally did sleep.   So I applied for jobs on the military installation, made follow-up calls and waited.  Keep in mind that “Mr. Gore’s Internet” hadn’t really taken off at this point and e-mail was very limited at best.  So although my applications and resumes could be completed on a computer, they still had to be submitted manually or through the mail . . . It was the early 90’s after all! ! ! !

So what to do while I waited? ? ? I found the “local” Catholic Church was over 20 miles away.  But I did do some volunteer work there.  I watched a lot of television and slowly went crazy!  I was unhappy and bored. . .  unfortunately even exercising on the Nordic Trak didn’t alleviate my feelings of inadequacy. . . . I started to take it out on my sweet husband . . . not good considering we’d only been married a few years. .. .

Anyway, by February we had devised a plan to get me back to work and send my sweet husband to Korea for a year. . . . BUT out of the blue came a job offer!   It was the best news there was. . . . I vowed that if I ever was without a job, I would find things to do that would keep me busy and around people more than I was. . .   According to Meyers-Briggs I am a closet introvert. . . but talking to the dog and my husband alone for 6 months made me a basket case!

So over the past year I have learned the basics of quilting.  I’m not good yet, but I can sew a relatively straight line!  And I have a nice sewing room to ply my “trade” now.   Also I have found a local community college which has classes in sustainable gardening.  Maybe I can grow a few things so we won’t have to pay for them. . . .I love home-grown beans and broccoli!

The lady next door, my friend Mona, has already signed me up for the Wednesday Ladies Bowling League. . . I’m not good at it mind you, but I can hold a ball and sometimes I can get a few pins down!  It’s a once a week appointment!

And if that isn’t enough, my “honey-do” list includes sorting and emptying out three storage areas. .. . I’ll be stuck in there deciding “keep”, “sell”, “give away” and “throw away” . . . .  It will be good to divest ourselves of all the stuff we don’t need. . . .  and we’ll save money NOT paying to store it!

I also had to tell the cleaning ladies goodbye. . . .so now the household “duties” are all mine.  As nice as it is to save the green, I still hate to clean bathrooms.   AND that den!  Oh my what a mess.   There are files which need to be purged, magazine to be stacked, photos to be saved and mail-order catalogs to throw away.  Although I’ve done pretty well this week about cleaning the house I still don’t enjoy it. .. perhaps I will develop a rhythm to my week and do a room a day with a load of laundry.

So as you see there are plenty of things to keep me busy . . . Also as we get closer to “the day” I have taken days off here and there to allow myself to become accustomed to being home more.  It will take some adjustments, but easing into all these changes should help me go gentle into the night!

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